REVIEW: Inferno [2016]

“We’re a minute to midnight” America loves popcorn thrillers as much as Hollywood and that suits Dan Brown fine. Having Ron Howard and Tom Hanks take an interest in his character Robert Langdon definitely helps too, but the “bestseller” label would have been enough if lesser names attached instead. Whether or not Brown anticipated his professor’s pop culture appeal to ensure each installment was a solitary unit (the initial adaptation, The Da Vinci Code, was actually Langdon’s second entry) is something only he can answer, but it’s served him perfectly…

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INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba

Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood blockbusters X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jurassic World. It most likely also opened a floodgate of offers for the duo at the helm, but these Frenchmen aren’t interested in bringing someone else’s vision to…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Samba [2014]

“Red paper. Then … no more.” Every movie should have a score by Ludovico Einaudi and it’s comforting to see Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano agree. After using his haunting music on the brilliant Intouchables, the duo take a few tracks from his album In a Time Lapse to enhance their latest work Samba. Another drama dealing with serious issues oftentimes handled melodramatically by Hollywood, they find a way to infuse each character’s hardship with a delightfully comic streak. The formula is similar to that Oscar nominee with its two…

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REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past [2014]

“Mind the glass” If you have a storyline at your disposal capable of continuing two separate iterations of a single cinematic franchise simultaneously, you’d be a laughing stock not to take it. Credit Fox for seizing this opportunity to create something not even Marvel proper has dared to do quite yet. Would they have made the attempt had Star Trek not already used time travel in a way that didn’t completely alienate its summer blockbuster movie-going audience? I’d be interested to hear the producers’ thoughts on this because I’m not…

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REVIEW: Intouchables [The Intouchables] [2011]

“We’ll escort you. It’s safer.” Leave it to my Americanized way of looking at things to go into the César Award-nominated French film Intouchables [The Intouchables] by thinking it would be yet another run-of-the-mill rich white guy helping poor black guy tale. With a Hollywood remake already in the works, I see our adaptation falling into such tropes by increasing hostility as lead character Driss turns into a punk who falls prey to outside preconceptions and lets his employer down before redeeming himself. But Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s film…

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REVIEW: Micmacs à tire-larigot [Micmacs] [2009]

“No, I am the vegetable crisper” With a literal translation of ‘Non-stop Shenanigans”, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs à tire-larigot is definitely his return to high-style comedy and proof he may in fact belong in an insane asylum. His last film, A Very Long Engagement, was a fantastic wartime document shot in his signature aesthetic, but it’s subject matter brought it away from the more absurd surrealism we became used to with Amélie and Delicatessen. This isn’t to say Micmacs lacks a serious underlying story to the aforementioned steady stream of wackiness;…

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