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La bûche

Not worth it...
Anyone expecting a bright clever and fresh comedy here will be seriously disappointed. This is french cinema at its worst : boring (and soooo predictable) plot, unimaginative direction, overwritten dialogue and a bunch of brilliant actors unable to make us believe in their characters (with the notable exceptions of Claude Risch and Charlotte Gainsbourg). Some entertaining moments won't disguise the fact that this is a huge disappointment... Too bad really.

Primal Fear

Surprisingly good.
At first, you think this is one of those seen before stories and then you end up thinking the screenplay is rather clever and unexpected... Then you tend to believe Gregory Hoblit is a rather dull director but in the same time you can't stop being surprised by the well crafted editing job... So you look at the actors involved here : you think Richard Gere is going to give one of his non acting job, that all the female characters are going to be as useless and boring as always and that the so-called "newcomer" will turn out to be one of those tasteless Matt Damon types of actors... But, again, you have to face the facts : Gere is incredibly believable and tasty, Liney, McDormand and Woodard are close to perfection and Norton makes a stunning screen debut (probably the most impressive one since Timothy Hutton's performance in "Ordinary people")... All in all you have a really good film when you thought you were about to watch another dull thing. Quite a surprise...

City of Industry

dull dull dull
It's sad to say, but "City of Industry" is a dull movie. Oh yeah, you get fine performances from Keitel and Hutton (and also a slightly over the top one from Dorff) but there's nothing here that truly turns you on. Rather ordinary plot, average filming, and (now) usual use of violence for that kind of movie. I bet Clint Eastwood would have done a better job directing this !

Santa Claus: The Movie

Utterly disgusting
One hates to be rude, but this is a truly repulsive children movie. Not a nice scene here, everything seems to be corny (in a way you can't even imagine it), boring and incredibly disgusting (it is in fact one of the ugliest movie of all time). Please please please don't put your poor children in front of this load of trash.


A quite sensitive affair
"Ratboy" is a rather strange movie : one might think it's another of those "I-am-not-an-animal-I-am-a-human-being-" kind of film, but it's actually quite good. Even sensitive at times, without all the esthetic hysteria (see Lynch's "Elephant Man") that's so unnecessary to that kind of film. PS : The Ratboy character is touching too - not just ugly

Cannibal Holocaust

one of the worst movies ever made
Don't know where to start really : bad director, awful acting, bad cinematography, crap music... Should I go on ? Anyway, the sick and extreme "Cannibal holocaust" proves that you really don't need ethics or talent to do a movie. The worst thing about the whole thing being the so-called "morality" you get at the end of that truly incredibly bad film. Miss it.

Buena Vista Social Club

bad documentary on a great band
It's quite embarrassing really... Buena Vista Social Club is one of the best and move lively band around and all Wim Wenders seems to have been able to come up with is this : a rather cold and pretentious documentary. Most members of the BVSC are incredibly intense, funny and deeply human characters and it's as if Wenders couldn't figure out how to let them talk, or simply how to listen to them... The best shots are promptly cut, not-so-interesting moments seem to last forever, the movie never seems to be in the good mood... Too bad really cause the band is really worth seeing. Maybe a good director could have done them justice.

Ps : It has to be said that Ibrahim Ferrer is one of the most moving persons ever seen on a screen.

Another Day in Paradise

a good job
Realistic director of "Kids" meets mainstream actors and screenplay... Turns out to be a rather satisfying experience with great acting (Melanie Griffith has to be mentioned) and gripping moments. A good job really.

American History X

too bad...
It's really sad : Edward Norton is fantastic (again, one might add), Edward Furlong is really good (in a "Little Odessa" kind of way) but oh my, how badly directed this is ! You often feel as if you're watching MTV all the way through : clean, well cut photography... it's so polished you end up wondering if this isn't the latest Aerosmith video you're seeing.

Cutting Moments

One of the best short movies ever made
"Cutting moments" is a rather amazing thing. One of the most moving, shocking and talented (short) movies ever made (if not one of the best movie alone ever made). There's no point in trying to tell the story of it, the only things you have to know are that it's quite slow, utterly horrible (even disgusting at times), and weirdly emotional. Do not show it to young, sensitive and vulnerable audiences though.

