The Red Turtle (2016)

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The Red Turtle Movie Review

The Red Turtle is a 2016 French animated film directed by Michael Dudok de Wit. An acclaimed film of the year, I myself found it boring.

It tells the story of a man who becomes shipwrecked on a deserted island where he meets a giant red turtle which eventually becomes a human woman. Needless to say, I don’t know what this is all about and to me it felt pointless and I don’t know what is the message here.

It is a French film distributed by Studio Ghibli and is one of the most acclaimed films of the year, animated or not. It has no dialogue, but it features sound and score. I of course don’t mind and actually quite like silent movies, but here the problem wasn’t the lack of dialogue, but the lack of story and the familiarity of the premise. Those led to a very tedious experience for me and I was bored immensely from start to finish.

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The Red Turtle is the quintessential example of a movie that was born to be made as a short and not feature film. As a short, it would have actually been very good and fascinating, but as a feature, it is boring, prolonged and awfully slow.

The reason why you should see it of course lies in its technical aspects. The animation truly is terrific. It is hand drawn and very artistic in style. Every movie should also have a strong plot and characters in order for it to be considered great, but this one only has the animation and that I just find troublesome right there. But at least it was great to look at, very pleasant and very colorful. The designs are good and it seems like a moving painting at times plus some of the imagery here is truly inspired.

Another great thing about it is its sound design. Wow, is it worthy of an Oscar. Everything here sounds awesome and realistic from the animals to the waves. It is another reason why the film would have been wonderful to see on the big screen, but on the small screen it is much inferior and I unfortunately watched it like that. The score is also solid, if not as great as the sound.

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The Red Turtle is technically marvelous with superb animation with some of the imagery being breathtaking plus the score is solid and the sound design in particular is amazing, but the technical aspects do not make movies great and you also need strong characters, message and story and all of those are lacking here. It is a movie that was destined to be made as a short film and to be watched on the big screen, but watching it on the small screen as a feature film was a tremendously boring experience.

My Rating – 3.5

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Faces Places (2017)

Faces Places Movie Review

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Faces Places Movie Review

Faces Places is a 2017 French documentary film directed by Agnes Varda. It is a very overrated film with limited appeal.

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I’m feeling the sense of greatness.

I’m big, I’m strong

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Faces Places Movie Review

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By limited appeal, I mean that the film is very much just for the artists and those interested in art. I am not particularly interested in art and thus I found this film unappealing and very dull. Certainly it has its moments and some portraits are beautiful, but I just wasn’t fully invested in these people or their job.

Agnes Varda directed the film really well and she is definitely a great presence felt throughout the film. She has a great personality and some of the things she had to say are great. JR is not as memorable as she is, but the relationship that develops between the two is fantastic and those two share some wonderful moments with each other and most of the film’s highlights concern the two of them chatting.

Faces Places (Visages Villages) promised me a look at the lives of rural people in France, but I didn’t really get that. I got that in its first act, but the rest of the film was more concerned with art which is unfortunate. I liked some of those experiments quite a bit, but for the most part the conversations intrigue me more personally and stories and those are rarely present in the second half.

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Faces Places Movie Review

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Some of the conversations and stories are very interesting and I liked some of the places and people the two visited, but mostly the movie deals with not particularly interesting people and half of the dialogue here wasn’t all that profound. The film is short, but it still felt long to me owing to its slow pacing and limited appeal. But I loved how it was shot as the cinematography is particularly strong and some scenes here are certainly very artistic which was the intention from the director all along.

Faces Places is very well shot, it has some interesting conversations as well as some fine experiments plus the relationship at the center of the film is great, but this movie nonetheless has a very limited appeal, it doesn’t have enough powerful conversations and overall I found it not particularly engaging.

My Rating – 3.5

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120 Beats per Minute (2017)

120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

120 Beats per Minute is a 2017 French drama film directed by Robin Campillo. It is a flawed, but very strong, emotionally resonant film.

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Either we’re dead or we’re alive

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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The film is set during the early nineties and it follows the HIV activists and their movement while also focusing on a romance between two men and the eventual death from AIDS of one of them.

The problem with this film is that its structure is rather odd, unappealing and it just doesn’t work all that well. Basically you get two movies here as one is about this romance and eventual tragedy so it is a pretty personal story whereas the other is a docudrama which is the opposite of that as it focuses on the whole movement and portrays the politics behind it.

