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Reviews

Jusqu'à la garde
(2017)

Awesome
What a powerful French drama that sounds so realistic, but painful to watch from time to time, precisely because of the convincing performances and situations. I am sure that thousands of cases like things one occur. Denis Menochet is so moving, the audiences can only feel empathy for him, feel sorry for this man fighting for the custody of his son. A really sad and gripping tale.

Callaway Went Thataway
(1951)

But I stayed to watch it
Comedies are not my cup of tea but this one is really worth watching. Fast paced for a MGM production, in the Warner style, you are glued to this story from the start; Howard Keel who is usually bland is rather amusing here in a two characters role. I purchased this film because of the presence of Esther Williams, but please don't pick up your hankerchief from the floor, because you could miss her. She is just cameo. The directors were great specialists for such topics, though they gave us a good western starring Jeff Chandler JAYHAWKERS for Melvin Frank, and THE TRAP - a crime thriller - for Norman Panama.

Sleuth
(1972)

Last Mankiewicz's masterpiece
What a brilliant career for this awesome director, one of the most intelligent, intellectual, gifted film maker of Hollywood, who gave us so many jewels such as ALL ABOUT EVE, BAREFOOT COMTESSA even CLEOPATRA, which was genuinely not destined to him and which also nearly physically and mentally destroyed him. This director whose stories and directing lines were son chiseled as diamonds, emeralds, and dialogues so sharp, outstanding. This last film from him is purely the epitome of Mankiewicz's spirit, the summary of everything he did in the past, the last piece of the puzzle, a golden puzzlewith diamond set. Two of the best actors that movie and stage business has ever brought, each from his own generation; the new vs the old one. A clash of talent. And not a smash.

The Substitute
(1996)

Blackboard Jungle meets Class 84
There were a batch of films over decades speaking of the difficulties that teachers had with their students, all more or less BLACKBOARD JUNGLE rip-offs, but always more violent and graphic in the treatment. This one is among the best of those direct to DVDs material, with of course Kevin Reynolds' 187, made in 1997 starring Samuel Jackson; for sure better than this one. Different but better.... So this very movie which I comment now is a very good time waster, time burner. Ernie Hudson is excellent, exquisite, he reminds me his performance in OZ series, as the prison head warden, so ambivalent; except that he is not in a jail but in a school. Maybe it is stupid to compare this to Richard Brooks' BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, but admit that the basic material is the same, only treatment is totally different, here far far far less "intellectual" but on the contrary more graphic, destined for large audiences, and not "elite" ones.

Flaming Star
(1960)

Best of Elvis and thanks to Don Siegel
I have not seen every film starring the King, especially his musicals, but among those I have seen, this one remains the most memorable, and certainly because Don Siegel at directing. I am sure that the presence of Elvis brought many audiences but without Siegel as film maker, this would have been a lesser material. Elvis was a gifted actor, besides his skills as a singer. This is a good western, and not a singing one, not a Roy Rogers nor Gene Autry like feature, don't get misunderstood. It is moving, solid, worth viewing.

Hostiles
(2017)

Prefered Ulzana's Raid
There are some elements of comparison between both films; though the story is not the same. Both Burt Lancaster and Christian Bale are terrific in those two films. Anti heroes characters not that expected in a western. There are both some kind of anti DANCE WITH WOLVES features, very poignant, shocking, not that foreseeable. But this recent movie: HOSTILES is definitely not as gloomy nor desperate as the Bob Aldrich's masterpiece, and the ending too cheesy for me. Unfortunately. The ending sequence reminds me CULPEPPER CATTLE COMPANY one, with the main lead fighting against an enemy not seen before in the film. The same kind of one, I won't spoil you this ending any more.

Alexandre le bienheureux
(1968)

Praise of laziness instead of craziness
In the pure mood of this late sixties period, counter culture, traditional valors reject, return to nature, forgetting the world's craziness. Definitely a comedy with many messages in it: take the life as it is, don't search complexity, take your own freedom as a priority. It's a refreshing film, but with a bizarre and unexpected ending. Ironic ending actually.

Ulzana's Raid
(1972)

One of the Aldrich's best
And also one of the most powerful western about indian wars. Burt Lancaster is also outstanding here, in this cruel, tough, brytal piece of work, very difficult to be watched by large audiences. Characters are awesome. I prefer this western over hundreds of other ones, especially recent features speaking more or less the same topic. The best example closest to ULZANA would be for me HOSTILES, starring Christian Bale. But I prefer ULZANA'S RAID, especially the ending.

