2010-03-31

The Third Man

TSPDT Greatest Films #30 The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)


The Third Man stands as one of the greatest film of all time and considered as the best non-American Film noir.

It’s the story of Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) an unemployed fiction writer going to Vienna after the Second World War for a job offered by a good friend; Harry Lime (Orson Welles). On his arrival, his friend has just been killed by a car while crossing the street in front of his home. The mysterious death of Lime is slowly revealed to Martins as the story goes by.

The set-up of the film is perfect, in 10 minutes the story brings us in a foreign city split by the winners of the war, the many foreign languages spoken and the many levels of authority. Just like Holly Martins we are destabilized by these elements and the viewer will easily identify himself with him. Joseph Cotten as Martins is as usual excellent and perfectly casted. Opposed to Orson Welles, like in Citizen Kane, he is the guy next door, the potential hero, the guy who falls in love with the beautiful widow.

The score performed by Anton Karas consists of only a zither played that reminded me some Spanish traditional guitar performances. It gave a unique casual feeling to the film and fits perfectly with the story. On the visual side, Robert Krasker‘s cinematography is so perfect that every frame could make the poster of the movie. The lighting gave such texture and depth to the images that sometimes the sets seem surreal. The techniques of the German expressionism heritage are noticeable in the visual touch.

The story is credited to Graham Greene but Alexander Korda, Carol Reed and Orson Welles all worked on the story. When we look at the quality of the script it is palpable that all these talents have been blend together. There aren’t any useless scenes and every moment is important for the story. The grand finale of The Third Man demonstrates how every facet of filmmaking is perfectly mastered. The story ends at the place it began and like we say in French: la boucle est bouclée.

The Third Man is considered as a masterpiece of the Seventh Art by Mediafilm and I completely agree with this statement. It stands on the Top 250 of IMDb, the 1001 films you must see and the TSPDT 1000 Greatest Films and entirely deserves its place on these lists. Even with today’s fast editing / zapping / fast food movies that Hollywood has to offer to the public The Third Man is still an entertaining film and not just an “old movie” only critics refer to!


2010-03-27

1001 movies you must see club new Member

You are reading the lines of a new member of the 1001 movies you must see club!!!

So be prepared to read reviews of upcoming films for this club and reviews of films already done to catch up on the other members of the Club!

Coming this week: an essay on Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush of 1925.

Coming next weekend: Carol Reed's Noir masterpiece The Third Man of 1949!

2010-03-25

Cabaret un film de Bob Fosse - Retrospective

TSPDT Greatest Films #281 Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972)
Set between the two World Wars and during the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Cabaret tells the story of a young man who went for a while in Berlin to teach English in a little rent where the star of a cabaret Sally Bowles stays too. Adapted from the Broadway musical show Cabaret as a traditionnal romance with musical numbers set between scenes. Some musicals numbers seem forced to fit in the story, because Bob Fosse did not used the numbers to tell the story à la Parapluies de Cherbourg but to illustre it with Cabaret numbers only. Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles gives an excellent performance and she overshadows the good performance of Michael York.

I generally like musicals but this one didn't charmed me. The numbers are confined to the cabaret and they have a lack of inventivity in the way they were chot and presented to the screen. I was waiting for much more than that. Some musical moments aren't necessary for the story and it's ok that they are not that long either.

The directing is traditionnal and unpersonnal for a film of the 1970's it felt very conservative...

Cabaret is uneven and, in my opinion, a deception. For fans of Liza Minnelli especially.

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

2010-03-24

The Conversation

TSPDT Greatest Films #166 The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)


A very musical film, Coppola's The Conversation is about an invader of privacy that tape people's conversations for his clients. Respected by his pairs and regarded has a myth he only lives for his work and never cared about the people's lifes. But one day a conversation he tapes, the one from the openning sequence, changes his approach on his work and he starts to care about what is gonna happen after his job is done.

