I saw a trailer for this film when I watched Potiche recently – and was surprised that I had never heard of it before. It’s a Luc Besson film after all! So I immediately put it to the top of my Blockbuster list!
Set in 1912 Paris, we first join Professor Espérandieu as purely by the power of his mind, he hatches a pterodactyl from the egg held in a museum there. However, this is just a test-run for him – the real project is to help Adèle Blanc-Sec in her quest to cure her sister.
We then meet Adèle in a tomb in Cairo where she is looking for the mummified remains of a Pharoah’s doctor to bring back to Paris.
We watched this as a family, and we all really enjoyed it. It’s a proper family ‘caper’ – but especially great for girls to watch as Adèle is a brilliant feisty, confident role-model type. Think something of a cross between The Mummy and Night at The Museum.
It’s very Luc Besson, very stylised, with some gorgeous scenery – and it is incredibly funny. The mummies are hilarious
I think it’s based on some French comics, and you could see that in soe of the scenes. There is a lot of CGI, and it’s a little hit and miss – some of it is done very well, but some is a rather less impressive.
Louise Bourgoin who plays Adèle is fantastic – beautiful, expressive and totally believable. The Girl just wanted to be her!
I am really surprised that this has only got 6.1 on IMDB. I think it deserves far higher. I know it’s not Oscar material, but it’s extremely entertaining, totally harmless and very fun.
My rating – 8/10
I am always late coming to these things – I may have watched all of Spiral now, but I am yet to watch any of The Killing.
However, yesterday I watched the first 4 episodes of the first series of Danish political drama Borgen (apparently from the same producers as The Killing anyway).
I have to say, it really did grab me from the start. It begins a few days before a general election and follows the rise of the leader of the Moderate party Birgitte Nyborg to being Denmark’s first female Prime Minister and how her new-found power affects her.
There is also the sub-plots of the politcial media andhow they can change the course of politics themselves – all very interesting stuff, and as always, very topical.
I am totally loving it already, and can’t wait to get the next 4 episodessent to me from my Blockbuster subscription. I realise I have totally missed it being on BBC Four somehow.
A couple of silly observations I made was how Danish doesn’t seem to be a very ‘flowy’ language – they all sounded as if they were speaking a foreign language (not to me, silly, but to themselves!) and that when it said “Shit! shit shit!” on screen, they actually say “Piss! piss! piss!” which amused me. And finally, I thought that two of the main characters looked a bit like the Danish Billie Piper and the Danish Ewan McGregor. But that could just be me, of course!
I had never actually heard of this film before, but wasbrowsing the World Cinema section in CEX in Walthamstow a couple of weeks ago and it caught my eye – and for a couple of quid, you can’t really complain!
This is a rather claustrophobic horror story (but only a 15 rating, so not particularly gruesome – more of a thriller than a horror really) set in one location, a small, isolated, ramshackle cottage and the immediate grounds that it nestles in.
(Probably) teenager Laura and her father (Wilson) have been tasked with tidying up the cottage and garden to get it ready for sale. The film begins early evening, following them as they walk across the firld to meet the owner (Nestor) who is is Wilson’s friend. He lets them in, shows them a couple of old chairs they can sleep in for the night and promises to bring them back some food. He also warns them not to go upstairs as the floor is unstable and he doesn’t want them to have an accident.
The film has barely any colour, grim & grainy and shot on a ‘home-movie’ style handheld, almost shadowing Laura. You feel like you’re permanently sitting on her shoulder! And she goes around the house with a lamp or torch most of the time, so there is a ring of darkness just to the edge of the shot.
The main reason that this film is unique though is because it appears to have been filmed all in one continuous take, making the film in real time. There are a couple of moments where I thought “Could that have been edited?” but they definitely site it as a one-take film, which is pretty amazing really – and worth watching even just to see how they did it! It certainly gives this a completely different feel to your usual horror film.
