Saturday, September 29, 2007
I just saw Black Book and I was absolutely taken by the stunning Carice van Houten. I was equally smitten by Michiel Huisman (but for different, fairly obvious reasons). Apparently a heartthrob in his native Netherlands, he's not only an actor (who's in the romantic comedy Johan, which has been touring the U.S. film festival circuit), but he's also apparently the lead singer of some band called Fontane. Honestly, I don't care about the music so much. When you look like that, you can sing like Nickelback for all I care. More pics to come (including some rather skankariffic ones. God bless the Dutch!).
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Jérémie Elkaïm is not only the French equivalent of Jim Halpert on "Le Bureau," the French version of "The Office," but he's also the wispiest sex symbol since Kate Moss, with a penchant for playing gay teenagers (three times already!). Jim Krasinski may be awesome and adorkable, but he's nowhere near this edgy.
Une affaire de goût (2000) - Bernard Rapp directed this French psychological thriller that ended up getting six César nominations (like a French Oscar). Jean-Pierre Lorit was nominated for 'Most Promising Actor' at the Césars for his role as Nicolas Rivière, a young, very handsome waiter who falls into the twisted hands of Frédéric Delamont (played by Bernard Giraudeau). Delamont is the CEO of a major company, but he's also freakishly paranoid and mildly psychotic. Anyways, Frédéric develops an unusual attraction for Nicolas, hiring him as his taster and molding him into a sort of younger clone of himself. The transformation is intense and engrossing, and Nicolas spirals into something he can't get himself out of, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, his friends, and his entire old life. He becomes just as addicted to Frédéric as Frédéric has become obsessed with him. It's not an erotic thriller. There's actually (and surprisingly) very little sex in the film. The tension is completely built on the passions of the characters and intensity for which each is confounded by the opportunities that confront them. It's a great watch for an easy night at home. 7.5/10
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Pierrot le fou (1965) - The Tivoli in St. Louis was playing Jean-Luc Godard's classic nouvelle vague (that's New Wave to you) film for reasons unknown to me, but I still decided to watch it on a Friday night. In a nearly empty theatre, I was able to enjoy this film in all of its post-modernist glory. And on the most basic level, it was a visually mesmerizing experience. The sights, the colors, the entire visual mix was, even by my jaded eye, something to write home about. Godard somehow made a visual piece that still feels exciting more than 40 years later. For example, Godard made cut scenes consisting of deep zooms on both cheap comic strips and masterpieces by modern masters from Picasso to Renoir, creating a visual hierarchy that placed all of them on the same level in an unsettlingly nonchalant way. The Mediterranean coast of France could not have looked more idyllic, creating the perfect setting for a tale of false paradise and the troubles inevitable in male-female relationships, something like a glamorous postcard vision of Eden. Anna Karina (who was also in Godard's Bande à part) looked marvelous as usual as the insouciant but mischievous Marianne Renoir, cementing her place as my current favorite fashion icon. Along with Jean-Paul Belmondo as the hopeless, impeccably disheveled Ferdinand Griffon (who looked like a French Marlon Brando), the two easily draw comparisons in my mind to the American glamour bandits, Bonnie and Clyde. I don't know, this film gets better the more I think about it. 8.5/10
Monday, September 10, 2007
Joyeux Noël (2005) - Writer/director Christian Carion chose to take on what I would've seen as a very overwhelming task when he decided to make this film about the unbelievable events of Christmas Eve, 1914, on the battlefields on France in World War I. That meant bringing together the stories of German, Scottish, and French soldiers (all speaking their own languages in the film) into one coherent script. Yet, this film somehow manages to maintain an intimate, comfortable sense about it. Nothing is overwhelming, for better and for worse. There's a whole slew of vignettes in this film. Diane Kruger is absurdly gorgeous as a Danish soprano living with her German tenor husband in Berlin. It just so happens that she's actaully fluent in French, German, and English, which probably made the whole thing easier for her. Either way, bringing together so many vignettes was ultimately the film's undoing, because even with a running time just under two hours, there are still so many underdeveloped and unexplained happenings that you just feel a bit like you've been left out in the cold. The talent of the cast varies, but Steven Robertson, who played a man with cerebral palsy in Rory O'Shea Was Here, shines as a conflicted, tormented, delicate, young Scottish soldier. He's internally frustrated, angst-ridden, and confused, ready to burst any moment (and no, David, he isn't particularly attractive). Guillaume Canet, previously in Jeux d'enfants, is terrific as the French lieutenant torn between suspending war to preserve humanity or continuing to fight to preserve his integrity (he, on the other hand...). The event that brings them all together is magnificent in its own right, something worth thinking about even today. A fine film for a hot day, but maybe even better in December. 7/10
Death at a Funeral (2007) - This film has the typical dry, British wit that seems to complement the mild slapstick just fine. There were moments where I had a few minor chuckles, an occasional moment of genuine belly laughter, and many, many dry guffaws. The problem is that so much of this film reverts back to familiar territory that it's difficult for any of the situational humor to feel fresh. The jokes just feels far too much like the British humor I've come to expect. Matthew Macfadyen is a joy to watch, as are a few of the supporting characters, so expect to have a decently good time, but don't expect anything life-changing. Get it? Life-changing? See! That's about as funny as half the film was! 6/10
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
On the men's half, there's the same old story. Impeccable Federer plays Roddick next, Novak Djokovic is still the rising star, and all that jazz. The real news is that Federer actually lost a set to Felicano Lopez. Oh, Feliciano! He'd be the most gorgeous tennis player, if only he'd get his hair cut right. All the other attractive players have left Flushing Meadows (namely, Lopez and Richard Gasquet), but it's still worth watching to see Federer pound the marginally attractive Andy Roddick. And Djokovic is fun to watch. And not just because he always takes his shirt off when he wins. But because he also needs a haircut. He looks like a feather duster. So much potential!
And, oh yeah, Rafael Nadal lost! Oh my god!