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Thread: PARIS MOVIE REPORT (May 2012)

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    PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

    Francis Ford Coppola: TWIXT (2011)


    VAL KILMER AND BEN CHAPLIN IN TWIXT

    Dreaming horror, finding a story

    A beautiful, if slight, pastiche on the horror and vampire film is Coppola's latest experiment, following Youth Without Youth and Tetro, this features Val Kilmer as Hall Baltimore, a failed and drunken detective story writer who has grumpy Skype conversations on the road with his impatient wife (Joanne Whalley) and his editor (David Paymer). The wife wants a $25,000 advance, and the editor, who won't go over $10,000, wants "a great twist ending, with tons of heart." Baltimore fumbles and goes in and out of drunken reveries and dreams, but comes out with a cracking good tale that his editor likes.

    At a humiliating book signing in a hardware in a little town, our author is approached by the local sheriff Bobby LaGrange (a typically hammy and wild-haired Bruce Dern), with the proposal of a story idea of a prosecution of young girl vampires linked to a long-ago series of local murders. If this sounds like a rehash of a rehash, with some elements from the recent middling British costume horror piece The Woman in Black , it certainly is. Except that an autobiographical element is added, that of the blocked or no longer high-functioning artist. Along with that, Baltimore has frequent imaginary consultations with the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin). Another personal element is Baltimore's weighty and guilty memories of the tragic loss of a child in a boating accident. He lost his daughter, and Coppola lost his son Gio this way in 1986. The daughter is played by Elle Fanning, who played the daughter in his daughter's film, Somewhere.

    This weighty material aside, this is nonetheless a playful and at times willfully silly divagation, though one whose slightness does not mean a loss of quality in tech elements. What makes this film worth watching and shows a master's hand are the beautiful images. D.p. Milhai Malaimare Jr.'s cinematography includes colors in the dull waking passages that evoke early Seventies detective movies, while Baltimore's dreams come in sharp black and white with dashes of color, à la Coppola's Rumble Fish. Some of the treatment of young girls is disturbing. But Kilmer keeps things light, yet dignified. One goofy bit is his immitation of Brando in Apocalypse Now, and a closing citation of "The End" sung by Jim Morrison, whom Kilmer played in The Doors. And Bruce Dern is an in-joke in himself, with many creepy self-references, some serious and some silly.

    Twixt debuted at Toronto September 2011 and was included in the San Francisco International Film Festival in Coppola's home turf of the Bay Area. It was released in France April 11, 2012 where it received a fairly good Allocine 3.0 rating. This involves mixed reviews, high from Cahiers du Cinema and Les Inrockuptibles, low from Telerama, generally good from some of the more "sophisticated" publications. Screened for this review May 16, 2012 at MK2 Hautefeuille, Paris.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-17-2012 at 05:37 AM.

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    This review also appears on Cinescene and Flickfeast.uk.

    PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

    Wes Anderson: MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012)


    KARA HAYWARD AND JARED GILMAN IN MOONRISE KINGDOM

    A runaway adolescent romance that's brilliant fun

    Mike D'Angelo, who saw Wes Anderson's new movie at Cannes, where it opened the festival, called it "easily the most Rushmore-y film he's made since," and gave it a 75, or "excellent" rating in his harsh system, putting it at the top of his top-ten list for the year. Peter Debruge of Variety is more reserved, perhaps eying the challenge to mainstream audiences, but notes that this is a high accomplishment. "While Anderson is essentially a miniaturist, making dollhouse movies about meticulously appareled characters in perfectly appointed environments," Debruge says, "each successive film finds him working on a more ambitious scale" and this one "feels even more finely detailed than any of his previous live-action outings." And yet, and yet, there is a wonderful balance, which Debruge also notes: "Still, the love story reads loud and clear, charming those not put off by all the production's potentially distracting ornamentation."

