vineri, 29 septembrie 2017

L'arnacoeur aka Heartbreaker with Romain Duris

L'arnacoeur aka Heartbreaker with Romain Duris

L'arnacoeur is phenomenal.
And that is in large part due to the mesmerizing Romain Duris.

This film is on my list of best twenty motion pictures and I have enjoyed it the day before yesterday, seeing it for a second time.
It is as charming as L'auberge Espagnole.

The performances are as fabulous as in De Battre Mon Coeur C'est Arrete, where we can see the same magnificent Romain Duris in the leading role.
L'arnacoeur is the Heartbreaker.

Alex is the main character and he has a business, run with his sister and brother in law.
Melanie, the sister and her husband, Marc are helping Alex to...break hearts.

Marc is interpreted by the funny, excellent François Damiens.
We see them at work, from the beginning of the film, somewhere in the North of Africa, in Morocco.

This man is enticed with a leaflet advertising a wet t shirt contest and the view of a beautiful young woman at the pool.
When his lover is talking of the trip they have planned, he is not interested.

The Heartbreaker team has all lined up, with a man in the market talking about the doctor, Alex in his role for that operation.
The target is taken on ride by this generous, kind and romantic young man, who helps children.

They stop on the way at this place with many kids that the doctor supposedly knows by name, for he so generously visits regularly.
He makes a mistake, calling Ahmed, Ali or viceversa, but it does not matter.

The young woman is thrilled and overwhelmed.
Sister and the other accomplice are waiting in the dunes with the birds that will contribute to the conquest.

One refuses to fly, but no secret conspiracy can run without a flaw.
Alex turns a distorted face towards the audience and he makes an effort to cry, because this is part of the technique and adds to his appeal.

- Mission accomplished!

We now learn about the values, the credo of this trio.
They only deal with unhappy women.

Alex would never interfere when the woman loves her partner or/and is happy.
Sex is not involved and we seem to have here the most responsible, moral, ethical enterprise...

Some hilarious scenes follow, presenting the achievements of the trio.
A Japanese woman is seduced by the hero disguised as an Oriental cook, with a pony tail, a police woman is taken off her feet by a fake prisoner, an office white collar worker is attracted by the same man, now washing the windows of the skyscraper where she works.

But the substance of the film is only now about to be revealed.
A new job involves Juliette aka the wondrous Vanessa Paradis, who is about to get married to Jonathan, a rich, smart, attractive Prince Charming.
The Heartbreaker team prepares for the attack.

Their homework includes photographs, surveillance, research, trying to find the weak spots.
Alas, there seems to be none.

Alex is hired as the bodyguard, supposedly, by the father of the bride to be and the man who will pay, if the separation is successful.
Juliette refuses to play along, even asking the bodyguard how much would he take to just leave her alone...

- € 50,000 he says
And she writes a check

Both her family and that of Jonathan are very wealthy.

Other tricks have to be used, so Melanie pretends to be a biker, hurt in the middle on the road and as Juliette tries to help, she jumps, takes the bag and the car and runs off.
The bodyguard runs after the attacker, who is waiting at the pre established place, takes the car and the purse back.

Melanie wanted to keep the bag, for it was a Hermes, but it's impossible, for the plan to work.
However, she has the chance to payback, because in this same scheme, Alex has to get a punch in the nose, so that Juliette would feel compassion.

And she does and hires the man who knows everything about her.
And starts to use that, pretending to like George Michael, whose songs are broadcast by Marc, who is following in their special Van.

He has in his luggage and let's slip a DVD of Dirty Dancing, with which he is so familiar...
He danced with Marc to get to know all the moves.

Alex is charming, funny, attractive, fresh, unpredictable, modest...the perfect man.
True, so is Jonathan, but Alex is more, I don't know, authentic.

Juliette is ready to forget about the wedding, moving towards another victory for L'arnacoeur and co.
Counterintuitively, Alex pulls out.

When Juliette comes to him and says that they should just run away together, he refuses.
He knows he has lied, approached and seduced her on false pretenses.

This fantastic film does not end here, but this is where I stop.

luni, 18 septembrie 2017

Note on Ironweed by William Kennedy

Note on Hot Shots! writer, director Jim Abrahams, with Charlie Sheen, Ca...

Note on Step Brothers, with Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Richard Jenkins

Note on Flightplan, with Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean

Note on The Big Short, with Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, ...

Note on Lust for Life, directors Vicente Minnelli, George Cukor, with Ki...

Miss Sloane by Jonathan Perera, with Jessica Chastain

Miss Sloane by Jonathan Perera, with Jessica Chastain

This is a splendid film.
At least that is how I saw it.

Jessica Chastain is phenomenal as the powerful, smart lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane, a complex, sensational woman.
John Madden is the man who has directed Shakespeare in Love and is doing an excellent job at the helm of this film.

Jonathan Perera, as the author of the script, deals with important themes- corruption, gun rights and control.
The narrative is told with mastery, there are flashbacks and we see Elizabeth Sloane in the present, testifying before Congress.

Lobbyists are one of the powerful forces in Washington and many think they control too many politicians.
And the presidential election of 2016 was won in part on the promise to “drain the swamp” and change politics.

Of course, that was empty talk, from a man who has no scruples and has demonstrated he is a con artist.
It is inconceivable that so many have fallen for such a lousy, the most unworthy of all American presidents.

