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Recent Movies: The Intouchables, Moonrise Kindgom, The Avengers; Old Movies: La Femme Infidèle **************************

August 7, 2012
The Intouchables
 
This film is based on a true story:  in Paris , a poor Senegalese immigrant (Driss) becomes the live-in personal caretaker of a very wealthy man who is quadriplegic (Philippe).  Despite their differences, they connect well (predictably).
 
Occasionally, the film does well with that winning premise: the snobs against the slobs.  Some moments are pleasant and mildly moving though not as hilarious as they could be.  Still, it was difficult to be taken into this film mainly because of the characterization of Driss.  Frequently, he’s rude, overbearing, arrogant, and bullying.  The film goes too far when Driss is disciplining others who seem spoiled when he himself seems to need the most discipline.  Nonetheless, actor Omar Sy does a fine job in the role.  
 
The viewer hardly knows about Philippe’s character and why he would take so well to Driss although scenes of upper-class stuffiness around Philippe might give some hints.  Knowing more about Philippe might have helped.
 
Apparently, this movie is a phenomenon in France .  This must be one of those rare times I miss out on French culture which I often admire.
 
 
Rating (out of four stars):   * * 

Moonrise Kingdom

 

In 1965 on a fictional New England island, an outcast 12-year-old boy scout runs away with a local girl (also an outcast) which causes havoc in the small community.

The story is simple and enjoyable with good moments of campy humour.  The main credit for this film must go to director Wes Anderson.  His use of camera movements and angles are very clever especially during the opening credits.  He also directs each scene with an ironic attitude –sympathetic to the characters while being cheeky at the same time.  The costumes and set decorations are also well chosen for this nostalgia trip.

With a fine cast of well-known actors, this film is an enjoyable experience.

Rating:   * * *

The Avengers

Many movie superheroes (including Iron Man, Captain America , The Hulk and Thor) are part of a team to save the world from alien destruction some time in the future when technology is really sophisticated.

As expected, the special effects are brilliant.  The story is OK but some lines are quite corny in their attempt to be funny.

It was rather disturbing to see New York City in chaos due to alien invasions as it brings back recent memories of 9-11.  But few are bothered by this.  The film has many thrills and does what it sets out to do quite well – entertain and make lots of money.

 

Rating:  * * *

Great Old Films

 

La Femme Infidèle  (1968 – France )


In a Paris suburb, a wealthy couple with a young son seems to have a happy marriage.  However, the husband believes his wife is unfaithful (thus, the title) and sets out to find if this is true.

Much of this film is quiet and subtle.  While this technique might seem dull in some films, director Claude Chabrol uses it to great effect creating tension and suspense.  One pivotal scene involving a conversation between two people is tense to the point of being perverse.  It occurs just before a major plot twist.

Credit can also be given to the actors who portray the married couple:  Stépane Audran and especially Michel Bouquet who does a superb job in appearing restrained while his eyes betray the rage coming to the surface.


Rating:   * * * ½

 

Notable Achievement:   Directing by Claude Chabrol


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