    For me, watching the film in a vicarious Cannes opening night public showing in Paris, where it got applause at the end and people stopped in their tracks to watch the closing credits and applaud again, as for a concert encore, the elaboration was self-conscious, but also both dazzling and enjoyable from the first frames, and the invention and orchestration were continually jaw-dropping. "This is going to be a classic," I kept saying to myself. Moonrise Kingdom is wonderful fun, a genius film. The script co-authored with Roman Coppola is rich and satisfying. If Debruge is right, the whole story and its setting constitute a "poignant metaphor for adolescence itself," of the isolation of childhood and first love, and this film, regardless of the decidedly sui generis oddity of Anderson's style, tells "a universally appealing tale of teenage romance."

    The premise stated on IMDb is simple enough: "A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them." Let's add that the time is 1965, the town is on an island, the boy at a scout camp led by the foolish but earnest Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton). The island's history, geography, and notable meteorological events (a huge electric storm comes at a climactic point) are periodically noted for us by Bob Balaban, the absurdly costumed presiding narrator. This is a consciously constructed self-sufficient world. Let's note also that the young lovers are only twelve (the girl) and eleven (the boy). And both independent misfits.

    Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives with her three little brothers and her parents, Walt and Laura Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) in a house attached to a lighthouse on this island of New Penzance (maps of adjoining islands are repeatedly shown). A series of sliding pans explores Suzy's house at the opening as a record is played giving a lesson on the orchestra. The whole thing is a lesson in orchestration, and Anderson (or Balaban) is the orchestra leader, unseen. Meanwhile there are the Khaki Scout Campers, in their rows of little tents elsewhere on the island. Scout Master Ward finds one boy missing ("Jiminy Cricket, he's flown the coop!"). It's Sam (Jared Gilman), a bespectacled, methodical outcast. Most of the other scouts don't like him, and he turns out to be an orphan, whom, when they learn of his running away, his foster parents refuse to accept back.

    Sam has discovered Suzy the year before (as explained in an orderly flashback) where she played a blackbird in a (droll and elaborate) play, they've been pen pals, and their runaway idyll was carefully planned. Each comes complexly prepared, he with scout camping equipment -- and he is a master of Khaki Campers' methods Master Ward has taught, she less practically with a valise containing hardcover children's library books and a battery-powered record player with discs including a French pop song, and a pet kitten in a basket with canned cat food. She has forgotten to bring a comb, but says she will just use her hands.

    To find the runaways, the scouts team up with the island cops headed by Captain Sharp (a bespectacled and bewigged Bruce Willis); he has been having an affair with Laura Bishop, whose marriage to fellow lawyer Walt is tired and miserable. (Adult relationships are otherwise sketchy.) The search becomes more and more elaborate -- and at some points violent, when Suzy and Sam fight off their pursuers -- as the storm comes on more and more. Eventually a Social Services lady of severe mien arrives (Tilda Swinton) and a higher level scoutmaster is involved, the stern Khaki überfüher, Commander Pierce (an elderly looking Harvey Keitel)

    The direction of the movie is toward indulgence and bending of rules, revival, acceptance, and hope -- he classic goals and outcomes of comedy. Sam and Suzy are symbolically married, Sam survives a violent meteorological event and is saved from Tilda Swinton's clutches and adopted by Captain Sharp. Scout enemies become scout friends. Walt and Laura become reconciled to each other. Much is destroyed by the storm (the most challenging feat of staging in the film, involving Anderson's first notable use of CGI), but the next year's crops are the richest and best in memory.

    Anderson's use of 16mm makes for a washed out look at times, but it fits with the Sixties timeframe. This isn't his most handsome film, but it's his most beautifully and clearly coordinated one, and as Debruge makes clear, the filmmaker achieves the remarkable feat of making his most elaborate work also his most intimate and touching. The dialogues and exchanges of kisses of Sam and Suzy are not only cute and sweet, but unlike any other such scenes. Though many viewers may find this not their thing (when is that not true?), it's a brilliant film, a triumph of individual (and yet quintessentially American) vision, and surely, as D'Angelo says, one of the best of the year. It did not rock me to the core, but it awed, delighted, and touched me.

    Moonrise Kingdom debuted at Cannes May 16, 2012 as the festive opening night film. It was screened for this review on the same night at UGC Odéon, Paris. It has received a high Allociné press rating, 3.9; however The Avengers receieived 4.1 and Audiard's Rust and Bone (which has also opened in Paris) received a 4.8 (higher than his Cannes and César-winning previous film A Prophet, which has a 4.6).