It was quite engrossing, but as I said, really rather claustrophobic. I must admit, i enjoyed it quite a bit, BUT it did have times where nothing much seemed to be happening. There was a lot of time spent with Laura holding up her gas lamp, just looking at various pictures and bric-a-brac in rooms. I guess this is because of the ‘real time’ and one take aspect of it – they probably needed time to prepare for the more ‘action’ scenes.
I think the one thing that disappointed me though was the ending, I’m not exactly a thickie, but I really didn’t understand it. I understood what it was trying to say, and what had come before, but how it all actually worked within the confines of the film slightly alluded me.
If anyone nearby wants to borrow the DVD though, it’s worth a look and you’re more than welcome
My rating 6.5/10
I remember seeing the posters to this all over the tube and being rather intrigued.
University students Thomas, Johanna and Kalle decide to investigate a spate of mysterious bear-killing’s and start to suspect that one particular man (Hans) could be a poacher. He keeps irregular hours, there is much gossip about him in bear-hunting circles. With Thomas presenting, Johanna responsible for audio and Kalle mostly unseen behind the camera, they follow him out into the woods one night and are faced with the realisation that he is no bear-hunter at all. He is hunting FAR bigger prey.
Once they accept that trolls aren’t just creatures of myth and legend, and that hans is actually a government operative, employed to keep the public from ever knowing the truth, they realise they have stumbled across documentary gold. Hans is bored of his lonely life and feels it is about time reality is known to all, so he allows them to follow him and film his work.
Shot with a handheld camera in the style of The Blair Witch Project, Troll Hunter at least serves you up some actual monsters, which come across as slightly comical but pretty realistic somehow. The running around, heavy breathing, crashing through the trees and mis-aimed shots of faces looking terrified are all there, but these students are taking the whole thing with a pinch of salt and enjoying themselves. This puts an edge of comedy onto the whole thing.
There are also some fantastic shots of a very damp Norwegian landscape looking dramatic and spectacular – mainly out of the truck windows.
I really enjoyed it, it’s a film that was obviously never really going to take itself seriously and you certainly feel caught up in the action – I found myself craning my head round to try to see the troll that was often just out of shot. Brilliantly done.
My rating – 8/10
I TiVo’ed this off of Film4 AGES ago and just hadn’t got around to watching it. seeing as I have been suffering with a severe chest infection for about 10 days now, it was the ideal time to get through a backlog of films.
I don’t really know what I thought this was about – something to do with planes or airports or tourists probably – but it’s an absolute gem.
Masahiro Motoki stars as Daigo Kobayashi, a cellist in a Tokyo orchestra. When the orchestra is disbanded, Kobayashi’s debts are too much for him and his wife to handle. He is forced to sell his cello and return to the town where he was brought up. His mother died two years previously, leaving him the family home as his father had left when he was six.
He looks for work and stumbles across an advert asking for someone to help with ‘departures’ – no former experience necessary. Him and his wife decide the job must be for something like a tour guide and so he applies and goes along for an interview.
After a rather bizarre interview, he discovers that the job is to help with ‘the departed’ – as an ‘encoffiner’, performing a cleansing and preparation ritual for the newly deceased in front of their loved ones, readying the body for the funeral.
This is an absolutely beautiful film (with a lot of cello music unsurprisingly), and explores reactions to death, loyalty and tradition. The way the ritual itself is performed is breathtaking and dignified, and makes you wish that everyone was treated with such respect after death.
It is also extremely funny, the comic elements flowingly easily with the more emotional.
I loved every single minute of it – it didn’t even seem corny when he played the cello on top of a hill, as the music fit with the montage of the different families paying their respects to their loved ones beautifully.
You HAVE to watch this. My rating – 10/10
I really have no idea why this film was made.
It is full of fantastic French actors all ‘playing themselves’, and I believe is meant to be just a glimpse into the everyday life of showbiz and celebrity.
At only 1h39m it isn’t exactly very long, but honestly, after about 25 minutes, I simply had to turn it off. It’s awful. There is no plot, the ‘script’ is non-existent and I had no idea what the point of it was.