Claire Dolan

Brilliant, cold and extremely moving.
Brilliant acting, astonishing directing, I can't understand why "Claire Dolan" got such a small mark in the users' vote. Where were you people when this movie and I needed you ???

The Ice Storm

Yeurrghhh !
"The ice storm" is a terrible movie. But the worst thing about it is that it doesn't look like one... You may sit through this load of preaching crap and think that it's a rather nice but sad story, you may even cry at times (for Ang Lee really tries hard to make you sob - see the emphatic ending) and yet you may forget the rather sick, judgemental and conservative morality to this film : don't forget that family (even the dullest one) is everything, never cheat on your wife (or at least not too often !!!) cause if you do, God (or is it Ang Lee ???) will punish you. Happy viewers, you have been warned.

Q & A

one of the best cop movie ever
Anyone looking for a truly gripping, action packed and yet really moving cop film should really take a look at "Q and A" : fascinating complex plot, solid directing, and -most of all !- absolutely brilliant cast : Nick Nolte has never been so good, Armand Assante could (and should) have had an Oscar for his performance, Timothy Hutton is -as always- fabulous and so on... The only exception would be Jenny Lumet who seems ill at ease with her part (when not over-acting)... A really great film anyway...

La vita è bella

Classic comedy may be back... but with disgusting background.
Nothing much to say there. Chaplin once said that he would never have done "The Dictator" if he had known what was happening in the Nazi concentration camps... Maybe Roberto Benigni should have given this a serious thought. I wish he had anyway...

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

A bit of a shock, really...
One often wonders how to talk about fascism in movies without trying to recreate the Nazi reality (for instance) which is a rather impossible thing to do (ask Steven Spielberg about it)... Here's the answer : create a stylized world (a castle here) with four rich men dominating/torturing/raping/murdering/etc... a group of 20 young boys and girls with the help of three prostitutes. Sometimes unwatchable, and really disturbing (from the first minute to the last), "Salo..." is a true masterpiece. The whole controversy about it when it was first shown only goes to prove how complex and intelligent this movie is.

The Last House on the Left

a rather weird experience.
It's quite a strange thing really : "The Last House on the Left" looks mostly like a rather realistic movie about murder and a rather ironic look at self defence issues. As long as the movie stays realistic, the viewing is rather painful, disturbing but the movie remains quite respectable as it never treats murder as a funny subject (though the fascination for graphic violence gets on your nerves a bit towards the end) ; but the movie sometimes turns into a rather parodic area (mostly with the rather-useless-cops' scenes) which doesn't go along terribly with the rest... Only half convincing.

Funny Games

controversial brilliant shock movie
"Oh God, who wants to sit through a movie that describes the long and suffering agony of a family, tortured by two white-gloved teenagers ?" one might ask... Not so simple actually. Far from your usual "violent-just-to-be-violent" movie, "Funny games" gives a rather complex and clever analysis of how (and why) violence in movies can be attractive to some (most ?) viewers. The thing is : is anyone ready to be this honest ? As it's been said a lot, (really) violent scenes happen off camera, which makes them all the more scary and horrible. It's incredibly well directed, and I've honestly never seen any actors do what Lothar and Muhe do here. Anyone who thinks terrible fascist movies like Oliver Stone's "Natural born killers" have some kind of point, or anything interesting to say should try this one... Although they must be warned that here, violence and what goes with it are no funny games.

Love, etc.

rather good
"Love, etc." gently goes along like a modern version of Truffaut's "Jules & Jim"... It's a rather nice movie, well directed in a clean and polished way, quite sensitive and even touching at times... The best things about it are -no doubt- Charlotte Gainsbourg's inspired performance ("as always..." one might add), Yvon Attal's touching caracter, and an absolutely brilliant music score from Alexandre Desplat... The "not-so-good" things include a rather unconvincing and over-acted performance from Charles Berling, and the general feeling that the movie never really realises how gripping and emotional it could have been if it hadn't been so... hum... polished actually. Worth seeing though... PS : ...and now available in France on VHS, for you anonymous fan of this movie !!!

