we are what we are – mexico (2010)

We Are What We Are

I was first curious about this film when I saw the posters for it on the platform at Walthamstow.  It was foreign and looked like it was about young zombies – where could it possibly go wrong?

Oh but it did.  It went wrong so badly somewhere along the way!

It starts out in a shopping centre, with a middle-aged man (acting rather zombie-like), trying toi get at a mannequin in a high-end clothes shop window, when suddenly, he collapses and dies.

The story then cuts to his home, where he has left a wife and three teenage children.  It transpires that they are not zombies but cannibals, with a need to devour fresh, human flesh that their father has always supplied them with.

Sons Alfredo (the oldest) & Julian argue over who should go and ‘catch’ their next family meal, egged on by their headstrong and often belittling younger sister Sabina, as their mother seems to have just given up all hope.

Alfredo isn’t really a strong patriachal figure (which seems proven when he ends up drawn to a gay club to try for a ‘catch’), so his younger brother Julian steps in and takes over – he is a far more hotheaded teenager type, better equipped for doing what is necessary.

They seem to attempt to downplay their desire for human flesh by following complicated rituals before eating their victims – making it almost a religious necessity.

In the meantime, the autopsy on their father has revealed a human finger in his stomach, wich has obviously raised questions, and the outside world is closing in on them.

This is a really gritty dark film set in the poorest underworld of Mexico – it is a brilliant idea with just the right setting, and yet it never really seems to deliver.  The depth of story is lacking, which makes the goriness almost too much to bear in places.  I never felt emotional about this family, who had just lost a father and who were doomed to being outcasts their whole life.

This was no ‘Let The Right One In‘ which the poster implied.

I think the most tragic thing about this film is that the actor who played Julian was killed in a gunfight soon after, at the tender age of 19.

My rating – a very disappointed 5/10.

a l’aventure – france (2008)

If I had seen the DVD cover, I would've known what I was letting myself in for...

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!).

narco – france (2004)

Narco

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

See, the title says Narco, the info says Le Péril Jeune!

fair play – france (2006)

Fair Play

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

reconstruction – denmark (2003)

Reconstruction

I recorded this off of Sky Arts earlier in the week, knowing nothing much about it really.

It was completely intriguing.  Shot with a kind of grainy, retro feel to it, it was very much an arty kind of thing, with some narrator introducing the story with a rather surreal shot of a magician.  It kind of showed a scene from partway through the film and then went back to the beginning.

The film centres around Alex, a young photographer, who lives with his girlfriend Simone, who is pretty but a little ‘bookish’.  One night, he chances across Aimee who looks exactly like Simone (both parts played stunningly by Maria Bonnevie) but far more relaxed and glamorous.  Simone is married to August, a much-older author.

Alex is obviously completely enraptured with Aimee, follows her, and ends up declaring his love for her before they sleep together.  In the morning, they arrange to meet later that day, but when Alex leaves Aimee to return home, not only does his flat not exist, but all of the people he knows have no clue who he is.

It’s a surreal, intriguing and moving film, all about love, trust and relationships.  It’s beautifully shot, a work of art in itself.  But I can’t even begin to try to explain what *I* think happened in it – I believe it’s all open to interpretation.

Was Alex real?  Was he just a character that August invented for a book?

If anyone else has seen it, I’d love to know their thoughts!

gangsters – france (2002)

gangsters

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

a town called panic – france/belgium (2009)

PANIQUE AU VILLAGE!!!

Oh my GOD!  Why didn’t I know of the existence of this film?  And even more, why didn’t I know there was a series before there was a film?  I NEED THE SERIES!!!!

*Deep breath*

OK – so, think of the Cravendale adverts with the little plastic figures – this is like a WHOLE FILM of them.  It is SO much better than Toy Story!!

My mate lent it to me for The Girl, and we both just watched it, and were giggling hysterically all the way through.

It’s Horse’s birthday, but Indian and Cowboy (who live with him) have forgotten to buy him a present.  In their panic to get him the perfect present, they go through a number of surreal but hilarious mishaps including destroying Horse’s house, which end in them going on an adventure, encountering a mahoosive giant penguin, underwater monsters and journeying to the centre of the earth.

WATCH THIS FILM!!! (And I’m talking to YOU Lee!!!)

My rating – 10/10

And I will leave you with the trailer (yes, it IS worth having to watch the short ad before it!)

le dîner de cons – france (1998)

Le Dîner de Cons

Le Dîner de Cons (The Dinner for Idiots) is one of those rare things – a French comedy that I actually find funny!

I’ve sent it twice already, but just watched it again as it had recently been on the TV and I’d recorded it.

Pierre Brouchant is a successful businessman, and he and his friends throw this regular dinner party where they have to bring alone the biggest idiot that they have come across, and the person who finds the biggest idiot for each party gets a prize.

Pierre has stumbled across Francois Pignon, a rounded, balding middle-aged man who seems overly enthusiastic like a puppy, is obsessed with his matchstick models and seemingly has no idea about anything.  Pierre has hit upon idiot gold.

But, when he does his back and argues with his wife on the night of the dinner, things soon go downhill – and could Francois actually be his only hope?

This is a universal, timeless little farce (it’s only just over an hour long) – probably because it has no real cultural references outside of the general relationships of the characters.

Always amusing 🙂

My rating – 7.5/10

ridicule – france (1996)

Ridicule

I’m not sure why I had never watched this film before – it’s brilliant!  It’s a French costume drama set during the pre-revolutionary reign of Louis XVI.

It is directed by the fantastic Patrice Leconte, who is responsible for such gems as The Hairdresser’s Husband, L’Homme Du Train and Girl On The Bridge – all of which I own and love.

Being a period drama, obviously it doesn’t really matter that it’s 14 years old as it is ageless.

A young engineer nobleman travels to Versailles to try and gain the King’s backing to drain the swamps of his homeland to help eradicate the malaria and other diseases which are threatening his people.

Versailles is a place of opulence, showiness, fun and fancy where the people of the court are obsessed with being witty.  the nobleman has to try and win them over to achieve his goals – but how far is he willing to go?

There are some fantastic performances – noteably Fanny Ardent as the devious Madame de Blayac, the fabulous Jean Rochefort as Le Marquis de Bellegarde and the beautiful Judith Godrèche as his daughter.

My rating – 9/10

mr 73 – france (2008)

MR 73

This is a rather grisly French cop film starring the always wonderful Daniel Auteuil.

I’ve just found out that it is the third in a trio of films that starts with Gangsters (which I think I have recorded from Cinemoi) and also includes 36 Quai Des Orfevres which is apparently the best, and I have added to my Blockbuster list.

An MR 73 is apparently a type of gun, which is shown in the film and I have since read that it was a revolver issued to the French elite police.

Louis (Daniel Auteuil) is a cop who has rather gone off the rails – his young daughter was killed in an accident, which also left his wife on a ventilator, near enough a vegetable.  This is never really explained in that much depth and I’m now wondering if the accident happens in one of the other films.

He is on the case of a serial killer rapist (some not very nice scenes) but is taken off of the case.  In the meantime, the daughter of a couple that were brutally murdered 25 years previously contacts him as he was one of the first officers on the scene, and her parent’s murderer is about to be released from prison.

The two stories don’t seem to sit very well together, with Louis the only common factor.

However, I did like the film, and am very interested in the other two now that I know of their existence!  the ending, although quite obvious once the scene set in motion, was extremely well-acted, and quite heart-wrenching even though rather gorey.

My rating – 7/10


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