Tout s'est bien passé
(2021)

Powerful
A must see in terms of realism around acting and directing. Andre Dussolier gives his best performance ever as a man victim of a stroke. It is painful, poignant and disturbing. It makes you think about many things during and after the watching. You can think about MILLION DOLLAR BABY, because of the euthanasia issue evoked here. If you had anyone arond you victim of a stroke, this film will probably be unbearable or on the contrary will help you to overcome your grief. It could have been a TV movie; the perfect topic for coach audiences. François Ozon has nothing more to prove anyway. Sophie Marceau is also worth seeing, as usual.

The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
(1960)

Oh my Gold !!!
One excellent John Guillermin's feature, underrated one, like a diamond or gold nugget remained hidden in the mud. Not really a crime movie but a heist one for sure. And there is in this film some spirit, atmosphere very unique. Much suspense and thrill. Aldo Ray is really impressive, convincing in a very sympathetic and desperate role, ambivalent, poignant. Watch out for the last glance between him and the lady from IRA, when he probably thinks she denounced them to the authorities. But maybe not.... Excellent. I have confounded this film with LEAGUE OF THE GENTLEMEN, another heist UK film from this period, and I know why, because in both you have Kieron Moore.

The Vanguard
(2008)

The Omega Man in the countryside
I also loved the film which Mathew Hope made after this one: THE VETERAN, totally different however, but as good and efficient. For those who have seen Dick Matheson's novel I AM A LEGEND adaptations: THE OMEGA MAN ( Charlton heston), LAST MAN ON EARTH ( Vincent Price) or the film with Will Smith, the scheme is obviously very very close, but not the settings. The directing and acting are not good, I won't say awful though, and of course the purists will prefer the originals - supposing this is an assumed copy. But I like this film, despite the clumsy film making. A big, huge effort is made on characters and we can't ignore that; it is very important. CGI effects ridiculous and totally useless. Anyway, I will forever prefer this beautiful "crap" than the huge garbage WORLD WAR Z sh....

Méfie-toi de l'eau qui dort
(1996)

Peaceful waters
One of the most peaceful and quiet film I have ever seen; a movie that evokes serenity and reflexion about the meaning of life and old times. A deep dive in poetry with a bit of sadness where the blood line with PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK is not so far. The poetic sense of this movie is rare, though I know that if you search hard enough and with being lucky, you may find this kind of film from time to time, but not on large spread release.

Play Dead
(1983)

Playing it can be deadly
I expected at best a kind of Poor man's CUJO or something in the line of WHITE DOG but I was misunderstaood. It is a horror thriller with a painful watch for me to find the great Yvonne De Carlo lost in such a mess. I loved so much De Carlo in Paramount features from the fifties, adventures little gems made in Technicolor, and it it hurts me to assist to her downfall in such grade Z films. She is still beautiful for her age. That's the only thing that I will remember from this film. Just the last minutes are interesting.

La chute des hommes
(2016)

That's the intention that counts
Ankward but honest and that's for me the most important. A movie speaking of French Djihad is not so usual, especially when showing a young woman, but her character may be naive and annoying for the audiences. However her character is touching. When you begin to watch it, the announced length may discourage you with such a clumsy directing, but after a while you can make it because it is never really boring, precisely because of the obvious naive and from time to time unbearable female character's performance. Very strange feeling actually. Very rare. I never wished to switch off the TV, and I would have done it for far better made features.

Skyjacked
(1972)

Among the best films about plane hijackings
No the level of UNITED 93 though, of course, not as tense, sharp, rough, unbearable and realistic, let's be honest. But it remains a solid airplane thriller that grabs you with the help of Chuck Heston's performance and the professional skills of John Guillermin, who prepares himself - andthe audiences too - to TOWERING INFERNO, a couple of years later. And this feature is also more than obviously under the influence of AIRPORT movies series, begun two years earlier, made by George Seaton. If there had been any special effects, it could have been produced by Irwin Allen.

