Archive for Marion Cotillard

Inception (2010)

Posted in 2010, Action, Blockbuster, Drama, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by filmglutton

Ok, I’m not going to write a synopsis, because if you haven’t seen Inception yet, you should be watching it without knowing anything of the plot beforehand…it’s all the more fun to discover it during the viewing! The only thing I’ll say is that it’s about dreams…

This is a movie that requires a bit of thinking from its audience…how refreshing is that? All of the actors are great, though some are given more to work with than others. Leonardo DiCaprio proves yet again just what an arresting screen presence he is. He carries this movie effortlessly. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is swoon-worthy (ok, so I have a crush), Marion Cotillard (as usual) manages to bring something special to every scene she’s in, Ellen Page is great as the young architect…and many of the other supporting players are similarly good. This a a great ensemble piece and it’s an added bonus that all of them are great to look at too.

This is a blockbuster, which makes this film even better because it doesn’t cheat the audience; it shows us that you don’t have to substitute substance for explosions. It was written, directed and producer by Christopher Nolan…we must all bow down to him!  I wasn’t too fussed on The Dark Knight (don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a really good film, but not great. Definitely not 5 stars…) but this is fantastic. I was completely into it the whole way through and the movie just flew by. It’s a crazy ride…afterwards I was left with the sense that I’d been dreaming. Weird. Some people found this movie too confusing, but I just went with it. I hate it when people try to pick apart the logic of the movie after they’ve seen it. JUST ENJOY IT!

Inception has hardly any swearing and is not terribly violent (while there are plenty of gun fights etc, there’s no blood or gore), so it appeals to a wider audience. While the themes are quite dark (Marion Cotillard’s character, in particular, provides some creepy moments) it is suitable for teens and up. I won’t say any more about this. It’s a total crowd pleaser. Some have said this is an instant classic, and I might agree with them. Unless you’re one of those indie people that hates all commercial films (you know who you are!), I guarantee you will enjoy this one.

 My rating:

Nine (2009)

Posted in 2009, Drama, Musical, Period Film, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2010 by filmglutton

Based on the Broadway musical which was based on Fellini’s 8 1/2, Nine is the story of Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), a big-time movie director struggling with ideas for his next film. He is only 10 days away from starting shooting, yet still he has no script. He desperately searches for answers as he remembers the many women of his life.

I’d heard quite bad reviews for this one but I generally like Rob Marshall’s work, so I went into this with mixed expectations.

Nine is nowhere near as good as Marshall’s previous musical Chicago, but this is mainly because Nine is not a great musical. I felt that when I saw it on stage and I felt it when I saw if on screen. This is as handsome a production as we have come to expect from Marshall, but Nine has a distinct lack of truly great songs. The only showstopper is Be Italian, which is sung by Fergie, who has the smallest role of all the women. So you won’t leave the cinema singing any songs other than that one, unlike so many great musicals.

So, the acting. Daniel Day-Lewis is as convincing as ever, although I don’t think this is a particularly difficult role for him. It doesn’t really require a lot of depth in the performance. Other roles that leave the actors with very little to do include Sohpia Lauren as his mother, Kate Hudson as an American journalist, Nicole Kidman as his muse, and the aforementioned Fergie. Judi Dench has a slightly larger role but again is not required to do anything too difficult.  Penelope Cruz is good as the emotionally fragile mistress, while Marion Cotillard steals the show (in my opinion) as the long-suffering wife. She has a really nice voice, too, and her character has the most depth and humanity of any of the others.

The musical numbers are beautifully choreographed. Marshall was once a choreographer so the musical scenes are always impressive. All of these numbers are enjoyable but ultimately forgettable if not for the dancing and the visual style. I thought it was very well edited, and the cinematography by Dion Beebe (who also collaborated with Marshall on Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha) is as interesting and beautiful as we have come to expect from him. He is a truly great DP.

Other than the lack of great songs, the main problem with Nine is that the story just seems to drift by us. It’s a reasonably interesting storyline but also a bit underwhelming. This is probably why this movie has been getting negative reviews, because it leaves no real impact on the audience. I noted that Marion Cotillard provided some of the only emotional interest in Public Enemies, and I think it’s true here too.

This is not a great film by any means, but definitely worth checking out if it comes on TV or you can see it cheap on DVD.

My Rating:

Public Enemies (2009)

Posted in 2009, Action, Based on True Events, Drama, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by filmglutton

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Based on a true story, Public Enemies is about infamous American outlaw John Dillinger. The film opens in 1933 with Dillinger staging a daring escape from the Indiana State Penitentiary. From here he and his gang embark on a series of bank robberies, quickly and effortlessly stealing thousands of dollars with every hit. Between prison stints Dillinger falls in love with Billie (Marion Cotillard), a woman he meets at a restaurant. Dillinger is regarded by law enforcement as being public enemy number one, so top dog Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) is enlisted to apprehend him.

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I went into the film knowing next to nothing about the story. All I knew was that both Johnny Depp and Christian Bale were in it – good enough for me! Unfortunately, the film left me feeling a little “whelmed”. The characters are rather one-dimensional, and they don’t really develop over the course of the narrative. Even Johnny Depp, as brilliant as he is, has very little to do. Christian Bale tends to play one-note characters, and Purvis is no different – it’s a shame, because he has shown himself to be a capable actor. The narrative is a bit messy and confusing, particularly in the middle section. The action sequences, while highly energetic, are hard to follow. This is partly because you are unsure of the characters (they all look a bit the same in their black coats and hats), but also because the movie was shot on HD instead of film. With HD the picture is so sharp, lacking the slightly softer movements seen on film. I found it very hard to focus on anything when there was a lot of action on the screen, particularly as a lot of it was handheld. One of the most chaotic scenes, a night-time gunfight, is especially hard to watch – my eyes were feeling rather tired by the end! I think it’s great that HD has a place in modern filmmaking (gives us financially-challenged filmmakers a bit of hope!), but it certainly has its limitations.

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The film seemed to run for too long, but my main issue was that it lacked any real emotional impact. There were only a few moments where I really felt anything for the characters (and that mainly came in moments of violence, most notably when Billie is in custody). I think that was the main problem with Public Enemies – it didn’t make me care for characters. In fact, I had a very flippant attitude towards their fates. I was taken on their journey but was never really bothered about what happened to them.

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All in all this is quite an enjoyable film. John Dillinger is an intriguing historical character and he makes for a good cinematic suject. There is nothing especially bad about Public Enemies, but nothing really stands out either. The film isn’t memorable but it’s not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

My rating: 111