Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vinicius de Moraes

(Spain/Brazil, 2005, 123 minutes)

A documentary on the life and work of Brazilian poet and songwriter Vinicius de Moraes, with performances of his greatest poems and songs and statements from family, friends and songwriting partners. Handsome and well-made documentary whose wealth of information and warmth of remembrance would do very well without its elegant but unnecessary framing device (a cabaret show where two actors read out Vinicius’ poems and contemporary singers perform his songs).

A United International Pictures/Globo Filmes/Paramount release. Made with the financial assistance of Lereby, ANCINE and the Rio de Janeiro Federal Government, sponsored by Estúdios Mega and BNDES. Petrobrás presents an Iberautor Promociones Culturales/1001 Filmes production in co-production with VM Empreendimentos, Sky Light and Paramount Home Entertainment International; a Miguel Faria Jr./Susana Moraes production. With Camila Morgado and Ricardo Blat; with performances by Yamandú Costa, Adriana Calcanhotto, Olívia Byington, Mônica Salmaso, Mariana de Moraes, Sérgio Cassiano, Zeca Pagodinho, MS Bom, Nego Jeff, Leroy and Mart'nália. Directed by Miguel Faria Jr.; written by Miguel Faria Jr. and Diana Vasconcellos, with the collaboration of Eucanaã Ferraz; final narration written by Eric Nepomuceno; musical direction and incidental score by Luiz Cláudio Ramos; director of photography, Lauro Escorel; art director, Marcos Flaksman; costume designer, Marília Carneiro; film editor, Diana Vasconcellos.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Le Dernier Trappeur

The Last Trapper

(France/Canada/Germany/Italy/Switzerland, 2004, 101 minutes)

The life of one of the last Canadian fur trappers living in the Yukon. Uninvolving wildlife adventure that wraps some breathtaking nature photography in a contrived fictional narrative.

A TFM Distribution release. Jean-Pierre Bailly presents an MC4/TF1 Cinéma/National Film Board of Canada/Pandora Filmproduktion/Mikado/Les Films Jean-Marc Henchoz production, with the participation of Canal Plus, Télévision Suisse Romande and the Yukon Film Commission, the sponsorship of Gaz de France and the support of Procirep and Angoa, in association with Sogecinéma and Sofica Valor 6. Starring Norman Winther, with May Loo and Alex van Bibber. Directed by Nicolas Vanier; written by Nicolas Vanier with the collaboration of Dominique Kugler; music by Krishna Levy; director of photography, Thierry Machado; decorator, Kurt Fraser; film editor, Yves Chaput.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

(USA, 2006, 109 minutes)

A journalism graduate fresh out of college finds a job as a junior assistant to the most powerful fashion editor in New York and finds herself faced to choose between survival and integrity. Glossy, sleekly professional comedy based on a best-selling roman à clef about the fashion world; entertaining fluff enlivened by pitch-perfect casting.

A Twentieth Century-Fox release. Fox 2000 Pictures presents a Wendy Finerman production, produced in association with Dune Entertainment and Major Studio Partners. Starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Emily Blunt, Adrian Grenier. Directed by David Frankel; produced by Wendy Finerman; screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna, based upon the novel The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger; music by Theodore Shapiro; director of photography, Florian Ballhaus; production designer, Jess Gonchor; costume designer, Patricia Field; film editor, Mark Livolsi.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion

(USA, 2006, 105 minutes)

After nearly 30 years on air, a popular live radio show puts on its last programme before the theatre it is broadcast from is demolished to make way for a parking lot. Whimsical, eccentric and very enjoyable all-star ensemble comedy, very typical of its author’s usual mosaics, putting a fictional framework on Garrison Keillor’s popular radio programme of the same name; also an insightful commentary on modern American cultural mores.