With the success of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola made the film he wanted to make: The Conversation. A more minimalist approach to films and a personnal film is the result of The Conversation. A film inspired by european filmmakers of the 1960's, Italian films and the French New Wave films. After Apocalypse Now, The Conversation is the best film Coppola made in his entire career. The Godfather saga was not bad but the romantic/traditionnal touch of the films is too much and they don't pass the test of time because they feel old.

The Conversation should be regarded has one of the best films of the 1970's and it's a shame it is shadowed by the two first parts of The Godfather... This is a highly recommended film that every cinephile must have seen.

A Film Review by Michaël Parent

Logorama un film de François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy & Ludovic Houplain


Available on YouTube the Oscar winner for the Best Short Animated feature is a must see! To just seize all the logos of the different brands appearing on screen and how they used them to tell a fast moving little story that itself needs a second and a third screening for the pleasure of it all.

A little gem!

---------------------------

Disponible en visionnement gratuit sur YouTube. Le gagnant de l'Oscar du Meilleur court métrage animé, Logorama vaut le clique de se rendre sur YouTube. Plusieurs visionnements vous serons nécessaires juste pour avoir le temps de remarquer tous les logos utilisés comme des éléments de tous les jours, un peu comme l'hyper commercialisation que l'on connaît de nos jours...

En plus d'une histoire vraiment divertissante Logorama est un véritable petit bijoux!

Michaël Parent

2010-03-23

A Time to Love and A Time to Die

A Time to Love and A Time to Die (Douglas Sirk, 1958)

It was the first time in 1958 that an American film presented the Second World War from the German side. Well, it took an immigrated German director, Douglas Sirk to get the nerves to produce and direct a film only fourteen years after the events of the film took place.

It was also the first time that German soldiers were represented as human as the different characters of this film. Without the uniforms it could be any army or any country. This is one of the strenght of the film. We can understand universally the events and the preoccupations of the main characters of A Time to love...

On a permission for three weeks a German soldier of the Russian front returns to his hometown to find his family. His discovers it has been bombed and starts on a quest to find his parents.

Like Douglas Sirk's other films, A Time to Love... falls into melodrama without falling completely into clichés or oversentimental. Every bad event is followed by a good one and every good one is followed by a bad one. The wheel keeps turning like that all along the story of the film.

A Time to Love and A Time to Die has a unique touch and feeling on World War II and it is an excellent and unforgettable film from one of the best director of the 1950's.

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

Alice in Wonderland un film de Tim Burton



From my tender childhood Disney's Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite cartoon for its humor (those who know me know how I like things twisted especially in my humor!) its story and the wonderful and uncommon colors of the "original" film. When I first read that Tim Burton was going to do it in film I thought no other director could bring his own vision to Lewis Carroll's oeuvre better than the king of the weird eerie Hollywood gothic films so popular has; Edward Swissorhand, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, etc. Well, now after seing it I don't know if I liked it enough to say it was good, sure it isn't bad but that doesn't make it good for that...

Burton's film is not a remake of the 1951 animated version but the non-official sequel to it, I think it was a good idea to do it that way... It's Alice's return in Wonderland 13 years later and she has to be true to herself to conquer the Wonderland (her mind) and to conquer the lead of her own life.

The sets, the costumes, the choice of actors and the story feels right and I don't think that is the problem. It's probably Tim Burton that went with a too safe approach to make it darker or weirder or more Burtonesque... There's a little something that feels unsatisfying about Alice. The British weird sense of humor that coloured Carroll's œuvre and the 1951 especially in the tea party.

On another topic, the 3D version I had the chance to see at a IMAX theater here in Quebec City feels sloppy and sometimes unfocused. I don't know if it's gonna be like that for future 3D releases but I'm not a 100% charmed by the thing. Well, I'm not a 3D animation lover anyway, but I thought that technology corrected the sloppiness of 3D images. I may sound a purist when I write that but except the fact the studios want to get people out of their homes to go see the films in theaters, 3D didn't brought anything better to films so far.

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is worth the look but I must recommand Disney's 1951 version before watching the unofficial sequel of 2010 just to compare the two stories and the different approaches on their subject.

