Our film reviews on:
- Brothers (2009) by Jim Sheridan,
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) by Wes Anderson,
- Edge of Darkness (2010) by Martin Campbell,
- Dumas (L’Autre Dumas, 2009) by Safy Nebbou.
Brothers, two brothers in turmoil
Plot:Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Grace (Natalie Portman) are a perfect couple and are the parents of two girls. Sam is sent by the UN in abroad mission, and entrust to Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), his brother just released from prison, the task of caring for her family. When Sam is missing and presumed dead, Tommy and Grace get closer. That’s when Sam returns from the front line…
After facing homosexual love in Brokeback Mountain (2005) by Ang Lee , American actor Jake Gyllenhaal plays another type of relationship between men in Brothers: the relationship between brothers.
In Brothers, this remake of a Danish eponymous film, Irish director Jim Sheridan directs two terrific actors, the two brothers caught in the turmoil of war that are Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, around a Nathalie Portman for the first time in the role as a mother.
And even if with a so difficult subject, the interpretation is not always fair (special mention to Jake Gyllenhall always so good), this beautiful relationship between brothers with a backdrop of war in Afghanistan deserves a visit.
And the two little girls are so adorable.
To learn more:
- Brothers (2009)
Direction: Jim Sheridan
Writing: David Benioff
Image: Frederick Elmes
Editing: Jay Cassidy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman…
Fantastic Mr. Fox, pure wild animated craziness
When his lady gets pregnant, the bold and charismatic Mr Fox promises her to retire from the dangerous business of chicken robbery. But years later, the repentant feels a bit bored in his somewhat cushy existence, and so he decides to do one last heist (in three hilarious parts): stealing, in three consecutive nights, from the three most prosperous farmers in the area. But these won’t be pushed around so easily and, between the camp of the crazy wild animals and that of the sinister and spiteful farmers, it’s escalation…
By brilliantly adapting Roald Dahl‘s eponymous novel, Wes Anderson does exactly what we expected him to do! Beyond mere illustration, he injects in Fantastic Mr. Fox‘s story everything that made the charm (and the success) of his previous films.
Therefore, we can find in Fantastic Mr. Fox:
- some colourful and durably endearing characters,
- nonsensic and funnily abstruse dialogues,
- a royal cast where the newcomers (George Clooney, Meryl Streep) play along with the old timers (Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson),
- some very funny titles which divide the movie in fell-defined chapters,
- and these always surprising moments of pure poetry. Here, the appearance (or shall we say cameo?) of a wolf offers us one minute of furtive eternity, as beautiful and almost as touching as the jaguar-shark scene at the end of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which briefly takes us out of the movie as to better throw us back into it afterwards.
The use of stop-motion in Fantastic Mr. Fox, a technique that the director already tried in some of his previous movies, goes together very well with his characteristic mise en scene made almost exclusively of face or profil shots, even when he has to cut sideways through the set!
It goes to the point where we leave the movie theater realizing that Wes Anderson has actually always made animation movies… after which we spend the rest of the evening imitating Mr Fox’s “trademark”.
To learn more:
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Direction: Wes Anderson
Writing: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach from the book by Roald Dahl
Image: Tristan Oliver
Editing: Andrew Weisblum
Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson
Dumas, story of a ghost
While Alexandre Dumas (Gérard Depardieu) and Auguste Maquet (Benoît Poelvoorde), his ghost writing, are at the top of their collaboration, Maquet decides to impersonate Dumas to seduce Charlotte (Mélanie Thierry), a fan of the famous writer.
Between the two men, confrontation is inevitable. In Paris, the Revolution of 1848 is preparing …
First good idea of the film Dumas: to describe the great French writer Alexandre Dumas according to his writing ghost, Auguste Maquet, whose collaboration will give more than seventeen novels from 1844 to 1851 (The Three Musketeers, Count Monte Cristo, Queen Margot…).