Picturehouse presents, in association with Greenestreet Films and River Road Entertainment, a Sandcastle 5/Prairie Home Productions/Powdermilk Pictures production. Starring Marylouise Burke, Woody Harrelson, L. Q. Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin. Directed by Robert Altman; produced by Robert Altman, Wren Arthur, Joshua Astrachan, Tony Judge and David Levy; screenplay by Garrison Keillor, based on a story by Garrison Keillor and Ken Lazebnik; original music and musical director, Richard Dworsky; director of photography, Ed Lachman; production designer, Dina Goldman; costume designer, Catherine Marie Thomas; film editor, Jacob Craycroft.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cleopatra

(USA, 1963; premiere "roadshow" version, 243 minutes; general release version, 191 minutes)

The story of Cleopatra’s rise to the throne of Egypt, and her passionate love affairs with both Julius Caesar and his general Mark Anthony. One of the most celebrated Hollywood train wrecks of all time, due to its inordinately lengthy and troubled production that made it the most expensive film ever made and almost bankrupted Fox, is not the catastrophy its reputation has led one to expect but actually a majestic, literate tragedy of politics and passion that has aged surprisingly well. The film ended up costing $44 million and was in production for five years, its actual shoot begun in England in 1960 under director Rouben Mamoulian and suspended after three months, restarting six months later under Joseph L. Mankiewicz (personally chosen by star Elizabeth Taylor), who also rewrote the script daily during a epic ten-month shoot in Rome’s Cinecittà studios. Mankiewicz wished to split the film into two three-hour parts, but new Fox president Darryl F. Zanuck refused; he allowed a 243-minute “roadshow” version that Mankiewicz considered it the shortest he could make, but slashed it further to 191 minutes for general release.

A Twentieth Century-Fox release. A Twentieth-Century Fox Film Productions production made by the joint venture of MCL Films and Walwa Films. Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison; also starring Pamela Brown, George Cole, Hume Cronyn, Cesare Danova, Kenneth Haigh, Andrew Keir, Martin Landau, Roddy McDowall, Robert Stephens. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz; produced by Walter Wanger; screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall and Sidney Buchman, based on works by Plutarch, Suetonius and Appian and on the book The Life and Times of Cleopatra by C. M. Franzero; music by Alex North; director of photography, Leon Shamroy; production designer, John de Cuir; men's costume designer, Vittorio Nino Novarese; women's costume designer, Renie; Elizabeth Taylor's wardrobe designed by Irene Sharaff; film editor, Dorothy Spencer; choreographer, Hermes Pan.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Crank

(USA, 2006, 89 minutes)

A professional hitman learns he’s been poisoned with an exotic lethal drug cocktail that will kill him unless he keeps adrenaline flowing, and must stay alive long enough to get the man who did it. Essentially a hyper-kinetic, violent, rather mindless spin on DOA (Rudolph Maté, 1949) for modern-day audiences accustomed to the speed of video games and television commercials; you have to admire the ingenuity that went into it, but the makers don’t seem to know when enough is enough.

Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment present a Lakeshore Entertainment/Lionsgate production in association with @Radical.Media, produced in association with Greenstreet Films. Starring Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Juan Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez; and Dwight Yoakam. Directed and written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor; produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Richard Wright, Skip Williamson and Michael Davis; music by Paul Haslinger; director of photography, Adam Biddle; production designer, Jerry Fleming; costume designer, Christopher Lawrence; film editor, Brian Berdan; visual effects supervisor, designer and compositor, Travis Bauman.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Palais Royal!

(France/United Kingdom, 2005, 106 minutes)

Unwittingly thrust into the position of queen of a small European country when her philandering husband unexpectedly succeeds the deceased king, a plain speech therapist blossoms into a conniving media darling as she realises how much the royal family can’t stand her. Hit-and-miss satire of both royal aristocracy and the media that dote on them, with a number of excellent gags and inspired casting offset by an ill-resolved, one-joke script.

Gaumont presents, with the participation of Canal Plus and Ciné-Cinéma, in association with Samarkand Film Partnership No. 1, a Rectangle Productions/Les Films du Dauphin/Palais Productions/TF1 Films Production/De L'Huile co-production. Starring Valérie Lemercier, Lambert Wilson, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Aumont, Mathilde Seigner, Denis Podalydès, Michel Vuillermoz, Gisèle Casadesus, Gilbert Melki, Maurane. Directed by Valérie Lemercier; produced by Édouard Weil; written by Valérie Lemercier and Brigitte Buc; director of photography, James Welland; production designer, Jacques Bufnoir; costume designer, Catherine Leterrier; film editor, Luc Barnier.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Twelve and Holding

(USA, 2005, 94 minutes)

After his twin brother dies in an accidental fire, a 12-year old and his two best friends decide to change their lives, even if they don't quite go about it the right way. Intense, challenging coming-of-age melodrama about kids trying to be adults too soon, handled with sensitivity but without flinching from harder subjects others might skirt.

