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
I have to admit, the look wasn’t what I was expecting, but there was a bit of the happy 70′s in me as the presentation of a huge vol-au-vent pleased me immensely! And it was totally yummy, rich in flavour, creamy but still light.
The Man had decided to go for the most expensive items on the menu, just to really get our money’s worth He melted at the first taste of his foie gras and said that the mango compote shouldn’t have worked but really really did!
The Man went for a rather large steak it really, really was massive. However, he did order it blue, and to be quite honest, it was probably to thick to have blue as (to me) it just looked like a big bit of slightly warmed raw beef. I didn’t try any!
I have to admit, I went for exactly the same as I had before. Predictable, I know, but it was such gorgeous lamb – and I love lamb, it’s my favourite meat of all! And once again, I wasn’t disappointed – it was absolutely melt in the mouth delicious!
The restaurant is pretty well known for its cheese trolley, so The Man decided to give that a go…I tried hard not to wince as the lid was lifted and the waft of rather ripe cheeses drifted across. I like cheese, but I hate the smell of the smelly ones!
Oh yes, I had the tarte tatin! Well, actually I had half a tarte tatin as I simply couldn’t eat any more! It was one of the best I have had but then you would expect that from a french restaurant, wouldn’t you!
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable meal. And if you like seafood, we saw a couple of the seafood platters come out and they were ENORMOUS! This is definitely a restaurant that you need to come to hungry as they definitely like to feed you!
This book was a choice of the Walthamstow Book Club for last month, but I have been a little slack in posting recently!
It has been translated from the original French and is set in modern-day Paris, in a very exclusive, grand and elegant apartment building full of rich, sophisticated tennants.
One of these tennants is Paloma, who is 12 years old, lives with her parents and older sister, doesn’t like any of them really, is extremely intelligent and is determined to burn her apartment down with herself inside before her 13th birthday.
Renee is the building’s concierge – a faceless ‘worker’ to the building’s tennants – carrying out the necessary tasks without question or complaint as someone of her position should. however, Renee is actually very intellectual and loves teh finer things in life, although she feels this must be kept secret from those that she ‘services.
It’s been about 3 weeks since we discussed this book, and I have to admit that although I enjoyed it at face value, the more we discussed it, the less impressed I was with it – and now, going back over the main lines of the story, I feel even less inclined towards it!
It was beautifully written (and wonderfully translated by Alison Anderson) and he characters were very well ‘described’. However, they still managed to feel like caricatures to me. I never really understood WHY Renee didn’t want anyone to know what she was really like – and Paloma just annoyed the hell out of me. She was meant to be TWELVE – Ok, she was a bit maudlin and very intelligent, but she was just a little girl. I have a 12 year old girl (nearly) and there was not a single childlike characteristic or behaviour in Paloma!
The ending was also far too fast and (in my opinion) unnecessary. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand the need to end the book in that way, because I felt that the story wasn’t actually finished. There were fare too many questions left unanswered, and I am just screwing my face up in puzzlement recalling it now. NOT a good sign! (Or a good look for me.)
I liked the dogs though – the dogs were great – they were so…French!
So, if you want a non-trashy read that although beautifully crafted and relatively literary is still quite light, and you enjoy playing “What happened next?”, then this could well be the book for you.
UPDATE: Have just found out that this has been made into a film and she be released in the UK next month – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1442519/ – some of us in the Book Club are thinking of going to see it!
Micmacs is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet of Amelie fame so you can imagine how difficult it is to describe the visual feast that it is.
Bazil has a humdrum life, and works in the local video-store. One night, he witnesses a biker being shot at and is hit in the head by a stray bullet. When he leaves hospital, his life is changed forever and he finds himself part of a rather unusual group.
The group includes a robot-maker, a flexi-girl and a human canonball amongst others.
With nothing left to lose, he hatches an elaborate plan to bring down a pair of weapons dealers, ably assisted by his new motley crew.
It’s a beautifully crafted, surprisingly innocent film with some wonderfully creative scenes and ideas. Me and The Girl thought it was brilliant. But then, we like things that are a little surreal!
My rating – 8.5/10
I recorded this off of Cinémoi again, and to be honest, I have no idea what I THOUGHT it was going to be about – but I wasn’t really expecting what I got.
On the info on Virgin, it said something like “Sandrine is unsatisfied with her life with her boyfriend and goes on a voyage of self-discovery and sexual liberation.” Fair enough, this is a French film – they’re usually very sexually open and aware.
What I actually got was soft porn, which I really wasn’t prepared for.
The problem was that Sandrine and her story were so boring, that I found myself fast forwarding to the rude bits – and after a while, I was even fast-forwarding those, and just reading the subtitles (one of the good things with subtitled films, you can get through them in half the time if they’re a bit slow, as you still know what’s being said!)
When I just looked on Amazon, I was surprised to see this had had 4 ratings of 5 stars – it really didn’t deserve them – although, if you want soft pron, at least there was a pretense of a story attached to it.
I think the IMDB rating of 6/10 is far more understandable.
My rating 5/10 (and 3 of that was because the girls had good tits!).
With a secondary title of “The Secret Adventures of Gustave Klopp”, this is a film that I had never heard of, let alone intended to watch.
However, there were obviously some programming issues with those lovely people at Cinémoi, as I had set my TiVo to record Le Péril Jeune on Wednesday, but when I went to watch it today it was Narco (even though it showed as Le Peril Jeune in the listings, and in my recordings – what’s all that about?)
As it was, I wasn’t disappointed at all – Narco was very amusing.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t about drugs, as I originally thought it might be, but was actually about Gustave Klopp, a guy with narcolepsy. Although in reality, narcolepsy must be an extremely difficult, I have to admit that it makes for some very amusing scenes with a slight slapstick quality.
