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Review of the week and teasers posters for the DaVinci Code…

I am still working on that little feature I announced in my latest post -it will be coming soon ! In the meantime, just dropping by a few words on the movies I’ve been watching this week.
In cinemas
Essaye-moi, directed by Pierre-Francois Martin Laval
In two words; awfully cute. A very candid and naive comedy, for sure, but it does a really good job cheering you up, and not many movies lately can achieve that. I loved it, although I do know loads of people won’t.
Du jour au lendemain, directed by Phillipe Le Guay
Fun movie starring the hilarious Benoit Poelvoorde. Yeah, can’t find any other words. It was fun to watch, but that’s about it. Neither harmful, nor life-changing.
North Country, directed by Niki Caro
A heavy drama, essentially about women’s struggle for equality in the manly, sexist society of the early eighties. Charlize Theron pulls off another impressive turn as Josey Aimes, the first woman who successfully filed the company in which she was working in, for a sexual harrassement case. The supporting cast is equally good, especially the always excellent Frances McDormand. But the storyline is somewhat neglicted -all the male workers come off as baaaaadd and evil… which was probably the case, but there’s some objectivity here that is clearly lacking.
Walk the Line, directed by James Mangold
Sixth screening. That says it, I think. I’m addicted to this one, it’s quite scary.

The Woodsman, directed by Nicole Kassell
Now, that was a fantastic, fascinating movie. It takes the viewer into the complex, rough journey into the mind of a pedophile. Or how to get back to a ‘normal’ life after 12 years of prison, with some serious mental issues, and an impossible revulsion towards yourself and your past actions. The main character, amazingly portrayed by Kevin Bacon, is completely torn apart, and utterly riveting to watch. It’s a very human film, in a way, because it is trying to bring the humanity out of this terrible person, and it’s just so raw and realistic. Painfully intense, too.
Basic Instinct 2, directed by Michael Caton-Jones
There isn’t much to say, the film is dismally bad, and the characters are all so twisted and unconvincing that you end up being bored. As a matter of fact, I went to see it just for Hugh Dancy, who has a tiny, tiny part in it. The rest, I didn’t care much. Sharon Stone is trying to be all foxy and hot, and David Morrissey disturbingly looks like Liam Neeson. David Thewlis hasn’t shaved his Lupin-mustache yet, and go figure what Charlotte Rampling is doing in the middle of that mess. I really can’t bring myself to believe that Michael Caton-Jones went from Shooting Dogs to that. Oh, well.

At home
To Die For, directed by Gus Van Sant
Satiric, dark comedy about the American Dream and how far one is willing to go to achieve his/her dreams. Nicole Kidman’s incredible acting skills are once again displayed, and the character of Suzanne Stone fits her perfectly. Matt Dillon and a very young Joaquin Phoenix are very well cast too. Music is by Danny Elfman, which is always a good thing. The production design was particularly good as well.
Dead Man, directed by Jim Jarmusch
Breathtakingly beautiful. The atmosphere is rather unique and quite eerie (reminded me of a Terrence Malick film, and that’s a high praise). The film’s main character, William Blake, is charged for murder and forced to run into the wilderness, where he encounters an Indian called Nobody. The whole movie is a sort of slow journey through human counciousness, and questions the fundamental concepts of our lives -reality, vision, purpose. Peculiar yet mesmerizing. Johnny Depp’s performance definitely makes him one of the greatest actors of our times -those eyes, and these expressions and… he’s downright excellent.
Road to Perdition, directed by Sam Mendes

Mr. Mendes is officially one of my favorite directors. Road to Perdition is so radically different from American Beauty, and yet… Is there something this man cannot do ? His versatile filmmaking makes this movie one of the best ‘gangster’ films, right up there with Marty Scorsese’s Goodfellas. It’s not the Godfather, obviously; but Sam Mendes excells in the genre anyway. The story is surprisi
ngly moving and effective (I cried… a lot). Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig are brillant in their respective roles. Photography and production design are gorgeous, and last but not least, Thomas Newman’s music… *chokes* There’s almost no words to describe how this genius hits a chord with me. He really does, everytime. And once again, he’s proved himself capable of using the perfect instruments at the right time. I vow an undying love for his work, truely.

Oh, and I thought you might want to take a look at these Taiwanese teasers posters for The DaVinci Code, Ron Howard’s highly-anticipated adaptation of the worldwide best-seller book written by Dan Brown. They’re interesting. Or not.
Such a good cast scares the hell out of me. Notice the subtle changes in each poster (the background symbol and location). Paul Bettany is just… gah, I can’t say anything bad about him -it’s Paul ! Darn those folks at the casting departement.

