Thursday, September 16, 2010


Original title: Fri os fra det onde
In Danish with English subtitles

Lone Lindorff: Ingvar’s wife Anna
Jens Andersen: long-haul truck driver Lars
Lasse Rimmer: Lars' brother Johannes, a high powered lawyer
Lene Nystrøm: Johannes’ wife Pernille
Bojan Navojec: hired-hand Bosnian immigrant Alain
Mogens Pedersen: Lars' boss Ingvar
Pernille Vallentin: Lars’ girlfriend Scarlett

Although it starts off pleasant enough before too long things take a turn and we get to see the ugly side of society. Desaturated colour (almost black and white) and dim lighting along with the unhurried pacing all serve to create a slightly unsettling atmosphere as things build piecemeal throughout this well told story.

The squeamish will find several scenes disturbing because of the graphic brutality.

for violence, brief nudity and language.

Pale yellow was a poor choice of colour for the subtitles as often they blend in with the background making them impossible to read.


Romantic comedy
Orignal title: L'arnacœur
In French with English subtitles

Romain Duris: Alex Lippi, professional romantic mercenary
Julie Ferrier: his sister Mélanie
François Damiens: Mélanie’s husband Marc
Vanessa Paradis: 30-year-old wine expert Juliette Van Der Becq
Jacques Franz: her rich father
Héléna Noguerra: Juliette’s best friend Sophie
Andrew Lincoln: Juliette’s investment-banker fiancé Jonathan Alcott

What sets this one apart from others of this sort is that both elements are very much in evidence: there’s romance (lots and lots of it) and some funny bits. Not many romantic comedies can match that.

But it goes a bit too far allowing Sophie’s slutty nature to predominate for several scenes. Frankly it lacks credibility as I cannot see Juliette, the “perfect lady”, hanging out for a minute with someone like that. To my mind it takes the whole thing down a notch.

for brief sexuality and language.

In an attempted carjacking the driver’s side window gets smashed but just minutes later Alex and Juliette drive off and it’s perfectly fine, not a scratch on it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Romantic comedy

Justin Long: 30-something record company employee Garrett
Jason Sudeikis: Garrett's friend Box
Charlie Day: Garrett's roomie Dan
Drew Barrymore: 31-year-old newspaper intern Erin
Christina Applegate: Erin’s older sister Corinne
Jim Gaffigan: Corinne’s husband Phil

The target audience will love it: the story of a long distance romance with lengthy discussions about music and boy-bands often taking place in one of the many bar scenes frequently interrupted by scenes of sex, lots of sex.

And if that is not enough about every fourth or fifth utterance is the f-word. Not just from the mouths of Garret’s vulgar friends but most everyone including Erin’s sister who strikes me as the one person who would not have a potty mouth. But I was wrong.

I could only take so much of this and while the two principals were engaged in rather graphic phone sex I left.

for sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity.

• The product placement rotating bottle nitpick: from one shot to the next the bottle rotates so that the label is clearly seen. This happens throughout the movie with all three brands.
• Garret gets a soft drink out of the fridge and puts it down on the coffee table in front of him while he makes his call. When the scene changes so has the can; it has moved off closer to the edge although Garret did not touch it.
• Garret says he has a middle seat on his flight. Unlike other carriers Southwest Airlines passengers have no idea what seat they will have before boarding since they are only assigned to a boarding group and only when they get on board do they chose a seat.
• Garret drops his bag to his left then sits down beside Erin in the airport. When the camera pulls back the bag has magically moved to his right.

Thursday, September 9, 2010



George Clooney: Jack
Johan Leysen: his boss Pavel
Paolo Bonacelli: an elderly priest, Father Benedetto
Thekla Reuten: Mathilde, Jack's last client?
Violante Placido: Clara, a prostitute

Although promoted as an “action suspense thriller” there is very little action of any consequence to interrupt the long interludes with nothing much happening at all. But the Italian countryside is lovely to look at (as are some of the people Jack encounters) so not all is lost.

Clooney’s performance is unlike his other films in that he is rather subdued and not very talkative. Mind you that’s all that is asked of him as this enigma of a man nearing the end of his career.

Some of the conversations Jack has are hard to make out, especially with the priest and one scene with Mathilde near the church. Because of this and the dearth of expository dialogue I left the theatre with more questions than answers about what had transpired.

for violence, sexual content and nudity.