A Fortissimo Films presentation. A Serenade Films/Canary Films production in association with Echo Lake Productions. Starring Linus Roache, Annabella Sciorra, Jayne Atkinson, Jeremy Renner, Marcia de Bonis, Bruce Altman; and Tom McGowan; Conor Donovan, Jesse Camacho; and Zoe Weizenbaum. Directed by Michael Cuesta; produced by Leslie Urdang, Michael Cuesta, Brian Bell and Jenny Schweitzer; written by Anthony S. Cipriano; music by Pierre Földes; director of photography, Romeo Tirone; production designer, Lucio Seixas; costume designer, Marina Draghici; film editors, Kane Platt and Eric Carlson.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Marie Antoinette

(USA, 2005, 122 minutes)

In 1768, Austrian royal teenager Marie Antoinette is married off to the eldest son of the King of France, and sent off to Versailles where she feels out of place, uncared for by her husband, and adrift in court politics that go over her head. Not quite a biography but more of a portrait of the last queen of France as a teenager lost in an adult world; the approach may not be to everyone’s taste but, despite a few awkward flourishes, the result is a melancholy coming-of-age tale carried by its gloriously stylish handling and a strong lead performance. The film was entirely shot on location in Versailles and other French castles, with unprecedented cooperation from the French government, but its premiere in competition in the 2006 Cannes Film Festival was roundly booed by the French critics.

Columbia Pictures presents, in association with Pricel and Tohokushinsha, an American Zoetrope production. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Rose Byrne, Asia Argento, Molly Shannon, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Marianne Faithfull, Mary Nighy, Sebastian Armesto, Jamie Dornan, Aurore Clément, Guillaume Gallienne, James Lance, Al Weaver, Tom Hardy; and Steve Coogan. Directed by Sofia Coppola; produced by Ross Katz and Sofia Coppola; screenplay by Sofia Coppola, based on the book Marie Antoinette: A Journey by Antonia Fraser; music producer, Brian Reitzell; director of photography, Lance Acord; production designer, K. K. Barrett; costume designer, Milena Canonero; film editor, Sarah Flack.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

(USA, 1949, 103 minutes)

A Cavalry captain about to retire, reluctant to leave his command in the hands of junior officers, has to face an Indian rebellion in his last patrol. Superb western melodrama with all the traditional hallmarks of its director, plus an unexpectedly elegiac, lyrical streak that raises it above the genre standard; second in Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy" after Fort Apache (1948) and before Rio Grande (1950).

Argosy Pictures Corporation presents a John Ford/Merian C. Cooper production, distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. Starring John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr; with Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, George O’Brien, Arthur Shields. Directed by John Ford; screenplay by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings, based on the story by James Warner Bellah, "War Party"; music by Richard Hageman; director of photography, Winton Hoch; art director, James Basevi; wardrobe, Michael Meyers and Ann Peck; film editor, Jack Murray.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

(USA, 2006, 99 minutes)

A sorely dysfunctional family agrees to drive their 7-year old daughter all the way down from Albuquerque to Los Angeles in a battered VW bus so she can attend a beauty pageant. Quirky but warm-hearted ensemble comedy whose attentive and apparently dispassionate look at modern America hides a feel-good, optimistic core.

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents in association with Big Beach a Big Beach/Bona Fide production. Starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano; with Abigail Breslin; and Alan Arkin. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; produced by Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Marc Turtletaub, David T. Friendly and Peter Saraf; written by Michael Arndt; music by Mychael Danna featuring DeVotchka; director of photography, Tim Suhrstedt; production designer, Kalina Ivanov; costume designer, Nancy Steiner; film editor, Pamela Martin.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Guardian

(USA, 2006, 138 minutes)

After losing his crew in an accident, a veteran Coast Guard rescue swimmer is reassigned as an instructor to rescue training school, where he singles out a particularly promising candidate. Old-fashioned recruiting poster heroics with a dash of An Officer and a Gentleman and an underground current of melancholy that, along with the handsome, dynamic handling and a sterling performance from a rebounding Kevin Costner, raises it into expert action melodrama, despite a letdown ending. Technical credits impeccable.

