Screen Shot Quiz #247

The goal of the screen shot quiz it not to just guess what the movie is that the screen shot is from but to encourage discussion on the film. Feel free to shout out in the comments what the movie is and then provide an opinion or some thoughts on the movie. Oh and the first person who gets the movie right wins our respect.

DVD Review: L’autre Dumas

L'autre Dumas DVD Cover

Director: Safy Nebbou
Screenplay: Safy Nebbou, Gilles Taurand
Producers: Marc de Bayser, Dominique Janne, Frank Le Wita
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Benoît Poelvoorde, Dominique Blanc, Mélanie Thierry, Catherine Mouchet
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 105 min.

Things I recently learned about Alexandre Dumas: he was of mixed race, a flamboyant womanizer and he had a collaborator. Actually, he had a number of collaborators but the most frequent and the one featured in Safy Nebbou’s L’autre Dumas was Auguste Maquet, the man who worked with Dumas on “The Three Musketeers” and its sequels among a number of other books before the two finally parted ways.

L'autre Dumas Movie StillI’m neither familiar with the history or enough of Dumas’ work to know if any of the material in Nebbou’s film is historically accurate and a dramatized account of events or whether the entire thing is fictitious but the story starts with Dumas and Maquet heading to the coast for a refresher while preparing a new novel. The smart innkeeper has a suite named after the famous author who frequents the establishment and sets him up in the grand room but Dumas, feeling shut-in and requiring fresh air, switches rooms with Maquet. A simple enough switch but you already know where this is going don’t you? Enter Charlotte, a beautiful young woman who has come in search of the author in hopes that she can convince him to help her free her father, a man accused of treason.

Smitten, the usually straight laced Maquet pretends to be Dumas and gets himself embroiled in a slowly, occasionally hilarious in how quickly it gets out of hand, escalating plot to overthrow the Monarchy and without even knowing it, the real Dumas finds himself in the middle of it all. Nebbou’s film slowly frays the relationship between the two men and as the plot thickens, Maquet finds himself at odds with Dumas and the friendly relationship between the two writers begins to disintegrate as they argue over who the real writer is, who created the famous stories and characters that solely bare Dumas’ name – and all of this to the backdrop of a troubled France on the brink of revolution.

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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

As regular readers of my site already know, I am a good candidate for the biggest Pirates of the Caribbean fan currently living. Yet in spite of this, I pushed myself back from the table of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and declared myself completely satisfied. I had no real desire or need for a Pirates 4, but here it is anyway, and here’s my review:

Allow me to pose you a question. Would you ever want to see a Star Wars movie with Han Solo as the main character? If you answered yes, that’s fine: I hope you are never in a position to greenlight major motion pictures. If you answered no, even better: you understand the difference between what an audience wants and what an audience needs.

That the makers of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise do not know the difference between what an audience wants and what an audience needs has been plentifully in evidence since at least the second film in the cycle, Dead Man’s Chest, which was also nearabouts the last time they tried to make Captain Jack Sparrow the protagonist of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. (In the final analysis, witty Jack was not the protagonist of Dead Man’s Chest, nor any of the “original trilogy” POTC movies, though in Chest, at least, he occupied so much of the screen time that it’s a tricky distinction.)

Now Bruckheimer and Elliott and Rossio and Depp are at it again, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. We get it: audiences loved Captain Jack Sparrow, when he burst out of the screen back in 2003, and the filmmakers are trying to give the people what they want – more Sparrow – thereby evincing absolutely no working understanding of the product they have created. There is, perhaps, only one positive result: if you ever, for even a second, thought the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies were dull, you may find yourself in a position to complain a hell of a lot less about them from now on.

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Screen Shot Quiz #246

The goal of the screen shot quiz it not to just guess what the movie is that the screen shot is from but to encourage discussion on the film. Feel free to shout out in the comments what the movie is and then provide an opinion or some thoughts on the movie. Oh and the first person who gets the movie right wins our respect.

Cannes says Lars Von Trier “Can’t” and bans him from the Festival


After watching the hilariously awkward press conference for Lars von Trier’s Cannes competition film, Melancholia (all 38 minutes are here), one can see the awkward position the festival is in. One one had, the Cannes festival is one of the last bastions of unfettered free speech slash freedom of expression. Despite this clearly it is the case of an awkward auteur who had no interest in engaging with the world press (of whom, other than Bruce Kirkland, did not seem to ask much of anything of interest considering the prestige of the festival.) On the other hand, the world is still very sensitive to jokes made about the state of Israel, Hitler, and the Nazi parties final solution of WWII, which von Trier fumblingly delivered during the press conference (and this after announcing, tongue in cheek, that his next film will be a 3 hour porn film starring his Melancholia leads, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kristen Dunst) before realizing how deep he dug himself and pleading, “How do I get myself out of this sentence?”