• Jack and Mathilde sit at adjacent tables at an outdoor café facing each other. She removes her sun glasses and puts them on the table beside the newspaper. However when the scene is viewed from over her shoulder she has the sunglasses in her hand.
• The church bell tolls once before Jack strikes the ball peen hammer and then 4 more times indicating it to be 5 o’clock but Jack’s watch shows it to be 6 o’clock.
• Jack pursues a car that comes to a crashing stop yet the windshield wipers continue to swish back and forth even though the engine is dead.
• Jack is about to take a photograph with his Nikon digital SLR camera and we see the subject through the viewfinder. Trouble is Nikon cameras have the Type B BriteView Clear Matte focusing screen with just one reference circle not three concentric ones.
• Jack and Mathilde are sitting in a roadside café. Although no one touches the little red plastic table marker, when he stands up it has moved from the side of the table to closer to where he was sitting.

Friday, September 3, 2010


War drama
In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles

The day following the establishment of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948) the Middle East Arab nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq attacked the newly formed country. The territory being fought over was regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland and by the Pan-Arab movement as belonging to the Palestinians. Known by Israelis as the War of Liberation and by the Arabs as the Catastrophe the 1948 Arab-Israel was the first in a series of conflicts between these two warring factions, but not the last.

Founded in 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization became a powerful force among the 300,000 refugees in Lebanon who had been forced out of their homes in what had become Israel. Continual violence near the border between the two countries began in 1968. In July 1981 Israel retaliated with air strikes after the PLO and the Syrian army began shelling northern Israel settlements. Between August 1981 and May 1982 there were more than 200 attacks against Israel targets.

On June 6, 1982 the First Lebanon War broke out when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon to suppress the PLO rocket launchers and bombs. Israeli forces were numerically superior, allowing Israel to maintain both the initiative and an element of surprise. The Syrian Army fielded six divisions and 500 aircraft, while the IDF had eleven tank divisions and twelve infantry brigades, plus 600 aircraft.

Yoav Donat: the gunner and newest recruit Shmulik
Itay Tiran: the tank commander Assi
Oshri Cohen: the gun loader Hertzel
Michael Moshonov: the driver Yigal
Zohar Strauss: platoon commnder Major Jamil
Dudu Tassi: a Syrian POW

This film is not for everyone: during the screening I attended at least four couples could take no more so they left. The horror of the First Lebanon War as seen through through a periscope gun sight of a tank heading into Lebanon is unsettling.

Sound design makes it all too real what with the roar of the engine, the clanking of the treads, the metallic thunk of the tank’s turret as it comes to a stop. The tension at times is almost too much and for many there is a great sense of relief when the end credits finally appear.

for disturbing bloody war violence, language including sexual references and some nudity.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


True story
Original title: L'instinct de mort
In French with English subtitles.

Jacques Rene Mesrine (pronounced may-rean) was born in Clichy, a suburb of Paris on 28 December 1936. He attended the prestigious Catholic school Collège de Juilly but was expelled for his aggressive behavior. After serving with the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence he returned to France in 1959.

Vincent Cassel: Jacques Mesrine, former soldier
Gilles Lellouche: his long time friend Paul
Gérard Depardieu: low-level crime boss Guido
Elena Anaya: Sofia, a dark haired Spanish girl
Cécile de France Jeanne Schneider, a raven haired beauty
Roy Dupuis: small time crook Jean-Paul Mercier

A fast-paced biographical crime thriller with whole chunks of time simply bypassed which is a bit unsettling with the outcome of the scene left to your own imagination.

Although the run time approaches two hours it does not seem overly long, in part because of the crisp editing but more so because it is a riveting portrayal of a fascinating man.

The acting is first class and the action virtually non-stop.

for strong brutal violence, some sexual content and language.

With great attention to detail on the part of the producers (correct coloured Quebec license plates for the year, stubbies during the 1960’s etc) it has not been easy to come up with too many nitpicks. Nevertheless I got a couple:
• Jacques and Jeanne were travelling through Arkansas when they got stopped rather than in Utah. But I have to admit, Arches National Park is much more scenic.
• The product placement rotating bottle nitpick: from one shot to the next the bottle rotates so that the label is clearly seen. In this instance all this takes place while Jacques and Jean-Paul are doing some work on a metal platform while drinking Molson Export beer.
• At the end of their telephone conversation Jeanne hangs up and Jacques is left listening to a busy signal. In reality the line goes dead and you hear nothing.

This is the first in a series currently in theatres. Stay tuned for part two.