Tag: Juliette Binoche

Summer Hours

August 11th, 2017 — 10:10pm


Summer Days-nf

This almost 10-year-old French film (with subtitles) captures some of the beauty of the French countryside, family tradition, love of artistic paintings, beautiful furniture and even old and modern vases. It is also a sensitive depiction of three siblings who have to decide how to handle their mother’s estate of the family countryside house and its possessions. Director/writer Olivier Assayas with four great performance by Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jeremie Renier and Edith Scob does an excellent job in getting us to relate to the various family members and their mother. As we were enjoying this very realistic development of each of the characters, we kept imagining where the storyline might lead us. There were hints of a secret love affair, art objects with an unsuspected history, possible miscalculation of the value of the art and teenage children of the next generation who might undermine their whole legacy. But the film did not take us on any interesting journey. All of life doesn’t have to have an intriguing storyline. However, there are unlimited choices for a Netflix movie for our viewing pleasure so we had expected more than we felt was delivered. (2008)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign

The 33

November 16th, 2015 — 7:32am

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 6.13.09 PM***

The 33-sp

Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar, the story of the 2010 Chilean Mine disaster and the 33 miners trapped underground, was one of the best books we have read in a long time (see book review). So a movie following in its footsteps has big shoes to fill. Director Patricia Riggen and the producing team led by veteran producer Mike Medavoy did a pretty good job of capturing the atmosphere as well as creating the tension and interaction of the beleaguered miners. They chose to make this film in English, which took away from the realism but we understand the reasonable necessity to do this to facilitate worldwide distribution. Much of the film was deep in the dark mine and the faces of the characters were understandably in deep shadows. While good for realism, it did take awhile for the characters to be clearly distinguished as individuals.

There was one interesting issue which we wonder if it was fact or creative license. That was when Laurence Golbourne (Rodrigo Santoro), the young government official who was Minister of Mines for the Chilean government told the veteran mine rescue expert exactly how he should position the last chance drilling effort, which was the only drill to reach the miners. Just as important as the interaction of the miners with each other was the role of the families putting pressure on the various officials to make an all-out effort to save their loved ones. The emotions of these family members, friends and one mistress was highlighted by the character of Maria Segovia, sister of one of the miners, who was well-played by Juliette Binoche. Another standout was the character of Mario Sepulveda (Antonio Banderas) who assumed the leadership role of the trapped miners.

This was the last film of the late James Horner who as usual created an excellent soundtrack to capture the changing moods of the film. At the conclusion of the movie, we see a postscript telling us that none of the miners received any compensation from the mine company. In a post screening discussion, we were able to ask producer Michael Medavoy if this film is financially successful, would the miners receive any compensation. The answer was, “You bet,” but it has to come after all the backers of the film receive their upfront money back plus a reasonable profit. We thought that why should the miners not receive their compensation upfront? But that apparently is the usual Hollywood way. Despite this concern, the film itself, while not meeting the standards of the amazing book is still worthwhile and should be seen and enjoyed by many viewers. Shortly after the actual disaster occurred I also wrote two blogs  about the psychological implications of this experience  ( see blog#1   and blog #2 ) (2015)


Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, History

Clouds of Sils Maria

October 24th, 2015 — 4:33am

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 9.32.44 PM***  

Clouds of Sils Maria-nf

This is one of those movies where the actors (in this case actresses) played characters who are actresses themselves preparing for a part. In this case real life gets interwoven with the role that they are going to play. It sounds interesting, especially if you are into inside show business stories. The actual story and presentation by screenwriter/director Olivier Assayas was well done but we felt he coped out in the end and left too much to our imagination.

The story line introduces us to Maria Enders (Juliette Binochea) a successful actress who 20 years previously had her first real breakout role in a production where she played an 18-year-old assistant to a big time actress. There was a complicated interaction in the story between the two women which included a sexual affair. The older woman ultimately felt devalued and committed suicide. Now 20 years Maria Enders the actress who played the younger woman is now a successful veteran actress who has her own personal assistant (Kristin Stewart). She is asked by a director to star once again in the same production but this time to play the role of the older woman. She ruminates about this and ultimately meets the woman scheduled to be her younger co-star at this time (Chloe Grace Moretz).

The key here is the inner workings of the mind and emotions of the older Maria Enders’ character. We get a window into them as she rehearses and runs lines with her personal assistant. Reality meets fiction in a subtle gradual manner. We are caught up as we watch the metamorphosis develop. The setting for most of this film is outdoors in Switzerland where the esteemed author of the play that is to be performed was supposed to have lived. The Clouds of Sils Maria are in reality a snake-like intrusion of a low-lying cloud formation that slips between the mountains on a regular basis writhing like a snake, which is the name of the play that the actors and actresses are scheduled to perform. Perhaps it is also a metaphor for being slowly overwhelmed. The acting in this movie is excellent with each character being quite believable and you can try to imagine how things work out in the end. (2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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