The film was anything BUT slapstick though, it was a decent black comedy with some great characters including a best friend who wants to be the best karate star in the world, a wife with a teenage son due to being a gymslip mother (literally – she got knocked up by her then PE teacher!), a pair of ice-skating assassin twins, a guy who feels the need to inflict pain on redheads and even a cameo by Jean-Claude Van Damne playing a fanatic’s imaginary version of himself (think of Cantona in Looking For Eric).
Gus is obviously unemployable, but has started having very vivid comic-book style dreams, which he then draws once he’s awake – and he is incredibly talented. After joining a therapy group who love his story-telling, he finds that his life is at risk from a most unexpected source!
I’m not sure why it has such a low rating on IMDB – I loved it!
My rating – 8/10
When this film first started, I thought that it was going to be a black comedy – it had all the elements; a seemingly high-powered business environment, sexism and a comical looking man with weird glasses and outrageous clothes.
However, although there are some funny parts at the start, it soon becomes rather dark – but not dark enough to be a thriller, or menacing.
Basically, it’s about a bunch of people who would do anything to get ahead in their company. This includes the gorgeous Marion Cotillard, who I most recently enjoyed in Love Me If You Dare.
But even she isn’t very likeable. None of them are. So, when they all go off on a staff ‘canyoneering’ trip, and disaster strikes, you just hope that they’re all going to die.
It passed some time, but I definitely wouldn’t want to watch it again – and I absolutely hated the ending.
My rating – 6/10
I have been rather slow on the uptake with this one. The first series was first aired in 2005 in France, and first shown on BBC Four in 2006. There have been another 2 series since then, with the third currently showing on BBC Four.
When a friend mentioned it to me 3 or 4 weeks ago, I sat down to start watching it, not realising it was the THIRD series, until the title credits came up…so I switched it off and got Series 1 Part 1 from Blockbuster.
So glad that I did – I have now watched the whole of series 1 and it is brilliant!
This is a police drama series with true grit and hard-hitting storylines. The series starts on the body of a Romanian prostitute that has been chucked in a skip with her face horribly smashed in. This main story arc continues throughout the series (and will into series 2 by the looks of it!), but other stories are dealt with including a mother whose baby is cut into pieces by the nanny, a father accused of raping his two daughters, a detective with a coke habit and a father accused of killing his handicapped son.
It took a little while for me to get my head around the obvious differences in the French judicial system – judges and magistrates seem to be interwoven into the police investigations. In particular, Deputy Prosceutor Pierre Clement, played rather dashingly by Gregory Fitoussi, and Police Captain Laure Berthaud played by Caroline Proust.
This is a fantastic series – but it’s not The Bill – it’s not for the faint-hearted…it deals with difficult cases with no glitz and sparkle. it shows brutal crimes in exactly that manner. It shows the worst of human nature in a disturbingly believable way.
I have ordered Series 2 and can’t wait for it to show up!
My E17 Book Club decided that we’d be a bit more ‘literary’ and read a classic. We decided on Madame Bovary as it had always featured in the ‘must read’ lists and none of us had actually read it.
Oh. My. God. How bloody boring is it? I have not a thing against the classics and have read quite a few (although I’ve obviously always had an issue reading Dracula, as I mentioned before) but this one really felt like an absolute chore.
In fact, out of 5 of us, only one had finished it, and I think that was mainly because he had been off work. I’d got the furthest through it at 75% – I don’t think the other 3 had even made it halfway.
I can imagine that when it was first published, it was probably deemed as rather racy, but to be perfectly honest, although she has a couple of affairs, NOTHING happens. At all!
She has a child which she just seems to have no interaction with at all. She marries a man who is besotted with her and then is immediately bored with being married and views him with complete distaste through no fault of his own.
She seems to fluctuate between wishing she’d stayed in a convent, or become a nurse and then condemning her husband (a doctor) for not being able to provide her with the life of a wealthy woman.
She’s just a nasty, contradictory piece of work.
And there’s a couple of scenes within the story that I just found completely weird – they added nothing to the story and yet quite a lot of effort was put into including them. There was a whole piece with a guy with a club foot, and then also when she is reacquainted with Leon. She meets Leon, and he hires a carriage, obviously to initiate their affair, but there are about 4 or 5 pages of this carriage just barrelling along various streets and areas of interest with no ‘action’ described, just the view of the cab-driver and a ‘disjointed voice’ that keeps telling him to carry on. Tis most bizarre.
It is definitely not a book I would recommend to anyone!
I recorded this some time ago from the fantastic Cinemoi channel (which I love!).
It took me a little while into the film to realise where I recognised Anne Parillaud from – and then I was stunned I hadn’t recognised her before, seeing as Nikita (1990) is one of my absolute favourite films.
Written and directed by Olivier Marchal, it is the first in the set that concludes with MR 73 that I reviewed previously.
I think that this was even better than MR 73, although other reviews I have read don’t seem to have rated it that highly.
The film starts with what you assume are a couple of gangsters, talking in a club before they make their way to the obviously ‘dirty’ owner and gang in the back rooms, one of them killing everyone he comes across, whilst the other just follows him, watching in thinly-disguised shock.
They steal some diamonds and it ends in a shoot out with a some gunmen in an armoured van.
Well, that’s the first scene. The story then follows the second guy who is arrested along with his prostitute girlfriend (Parillaud) and taken in for questioning by the police.
All is not as it seems though, and the story hits a few dramatic twists and turns.
I really enjoyed it! Not the best film in the world. Not the deepest storyline, but some good acting, and a very entertaining plot.Next I have to get hold of the other film in the trilogy – 36 Quai Des Orfevres.
My rating – 8/10