A Film Review by Michaël Parent

2010-03-20

Fantastic Mr. Fox un film de Wes Anderson


First of all, I must say that I am a 100% a fan of the work of Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach. I remember seing The Royal Tenenbaums how the kitsch off-beat indie naive charm label of the film got me and how with multiple viewings it’s becoming one of my favourite film of all time. I also remember when I discovered The Squid and The Whale, I didn’t expect anything... It was the story of my family and at the time I saw it, The Squid and the Whale deeply touched me and it’s why you find it in my Top 5 of the last decade.

I was looking forward for Fantastic Mr. Fox, especially when TSPDT put it in their highly recommend films (btw the first of W. Anderson’s films). This is the story of Mr. Fox (George Clooney) who swore to his loving wife, Felicity (Meryl Streep) to stop stealing from the humans and get a real job. For 12 years, he made it but the temptation and the emptiness of his new life of columnist brought him to secretly restart his activities until the humans discovers his felony and try to catch him.

On the story level, Anderson and Baumbach were adapting a child novel. But many main themes that are recurring in Anderson’s filmography: the failure of the father figure, the wonder child that tries anything to impress and be accepted by his dad are present here. I’m just afraid that Anderson is gonna get the critic of always redoing the same film over and over like Woody Allen had the same criticism. His stories are charming so as the characters but I’d like to see another of film from Anderson even if I had a really good time watching Fantastic Mr. Fox.

I read some critics when Fantastic Mr. Fox came out that it wasn’t a family film, I think this is so a family film because the animations are made with stop motion something very different from the 3D family films abounding. Well, it’s no surprise coming from Wes Anderson the more kitsch filmmaker out there. It has a unique charm and feeling into it. I truly recommend this film to anyone with or without children.

A Film review by Michaël Parent


2010-03-15

District 9 un film de Neill Blomkamp


A Sci-Fi movie set in South Africa telling the relocalisation of aliens that lived like a group excluded from society. Does it ring a bell here... Shot in a documentary style and produced by Peter Jackson: expectations were high!

We follow Wikus (Sharlto Copley, who reminded me of a young Robert De Niro) the nervous and young executive son in law of the chief of MNU in charge of the Aliens. He is designated to be in charge of the Alien deportation. The film opens with the preparations of the eviction. We follow the leader of this mission: Wikus. His team enters into the Alien ghetto until things turns bad for the mission and for Wikus...

One thing that I truly love about Science-Fiction is the parallels made with real events and how the writers manage to translate them into a fiction. Like the "Apartheid" on the Aliens in District 9 or the imminent communist attack translated by the alien in the form of a man in The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), etc. We could go on forever with the many translations Sci-fi films gave us. In this case, District 9 picks up with the great tradition of pure Science-Fiction and refresh the genre with a different approach. It does not reinvent the genre, but it gives a new breath because it's been a while since movie goers had a good Sci-Fi flick.

A very good film that deserved his unattended Oscar nominations. It has the depth to be a fun ride and make you do a reflexion on intolerance and "alien" nations.


A Film Review by Michaël Parent

2010-03-14

The Only Son un film de Yasujiro Ozu - Retrospective


Made in 1936, The Only Son by Yasujiro Ozu reveals many themes he will aboard later in his career, conflicts between generations, misundertandings, poverty, pride, and family issues.

Since Ozu's style has already been discussed I would like to only mention that his naive use of technical "errors" with weird camera angles feels perfectly right here in the telling of The Only Son.

It's the story of a mother and her son gone to high school and ends up working as a night teacher. The mother goes to Tokyo to visit her son who is ashamed of what he has done with his life. He thinks his mother won't be proud of him and regret to have send him to high school.

Slow paced and sometimes a little loose The Only Son announces the main preoccupations of Ozu. Many said that his better period is the post-war era until his death; it is the era where he made his stronger and richest films in ratio. But, The Only Son should have reconsiderations as an early strong film. It is not as moving as Late Spring or Tokyo Story but it's still very interesting and universal in his themes.