Now I liked that story to a degree, but there is no denying that it was overlong and too much like a documentary. Some of it was fascinating, but some of it was boring. But the romance works perfectly and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Sean and Nathan are such well developed, likable, realistic characters so well acted by their actors and so well written too. Their relationship is stupendously portrayed as you follow it from the beginning to the very end and some moments between the two are highly moving and the final scene is heartbreaking for sure. I just wish the whole film was as personal as that storyline.

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120 Beats per Minute Movie Review

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120 Beats per Minute is weakly paced, edited and with an excessive runtime. That is not to say that the film was boring. Quite the contrary is the case actually as it was a very engaging story for me and quite interesting to watch. But there was no need for two hours and twenty minutes here and those twenty minutes could have easily been cut in some parts.

I really liked all of the performances here and the film is very well shot, scripted and with very strong dialogue. It also gives us a lot of facts about the AIDS pandemic and everything about this disease. It follows a horrible time in history filled with chaos and despair and it does portray it realistically. It is thus a very important history lesson and also a very emotional film to watch.

120 Beats per Minute is basically two movies combined into one. One is a docudrama which closely follows the politics and the organization of the ACT UP activists and that one is overly factual and although solid, it is not as interesting as the second storyline which is a heartwarming and eventually tragic romance which is so well crafted and emotionally resonant from start to finish. Overall, the film is overlong and messy, but very well made, interesting and important in its subject matter.

My Rating – 4

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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978)

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs Movie Review

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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs Movie Review

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs is a 1978 French romantic comedy which won an Oscar. It is such a frustrating, often repulsive viewing experience.

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Do you want my wife?

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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs Movie Review

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The film deals with ménage a trois as two men share a woman together. This subject matter is nothing new as ‘Design for Living’ did it much better decades ago. The problem with this film is that it is very sexist. It portrays its female character in such a horrible misogynistic manner as she is half-naked all the time and not only that but also underdeveloped and we never really learn why she is so depressed. A terribly written character.

Not that the other two are better written, not by a long shot. The two men are certainly better developed, but they are still non-entities and we never really realize why they are so obsessed with her and what is their experience from all of this in a bigger scope. The acting is fine, but the characterization is very bad.

Honestly Get Out Your Handkerchiefs started off promisingly. The beginning is abrupt, but at least somewhat amusing and even funny in its bizarre situation and interesting reactions. However, that was all thrown away pretty quickly when the film started objectifying the girl.

However, that is not even the worst offender here. The third act is honestly the worst one. There we get introduced to one 13-year-old boy who is curious about her body and that scene was very uncomfortable to watch. But she ended up in a relationship with the boy who is underage and that was just disgusting to witness.

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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs Movie Review

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There is no denying that the biggest problem of this ridiculous romantic comedy is just that – it is ridiculous. What was the point here? Did the three learn anything? Not at all. What is the point with her dating an underage boy? Did she learn anything? No! There is honestly no point to this film which is why it was such a waste of time. The fact that it won an Oscar is baffling to me.

The fact that Get Out Your Handkerchiefs won an Oscar is beyond my comprehension. It started off solidly – abruptly but somewhat amusingly. But it quickly went downhill when you witness the terrible writing and endless objectification of its main female character. Rarely have I seen a more misogynistic film than this one and it was truly horrible to witness. But its third act is even worse and even more repulsive in that uncomfortable relationship. Ultimately the biggest problem here is that none of the characters learn anything and the entire movie was thus a waste of time and an entirely pointless affair.

My Rating – 2.5

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Madame Rosa (1977)

Madame Rosa Movie Review

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Madame Rosa Movie Review

Madame Rosa is a 1977 French drama film starring Simone Signoret. It is a very undeserved Oscar winner.

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In my house, there’s no such thing

as an Arab state and a Jewish state

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Madame Rosa Movie Review

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It follows an elderly Jewish woman and former prostitute in Paris who cares for a number of children, including an adolescent Algerian boy. This story was very strong for its time as it is politically correct and modern. That is why the critics loved it so much.

However, nowadays it doesn’t really hold up as we live in a more tolerant society. The problem here is that the dialogue and the script are as subtle as an earthquake. It is overly didactic and just not professional at all.

Certainly Simone Signoret’s performance is excellent as she plays this great woman so well. Both the character and the actress steal the show, but I disliked the kid and his lines of dialogue quite a bit.

Madame Rosa has its sweet moments, but it’s mostly overly sentimental and not sophisticated at all. I liked that it featured prostitutes and transvestites and that must have been groundbreaking for 1977, but it lost its edge in this day and age.

