Showing posts with label Marion Cotillard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marion Cotillard. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Nine is a 2009 movie adaptation of a Broadway musical of the same name which was in turn inspired by Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film, . Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a gifted film maker on the cusp of his fiftieth birthday. Struggling for ideas on the back of a series of flops, he flees to a remote health spa and turns to the women in his life for inspiration. The movie is notable for containing several fleeting performances from some of the most beautiful and talented women in Hollywood as well as Kate Hudson. Although poorly received by critics and a certified box office failure, the movie garnered four Academy Award nominations and in my opinion contains some superb cinematography as well as a couple of great performances.

The main problem with the movie for me is that it isn’t . There are a few scenes, especially those featuring Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz, which look like shot for shot recreations of Fellini’s masterpiece and these bought back happy memories of watching that movie. During a lot of the other scenes I just wished that I was watching Fellini’s film. The problem with making a movie based on such a well respected source is that you’ve got to make it pretty special to make people want to watch yours instead of the film you’re basing your work on. In the case of Nine, it just made me remember how good is.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

La Vie en Rose

La Vie en Rose is a 2007 French biopic about the singer Edith Piaf who rose from a street urchin early in the twentieth century to become one of France’s most renowned singers by the mid point of the century. The film charts her battles against stage fright, mafia control, arthritis, morphine addiction and snobbery as she slowly rises to prominence.

I have to admit that I didn’t like the film. I thought it was muddled, over-long and confusing but in amongst the mess was one of the best acting performances I’ve seen in a long time. Marion Cotillard delivers a spell binding performance as the troubled singer and deserves a much better vehicle for her talents. She transforms effortlessly from the young waif to her height in the fifties and on to the broken woman of 1960. Without her stunning performance the film wouldn’t be worth watching, because of it, it is a must see.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Rust and Bone

Rust and Bone or De rouille et d'os in its original French title is a 2012 melodrama staring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts. An unemployed man moves from Belgium to the south of France with his five year old son in search of a better life. Finding nothing but poverty and overly macho, short term jobs he meets a Killer Whale trainer who has become involved in a fight outside a nightclub he is working at. Months later she calls him while depressed while she is recovering from a severe injury sustained while working with the whales. The two strike up a complex friendship with each helping the other out of the rut they find their lives in.

Rust and Bone features a couple of extremely proficient performances, some wonderful cinematography, a tough story and excellent soundtrack but is not an easy watch. There are moments of extreme violence and heartache which will make the audience recoil in their seat and don’t go in expecting a traditional French love story because you won’t find it here.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Spoiler Free

The final part of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy finds Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) broken, physically and mentally, eight years on from the events of The Dark Knight. Wayne has become a recluse, staying away from the limelight both as a Billionaire playboy and masked vigilante. Wayne is temped out of retirement though through a combination of curiosity about a wily cat burglar called Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and the threat of a powerful anarchist named Bane (Tom Hardy).

I’ve never been as much of a fan of Nolan’s Batman films as some people although I did like Batman Begins and really enjoyed The Dark Knight. Going in I’d avoided all spoilers and reviews but expected that I would enjoy the film. I was wrong though. I didn’t just enjoy it but thought it was one of the best, if not the best film I’ve seen so far this year. Nothing prepared me for just how good this film is.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


A married woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) stops off in Chicago on her way back from a business trip in Hong Kong to engage in extra marital activities with an old boyfriend. When back home in Minneapolis she feels ill and believes she has contracted a cold while away. It turns out to be something much more serious though when she suffers a fit and is rushed to hospital. Unable to save her, doctors inform her husband (Matt Damon) that she has passed away and medical examiners begin tests to figure out what the deadly virus is. Meanwhile people all over the world are contracting the virus and it soon becomes clear that there is an epidemic on a global scale. WHO epidemiologist (Marion Cotillard) travels to Hong Kong to try to find the source of the infection and Disease Control boss (Laurence Fishburne) sends field agent (Kate Winslet) to Minneapolis to get a grip on events there. In a final strand to the story, blogger (Jude Law) is informing millions of his readers about Government cover-ups and conspiracies but has an agenda of his own.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Little White Lies

2010’s Little White Lies is a French Comedy-Drama from actor/director Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) and stars an ensemble cast of the great and the good of French cinema in a story about love, friendship and lies.

The film begins in a Paris night club where Ludo (Jean Dujardin – The Artist) is drinking. On his way home his scooter is hit by a lorry and he is left with severe injuries. After visiting him in hospital, his close group of friends decide that they will continue with their yearly tradition of holidaying at hotel owner Max’s (Francois Cluzet – Tell No One) holiday home near Bordeaux in spite of Ludo’s inability to join them. Seven friends set off for two weeks, leaving Ludo in the Paris hospital. There is plenty of eating, drinking and boating but also tension in the group for various reasons, all of which are played out and resolved over the 154 minute run time.

The film features some extraordinarily stereotyped characters. Of the women there is an Earth Mother type (Valérie Bonneton), a free spirit, arty one (Marion Cotillard) and a sexually frustrated wife/mother (Pascale Arbillot). Of the male characters there is the drug taking, party boy (Dujardin), playboy, arrogant actor (Gilles Lellouche – Adele Blanc-sec), the rich obsessive (Cluzet), the neurotic (Laurent Lafitte) and the sexually confused husband (Benoît Magimel). There are some fantastic actors in that bunch and some of them are spectacular in the film but all of the characters are badly drawn and stereotypical.

The story intertwines and proceeds at a steady pace. It is interesting to watch and like being a fly on the wall at an extended middle class dinner party. The film almost invites the audience in as one of the friends and makes you want to be part of the group. There are nice little side stories with each character spending time with each other and each having their own problems and issues, some of which are more volatile than others. The script isn’t particularly funny but the film most definitely is. The humour comes from the awkwardness of certain situations and the actor’s physical reactions to the dialogue, mostly in the form of surprised looks and glaring glances. Every now and then a secondary character will pop in for a few minutes which helps to add to the realism of the story.

The acting is fantastic across the board with Bonneton and Lellouche receiving Cesar nominations for their efforts. Personally I thought that Cluzet stood out more and Cotillard was very understated but fiery when she needed to be. Dujardin is also very good in a smaller role than the others. Either way, the film is an acting master class. One thing that perhaps helped with the acting and also helped to make the film feel so realistic are the actor’s relationships with each other. Cluzet and Bonneton are married, Cotillard is married to the director Canet and Cluzet, Lellouche and Canet worked together on Tell No One. These pre-existing working and personal relationships must have helped the director and cast to feel at ease while working together and it definitely shows up on film. It feels like everyone had fun making the film.   

One thing that nearly ruined the film for me is the music. The choice of music is diabolical. The director has chosen music to intensify the audience’s emotions but in doing so is treating his audience like idiots. Each time there is a sad scene some mushy, American Ballard is played and when we need to be uplifted we get some sort of happy, funky pop. Its shocking how bad the music is and the director might as well have just had flashing red letters on the screen reading ‘LAUGH NOW’ or ‘BE SAD’ at the appropriate moments. I can’t tell you how much this irked me and it honestly came close to ruining an otherwise decent film.

Overall this is an admirable film which features an engaging story and fantastic acting. It is both funny and sad and feels incredibly realistic. It is too long however and makes use of some terrible music.