Quick message

As you can see, I made a few changes here and there. Hope it’s much clearer that way. Also added piccies of how my blog used to look like. I must say, I love changing my layouts, but the current one will most likely stay for a long time, because I love it.
Haven’t been posting a lot lately simply because nothing is happening. I’m worried sick about school -how to handle the situation once classes will resume. The exams are seriously approaching (scheduled for May). I can’t really study anything with what I have right now, it’s just not enough. We barely had three classes of American civilization since the beginning of the semester ! So how on Earth are we supposed to prepare for exams ? It’s just so frustrating.
In the meantime, I keep myself busy, but it’s mostly slacking off at home and seeing my friends. By the way, I had a real nice time with Nath, Nico and Yann on Saturday. Even though it was raining and my shoes were soaked (see, that’s very uncomfortable), we visited some pretty intersting stuff. And I went to see Walk the Line for the sixth time, too. I know, I’m NUTS. It was the third time for Nath, too -I’m not all by myself on the Joaquin/Reese loveboat, and that’s a very comforting thought. But I don’t think I’ll be seeing the film again. Until its DVD release, that is.
Am preparing a little feature for my next post. It’ll be about the young, upcoming actors I really like -promising talents, and much more. Stay tuned !

Movie Reviews

Still not going to school. Meh.
I just realized I haven’t been talking about the movies I’ve seen in theaters. Oh my !
Here’s some quick thoughts about the films I’ve seen lately.

In cinemas
Memoirs of a Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall
A technical splendor, but feels empty storywise. Cinematography, costumes, art design and music are downright grand, but the directing could have been more audacious.
Shooting Dogs, directed by Michael Caton-Jones
Such an important movie on the genocide in Rwanda. Hits your heart and soul very hard. Cinema can be so very harsh, and in that case, the experience just takes another whole dimension, especially since the movie was shot right where the real events took place. The despair and pain just sweep right through you, and it’s just so difficult to acknowledge the truth of what is being exposed. Possibly the most painful movie I’ve seen since Schindler’s List.
Capote, directed by Bennett Miller
A very discreet and restrained directing for a gripping story. Miller has done very good for a first feature film, and I look forward to his future films, for sure. But of course, the highlight of the movie is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s impressive portrayal of writer Truman Capote. There’s almost no words to describe it. It’s just one of those rare, master performances.
Derailed, directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Entertaining and a plot twist I didn’t see coming, but nothing extraordinary. Good performances from the ensemble cast.
Toi & Moi, directed by Julie Lopes-Curval
Oddly funny movie, but I didn’t quite get the characters. I reckon the movie targets a very precise audience; thirtysomething folks who are all mixed-up. And that’s not me.
The Producers, directed by Susan Stroman
Surprisingly, a delightful and feel-good movie. It was just hilarious ! I really enjoyed it. Will Ferrell is just the funniest man on this Earth, alongside Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey. Every line he uttered just cracked me up, and that German accent definitely didn’t help. And Uma Thurman is so gorgeous.
Breakfast on Pluto, directed by Neil Jordan
Brillant film. Its main character just melts your heart, he/she is so endearing. Cillian Murphy is simply a wonder -and I can safely assume no man has ever looked that good as a woman. Underneath the comedic aspect, lies a much more serious film on finding one’s identity. Simply touching.
Renaissance, directed by Christian Volckman
Visually groundbreaking. The level of accuracy and details, in the animation, is breathtaking. Makes up for a somewhat weak screenplay. It’s very stylish and splendid to look at, though.
Walk the Line, directed by James Mangold
My fifth screening yesterday. It’s totally insane, but I just adore that movie so badly. It’s everything I’m looking for when I’m going to the movies. No words to say how I enjoy watching that movie, really… The story, the characters, the performances, the music -it all can’t get enough praise.