To be honest, I really have nothing to say abotu it apart from AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!
Yesterday was the last day of March, so I thought it the ideal time to watch a Christmas film – or at least a film about Santat Claus
UIt may well be about Christmas, but there’s nothing fluffy about it at all. This is a horror film, but almost a comedy noir. I have to admit, I found myself shaking my head a few times as i wasn’t altogether sure what I was making of it.
Excavations are happening on the Korvatunturi mountain, and Pietari and his friend Juuso climb through a hole in the fencing to find out what’s going on – but the American excavation team release something that nobody knew was under all the rock.
With children disappearing, and the adults of his town left with no idea how to deal with the strange goings-on, it falls down to Pietari to devise a cunning plan to tackle the ultimate Bad Santa.
This film was genuinely creepy in places, and the boy playing Pietari was fantastic. The idea of Santa knowing which children were naughty or nice…and then tearing the naughty ones limb from limb appealed to me somewhat
This is definitely no polished Hollywood blockbuster – but hell, who wants them when you can have creepy old men’s willies (yes, that was one shower scene that was more horrific than the rest of the film put together!)
My rating – 7.5/10
This is a gorgeous little film, starring the beautiful (and always immensely watchable) Audrey Tatou.
Jean (Gad Elmaleh) works in a large, posh hotel in the South of France, playground of the rich and beautiful. A chance encounter with Irène (Tatou) spins his world out of control as he falls for her instantly. But she is a gold-digger, and believes he himself is a successful businessman.
When she discovers this is not the case, she blatantly takes him for everything he does have, and tells him nothing can stop her from obtaining her goal of essentially being a trophy of wife. Unwittingly, he joins her path, becoming the play thing of a wealthy widow, with Irène giving him handy hints.
This is a LOVELY film – considering the subject matter, it is done so tongue in cheek, with such charm and grace. It is absiolutely adorable. Really Sunday afternoon fluff. And Tatou manages to look flawlessly gorgeous the while way through!
My rating – 8.5/10
This was a strange film. I recorded it off of Cinémoi as the summary sounded pretty cool.
“Having packed up her possessions to move in with her lover, Laure is more unsettled than she appears. Needing to get out and have a change of scenery, she jumps in her car to go to have dinner with friends – only to become stuck in a terrible traffic jam. Laure completely forgot about the mass transit strike that has thrown the city into chaos. But Laure feels good in her car, the only place she has for herself right now. As she takes in the sights and sounds around her – the blare of horns and arguments, the shimmer of lights and camaraderie – Laure notices a calm and self-assured stranger, Jean, approach her car. Soon after, she opens her car door to the man who that night will change her life.”
There wasn’t a lot of dialogue, and lots of slightly miserable shots of Paris looking gloomy in the rain and general mayhem of the gridlock – which were acceptably arty.
After a while, however, it just descended into soft porn most definitely aimed at girls. I have to admit, that’s not immediately a turn-off for me, but I had other problems with the film.
I know that a lot of French films aren’t exactly about anything more than a snapshot of life (and particularly relationships), but there was something missing from this one. I think that it was meant to be about lust and passion and fear of ‘settling down’ but I felt that the passion was what was missing. There was no va va voom in the encounter in the vroom vroom!
My rating – a slightly disappointed 6/10
O’Horten is one of those gentle, innocent films that Europe seems to do so well.
The man of the title is a quiet, lonely train driver who has done the job all his life and is now retiring. His future stretches ahead of him, and is looking rather bleakly boring. However, on the evening of his retirement, events seem to spiral out of his control, and he ends up in a series of increasingly surreal situations.
If you want action and a fast-paced story, then this definitely isn’t the film for you, but if you’re happy with some beautiful cinematography, a glimpse of another world, some great acting and some thoughtful and often very funny dialogue then this is a lovely Sunday afternoon type film.
My rating 7/10