It has the Ozu touch and Ozu feel in it. Once again it is a story that involves deep interactions between humans and their values and the main concept of family that populated Yasujiro Ozu's better work.

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

Stalag 17

Stalag 17 begins with the narration of a shadowed character of the film, Stalag 17 announces; I'm tired of War films. Well, it's not a traditional War film like The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan. Stalag 17 may be one of the many influences of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. You have the context of World War II but you see none of it apart of the Nazi uniforms. Stalag 17 fells like Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion without being deeply involve in pre-War pacifist message.

Set in a nazi prison, Stalag 17 is the barrack where we follow a group of American prisoners that live together. They discover that there is an informer in their barrack. It's a story based on true American values: loyalty, pride, humor, friendship, and mercantilism. I always find it funny to watch a film that vehicles American values and ridiculing the German captors made by a born Germanized (Poland) director; Billy Wilder. Well, it's known that he earned his American citizenship and he had to escape from Germany after Hitler took power because of his Jewish ancestors. It's no surprise when we learned that he wrote Ninotchka for another German immigrate director; Ernst Lubitsch. The two films are about the American values and life. These outsiders tend to understand better the land that welcomed and rescued them from Nazi oppression.

Far from being a masterpiece, Stalag 17 is an efficient film and a very good entertainment. It's not a surprise to see this film in IMDb Top 250 movies. Billy Wilder's films have this quality of pure entertainment and this freshness that make them hold within all these years. The performances, especially William Holden who earned an Oscar, are strong and the story is fresh and funny. A classic in the prison film genre!

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

2010-03-12

Mothlight un film de Stan Brakhage - Retrospective

TSPDT Greatest Films #981 Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963)


A new addition on the 1000 Greatest films this year, Stan Brakhage's Mothlight of 1963. Available on YouTube this 4 minutes film is a real piece of art. It feels really analog with these brown natural colors, herbs, insects, earth, dirt, flowers, etc.

It's a rough film and it should be watched has a piece of modern art, as Visual Art. Stan Brakhage has made more than a hundred films and he uses uncommon methods to express his art on the film. He sometimes worked on the film with tools and manipulate it frame by frame. This is why this film is so short. He managed to work on every frame by himself making a second of film per day of work. It gives a very textured and natural feeling to the images. Multiple viewings are recommanded to appreciate all the work and passion in this short film.

A very interesting film for technicians and filmmakers. It is more a visual experience than a common short film.

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

2010-03-09

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers un film de Stanley Donen - Retrospective

TSPDT Greatest Films #954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Stanley Donen, 1954)


Set around 1850, somewhere in the USA, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a romanced musical (is there a musical without romance?) tainted with a little bit of drama. From the co-director of On The Town (reviewed here) and Singin' in the Rain and the director of Funny Face, Stanley Donen. Whose other films were made with big stars and big names like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Audrey Hepburn.

In SBfSB Donen used the dancers of the New York City ballet. The story is quite simple, seven brothers live on the mountain and they want women to live with them. The older brother gets married and the six others want to meet each a bride... Well, the rest is pretty simple, naive, and very conservative (well it's an american musical of the 50's set in 1850 what do you expect???).

The musical performances are classic and under the quality of Donen's previous films he co-directed with Gene Kelly. Funny Face that followed SBfSB three years after is far better for its story and its style. On some level I think Stanley Donen needed a big star like Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire to juice up a bit his musical numbers and inject more personality in his films. But it's more than just the cast or the director in this case, the story is so thin and simple that it felt like anyone could have directed this script. Some musical numbers, like the part when then go to a dance in the village to build a barn is very entertaining and the choregraphy is very well executed. However, the story doesn't seem to keep the momentum and the rythm the dances bring to the film.

Even with all the criticism I bragged about SBfSB I had a good time watching it and it's far from a complete failure. I just think that when I can compare the previous work of a director to SBfSB it should be at least as good as he did if not better. For fans of Donen and/or fans of american classic musicals.