    The film begins UK and limited US release (US distributor Focus Features) on May 25, 2012.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2012 at 03:16 PM.

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    PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

    Jacques Audiard: RUST AND BONE (2012)


    MARION COTILLARD AND MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS IN RUST AND BONE

    An intense, testosterone-charged love story from Audiard

    "Rust and Bone is an impressive film," Serge Kaganski, critic of the French weekly Les Inrockuptibles wrote this week in praise of Jacque Audiard's new title in Cannes competition and simultaneously opening in Paris, "a film of mastery, intensity and, finally, simplicity. . . Each shot is impeccably composed, lit, and cut," he went on, "while still serving the story and characters." This is an important point to make because there is no prettiness about most of the images: they rarely call attention to themselves. And Kaganski adds, "Because the largest share of success of the film lies in the characters, so all attention is on the actors: their bodies, their phrasing, their interactions, their looks, their range of feelings."

    These are the key points: this is an actor's film, harsh, brilliant, hard to take. Rust and Bone is, as one would expect from Audiard, a remarkable, challenging movie. But it's different from the noirish stories he has done before, It's a love story, but it's also a kind of action movie, bursting with energy and hitting the viewer with a succession of physical and emotional shocks. Its hero is a brute of great physical intensity but terribly out of touch with his emotions. The arc leads him finally to acknowledge them. And so this is an action movie that is simultaneously (and less visibly much of the time) a slow-developing romance. It's loosely adapted from a similarly-titled short story collection by Canadian writer Craig Davidson, and we feel the expansion, pushing the limits of some story elements, so a few details seem fudged, the movie's most evidnet flaw. While packing a wallop and likely to please audiences looking for rough naturalistic elements combined with romance, this film isn't quite the wholehearted success Audiard achieved in his previous two films, the great frustrated-artist noir The Beat My Heart Skipped and the breathlessly absorbing prison making-of-a-crime-boss epic A Prophet.

    Simplly put, this is the relationship of a beautiful handicapped woman and a brutish fighter. Marineland orca-trainer Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) is rendered legless by a terrible accident during a performance. While still whole, she is rescued from a fight in a bar by Ali (the up-and-coming Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts, whose breakthrough was the intense Flemish picture Bullhead) . After her accident, before rehab and prosthetics, she calls up Ali and a relationship begins. Ali has come from the north to the south coast to Antibes with his 5-year-old son Sam (Armand Verdure) after his mother has involved the boy in drug smuggling. He is so brutish (and out of touch with emotion) that he seems either super-human or subhuman, and it's only Stéphanie's handicap that makes their union believable.

    The relationship is just friendly at first, pals, then later fuck-budies. Ali takes Stéphanie swimming, carrying her into the water. This experience gives her a kind of physical release and revival from the depression of losing her legs. Later he suggests sex. That doesn't keep this testosterone brute from having sex with other women. Meanwhile he engages in the brutal illegal fights staged by his shady employer Martial (ace Belgian actor and filmmaker Bouli Lanners), also working for him in security at a business wehre Martial has installed illegal devices to spy on employees. This leads to the firing of Ali's hard-faced sister Louise (Céline Sallette), with whom he has been living since he came south. She has him thrown out of her house at gunpoint, with Sam.

    There is another terrible accident, pointing to Ali's carelessness and violence, even to himself, but this ordeal finally leads him to acknowledge his feelings for those close to him, and a surprisingly soft ending, considering the extreme harshness of most of what has come before. The Variety reviewer at Cannes, Peter Debruge, links this film both with Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, and the tradition of French movies following the American genre of down-and-out lowlife fighters struggling vainly to get back up. He also suggests Audiard's blend of romance (and controlled script) and gritty almost Dardennes-style realism (and the Dardennes lend their imprimatur as producers here) is a canny choice because it satisfies audiences' lust for something new and fatigue with the flabby Nicholas Sparks kind of love story. However he points out this is a "massive undertaking" by French standards with its complex roles, allowing big star Cotillard dignity in a harsh role, introducing the remarkable Schoenaerts in a French-speaking part, not to mention the mixture of soothing music by Alexandre Desplat and American pop songs, gritty hand-held scenes and grand spectacles at Marineland (and underwater photography). All this is in addition to skillful F/X alteration of images to show Stéphanie's amputated limbs repeatedly in multiple situations to the point where we come to accept them. Audiard chose something smaller after the huge challenge of his big prison epic, yet it turns out not to be so small after all. Maybe he should have down-pedaled some of the plot elements. Though he based this on a whole story collection, the parts still seem fragmentary -- though the impact of every scene is so great, audiences won't notice.