People like me, who used to admire America, its values, democracy, system, accomplishments are left extremely disappointed.
One of the main subjects of the film is the right to hold arms as enshrined in the constitution that is so dated on this subject:

-          "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
As Miss Sloane explains exquisitely, those who have written this down lived in a different age, with antiquated views

-          They used to resolve their disputes, at dawn, shooting each other

Of course, when she uses this argument, with more or less these words, her supporters are horrified, because they know that attacking the constitution, or just appearing to be doing it is anathema and works for the adversaries.
The lobbyist, who used to work for the wrong cause, allowing the planters in Indonesia to extend their palm oil plantations, presumably by cutting down forests, or, in some worse cases by burning trees, an operation which has created catastrophes in the region, has now embraced a worthy, noble cause.

Mark Strong is marvelous in the role of Rodolfo Schmidt, the man who convinces Miss Sloane to join his team.
They try to impose some controls on gun acquisition, which, although sensible, it is met with fierce opposition.

The National Rifle Association is a powerful organization that fights any measure to “limit” the right to bear arms.
Even if the question is to control the buying of automatic rifles, which would make sense only in war, or lunatics who want to get and use them.

As shown by multiple massacres committed in schools, cinemas, involving so many innocents, children and bystanders, the initiatives to try and prevent mad men from getting machine guns and deadly weapons is more than reasonable.
And yet, with its financial wealth and the power to swing elections in favor of the candidate that favors no controls, the NRA has managed to kill any such bill.

-          “Dildos are illegal in Texas, but Joe Public can walk into a sports store and walk out with a shotgun”

This is the line that Rodolfo Schmidt has in the film and it is a brief demonstration of the paradoxes that we can observe in America.

Elizabeth Sloane is in many ways a role model, for her bright side shows a strong, intelligent, dedicated, focused, visionary, hardworking, resilient, brave, tough, unhesitating, determined woman.
She is also intriguing, her dark side can antagonize with her ruthlessness, cunning, readiness to use anything that will make her win, insensitivity, willingness to abandon personal life for her professional success.

Elizabeth Sloane appears to use pills to allow her to work more, up to or more than sixteen hours a day, using male escorts to deal with her desires and showing a lack of compassion and arrogance in the process.
The fact that she is so brilliant one moment and then cold and distant the next make the character ever more interesting and challenging.

This is a wondrous motion picture.

sâmbătă, 16 septembrie 2017

Note on Iris, with Judy Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet, Hugh Boneville

Note on The Awful Truth, with Cary Grant, Irene Dunne

Note on Diner, writer, director Barry Levinson, with Steve Guttenberg, K...

Note on Amelia, with Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor

Note on Les Possedes, director Andrzej Wajda, with Isabelle Huppert, Oma...

Note on Sahara, with Humphrey Bogart

Note on Moka, with Emmanuelle Devos, Nathalie Baye

Note on 127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle, with James Franco

Note on Patriot Games, with Harrison Ford, Sean Bean

Note on And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, with Antonio Banderas, Ala...

marți, 5 septembrie 2017

Jerry Maguire, written and directed by Cameron Crowe

Jerry Maguire, written and directed by Cameron Crowe

Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. And Renee Zellweger all perform excellently in this splendid film.
And one must admit to that, even if Tom Cruise, with his Scientology scheme, can be really unpopular, to say the least.

But this is a motion picture about values.
It is also about love, money, loyalty, grit, resilience, intrinsic goals and calling.

Jerry Maguire is lucky in that he has found his calling.
Psychologists have proved that in each profession, people are divided into three groups:
1. Those who come for the paycheck
2. Men and women who want a career
3. But the really blessed are those who have a calling

And Jerry Maguire is not just an agent who wants the money, he has people skills, dedication, resilience and most importantly...Values
In fact, he can share with his alas, only client the idea that money is not all there is.

Cuba Gooding Jr. Became famous for his role as Rod Tidwell, his line:

Show me the money!

And the acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.
It is up to his agent to tell him, as a friend:

You are too obsessed with money...all the time you think about that, you are wonderful and use your heart off the field, but on the stadium, you only play with your head...
Use your heart!

And the friend is on to something: referring again to psychology, tests and research have proved that EQ is much more important than IQ.

Emotional Intelligence beats IQ hands down

There is a salesman who has some punch lines throughout the movie.
And he says something like- if you have no heart, the head is useless.

The other important story in this film is the relationship between Jerry and Dorothy Boyd aka Renee Zellweger, totally different from the present one.
When Jerry is forced to go from his old company, nobody wants to take the risk and join him.

Nobody except Dorothy.
And she becomes attached to him, and then in love.

In a smart script, their love story does not end when they are married.
Indeed, the Harvard Positive Psychology Professor Tal Ben-Shahar says that with marriage, most, if not all mainstream motion pictures end.

And they lived happily ever after...

But this is just the beginning of a long time relationship.
In the case of Jerry and Dorothy, he asked her to marry him because he felt he had to pay for her loyalty.

But at that point he was not overwhelmed with joy, not even in love.
And she can see that and she is so Emotionally Intelligent that she tells him that he is free and it was her mistake:

"I thought I loved you enough for both of us, but it wasn't "

There is the American football side of this story, with the gradual increase in performance of Rod Tidwell.
This is a very violent sport and president Barack Obama was right to say that he would not have allowed his sons to play the sport.

Concussion, with Will Smith is the film that reveals the dark side of this sport, which too often involves brain damage.
The bond between Rod and his agent is very strong...there is a funny moment, which is also emotional, when another player looks at the real connection and friendliness expressed by the player and agent and says to his own representative:

Why don't we have that kind of relationship?

To which the agent, fakes an embrace, only to be pushed away.

Jerry was betrayed by another player and his father, who abandoned him early in the story.

But he turned the stumbling blocks into stepping stones and became a role model...