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

2010-03-08

Il gattopardo un film de Luchino Visconti - Retrospective

TSPDT Greatest Films #65 Il gattopardo (Luchino Visconti, 1963)


Il gattopardo is an extraordinary epic film on a family in Sicilia made on a scale of unequaled beauty. This story is set in the period of the Revolution of Garibaldi just before Vittorio-Emanuel took power in Italy.

Il gattopardo
depicts the many changes between the order of the world before and after the revolution. It is illustrated with the many conflicts between generations of the old and the new Italy. The main thought of Visconti is about how great changes like revolutions only changed the oppressors of the people or the structure and didn't changed the life of people. These events are big only if humanity wants to consider them. Like the general who constantly praised himself and Garibaldi by telling his story bigger and better everytime.

The images are perfect and Visconti has the hand of a great master with all his confidence. Every frame is wonderful. The long takes immerse the viewer into the majesty of the film.

But with all his perfection and beauty, Il gattopardo is a little too perfect and sometimes it's just too overwhelming and a little slow for the modern day film goers. On the other hand, this is a piece of history and should regarded as one of Luchino Visconti's masterpieces.

A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

Results for my Oscar poll: 11/24

Nominees My Take & Results
Best Picture
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air
  • The Winner: The Hurt Locker
    My Prediction: Avatar
    My Vote: Inglorious Basterds

    Best Actor
  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman, Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
  • The Winner: Jeff Bridges
    My Prediction: Jeff Bridges
    My Vote: Jeremy Renner

    Best Actress
  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
  • The Winner: Sandra Bullock
    My Prediction: Sandra Bullock
    My Vote: Meryl Streep

    Best Supporting Actor
  • Matt Damon, Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
  • The Winner: Christoph Waltz
    My Prediction:
    Christoph Waltz
    My Vote: Christoph Waltz

    Best Supporting Actress
  • Penelope Cruz, Nine
  • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
  • Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • The Winner: Mo'Nique
    My Prediction: Mo'Nique
    My Vote: Penelope Cruz

    Best Director
  • Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • James Cameron, Avatar
  • Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
  • Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • The Winner: Kathryn Bigelow
    My Prediction:
    Kathryn Bigelow
    My Vote: Kathryn Bigelow tie Quentin Tarantino

    Original Screenplay
  • Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
  • Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman, The Messenger
  • Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
  • Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy, Up
  • The Winner: Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
    My Prediction: Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds
    My Vote:
    Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds

    Adapted Screenplay
  • Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell, District 9
  • Nick Hornby, An Education
  • Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, In the Loop
  • Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
  • The Winner: Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
    My Prediction:
    Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
    My Vote:
    Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell, District 9

    Cinematography
  • Mauro Fiore, Avatar
  • Christian Berger, The White Ribbon
  • Bruno Delbonnel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker
  • Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds
  • The Winner: Mauro Fiore, Avatar
    My Prediction:
    Mauro Fiore, Avatar
    My Vote:
    Christian Berger, The White Ribbon

    Film Editing
  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • The Winner: The Hurt Locker
    My Prediction:
    The Hurt Locker
    My Vote: The Hurt Locker

    Art Direction
  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria
  • The Winner: Avatar
    My Prediction: Avatar
    My Vote:
    The Young Victoria

    Costume
  • Bright Star
  • Coco Before Chanel
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • The Young Victoria
  • The Winner: The Young Victoria
    My Prediction:
    Nine
    My Vote:
    The Young Victoria

    Makeup
  • Il Divo
  • Star Trek
  • The Young Victoria
  • The Winner: Star Trek
    My Prediction:
    The Young Victoria
    My Vote:
    The Young Victoria

    Original Score
  • James Horner, Avatar
  • Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders, The Hurt Locker
  • Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes
  • Michael Giacchino, Up
  • The Winner: Michael Giacchino, Up
    My Prediction:
    Marco Beltrami, Buck Sanders, The Hurt Locker
    My Vote:
    Michael Giacchino, Up