    Rust and Bone (the original story title), French title De rouille et d'os, with a screenplay by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, was shown at Cannes in competition and simultaneously released in Paris cinemas May 17, 2012. Screened for this review at Gaumont Opéra Paris May 17. Allociné press rating: 4.8 (but based on only 8 reviews). Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in the US.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-14-2012 at 02:16 AM.

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    PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

    Hitoshi Matsumoto: SCABBARD SAMURAI (2010)



    Shaggy samurai story

    This odd mixture from Japan went into French release (as Saya Zamuraï , a transliteration of the Japanese title) May 9, 2012 and, perhaps because it reads sort of like a conceptual piece, received enough enthusiastic reviews to give it a 3.4 Allociné "press" rating. If you ask me, the Variety critic Leslie Felperin's suggestion that this "could provide a plausible vehicle for a remake for someone like Terry Gilliam, albeit on a bigger budget," is crazy, or at the least a bad idea. How this series of visual jokes that fizzle could make a successful movie eludes me.

    Hitoshi Matsumoto is a former TV comic turned director and this is his third film. The setting is historical, and the protagonist is yet another run down samurai. This one, a prune-faced and bespectacled chap called Kanjuro Nomi (Takaaki Nomi) is wandering the country with his feisty little daughter Tae (Sea Kumada). After the death of his wife in an epidemic he has become so despondent he can no longer fight and has abandoned his sword, carrying only the scabbard of the title.

    At the outset the jokey nature of most of the proceedings becomes evident when Nomi is unsuccessfully attacked by a series of comical enemies who seem pasted-on apparitions -- a Shamisen Player (Ryo), Pakyun the Pistol Boy (Rolly), and Gori Gori the Chiropractikiller (Fukkin Zen-Nosuke). The latter swoops down from above and tries to twist Nomi's neck around. There's a call out for Nomi's arrest (what for? disgracing the samurai code?) and he's arrested and put into the custody of the Lord of the Tako Clan (Jun Kanimura). The Lord locks up Nori and gives him a job. He has 30 days to try to make his son, gloomy since the death of his mom from the same epidemic that killed Tae's, crack a smile. If Nomi succeeds, he'll be set free. If he fails, he mus commit seppuku.

    Tae and Nori's two jailers (Itsuji Itao and Tokio Emoto) act as coaches as Nori makes up a long series of gags or stunts, ranging from sticking vegetables up his nose to inhaling a noodle to being shot from a cannon.

    There is an obvious link between the Taki clan Lord's son and Tae, and Tae eventually sneaks in and visits the son and tells him he's also like her father.

    There is a tradition of prune-faced bespectacled Japanese characters; I recall one as a colleague of Watanabe at the city hall office in Kurosawa's Ikiru. Mark Schilling of <a href="http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ff20110617a1.html">Japan Times</a> compares him to Buster Keaton. [/i] Nomi's deadpan doggedness must have something very Japanese about it. The trouble is that the daily stunts, which as Felperin puts it have a certain "Rube Goldberg" quality -- if of a somewhat flabby quality level, aren't necessarily funnier to us than they are to the Clan Lord's son. Schilling, who as usual provides knowledgeable insight, suggests the stunts' progression "cleverly illustrate what might be called the history of comedy in Japan," basically just from the simple to the more complex now seen on Japanese TV variety shows today. Tae is a stern critic of her father at first, but as she bends to the task she starts being more on his side, as is a growing public audience at his stunts. Tae may be symbolic of how the samurai moral code is passed from generation to generation and inspires even the weak.

    Aside from the slowness and unfunniness of the gag progression, the other big trouble with this film is that things turn grim, bloody, and eventually sentimental and preachy toward the end of this long ordeal, which in itself we hardly know how to take. This doesn't seem quite sufficient material for a feature movie.

