Roger Frappier

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Seducing Doctor Lewis Review


OK
From the small northern island of Ste. Marie-La Mauderne in Quebec, Canada comes this low budget British-style comedy. Think The Full Monty, wherein a group of working class blokes whose steel factory shut down got together to solve their problem of unemployment while producing some laughs.

Here, it's a fishing village whose fish stock has been depleted, putting these hard working villagers on the dole. Since they think well of themselves only when they're earning a living, they are miserable and mortified as they line up for their weekly checks, even though the gal who distributes them at the post office, Eve Beauchemin (Lucie Laurier) is a world-class beauty. But more about her later.

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The Decline Of The American Empire Review


Good
It's amazing how films that once so perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the day can degrade so quickly into mere curiosity.

Witness Denys Arcand's celebrated The Decline of the American Empire, a lauded film (which made my own top 10 list for 1986) that consists of little more than a series of conversations between men and between women and between men and women -- all about sex. From infidelity to disease, Empire runs the gamut of sex talk. The implication, one wonders, is whether this is what the decline of the American empire is all about -- and why is it happening in a French-speaking province of Canada? Never mind the accents, it's juicy gossip that proves that all of us -- men and women -- are dirty pigs.

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Love And Human Remains Review


Good
There's a little bit for everybody in Love and Human Remains, but as a whole, most people are likely to find this film somewhat daunting. This study of modern relationships is billed as a "dark comedy"--and I'm still trying to determine whether the designation fits.

Following the interactions of seven side-wardly mobile Canadians, Love and Human Remains explores questions of love, misery, loneliness, confusion, and the strange truth that all seem to be inexplicably present at the same time. The reality of this has been the subject of numerous romantic comedies and the like, but I'm not sure I've ever seen the topic handled quite this way.

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Jesus Of Montreal Review


Weak
Father Leclerc (Gilles Pelletier), a forward-thinking priest at a diocese in Montreal, feels that his church's passion play has become tired. In the interest of reinvigorating it, he hires an impassioned, method-like actor named Daniel (Lothaire Bluteau) to shake things up a bit, and Daniel in turn assembles a cast of four others from among his friends and acquaintances. Together - the five quickly become thick as thieves, many of them sharing a cramped apartment - these new apostles re-imagine the Passion, drawing heavily on scientific and sociological, as well as ecclesiastical, sources, and the play becomes a citywide hit. But Father Leclerc now has reservations; haven't the young actors opened up the story of the Passion too radically? Under pressure from his superiors, he cancels the show. Meanwhile the cast members are changing, too; for instance, Mireille (Catherine Wilkening), who previously was doing commercials that emphasized her admittedly terrific ass, realizes that she was only being used, and through Daniel she has begun to realize her potential as a person. The actors all come to feel deeply committed to their creation, in some cases giving up their previous lives to spread the word. Daniel, who of course portrays Jesus, begins to feel that he is in fact undergoing persecution at the hands of the church. And why? His message, which he is anxious for everyone to hear, is after all a peaceful one...

Made in 1989 by French Canadian director Denys Arcand (The Barbarian Invasions), Jesus of Montreal was much honored at the time of its release, receiving the jurors' prize at Cannes and an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film. It's easy to see why. The premise - that a group of young, unconventional actors find themselves at odds with the established church when they investigate Christ's teachings - is a whopper, and Arcand pulls if off with some finesse; he never preaches and he refuses easy ironies. Jesus of Montreal delivers no facile moral lesson, but it never descends into simple church-bashing either. It is, rather, a little bit of both worlds; like The Barbarian Invasions, it's a social comedy, and it invites a little reflection, too.

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Seducing Doctor Lewis Movie Review

Seducing Doctor Lewis Movie Review

From the small northern island of Ste. Marie-La Mauderne in Quebec, Canada comes this low...

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