So, Cannes has taken the hammer approach and booted Lars von Trier out of the festival (his film gets to stay in competition) whilst declaring him a persona non grata, despite his apology after the fact. Outside his films (and many would argue within his films) the crazy Dane has always been a bull in a china shop. Why bag on the man for being who he is? Clearly he isn’t as serious as the world would have him be. For the record, I am a big fan of the director’s particular brand of cinema, and all the controversy, infamy and bluntness he brings to the table. I know that festivals need their dog and pony shows, but discriminating cinephiles are (hopefully) wise enough to let the films speak for themselves, and find these types of press conferences about as vulgar as explaining-in-detail a good joke. A joke that the worlds largest and most prestigious festival just supplied an even bigger punchline too. Censoring their own position on freedom of expression while purporting an adherence to those principles. Who is the Nazi now?

Either way, well played Mr. Trier for keeping Cannes amusing to those of us (by making an ass of yourself in public for our entertainment) thousands of miles away.

Review: Rammbock: Berlin Undead

Director: Marvin Kren
Screenplay: Benjamin Hessler
Producer: Sigrid Hoerner
Starring: Michael Fuith, Anna Graczyk, and Sebastian Achilles
MPAA Rating: R for some horror violence.
Running time: 59 min

There is really something to be said for movies that know what they want to achieve and that they don’t need to be everything for everyone. Rammbock is a cool entry in the zombie genre. Unlike many zombie films out there that try to show some aspect of society Rammbock smartly chooses to simply tell a good straight forward story with some fun twists that elevate it above majority of zombie films.

Berlin under zombie attackMichael (Michael Fuith) comes to Berlin to seek out his ex-girlfriend Gabi. When he arrives at her apartment he sees a large man who appears to be doing some repairs. When he goes to introduce himself he is attacked. After surviving the attack he ends up being locked in Gabi’s apartment. Over the next 50 or so minutes Michael and the other members of the apartment fight for their survival. Everything is now in place for the standard zombie movie but I will strongly say that Rammbock stands out amongst it peers.

One of the biggest differences when compared to other films such as [REC] is that even though everyone is located in the same apartment complex they are separated for a good part of the movie by the zombies and the design of the building. Much of the short running time is spent trying to connect with the neighbors and also with Michael dealing with having lost Gabi now a second time.

As far as I know Rammbock is Germany’s first zombie movie to reach a wider audience and I have to say that I really loved it and can’t wait to see more zombie films from them. The movie doesn’t try to be something it is not but instead tries to just be a great entry in the zombie genre with some good scares with the new breed of fast zombies. Rammbock really does succeed in this. There is no bloating with unnecessary plot or characters. It is just good zombie horror.

Rammbock has been picked up for distribution in the US by the new Bloody Disgusting Selects and is currently in limited release. If you get a chance be sure to check it out, it won’t disappoint zombie fans.

Screen Shot Quiz #245

The goal of the screen shot quiz it not to just guess what the movie is that the screen shot is from but to encourage discussion on the film. Feel free to shout out in the comments what the movie is and then provide an opinion or some thoughts on the movie. Oh and the first person who gets the movie right wins our respect.

DVD Triage: Week of May 17

Trying a bit of a different format this week, which will hopefully let me do a better job of highlighting older movies and TV without necessarily needing to put them into “buy” or “rent” categories they might not necessarily fit. I have continued to include “buy” and “rent” after the blurb where it seems useful. You can generally assume that I’m not particularly recommending anything that’s in the “more” sections, but I’m not “not” recommending it either – could be there’s something in there that interests you that I’m not into or don’t know much about, which is why I continue to list them. In the Instant Watch sections, there’s a much higher likelihood of stuff in the “more” sections being good. As far as films, the most notable release for me, anyway, is the blu-ray release of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique, which is a fantastic film in any format. Love the new cover art, too. Not a lot new on Instant this week, but watch for a bunch of Criterion and television expirations over the next two weeks.


Vanishing on 7th Street
This is the latest in a string of interesting indie thrillers from Brad Anderson – I’ve liked everything he’s done, but not loved any of it (he always falls in the “yeah, that was solid but not breathtaking” category, which is not entirely a bad thing). From reviews, I’m guessing I’ll feel similarly about this one, about a rash of mysterious disappearances. Very curious to check it out, though. RENT
2011 USA. Director: Brad Anderson. Starring: Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo, Thandie Newton.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

The Mechanic
Forgive me, I like Jason Statham movies. This looks pretty par for the course, maybe even a tad dumber based on reviews, but everyone raves about Ben Foster’s performance as well, so I’m thinking this will be a fun timewaster some weekend. RENT
2011 USA. Director: Simon West. Starring: Jason Statham, Ben Foster.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

Daydream Nation
The cover for this quotes Variety saying “Juno as reimagined by David Lynch, or a funnier, sunnier Donnie Darko.” I’m guessing that’s a bit hyperbolic, but that concept is certainly one that intrigues me, and I do quite like Kat Dennings. RENT
2010 USA. Director: Michael Goldbach. Starring: Kat Dennings, Reece Thompson.
Amazon DVD | Amazon Blu-ray | Netflix

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