    Since Matsumoto's films have popular routes but fail to appeal particularly to the popular audience, it might be interesting to compare him to Kitano. But Kitano has a wild imagination and an original style, even when his movies don't work. Despite decent production values, costumes, sets, etc., Saya-samurai is basically a pretty stupid and boring film.

    Scabbard Samurai, billed as Saya Zamuraï, debuted at the Tokyo Downtown Cool Media Festival, having its western fest start at Locarno, followed by other fests. France is the only country where it has been released theatrically other than Japan.

    Screened for this review at MK2 Beaubourg, Paris, MAy 18, 2012.

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    Jacques Audiard 2005, revisited

    What I did today (Saturday May 19, 2012) in Paris:

    Since there were no new films I felt like seeing, I went to MK2 Hautefeuille's morning rep-style showing of Audiard's THE BEST MY HEART SKIPPED, AKA DE BATTRE MON COEUR S'EST ARRÊTÉ, which stars Romain Duris in a breakout serious role, Neils Arestrup (of A PROPHET, later) as his father, and Emmanuelle Devos as the father's girlfriend, among others. This is a "re-make" (as Audiard called it) of James Toback's debut film, FINGERS, about a young guy who's an enforcer for his crooked real estate dad who tries to become a concert pianist. Audiard adds details like an Asian piano teacher when Tom is preparing for an audition who can't speak any French, and a relationship that flowers between them later, as well as a Russian mafia boss who destroys his father, and a lot that is not in Toback, besides which the ending is not nihilistic like the one with Harvey Keitel.

    What stuck me this time is how visceral Audiard's filmmaking style is and how much he relies here as in A PROPHET and the new RUST AND BONE on wildly contrasting scenes. He thrives on and seems almost addicted to harsh hard-soft contrasts. I was greatly enamored of THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED and it still seems an extremely impressive film but I think I like A PROPHET better: it's bigger and richer in every way, despite the fact that people tend to type-cast it as more strictly genre and not their thing. RUST AND BONE has the same kind of contrasts, but I will need to see it again to tell if I really think it works. But RUST AND BONE'S visceral quality is as powerful as the other two's. Audiard works on a very high level. And he's a fabulous director for actors. Observe the difference between Niels Arestrop in THE BEAT and in A PROPHET and you'll realize what a very great actor he is and how Audiard gave him twice the opportunity to show it.

    It is almost unbearable to watch not so much Tom's failed audition, but the night before when his cohorts make him go out to the horrible rush on squatters to maintain control of a dubious real estate holding, the image of low level human violence trumping an attempt at peace and art. Audiard reallly took Duris and molded him here (into a more serious actor) much as he took and molded the less formed Taher Rahim for A PROPHET.


    ROMAIN DURIS IN THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED, 2005
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-29-2012 at 05:25 PM.

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    Cannes magazine display

    MK2 Hautefeuille

    Chinese film festival poster

    Les femme du bus....

    Rust and Bone poster

    On the Road "Colonne Morris"

    La Pagode

    Cine Images
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-19-2015 at 06:31 PM.

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    PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

    Tim Burton: DARK SHADOWS (2012)

    PARIS MOVIE REPORT (MAY 2012)

    Vampires in Seventies Maine?

    Johnny Depp again, and Burton's wife Helena Bonham Carter again, but not in one of Tim's better projectst. A vampire imprisoned in a coffin for two hundred years emerges to his family estate. Michelle Pfeiffer as a wife, Jackie Earle Haley as a housekeeper, both rather wasted. Eva Green in a strong role in a weak picture. Because what is Burton doing here? Well, this is a vampire picture, about an undead chap who falls in love with normal young women. Such things bring unfailing delight to a certain kind of fanboy or fangirl, but in general haven't we had just about enough of them at this point?

    What's not wrong is the special effects, which are excessive but lush and occasionally would have delighted Salvador Dali (blood turning into insects, a pulsing heart in a hand, a face that cracks apart like an eggshell). What's wrong is the writing, which has no focus or interest. What's best is the trailer, which prominently features Depp's absurdly ornate language and his amusingly pseudo-English accent. Green, who is French, does a funnily crude American one.

