For their first on-screen partnership since Mr & Mrs Smith a decade ago, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie team up for this period drama about a strained marriage, written and directed by Mrs Jolie Pitt herself. It's made on a lavish scale, with achingly beautiful locations and costumes, plus references to classics from Plein Soleil to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. But none of that can hide the fact that this is a stilted, contrived movie about two loathsome people we wouldn't want to spend five minutes with, let alone two very long hours.
It's the mid-1970s on the Mediterranean coast in southern France, and Americans Roland and Vanessa (Pitt and Jolie) descend into an isolated cove for a getaway to rescue their collapsing relationship. A novelist, Roland is also trying to snap out of writer's block, so he explores local village and chats with cafe owner Michel (Niels Arestrup) for inspiration. Meanwhile, Vanessa prowls around their vast suite in a grand villa perched on the edge of the sea, latching onto the newlywed couple (Melvil Poupaud and Melanie Laurent) in the room next door. But something deeply damaging has happened between Roland and Vanessa, and spying on this couple through a hole in the wall only offers a vague sense of mutual gratification. What they really need to do is confront the elephant in their own room.
Pitt and Jolie always seem aware that a camera is on them, striking poses and blurting their dialogue in ways that never feel remotely honest. Their simplistic reactions to whatever happened in their past (Roland's booze and Vanessa's rage) are never properly explored, so the characters wind up being utterly superficial. And this leaves everything from their big mood swings to their moments of quiet tenderness feeling rather pointless. By contrast, the French actors invest an easy authenticity to their much smaller roles, grounding the setting with an earthiness that only makes Roland and Vanessa look even more alien.
Continue reading: By The Sea Review
It's the 1970s and Roland and Vanessa are an outwardly respectable married couple, struggling to find common ground with each other. While the latter used to be a dancer, the former is now a writer, and while the pair clash continually they decide to venture to France together in the hopes of rebuilding their relationship and saving their marriage. The stay at a beautiful and luxurious seaside resort and find themselves inextricably bonding with a local couple named Lea and François who are just married, and two other eccentric resident business owners called Michel and Patrice. But with accusations of infidelity plaguing their lives, struggles with mental instability on both parts and even violent altercations happening almost daily, can their marriage really be saved by their newfound friends and a glorious sea view?
Continue: By The Sea - Teaser Trailer
This may be a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, but mainstream audiences should also note that this is an artful film that refuses to tell its story using the usual formula. For some viewers, this psychological angle will be exhilarating and challenging, although it might feel elusive to others. Either way, Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) has boldly made a film that defies expectations and gives Gyllenhaal two of his strongest performances in years.
Yes, he plays two roles in this doppleganger mystery. We meet him as Adam, a Toronto history professor with a beautiful but busy girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent) and a dull repetitious life. One evening he watches a movie at home that features an extra who looks exactly like him, so he sets out to learn more about the actor, credited as "Daniel Saint Claire", although everyone calls him Anthony. Adam discovers that Anthony's wife Helen (Sarah Gadon) is six months pregnant, and when the two men meet they are both disarmed that they look so exactly alike, down to their scars. Adam's mother (Isabella Rossellini) insists that he doesn't have a long-lost twin. Then things start to take a darker turn as the two men begin to learn things about each other.
Director Villeneuve is superb at getting under the skin of his characters, and the film is shot and edited to take us right into Adam's troubled mind, revealing his more shadowy inner corners through movie clips and creepy cutaways that may or may not be part of Anthony's freaky secret life, which involves some sort of elite sex club. Villeneuve further builds the mood with a horror-style musical score (by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans) and insinuating, sexy editing. He also resolutely refuses to explain what everything means, including the central plot itself, preferring to challenge viewers to internalise everything and discover their own explanation.
Continue reading: Enemy Review
When a Latin professor, Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons), sees a young Portuguese woman in a red coat about to throw herself from a bridge, he is compelled to save her. She wrestles her way out of the coat and runs off into the rain, leaving the bemused and mystified professor pondering what it all means. When he discovers a small book in the pocket of her coat, he begins to embark on an odyssey to find her, yet very soon he becomes more interested in the novel's author, Amadeu do Prado (Jack Huston). After discovering tickets for a train to Lisbon stuffed inside the book, Gregorius hastily boards the train himself, throwing caution to the wind, along with his normal, boring life.
Continue: Night Train To Lisbon Trailer
Adam Bell is a fairly ordinary man in a loving relationship and with a stable job. However, his life is turned upside down when he watches a movie and sees an actor bearing an uncanny resemblance to him. Shocked, he decides to track down the actor, named Anthony St. Claire, at his address but becomes spooked when he calls his house and is immediately assumed to be Anthony by his wife. With Adam's own girlfriend becoming increasingly suspicious by his jumpy and distracted behaviour and his mother insisting that he is her one and only son, Adam decides to meet his doppelganger. However, things don't go as smoothly as planned when Anthony decides he wants to sleep with Adam's partner. With his obsession consuming his life and harming the people around him, Adam must evaluate himself mentally in order to get his life back.
Continue: Enemy Trailer
The idea of magicians conducting a series of heists is a great one, but this under-developed film never quite seizes the opportunity. Even its terrific A-list cast can't make much of the lame plot. And director Leterrier is so enamoured with magic that he packs the film with whizzy digital trickery. Which completely misses the point.