Anna Oz

a rather weird yet brilliant affair
"Anna Oz", what an odd movie... The screenplay holds most of the film weirdness and if you can bear the fact that you don't have to understand everything in a movie to enjoy it, then you're in for a pleasant surprise. Charlotte Gainsbourg is absolutely fascinating as Anna Oz and other cast performances give entire satisfaction (check the fabulous Emmanuelle Devos bits for instance). The movie's really cleverly directed and written, though some may not really understand what it's all about... Who cares ? "Anna Oz" is a brave, personal movie... Who doesn't need to see films like that. PS : It was a huge flop when released in France.

When the Wind Blows

There was a time when your average animated movie had to be the rather nauseating Disney affair. Thank God, "When the wind blows" came and (sort of) put an end to it. It's a rather sad, emotional story about a nice couple of old persons in the middle of a nuclear war. Nothing melodramatic here, only sensitive parts of life in rather horrible situations... The animation is pretty good and rather original (that's another change). Overall it's a rather gripping movie. PS : the ending is absolutely brilliant.

Ordinary People

the best movie ever
Even if I think "Ordinary people" is truly the best film ever made (or my favourite anyway) the only thing I want to write about it is "Go watch this marvellous masterpiece", "Go see how Sutherland, Tyler Moore, Hirsch, and especially Timothy Hutton show what real acting is like..." See it on the TV, rent or buy the video, go to the movies, but DO NOT MISS IT... for it is really unmissable...


Unexpectedly average
There were those who thought "Evita" was going to be a total masterpiece and those who were expecting a major disaster. Quite surprisingly, they were all wrong. In fact, the worst thing that could have happened to this movie actually happened : "Evita" is a rather dull affair. The art direction, Madonna, Pryce and some stunning scenes are probably the best things here, but the whole movie is far too polished to be convincing. Of course it's a lot better than what a lot of french reviewers said (the movie was generally disliked over here) but so ordinary you can hardly believe it. Ironically another (and much better !) musical movie was released in the same time in France : "Everyone says I love you"... Watch this one instead !

Les enfants du soleil

Quite something !
Although he has been starring in some movies, Philippe Caubère is more of a "theatre-type" person. In 1983 he began telling his own story through some rather brilliant 12 plays : they were all pretty long (between 150 and 210 minutes each !) and he was the only actor on stage, playing all the roles he had written. In 1996 he played the whole thing for the last time (in Paris) and decided to film each episode so that there would be a trace of it... And there is...! I don't know if it is possible to describe how it feels to watch this : it's full of laughs, tears, love, hate, jealousy.

it's incredibly funny and poignant at the same time. An absolutely brilliant trip...

Natural Born Killers

So so bad
God, what an awful thing ! Oliver Stone probably wanted to experiment or something (see the terrible use of music and pictures here) but what for really ? The whole thing behind "Natural born killers" seems to be a "clever" look at how medias can turn into complete trash but unfortunately the movie turns into trash itself. Please Mr. Stone, next time you want to criticize the fascism of tv shows using violence to get high rates, avoid doing the same with your movie ! Michael Haneke said quite cleverly about this film that it was denouncing media fascism with fascist cinematographic ways. How true... Only he forgot to tell us about the massive headache you get after sitting through this overlong load of crap !

St. Elmo's Fire

The Yuppie Club
It sounded like a rather nice idea : take 7 characters that could have been members of Hugues' "Breakfast Club" and see how they manage (or fail) to turn into adults. Wrong move ! "St Elmo's fire" is far too clean and conservative for us to identify with its boring "heroes". Most of them are longing to become big dull yuppies anyway. Let's hope there's more to friendship than this self-involved bunch. Looks like Schumacher had nothing deep and interesting to say about this group of (so-called) friends. The cast is not really unconvincing although it has to be said that Rob Lowe can't seen to act properly here. Too bad.

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