    Depp is Barnabas Collins, of Collinwood, in Maine. His family built a fishing empire and an enormous castle. the better to stage vampire scenes and a disco party in, with Alice Cooper performing. Collinwood is in disrepair now, and Barnabas' enemy, Eva Green AKA Angelique Bouchard, has taken over the local fishing indusutry. She is a vampire too. She has always been in love with Barnabas. Question: if so, why did she keep him locked up underground for so long? But the rules of the undead are not much respected here, and for much of the movie, Barnabas shows off few of his vampire tricks. Then he shows off too many as this very diluted versioin of Burton's talents goes into general violent finale mode.

    "Dark Shadows" was a US TV series that ran from 1966 to 1971, which explains why Barnabas wakes up in the early Seventies. There are comic possibilities here that are mostly squeezed into the few minutes of the trailer. In the ungovernable teenage girl, Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz) and the crazy subteen boy, David (Gully McGrath), the slightly vampirish matriarch Elizabeth (Pfeiffer) and Elizabeth's klepto brother (Jonny Lee Miller), did someone have inklings of a Addams family here? Julia Hoffman (Carter) is a shrink kept on board to tend to David. She is alcoholic and concerned about losing her looks (and she puts on a funny American accent too, but more neutral than Green's). Some weird doings go on about switching blood with Barnabas. He wants to become "normal" but she steals his blood hoping that by becoming immortal she'll avoid the need for a facelift.

    It's a lot to take in but there is more, because there are two young ladies centuries apart that Barnabas is interested in, but Angelique gets in the way, both times. There also is a bunch of hippies, traveling in a VW van, of all things, whom for some reason Barnabas feels obliged to murder en masse after pumping them for info about what young people like nowadays. (Burton & Co. are great at staging fires and surreal transformations, but the joint doesn't look right.) This posse in a van in a vampire movie reminds me of Kathryn Bigelow's terrific early film, the 1982 Near Dark, about a working class vampire family who travel -- in a van. Such simplicity, originality, and authentic horror and scariness as you get in Near Dark did not, alas, attend upon the making of Dark Shadows. Bigelow was young and fresh then. Burton has made a lot of movies, some great, some better forgotten, and he's turned into an industry or a brand now. This is not one of his products that you need to go out and buy.

    Metacritic's rating is 55, "mixed or average reviews," and that makes sense. One cannot really hate this movie but one cannot love it either. It's pretty to look at, and it has good people in it, even if they're wasted. As Mike D'Angelo commented they are working hard but with mixed success to raise inferior material to a higher level. They succeed only momentarily because the writing by Seth Grahame-Smith working from a story by John August based on the TV series written by Dan Curtis, is too diffuse, too scattershot. Too many threads are dropped, but to begin with there are just too many threads. The music is terrible and Alice Cooper's presence inexplicable. Has he been resting in a coffin too?

    The specter of aging vs. not aging threads through this view of the undead. Have Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer sold their souls to stay so sculpted and beautiful? Or do such efforts really matter in Burton's artificial-looking movies where everything is altered with makeup, prosthetics, and computer processing? A lot of talent is thrown away here.

    Dark Shadows was released May 9 in France, May 11 in the US and UK. Screened for this review at UGC Danton, Paris, MAy 21, 2012.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-19-2015 at 06:30 PM.

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    My Best of Paris May 2012 Movies



    It was easy to see which the best ones were, but there were interesting things throughout my movie-going these two weeks. No real duds or wastes of my time. I was surprised at how enjoyable and well made the boulevard or drawingroom comedy LE PRÉNOM was -- and at how well I understood it, since I expect a talky play to be challenging to my knowledge of French. I may have overrated CHERCHER LE GARÇON a bit. I don't think I'll remember it very well, may confuse it with other vignette dating films. There are so many. Including QUEEN OF HEARTS, which the director co-authored. BABYCALL is a small film, but it is an indispensable example of the art of Noomi Rapace, before she started working in Hollywood blockbusters, as she is now. 11 FLOWERS is a lovely little Chinese memoir film. WALK AWAY RENEE showed me what a really nice guy Jonathan Caouette is. TWIXT is a somewhat inexplicable Coppola project, and TETRO is much more interesting, but it's Coppola: you have to see what he's doing. DARK SHADOWS and SCABBARD SAMURAI, both inexplicable, but in very different ways. I probably won't forget SCABBARD, though I might as soon do so. No, I'm kidding: it adds a small key to my knowledge of Japanese culture and in particular Japanese humor. I did not like 2 DAYS IN NEW YORK. But I will some day enjoy arguing about it with somebody. INDIAN PALACE was bland, a mainstream crowd-pleaser for seniors, but it's continually enjoyable to watch Bill Nihy et al. deliver their zingers.