    Original Song
  • "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham
  • "Loin de Paname" from Paris 36, Reinhardt Wagner, Frank Thomas
  • "Take It All" from Nine, Maury Yeston
  • "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman
  • "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman
  • The Winner: "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham
    My Prediction:
    "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham
    My Vote:
    "Take It All" from Nine, Maury Yeston

    Sound Mixing
  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Star Trek
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • The Winner: The Hurt Locker
    My Prediction:
    Avatar
    My Vote:
    The Hurt Locker

    Sound Editing
  • Avatar
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Star Trek
  • Up
  • The Winner: The Hurt Locker
    My Prediction:
    Avatar
    My Vote:
    Up

    Visual Effects
  • Avatar
  • District 9
  • Star Trek
  • The Winner: Avatar
    My Prediction:
    Avatar
    My Vote:
    Avatar

    Animated Feature Film
  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up
  • The Winner: Up
    My Prediction:
    Up
    My Vote:
    Up

    Foreign Language Film
  • Ajami (Israel)
  • The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
  • A Prophet (France)
  • The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)
  • The White Ribbon (Germany)
  • The Winner: The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)
    My Prediction:
    The White Ribbon (Germany)
    My Vote:
    The White Ribbon (Germany)

    Documentary Feature
  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove
  • Food, Inc.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America
  • Which Way Home
  • The Winner: The Cove
    My Prediction:
    Food, Inc.
    My Vote:
    Food, Inc.

    Documentary Short
  • China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
  • Music by Prudence
  • Rabbit à la Berlin
  • The Winner: Music by Prudence
    My Prediction:
    The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
    My Vote:
    The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

    Animated Short
  • French Roast
  • Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
  • The Lady and the Reaper
  • Logorama
  • Wallace and Gromit in 'A Matter of Loaf and Death'
  • The Winner: Logorama
    My Prediction:
    Wallace and Gromit in 'A Matter of Loaf and Death'
    My Vote:
    Wallace and Gromit in 'A Matter of Loaf and Death'

    Live Action Short
  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants
  • The Winner: The New Tenants
    My Prediction:
    The Door
    My Vote:
    The New Tenants

    2010-03-07

    Network un film de Sidney Lumet - Retrospective

    TSPDT Greatest Films #324 Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)


    Going on with his analysis of the effects of television on the world, Sidney Lumey after what I consider a near masterpiece; Dog Day Afternoon, offers this time with Network the other side of the subject; the television's side of the subject. Without any technical extravaganza like many of hs colleagues of the 70's Lumet shot his films like documentaries. They feel true.

    This is the story of Howard Beal (Peter Finch) considered like a "has-been" of television, his show is in complete downfall in the numbers as his popularity. One day the announces he's gonna kill himself on air. The day after he's not doing it but he claims that he has enough and he wants changes. At this point his shiow began the bet thing on television because he's true to the viewers and he's like the "prophet" of telelvision. He speaks for the middle class american that has enough of the hypocrites that lead the world.

    With a solid cast of Faye Dunaway (who won an Oscar for her performance), Peter Finch (he won an Oscar too), William Holden and Robert Duval.

    The film is based on religious grounds because Lumet translated religion to television in his film. They just needed the right lead to carry their speach. Many dialogues referenced religius concerns. Made in 1976, Network is still carrying a message that should be listened. Television is the tool to endoctrinate people and sell any stupid product like the "Slap Chop". Everybody is glued every evenings on their chairs in front of their television sets like believers. All the stores always offers bigger screens, better, thinner etc. for the living room so that all the furniture will be pointed at the new idol...

    Well, I'm one of them and you probably are too because you watch films/sports/series on your tv set. Television is the new religion, so Sidney Lumet said. This is a strong cinematic effort from this excellent filmmaker.

    A Film Retrospective by Michaël Parent

    Valentine's Day un film de Garry Marshall


    Valentine's Day is the new movie from the director who made the refreshing Pretty Woman in 1990, Runaway Bride and the two Princess Diaries. Well, not a talented firector but a veteran. He should be armed to make an efficient movie and entertain his public.