Touchstone Pictures and Beacon Pictures present a Contrafilm/Firm Films production. Starring Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Neal McDonough, Melissa Sagemiller, Brian Geraghty, Clancy Brown; and Sela Ward. Directed by Andrew Davis; produced by Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson; written by Ron L. Brinkerhoff; music by Trevor Rabin; director of photography, Stephen St. John; production designer, Maher Ahmad; costume designer, Mark Peterson; film editors, Dennis Virkler and Thomas J. Nordberg; visual effects supervisor, William Mesa.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Il Deserto Rosso

Red Desert

(Italy/France, 1964, 117 minutes)

A suicidal housewife in a provincial industrial town wanders around trying to make sense of her depressed life, entering a reluctant affair with a friend of her husband’s. Intriguing existentialist melodrama that resolves itself in a series of strikingly photographed, painterly tableaux (it was the director’s first experience with colour).

A Film Duemila/Cinematografica Federiz/Francoriz production. Starring Monica Vitti, Richard Harris; with Carlo Chionetti, Xenia Valderi, Rita Renoir, Lili Rheims, Aldo Grotti, Valerio Bartoleschi, Emmanuela Pala Carboni. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni; produced by Antonio Cervi; story and screenplay by Michelangelo Antonioni and Tonino Guerra; music by Giovanni Fusco; electronic music composed by Vittorio Gelmetti; director of photography, Carlo di Palma; production designer, Piero Poletto; costume designer, Gitt Magrini; film editor, Eraldo da Roma.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

V for Vendetta

(United Kingdom/Germany, 2006, 130 minutes)

In a near future where England is a totalitarian state, a young secretary becomes unwittingly involved with a mysterious masked revolutionary fighting for democracy who takes as his cue the failed Catholic uprising of 1605. Powerful, provocative futuristic mystery thriller retaining the spirit, if not the word, of an acclaimed graphic novel with a strong political subtext.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Virtual Studios, a Silver Pictures production in association with Anarchos Productions, with the assistance of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg; a Warner Bros. Productions/Fünfte Babelsberg Film co-production. Starring Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry; and John Hurt. Directed by James McTeigue; produced by Joel Silver, Grant Hill, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski; screenplay by the Wachowski brothers, based on the graphic novel V for Vendetta written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd; music by Dario Marianelli; director of photography, Adrian Biddle; production designer, Owen Paterson; costume designer, Sammy Sheldon; film editor, Martin Walsh; visual effects supervisor, Dan Glass.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Bout de souffle

Breathless

(France, 1959, 87 minutes)

A small time Parisian crook in love with an American student accidentally kills a policeman. The film that actually set the whole Nouvelle Vague in motion, involving three film critics who would go on to become successful directors in their own right (director Jean-Luc Godard, scripter François Truffaut and "technical consultant" Claude Chabrol); essentially an ultra-romantic conversation piece under the guise of a poverty row thriller, transfigured by its jagged, urban direction and quirky sense of dialogue. Nothing quite like it had ever been made before (nor has quite been made afterwards), but it may seem a shade too conversational to those not enraptured by its period charms. Godard dedicated the film, which has no front or end credit roll at all, to Poverty Row studio Monogram Pictures. A US remake was attempted in 1983 by Jim McBride: Breathless, starring Richard Gere and Valerie Kaprisky, had nothing to do with the original besides a certain boyish, naïf charm.

A Ciné-Classic release. SNC presents a Georges de Beauregard production. Starring Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo; with Henri-Jacques Huet, Liliane David, Claude Mansard, Van Doude, Daniel Boulanger. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard; produced by Georges de Beauregard; original screenplay by François Truffaut; music by Martial Solal; director of photography, Raoul Coutard; film editor, Cécile Decugis.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Click

(USA, 2006, 104 minutes)

A harried architect comes into possession of a mysterious, magical remote control that effectively allows him to freeze, rewind or fast-forward his life at his whim. Ill-advised star vehicle that tries to play an intriguing It’s a Wonderful Life scenario as straight comedy then abruptly veers into maudlin melodrama; either way, it might have worked with better scripting and another star.

Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios present a Happy Madison Productions/Original Film production. Starring Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, Henry Winkler, David Hasselhoff, Julie Kavner, Jennifer Coolidge, Sean Astin. Directed by Frank Coraci; produced by Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Neal H. Moritz, Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe; written by Steve Koren and Mark O'Keefe; music by Rupert Gregson-Williams; director of photography, Dean Semler; production designer, Perry Andelin Blake; costume designer, Ellen Lutter; film editor, Jeff Gourson; special make-up effects, Rick Baker; visual effects supervisor, Peter G. Travers; visual effects designer, Jim Rygiel.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Barnyard

(USA/Germany, 2006, 89 minutes)

A party-loving cow finds himself forced to grow up fast when his adoptive father dies leaving him in charge of protecting the barnyard animals. Cartoon comedy that has a nice idea and some appealing, lively animation but loses it in poor, sitcom-gag-oriented scripting.

Paramount Pictures in association with Nickelodeon Movies presents an O Entertainment production in association with KUMAR Mobiliengesellschaft Projekt nr 2. With the voices of Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliott, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Andie MacDowell, David Koechner. Directed and written by Steve Oedekerk; produced by Paul Marshal and Steve Oedekerk; music by John Debney; production designer, Philip A. Cruden; film editors, Billy Weber and Paul D. Calder.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Black Dahlia

(USA/Germany, 2005, 120 minutes)

In 1947 Los Angeles, the lives of two LAPD detectives are irredeemably changed when they stumble across the horribly mutilated body of a would-be actress. Stylish but unsatisfying noir mystery adapted from an acclaimed novel based on a real-life murder case that was never solved; too much style cramping a convoluted plot and an uneven second-tier cast that tries its best but is not entirely adequate undo a great period recreation, excellent production values and attentive handling.

Millennium Films presents a Signature Pictures production for Equity Pictures Medienfonds and Nu Image Entertainment. Starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart; and Hilary Swank; with Mia Kirshner, Mike Starr, Fiona Shaw, Patrick Fischler, James Otis. Directed by Brian de Palma; produced by Art Linson, Rudy Cohen, Moshe Diamant and Avi Lerner; screenplay by Josh Friedman, based upon the novel The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy; music by Mark Isham; director of photography, Vilmos Zsigmond; production designer, Dante Ferretti; costume designer, Jenny Beavan; film editor, Bill Pankow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Transe

Trance

(Portugal/France/Italy/Russia, 2006, 126 minutes)

A young Russian leaves her country and her family behind to make a better living abroad, but finds herself in the hands of human traffickers. Arthouse melodrama of the seedier side of contemporary society that, while powerfully presented and performed, is too abstract to be as harrowing as its makers intend it to be.

Paulo Branco presents a Clap Filmes/Gemini Films/Revolver production, in association with Hermitage Bridge Studio, with the support of ICAM, RTP, Centre National de la Cinématographie and TPS Star. Starring Ana Moreira, Viktor Rakov, Robinson Stévenin, Iaia Forte, Andrey Chadov, Tim, Filippo Timi, Dinara Droukarova. Directed and written by Teresa Villaverde; produced by Paulo Branco; director of photography, João Ribeiro; production designer, Zé Branco; costume designer, Sílvia Grabowski; film editor, Andrée Davanture.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

De Battre Mon Coeur s'Est Arrêté

The Beat that My Heart Skipped

(France, 2005, 107 minutes)

A chance encounter with her concert pianist mother’s former agent makes a shady real estate strongman think of changing his life altogether by taking up the piano again. Intense melodrama with thriller overtones, excellently written, handled and performed; nominally a remake of James Toback's little-known 1978 film Fingers.