    Now for the best ones. As I say, it was not hard to pick them.

    SISTER/L'ENFANT D'EN HAUT This Swiss-French study of a boy who lives by stealing ski equipment among posh Swiss vacationers and his clueless older sister is harsh, intense, and riveting. It is probably the best of the lot and it was the first film I saw. The young actor Kacey Mottet Klein, is exceptional (the film was created for him), and Léa Seydoux is perfectly cast. I hope that people in the US will get a chance to see it, though I know of no current likelihood of that. I want to see Ursula Meier's prevous HOME, with Olivier Gourmet and Isabelle Huppert, very much now. Meier is a director to watch.

    AVÉ is a somewhat mysterious Bulgarian road movie of a nihilistic art student and a girl from a rich family who's a compulsive liar. Compare it to ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA. The latter may be more complex and original-seeming but AVÉ seemed a more real experience in every way, and the two have points in common. I think this captures a certain anguish that 20-somethings can feel sometimes, and also a readiness to go someplace new. There's something raw and exciting about this story. Let's hope Walter Salles' ON THE ROAD is half as good. Konstantin Bojanov is another director to watch.

    MOONRISE KINGDOM by Wes Anderson, a big Cannes competition film, shown opening night, is a delight from start to finish and a work of sheer genius, a wholly original auteur working at top form. I loved it. It's not visceral like SISTER, of course. That's not what Anderson is. But such mastery must be enjoyable to anybody who takes pleasure in seeing an original filmmaker at work. Certainly Anderson has his limitations, his hermetic worlds that may seem cut off from the "real" one, but this seems to me a film I could enjoy watching over and over and will still find funny and keeny observed.

    RUST AND BONE is such an intense experience and pushes so many buttons I need to see it again (with subtitles--some of the language was difficult for me to follow), but Audiard works at a very high level and this adds a piece to the puzzle of who he is, by being a different kind of subject, basically a tale of recuperation, only as D'Angelo, my Cannes point of referennce (and this may be the most hyped French film at Cannes) says the person who is handicapped and recovers is not the obvious one. Todd McCarthy called this "surprisingly conventional," and certain elements, like the Marineland scenes and the music, bear that out, but it's not quite as conventional as it may seem.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-05-2014 at 03:34 AM.

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    13,275
    PARIS MOVIE REPORT is officially concluded. I am back in New York (May 22, afternoon). I might post a few more photos though.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    Excellence all around Man!

    Wasted talent in Dark Shadows?
    Who knew?
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    Near Dark is Awesome. A cult classic. I have it on DVD- had it for years.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
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    13,275
    Thanks for the support, Johann. My pleasure.

    In DARK SHADOWS the writing is not as good as the cast, I'm sure. Like a lot of Hollywood movie scripts today, it's a little of everything, instead of being one good thing.

    I was introduced to NEAR DARK by Ralph and Mike in Chicago--way back when, on a rented video. Then I got my own. Original. Talent.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275
    The Red.


    Entrance to the classic Thirties Paris cinema, La Pagode--showing Audiard's RUST AND BONE


    Cinephile shop near La Pagode



    Pattinson again: coming attraction poster in Paris cinema (Odéon)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-05-2014 at 03:24 AM.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13,275
    And the Black.

    MK2 Odéon cinema facade





    Sorry, I had to delete a few of the photos because of file size problems.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-04-2015 at 02:21 PM.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    Good eyes for posters and images!
    Many thanks for sharing your photos and reviews from Paris.
    A boon for us to have you here ;)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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