Olga
(2021)

Adequate to the news from Ukrainia
I am watching this film whilst the Ukrainian war explodes in the east of Europe and millions of Ukranian refugees spread over Western Europe. So this young woman's odyssey is totally in the "mood" of this tragic era, period. This is mostly a film about sport, training, dedication, gymnastics in particular, as LES PAUMES BLANCHES were fifteen years ago; another movie speaking of a young male gymnast in Bulgary or some easter europe country and his relationship with his trainer. I also saw NADIA, an American film about Nadia Comaneci's story. This film which I comment now is accurate, gripping and made by a director very involved, concerned by his topic.

You're Never Too Young
(1955)

Laurel and Hardy on musicals
With a bit of James Bondesque finale, climax. This is one Jerry Lewis feature with many musicals, as Esther Williams' features were, but with comedy and gags galore. I feel that Frank Tashlin's movies with Lewis were a bit different though. It is efficient, funny, with I repeat more musicals as usual for Lewis, thanks to Dean Martin. Ray Burr as the heavy is an excellent choice.

Flag Day
(2021)

Boring
Gripping, not uninteresting but boring. I was really deceived by this drama, I don't know why. Sean Penn is awesome but the rythm is so slow and the topic flat doesn't seem to convince audiences, at least I was not. I expected something really different, many Sundance festival movies were more excitng than this feature. Sean Penn has given us much more quality. But it remains something worth seeing though, not a garbage material.

The Forever Purge
(2021)

No please, no forever, think about us.....
I had the weak, tiny hope that this film was maybe better than the last three garbage junks. But I was naive to guess such a miracle. Why insisting in such mess, such distress in film making ? I watched the PURGE series and it is an absolute masterpiece compared to this one, so full of clichés and predictable. It evokes Mexican migrants, but that doesn't explain why it is as bad as usual. It tries to be didactic and that's precisely what bothers me. Only one good thing here, the settings are different but the purge remains.....I really hope this is the real end.

The Purge: 7:01am
(2019)
Episode 10, Season 2

Far far better than the garbage purge films
I am amazed by the quality of this series, very well made and full of surprises, not destined to silly theaters audiences, always seeking for so predictable schemes. I did not expect such quality and the movies for large screens are even more unbearable and stupid after this series. No super heroes, no winners, no political messages. Just something different. A must see.

La terre des hommes
(2020)

The peasants
I thought about PETIT PAYSAN and AU NOM DE LA TERRE, two other major movies speaking of French peasants struggle to survive. It is realistic, tough, gripping. All long the film, you have the feeling to see actual life, dialogues, behavior, real people and not actors. Olivier Gourmet is always excellent in a any character, whom any person could recognize himself in. It is a social rural topic. It could have been a TV feature, the typical kind of topic destined to home audiences.

Titane
(2021)

David Cronenberg's influence I guess
With a bit of Quentin Dupieux too. I also thought about Jacques Audiard's DE ROUILLE ET D'OS, I don't know why. It is a pure personal movie from the female director. It is hard to describe this disturbing, depressing film. It is not comfortable to watch, not for all audiences, but the movie will eventually find its audience; it won't remain a forgotten gem. But I would not say it is a horror film though, despite the fact that there are some horror elements. It is a drama with a great touch of thriller of course, with a very surprising and unexpected Vincent Lindon. Not a bad film that deserved Cannes Festival Golden Palm.

On the Third Day
(1983)

Not bad Hitchcockian scheme but not horror.
Not that exciting but not that bad either. It is smooth, a bit flat but not boring though. This topic is not new and had been spoken about hundred of times before thru American, French and British film industries. But I don't know where the "horror" element is here; maybe those who said it was watched the wrong film. It is definitely a psychological thriller, yes, a noir drama, but certainly not horror.

Zealandia
(2020)

Not that worth
I expected more than this. This is one more topic about doomsday in the future. There is action, a bit of suspense but the result is so predictable in the Hollywood style. It is shameful because the first part was rather promising. But, I repeat, this is the new kind of schemes now, with virus, pandemics or zombies; though there are no zombies here.

Des gens bien
(2020)

What a beautiful world ....
Not far from Ken Loach atmosphere, this is the story of a young pregnant woman who is jobless and of course encountering money problems. She faces many other issues, for instance her mother reproaches her that the young woman's grandfather is dying in a nurse home and received no visit from her grand daughter. It is a close to reality tale, not a fairy one, not the kind of material to show to gloomy audiences ready to commit suicide. It is not a comedy but I have also seen more depressing stories.

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