A UGC release. Why Not Productions presents a Why Not Productions/SEDIF/France 3 Cinéma co-production, in association with Cofimage 15, with the participation of Canal Plus and Cinécinéma and the support of La Région Île-de-France. Starring Romain Duris, Niels Arestrup, Linh-Din Pham, Aure Atika, Emmanuelle Devos, Jonathan Zaccaï, Gilles Cohen. Directed by Jacques Audiard; screenplay by Jacques Audiard and Tonino Benacquista, based upon the film Fingers written and directed by James Toback; music by Alexandre Desplat; director of photography, Stéphane Fontaine; production designer, François Emmanuelli; costume designer, Virginie Montel; film editor, Juliette Welfling.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Apres la Vie

Trilogy 3: After Life

(France/Belgium, 2002, 125 minutes)

A police detective married to a drug addict is torn between corrupting himself for his wife’s sake or destroying his marriage.
One of three interconnected films written and directed by Lucas Belvaux starring the same set of characters; each film is in a different genre, its lead characters becoming supporting characters in the other two films. This one, the best of the three, is a powerful, slow-burning melodrama with thriller elements and two superb lead performances.

A Diaphana Distribution release. An Agat Films & Cie/Entre Chien et Loup production in co-production with Rhône-Alpes Cinéma and RTBF, with the participation of Centre National de la Cinématographie, Eurimages, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté Française de Belgique, Télédistributeurs Wallons and Région Rhône-Alpes, in association with Cofimage 12, Gimages 5 and Natexis Banques Populaires Images 2, and with the participation of Canal Plus. Starring Dominique Blanc, Gilbert Melki, Ornella Muti; with the participation of Catherine Frot, François Morel, Valérie Mairesse, Bernard Mazzinghi. Directed and written by Lucas Belvaux; produced by Patrick Sobelman and Diana Elbaum; music by Riccardo del Fra; director of photography, Pierre Milon; production designer, Frédérique Belvaux; wardrobe, Cécile Cotten; film editor, Danielle Anezin.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cavale

Trilogy 1: On the Run

(France/Belgium, 2002, 113 minutes)

A terrorist in prison for 15 years escapes, but finds out time has passed him by and none of his old colleagues is willing to help him. One of three interconnected films written and directed by Lucas Belvaux starring the same set of characters; each film is in a different genre, its lead characters becoming supporting characters in the other two films. This one is a dense character study disguised as stylized noir thriller.

A Diaphana Distribution release. An Agat Films & Cie/Entre Chien et Loup production in co-production with Rhône-Alpes Cinéma and RTBF, with the participation of Centre National de la Cinématographie, Eurimages, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté Française de Belgique, Télédistributeurs Wallons and Région Rhône-Alpes, in association with Cofimage 12, Gimages 5 and Natexis Banques Populaires Images 2, and with the participation of Canal Plus. Starring Catherine Frot, Lucas Belvaux, Dominique Blanc, Ornella Muti; with the participation of Gilbert Melki. Directed and written by Lucas Belvaux; produced by Patrick Sobelman and Diana Elbaum; music by Riccardo del Fra; director of photography, Pierre Milon; production designer, Frédérique Belvaux; wardrobe, Cécile Cotten; film editor, Ludo Troch.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Un Couple Epatant

Trilogy 2: An Amazing Couple

(France/Belgium, 2002, 97 minutes)

A hypochondriac patent lawyer tries to hide from his wife that he’s having a minor surgery; she doesn’t buy it, suspects he has a lover and decides to have him followed by a police detective. One of three interconnected films written and directed by Lucas Belvaux starring the same set of characters; each film is in a different genre, its lead characters becoming supporting characters in the other two films. This one is an enjoyable but slight comedy of errors that, despite good performances, handling and dialogue, is more interesting seen in the larger context; by itself, it quickly outstays its welcome.

A Diaphana Distribution release. An Agat Films & Cie/Entre Chien et Loup production in co-production with Rhône-Alpes Cinéma and RTBF, with the participation of Centre National de la Cinématographie, Eurimages, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté Française de Belgique, Télédistributeurs Wallons and Région Rhône-Alpes, in association with Cofimage 12, Gimages 5 and Natexis Banques Populaires Images 2, and with the participation of Canal Plus. Starring Ornella Muti, François Morel, Dominique Blanc, Gilbert Melki; with Valérie Mairesse, Bernard Mazzinghi, Raphaele Godin; with the participation of Catherine Frot and (uncredited) Lucas Belvaux. Directed and written by Lucas Belvaux; produced by Patrick Sobelman and Diana Elbaum; music by Riccardo del Fra; director of photography, Pierre Milon; production designer, Frédérique Belvaux; wardrobe, Cécile Cotten; film editor, Valérie Loiseleux.