Second good idea idea of Dumas: to oppose the vivid and omnipresent French actor Gérard Depardieu as Alexandre Dumas to the clown and surprisingly discreet Belgian actor Benoît Poelvoorde as Auguste Maquet.
Third good idea of Dumas: a female cast with Dominique Blanc as Celeste Scriwaneck, wife of Alexandre Dumas, Catherine Mouchet as Caroline Maquet, Auguste Maquet wife, and Melanie Thierry as Charlotte Desrives in search of freedom at her level with the Revolution in the background (we are in 1848).
Fourth good idea of Dumas: to entrust the writing to the practised screenwriter Gilles Taurand (screenwriter for André Téchiné, Robert Guediguian or Christophe Honore), the light to the excellent cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine (recognized DoP of Jacques Audiard) and the editing to the experienced editor Bernard Sasia (recognized editor of Robert Guédiguian).
In making the adaptation of the play by Cyril Gely and Eric Rouquette, Signé Dumas (literally, Signed by Dumas), the French director Safy Nebbou tells us an amazing and little known story in Dumas.
For the record, Auguste Maquet will claim authorship of works written in collaboration with Alexandre Dumas at a trial in 1858. And if the court will grant 25% of royalties, he refused to recognize the hand co-signature.
Dumas is a rather successful film where the little history (Auguste Maquet will be discreetly buried in the cemetery of Père Lachaise in Paris) tells us a different side of the large one (Alexandre Dumas will enter with great ceremony at the Pantheon).
To learn more:
- Dumas (L’Autre Dumas, 2010)
Direction: Safy Nebbou
Writing: Gilles Taurand and Safy Nebbou
Image: Stéphane Fontaine
Editing: Bernard Sasia
Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Benoît Poelvoorde, Dominique Blanc, Catherine Mouchet, Mélanie Thierry…
Edge of Darkness, away from the edge
Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) is a veteran inspector of the crime squad in Boston. He raises his only daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), twenty-five years. When she is found murdered on the steps of his own house, no doubt: he was the target. To find out who killed his daughter, Inspector Craven will have to venture into environments where business and policy are close. He will also discover the secrets of her he thought he knew. In this world where every interest is higher, where all information is worth several lives, facing Darius Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), the consultant of the government sent to erase the evidence, the solitary pursuit of Craven will lead him beyond the worse investigation of his life, facing his own demons…
With a plot so dark and promising, we expected a large come back of the Mel Gibson’s Payback (1999), another role of avenger already interpreted. And with a reputation so flattering (the film is an adaptation of a British mini-series hit of the 80s), we expected a very dark and tight thriller from this Edge of Darkness.
But as the nuclear threat could excite people in 1985 and be developed over six episodes, as here, the story of Edge of Darkness fades relatively quickly. In a story without surprise, the character does not flirts enough with the darkness (where is the “Edge of Darkness” of the title?) and the honeyed flashback with his murdered daughter soften the too deep black waited film (a desperate father who wants to avenge his only daughter murdered under his eyes).
Rest the expertise in action movie of New Zealand director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, 2006) including the scene of encounter between Mel Gibson and the former boyfriend of her daughter, Burnham (Shawn Roberts), where the director opposes the forty and solid Gibson to the agility of the young Roberts as he had opposed the terrestrial Daniel Craig as James Bond to the aerian Sébastien Foucan in Casino Royale.
Special mention also to the flashback scene where Mel Gibson, alone on the beach with the ashes of his daughter, heard a child crying because for a few seconds (before the reverse angle), we are him by not knowing whether we are in reality (a little girl playing near the water) or in the past (the memory of a lived scene with his own daughter).
But despite these good scenes, Edge of Darkness is a far away from his title and therefore leaves us with mixed feelings.
To learn more:
- Edge of Darkness (2010)
Direction: Martin Campbell
Writing: William Monahan et Andrew Bovell
Image: Phil Meheux
Editing: Stuart Baird
Cast: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic,Shawn Roberts…