    With his last movie, Valentine's Day he fails to make an entertaining and efficient. Since the succes of Love Actually we've seen many attempt to recreate the same multi stories based on different kinds of love, for example last year's He's Just Not That Into You was a complete failure and can be one of the worsts of 2009.

    For Valentine' s Day it's pretty much the same, a cast of many big names, many stories that touch many characters. The too many stories set in Valentine's Day diluate their quality. Because there is not a single story that goes very far and the film has no deepness in it. They fell into clichés of melodrama. The characters are so sterortyped that they could have drew them with a big black marker.

    So stories had potential but they all felt fake and unvanished. I think if the script had been reworked and some stories thrown out this could have make an entertaining and efficient film.

    On the appreciation side, if I can had something to what has been said before, well I dislike the kind of movie where the producers thinks that people are stupid and that they will buy whatever story just because it's Valentine's Day in L.A.. Now I can't wait for the holidays to rewatch Love Actually and see an entertaining and efficient film!


    A Film Review by Michaël Parent

    2010-03-04

    Photograph Antoine Mainguy

    Antoine Mainguy's work is mainly situated in Québec City. He likes to work with realistic pictures of "bums" from his neighbourghood. Many still life subject are animated with his sensible use of light and color.

    His better work, in my opinion is when he captures human subjects. His touch is very textured and he can extract the better from his subjects.

    An good example is this self portrait in black and white; my favorites from his work is when he uses black and white that reminded me of Sven Nykvist's work for Ingmar Bergman. And sometimes, they remind me of the great films of the Italian neo-realists like Antonioni, Fellini, Visconti, and De Sica.

    Please visit his profile on Flickr to discover this talented photograh.


    Le travail d'Antoine Mainguy basé à Québec est composé, entre autres, de réalistes portraits d'itinérants vivants dans son quartier. De plus, il travaille avec plusieurs natures mortes qu'il anime avec une utilisation sensible de la lumière et des couleurs qui les composent.

    Ses meilleurs propositions sont, selon moi, ses utilisations du visage humain. Il possède une très bonne touche pour travailler les textures et les effets de lumière.

    Plus haut vous pouvez apercevoir un exemple de son travail avec cet autoportrait. Son travail du noir et blanc peut rappeler les magnifiques images dont seul Sven Nykvist pouvait faire pour Ingmar Bergman. Et pour certaines autres photographies son travail me rappelle les superbes films des néoréalistes Italiens tels que Antonioni, Fellini, Visconti et De Sica entre autres.

    Pour l'ensemble de l'oeuvre de Mainguy je vous prie de visiter Flickr.

    2010-03-03

    Cinéma une vision de l'Histoire de Marc Ferro

    Suggested readings - Lectures suggérées

    From time to time I present one of my readings about Cinema that I recommend for my fellow filmlovers. This time it's Marc Ferro's Cinéma, une vision de l'Histoire. French historian, Ferro dissects the history of Cinema with his encyclopedic knowledge of the seventh Art.

    He analyses how the films represent History and how they use it to represent the time they where made; ex.: the films of S.M. Eisenstein were set in Medieval times, but Alexander Nevsky represented the Nazi menace for the USSR.

    With great pictures and many descriptions of important movies of each period in History this is a great book to read and it makes a great place on a coffee table too!

    ----------------------------------------

    De temps en temps je partage et recommande une lecture que j'ai faite sur le Cinéma à vous mes amants du Cinéma. Cette fois-ci je vous présente le livre de Marc Ferro: Cinéma, une vision de l'Histoire. Historien français, Ferro avec son savoir encyclopédique du 7ème Art analyse et dissèque l'Histoire du Cinéma et à l'aide du Cinéma il observe l'Histoire.

    Il analyse les représentations de l'Histoire dans les films ainsi que les films qui usent de l'Histoire pour imager le présent. Par exemple, le Alexander Nevsky de S.M. Eisenstein situé à l'époque médiévale représente la menace Nazie contemporaine à Eisenstein.