It is weakly paced and although mostly quite engaging, the story is quite slight and overly predictable, especially in its ending. I knew hot it would end and I wasn’t surprised. The acting is good, but the directing is quite weak.

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Madame Rosa Movie Review

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In my opinion the film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film mostly for its politics and it was obviously a political move. That is why it did not deserve it at all and is among the more forgettable winners in this category.

Madame Rosa certainly has good intentions and a great performance from Simone Signoret, but it is an underserved, dated Oscar winner with a thin, predictable plot, an overly sentimental approach and a didactic dialogue that is as subtle as an earthquake.

My Rating – 3

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Three Colors: Red (1994)

Three Colors: Red Review

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Three Colors: Red Movie Review

Three Colors: Red is a 1994 French Polish mystery film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. It is a solid, but still overrated film.

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I feel something important is happening around me.

And it scares me

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Three Colors: Red Review

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The main problem I’ve had with Three Colors: Red is the implausibility of its plot. It just seemed almost impossible to happen. I admittedly liked some of its thought-provoking themes and the film definitely can be smart in certain scenes with particularly strong dialogue, but the plot remains problematic.

Not only do the two main characters meet so coincidentally, but they also continue to have really unbelievable experiences and most of the film was actually quite difficult to buy in terms of actually happening in real life.

I did think that Kern and Valentine were well developed, but not the best. The acting from both Jean-Louis Trintignant and Irene Jacob is very strong and they both gave such good performances. But the direction from Kieslowski continues to be the problem for me.

He just does not direct his films in the most interesting fashion. I do think that the story, though implausible, is interesting on paper, but in execution it wasn’t as the film is once again very slow and at times even boring. It lacks energy in both character interactions and dialogue.

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Three Colors: Red Review

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Three Colors: Red is undoubtedly in the middle when it comes to this Three Colors trilogy. It is infinitely better than ‘Three Colors: White’ but I would say that ‘Blue’ definitely is the best of the bunch. Overall, this one is solid, but again highly overrated.

Three Colors: Red is another overrated entry in this trilogy which definitely has an interesting plot, but that story is also highly implausible in too many of its plot points. The characters and acting are strong, but the film is again not particularly involving to watch. It is obviously better than White, but inferior to Blue.

My Rating – 3.5

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Three Colors: White (1994)

Three Colors: White Movie Review

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Three Colors: White Movie Review

Three Colors: White is a 1994 French-Polish comedy drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and starring Zbigniew Zamachowski and Julie Delpi. It is a weak sequel.

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What counts on bridge is memory. And mine is excellent

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Three Colors: White Movie Review

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It is about equality with the film depicting Karol Karol, a shy man who, after being left by his wife in humiliating circumstances in Paris, loses his money, his residency, and his friends. As a deeply ashamed beggar in Warsaw, Karol begins his effort to restore equality to his life through revenge.

The film may sound good on paper, but in the actual execution it is far from good. Whereas the previous film in the trilogy was very much a drama and a tragedy, this is more of a comedy even though the circumstances are not really comedic. It is a black comedy in its style.

And that did not work for me at all. Kieslowski just does not know how to do comedy and he should have done a straight drama instead as the humor here wasn’t great and the film is not funny, at least not to me. I also really did not like its crime elements introduced later on.

Karol Karol is a fine protagonist and I sympathized with him. Zbigniew Zamachowki definitely gave a very strong performance in the main role. Julie Delpi, on the other hand, is just not as memorable as she plays a basic bitch and nothing more than that.

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Three Colors: White Movie Review

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Three Colors: White is weakly directed by Kieslowski and ‘Three Colors: Blue’ was in my opinion a much better, more emotional and overall richer film. Here only the first act worked as it was quite moving in its couple of scenes and I rooted for the main character and felt sorry for him. The movie then lost all of its power when it tried to be funny and it went into an odd black comedy territory that just did not work for me. It isn’t a bad movie, but it is pretty weak overall.

Three Colors: White is much inferior to its predecessor. It is well acted and I liked the first act. But the rest was just not good. The film then went into odd black comedy territory and that just did not work for me as it wasn’t funny and it wasn’t interesting too. It’s a weak sequel.

My Rating – 3

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Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

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Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

Three Colors: Blue is a 1993 Polish-French drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and starring Juliette Binoche. It is a solid, but boring film.

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Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing.

I don’t want any belongings, any memories.