At home
American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes
A freakin’ masterpiece. There you go, I’ve said it. I had seen it a long time ago, and did not quite remember it well. But now, I can assure you this is sheer genius. It has to be the most amazing depiction of an American, suburban family (right up there with Donnie Darko). Everything is so well-done, so subtle. Charcters and performances alike are multi-layered. And the music is composed by Thomas Newman (bonus point !). One of the greatest movies of this decade, and I ain’t exaggerating. And Kevin Spacey for President, please.
Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall
Had seen it before in theaters, too. A very pleasant and fine entertainement. The leading ladies’ performances are quite catchy indeed, and I liked Richard Gere’s one as well. Music is composed by Danny Elfman (bonus point !).
Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese
Marty has done good again, and so has ol’ Bob DeNiro. Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco are brillant, too -they are all so charismatic that it is impossible for the viewer not to be fond of their characters (and they’re doing some pretty horrible things during the movie). The mafia universe, I daresay, is always so fascinating to look at, and even more so from that movie’s point of view. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster”… Brillant.
Heat, directed by Michael Mann
Highly effective thriller with a great pacing and two huge performances by Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. A bit too violent for my taste, although I do admit the gunfights are some of the best in recent movie history. The screenplay is excellent considering how confining that genre can be.
The Untouchables, directed by Brian DePalma
Another excellent movie. Yeah, I know, it sounds like I love each movie I’m watching… oh, hang on, it might be the case ! Anyway, great depiction of the Prohibition-era, and some very attaching characters trying to take out Al Capone (yet another great role for Mr. DeNiro). Their team is as dysfunctional as endearing. Sean Connery (even more than his costars), Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith and Andy Garcia just nailed their repective roles. It’s entertaining and funny, too.

Also recieved The Constant Gardener DVD a few days ago. As anyone who listens to me babbling about movies knows, it is one of my favorite films ever, and I’m just so very happy to own it. Fernando Meirelles is seriously becoming one of my favorite directors (among many others, I know). Can’t wait to see what he has to offer next.
Am very looking forward to the release of
V for Vendetta. I know I’ll love it for sure, because it’s just the kind of movie that appeals to me.
Elsewhere, everything is just fine, thank you !

The Bourne Ultimatum !

I know I’m posting here a lot lately, but that’s because I haven’t had classes for two weeks now, thanks to our lovely and caring governement *insert witty political comment here*. Henceforth the long hours of slacking off on my couch, watching DVDs or surfing on the Web.
I would really much like to share my joy and satisfaction over the fact that Mr. Paul Greengrass, who directed with such talent
The Bourne Supremacy, is returning for The Bourne Ultimatum. Yes, it has been officially confirmed by the man himself, during last Sunday’s Empire Awards (you can read the article here). And I couldn’t be happier. I wouldn’t have mind seeing Doug Liman (director of The Bourne Identity) returning to direct that third movie, but Paul Greengrass did such an amazing job on the sequel. I mean, really, a tremendously fine job. And even though I was heartbroken and depressed at the end of the movie, I couldn’t have asked for a better film. The Bourne movies are such an amazing franchise, I ain’t kidding, they’re so different from your average action flick. I remember seeing Identity in theaters -I had barely moved in Paris, barely discovered cinema. I was with my dad, and we went to see this movie because I already liked Matt Damon at that time (yeah, I’m serious !). I can clearly remember that evening. The theater was packed, it was just awesome. Dunno why I’m telling all this… I guess I just really like those movies. They may not be artsy, politically engaged movies, but God are they well constructed and smart.
Okay, so you can do the math :
Summer 2007 = Spider-Man 3 + The Bourne Ultimatum = blissful happiness for my poor self.
On a completely off-topic note, here’s an adorable, cute, cute, cute picture I found. I couldn’t resist posting it here. As you may have recognized (or not), it’s Reese and Joaquin at the Toronto Film Festival, I believe. Anyways, it’s beyond cuteness.

Aww. Bunny ears ! Priceless. Gee, how I love these two.

Quizzes, quizzes !

Okay, in my hours of boredom, I made a few fun things, such as silly and superficial quizzes. Those are actually pretty good, they’re sort of elaborate. I love all my results, and I assure you that I did answer very sincerely to all questions. Have fun !

Your Oscar Date
My result : Matt Damon. Hee.

Your Celebrity Love Match
My result : Edward Norton. Re-hee.


111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.
My result : Austin
A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. You’re totally weird and very proud of it. Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in… in your own strange way. Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick.
My result : ESFP – The Performer; ISFP – The Artist; ENFP – The Inspirer
You are a natural performer and happiest when you’re entertaining others. A great friend, you are generous, fun-loving and optimistic.You love to laugh – and you like almost all people equally.You accept life as it is, and you do your best to make each day fantastic. You would make a good actor, designer, or counselor.
Simply put, you enjoy bueaty in all its forms and live for the simple pleasures in life. Gentle, sensitive, and compassionate – you are good at recognizing people’s unspoken needs.
You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules. Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives. You use lots of colorful language and expressions.