At the centre are four illusionists: card trickster Daniel (Eisenberg), hypnotist Merrit (Harrelson), escapologist Henley (Fisher) and street magician Jack (Franco). They're summoned by a mysterious figure to team up for a series of elaborate performances funded by a wealthy benefactor (Caine). First up is a Las Vegas show that involves stealing millions of euros from a Paris bank and raining them down on the audience. This attracts the attention of FBI Agent Rhodes (Ruffalo) and Interpol's Dray (Laurent), who follow them to their next shows in New Orleans and New York. As does a notorious debunker (Freeman) determined to expose their secrets.
The film never quite gets the balance right, as we're not sure if we should root for these flashy young magicians or the people they're leading on a wild goose chase. But there's plenty of eye candy to keep us happy, as each whizzy stunt goes over-the-top to make us wonder what's really happening here. Everything this quartet does has an anarchist slant, stealing from the wealthy to help the needy, which adds a tinge of topicality. Although the gratuitous action scenes and ludicrous effects leave the film about as realistic as a Road Runner cartoon.
Continue reading: Now You See Me Review
Melanie Laurent - 66th Cannes Film Festival - amfAR's 20th Annual Cinema Against AIDS 2013 - Arrivals - Cannes, France - Thursday 23rd May 2013
Michael Atlas is the leader of the most formidable magician group ever seen, The Four Horsemen, alongside Merritt Osbourne, Henley and Jack. Being able to pull off some of the most baffling illusions ever seen, they decide to use their talent to outwit the highest authorities of the country and give something back to their loyal audience. They announce, at one show, that they will rob a bank in Paris and subsequently shower their fans with cash while using their ability to expose the white collar crimes that have been going on in the underground financial world. While the FBI flounder around trying to work out how the trick is done, magic genius Thaddeus Bradley remains the only person who seems to have an idea on how it was worked though he is equally as reluctant as the perpetrators to reveal the secrets.
Continue: Now You See Me - Alternative Trailer
Michael Atlas is an extremely accomplished illusionist and the leader of his own remarkable band of magicians known as The Four Horsemen which his henchmen, Merritt Osbourne, Henley and Jack, are a part of. Knowing that their abilities astonish and confound audiences everywhere, they decided to use it to their advantage and set out on a path to commit flawless crimes. During a performance, the quartet announce that their next trick is to rob a bank in Paris which they successfully do while exposing the crimes of a white-collar businessman and transporting his large fortune into the bank accounts of all the members of the audience. It isn't long before they are taken into custody by the FBI with Special Agent Dylan Hobbs resolute on finding out how the trick was done and preventing another major crime at the hands of the performers. In order to do so, he finds himself partnering with Interpol detective Alma Vargas against his better judgement and even seeking advice from the renowned Thaddeus Bradley who is well-known for his skill on working out how tricks are done. Dylan must find out if the solution lies with the idea of an outside party being involved, or just a case of master trickery at work.
As well as an all-star cast, this mystery thriller has been directed by action movie connoisseur Louis Leterrier ('The Transporter', 'The Incredible Hulk') and written by Ed Solomon ('Men in Black', 'Charlie's Angels'), Boaz Yakin ('Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time', 'Safe') and Edward Ricourt in his screenwriting debut. It is set for release on June 21st 2013.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Continue: Now You See Me Trailer
Orphaned as a child, Marine (Denarnaud) was adopted by Millie (Celarie) and raised alongside adoptive sister Lisa (Laurent), who's now a single mum to Leo (Maquet-Foucher). And their life is pretty much like any family's, with deep-seated love submerged under layers of family history, tiny grudges and personality issues. So Lisa struggles to get excited about Marine's charming new boyfriend Alex (Menochet). Then their lives take a dark twist, and each person has to stop and think about what they really mean to each other.
Continue reading: The Adopted Review
Carole Bouquet is a cinematic treasure. A gold mine of authentic humanity and emotion, capable of playing a vast range of personalities, and more astonishingly -- yet accessibly -- beautiful at 42 than ever before, she is arguably the best film actress in France today.
So when she plays an adulteress in 1962 Normandy who has an affair with her husband's boss in "The Bridge," there is so very much more to the character than just her cheating heart.
Mina is a woman who is frustrated by the slow evaporation of magic in her marriage. She still loves George, her blue-collar lug of a husband (played by Bouquet's real-life mate Gerard Depardieu). But their relationship has gone from dizzy and passionate to comfortable and polite. In fact, she'd much prefer to lose herself in a record or a good book, or go to the movies -- where emotions are powerful and love is always ardent -- than spend a night with George.
Continue reading: The Bridge Review
For their first on-screen partnership since Mr & Mrs Smith a decade ago, Brad Pitt...
It's the 1970s and Roland and Vanessa are an outwardly respectable married couple, struggling to...
This may be a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, but mainstream audiences should also note that...
When a Latin professor, Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons), sees a young Portuguese woman in a...
The idea of magicians conducting a series of heists is a great one, but this...
Michael Atlas is the leader of the most formidable magician group ever seen, The Four...
Michael Atlas is an extremely accomplished illusionist and the leader of his own remarkable band...
With her directing debut, actress Laurent proves to be an insightful, sensitive filmmaker. This story...
Carole Bouquet is a cinematic treasure. A gold mine of authentic humanity and emotion, capable...