No friends, no love. Those are all traps

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Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

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It is about a woman who loses her husband and child in a car accident and tries to live a normal life afterwards. She tries to get rid of all their things and forget but the past still haunts her and her husband’s past ties catch up with her and she has to deal with them.

The plot itself is quite good and the film is thematically very solid. It deals with grief in a very solid and realistic manner and it portrays a broken woman in a very honest way. However, it isn’t as deep as it thinks it is and it doesn’t have anything deeper and new to say about grief and loss and it just sort of presents its story without diving deeper into it.

I found Juliette Binoche’s performance to be superb here and it truly is one of her career best works. She had to play a devastated woman and she did bring it emotionally. She gave a magnetic performance in her movie as this entire story relies basically only on her as we got to see a couple of more minor characters and that’s it.

Three Colors: Blue definitely is a slow movie. But it is not a slow-burn in a positive sense. It is mostly a very boring, tedious experience that is slowly paced for the sake of it and mostly pretentious and not truly artistic.

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Three Colors: Blue Movie Review

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I found the direction solid and the cinematography is excellent. Some choices are great such as the use of the color blue (liberty) as well as that interesting editing technique with interesting cuts that – when over – bring you to the exact same scene. The film is definitely very well crafted overall technically and it is powerful in its emotion at times, but it is too depressing, too slow and ultimately an overrated movie that gets too much credit. I do hope that the rest of the trilogy is more interesting.

Three Colors: Blue is a very boring and depressing movie that is solid but far from great. The film is technically accomplished with excellent cinematography, editing and direction and the performance from Juliette Binoche is terrific. It also has its emotional scenes. But it is way too slow and tedious and it doesn’t delve deep enough into its themes.

My Rating – 3.5

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Day for Night (1973)

Day for Night Review

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Day for Night Movie Review

Day for Night is a 1973 French drama film directed by Francois Truffaut. It is another overrated French movie.

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An actress who won’t appear in a bathing suit is ludicrous!

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Day for Night Movie Review

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Jesus, how many more French movies are over-praised up to this point. I am just baffled at the majority of the input from this country and why Hollywood loves it so much. I honestly have no idea and it annoys me.

Here we have another dull and ultimately pretty shallow movie which tries to give us the entire filmmaking process as it follows the making of the movie and everything that goes with it, but it is so concerned with the love affairs and relationships between its characters that it becomes a tired, boring telenovela that rarely has anything to do with the film business itself.

The actors did an okay job, but nobody really stands out. The same goes for its characters. There are too many of them and not enough stay in your mind. I do think that some stories here and some scenes were interesting and even had great conversations and interesting points to state, but most of them were not like that and I was ultimately bored.

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Day for Night Movie Review

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Day for Night is well filmed and overall well made, but overlong and another one of those French movies that are obsessed with too many details and not enough heart or genuine story at its core. Francois Truffaut made much better movies than this one and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film win was just thoroughly undeserved in this scenario.

Day for Night has a couple of interesting scenes, but most of the film was one giant, boring telenovela with too many forgettable characters and an over-reliance on soapy elements and not enough story. It is a very overrated film that did not deserve its Oscar at all.

My Rating – 3

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 French comedy film directed by Luis Bunuel. It is an overrated, plotless film.

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You’re better suited for making love than for making war

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

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This is such a typical Luis Bunuel work and it is one of his weaker ones in my opinion. It shows all of his excesses and problematic qualities in one frustrating package. I get that it has the theme of hypocrisy but it wasn’t executed well at all.

It seemed that it had no plot at all. It was just an excuse to feature a surreal, farcical adventure with a bunch of friends who want to have dinner together but are always interrupted. It had potential as it deals with interesting themes, but only the first act was interesting and the other ones were either dull or annoying.

Some segments worked but others did not. I liked some of the sexual stuff here, but some was frustrating. As for those surreal dream sequences, they were okay, but far from the director’s best. He shows again with this movie that he was great as a short subject director and not as feature director as ‘An Andalusian Dog’ remains his best effort.

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Movie Review

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is well acted and mostly well made, but overlong and frankly boring in some scenes. Its type of humor is so obviously French in its situational and odd comedy and it mostly did not work great. I didn’t smile, let alone laugh, once and thus this is a failure for me as comedies are supposed to make you smile. It received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and it is not the worst film to get that award, but is one of the weaker ones.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is your typical Luis Bunuel film which relies too little on plot and makes no sense for the majority of time. Some segments worked, but most did not and the film was even annoying at times. It is your typical French comedy that isn’t really funny and is rather overrated.

My Rating – 3

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