    Ce livre est très intéressant et il est rempli de superbes images des films observés. De plus, certains films ont des fiches de présentation analytique. Une lecture divertissante et attrayante qui peut très bien meubler une table à café.

    Michaël Parent

    100th Post on LMdC - 100ème Publication sur LMdC

    Wow! This is already the 100th post on this Blog I started last August! So many films seen and so many films to see!

    Thanks to all the readers the regular as to the first timers too!

    To commemorate this Milestone I'd like to list some of the films I liked the most since I've been doing Le Mot du Cinephiliaque.

    Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place

    Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai

    Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising

    Federico Fellini's The White Sheik

    Howard Hawks' Hatari!

    Arnaud Desplechin's Un Conte de Noël

    Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives

    Yasujiro Ozu's The Flavor of Green tea Over Rice

    Werner Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God

    Michael Haneke' Das Weisse Band

    Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland

    My contract with you, my readers, will be to post more often my reviews of more films from my personal best of and more reviews of obscure films and/or lesser known!

    Michaël Parent

    * I illustrate this milestone with the picture of the 100th all time leader in points of the NHL. Also, the Québec Nordiques was the Team of my City...
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Déjà ma 100ème publication sur Le Mot du Cinephiliaque! Tellement de films vus depuis ce départ en août 2009 et tellement de films à voir se sont rajoutés.

    Merci à tous mes lecteurs autant aux assidus qu'aux nouveaux!

    Voici mes coup de coeurs cinématographiques depuis le début du présent Blogue.

    Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place

    Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai

    Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising

    Federico Fellini's The White Sheik

    Howard Hawks' Hatari!

    Arnaud Desplechin's Un Conte de Noël

    Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives

    Yasujiro Ozu's The Flavor of Green tea Over Rice

    Werner Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God

    Michael Haneke' Das Weisse Band

    Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland

    Je m'engage donc envers mes lecteurs à publier plus de critiques et retrospectives de mes films préférés et à vous tenir informés de films plus obscures et de films étrangers. De ce fait, LMdC tentera de se démarquer tant pour avoir sa propre saveur que pour apporter une vision différente de ce qui s'offre déjà dans le monde du Blogue cinématographique.

    L'un de mes défis personnel est de voir tous les films qui se retrouvent sur la liste des 1000 meilleurs films du site web They Shoot Pictures Don't They?. En plus, de découvrir les films méconnus de grands cinéastes étrangers comme Yasujiro Ozu et de voir les classiques hollywoodiens incontournables!

    2010-03-01

    (500) Days of Summer un film de Marc Webb

    Telling the 500 days of the relationship between Summer (Zooey Deschanels) and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in unchronological order, (500) Days of Summer is a charming American indie film.

    Without falling into absolute cheesyness and thousand times seen clichés the story is taught on Tom's point of view of their relationship. Gordon-Levitt gives a strong and touching performance in his 80's indie music lover/wannabe architect greeting card writer instead. The soundtrack is amazing with forgotten bands like The Smiths, The Clash and indie rock bands of the moment like Mumm-Ra. Well, since I'm a music lover when the music of a film fell in my tastes I tend to appreciate the film a little bit more.

    The character of Tom is so real and well nuanced by Gordon-Levitt' performance that I easily identified myself to him. (Well, it's easy since we approximately have the same age, music tastes, and personnalities...) Enough of me!

    Summer portrayed by Zooey Deschanel who gives a very good performance in an uncommon character. Sometimes she is too distant in the character and her presence could have been a little stronger in the more dramatic scenes.

    For Marc Webb, the director this is a great sophomore effort and I think he did what I would do if I someday I could direct my films; please myself with classic foreign films references... I'm not gonna list them here but let's say if you're into Ingmar Bergman you'll have a good laugh...

    I truly loved (500) Days of Summer, it doesn't reinvent the genre but it refresh it in a very good way. One of the runners-up to my Top 10 of 2009.


    A Film Review by Michaël Parent

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