Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Midnight in Paris

a georgeous young actress

Rachel McAdams

Woody Allen is one of my favorite directors and he has never disappointed me. Once again he created a new movie so original that only him could have written it, and it is like no one else.

First let’s say that this movie entirely takes place in Paris, France and if you like to see the city, then this film has some of the most beautiful cinematography of the French capital. In particular the beginning of the movie shows a series of views of the City of Lights from many different vantage points and it really feels like you are there, standing in the rain.

Woody Allen nowadays always use new actors at each of its new films, and it is like an honor to be invited to act in one of his films, especially as these are considered art movies and not big box office productions. So Owen Wilson could at first seem like an odd choice, but he fits perfectly inside the imagination and script of Woody Allen and this role shows his talent. Owen plays Woody Allen himself as he is a writer lacking confidence who has a strong nostalgia for the twenties, naive and unassuming.

He has on his side two gorgeous actresses, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams who bring passion and poetry to the story. As often Marion steals the show with her classy presence.

In a daring move Woody hired the French First Lady to play a small role and this is a great idea to depict the country which has ‘equality’ in its motto.

Woody Allen’s imagination is limitless and this time he created an interesting and as always unexpected story which I will not reveal as you must see that movie and find out for yourself. But let’s say that this is a story where people’s passion are the driving forces of their lives. The movie is magical and mystical, akin to a dream.

Two Days in Paris

Pacific Design Center

Julie Delpy

Yesterday, I rented “Two Days in Paris” from Netflix.

This is a 2007 film written, directed, produced and starring Julie Delpy. Even her parents in the movie are her real parents, and her boyfriend is her real ex-boyfriend Adam Goldberg. It is an understatement that Julie impregnates the movie.

Even though this movie was well received including a nomination at the Cesar Awards, France, it only grossed around $14 million worldwide. The IMDB rating is a low 6.9/10.

Frankly, this movie is not for the general public.

OK, let us start with the story line. A young couple living in New York, she is French, he is American, visits Venice. On their way back by train from their ill-fated vacation, they spend two days in Paris in Marion’s (Julie Delpy) parent’s place. Jack (Adam Goldberg) discovers Paris as well as Marion’s parents and old friends, including many past lovers.

Culturally the interesting aspect of this movie is that the dialogues are half French (with English subtitles), half American English. The movie attempts to emphasize some of the cultural  differences between France and the United States, and succeeds to some degree. The dialogues in both tongues are of excellent quality.

For those who likes images from the City of Light, it is always nice to get reminiscences of Paris.

One of the nicest aspect of “Two days in Paris” is that it feels like two days in the life of real people, and not the fabricated adventures of some super-heroes speaking in strong short messages as is often seen nowadays. So it does not feel like a big production Hollywood type movie and it is refreshing.

The main theme of the dialogues is the constant arguing  going on in this couple. I do not remember any conversation where they agreed. It fact it reminded me of my wife and myself, so there must be some authenticity to achieve that. Not all couples are like that, in constant debate about all little and big things in life, but for the sad afflicted ones, they will recognize themselves.

Another theme that is not seen much in American movies but more so in European and French ones, is a heavy dosage of sexual allusions in the dialogues. In a party, a man starts a discussion with Jack with a reference to the way women shave their pubis in a small rectangular shape, nicknamed “ticket de metro”, i.e. subway ticket. And he says how this turns him off completely.

In another scene, Marion’s mother narrates her sexual adventures in the sixties. And it goes on and on. Her father in particular speaks in a disgusting way almost all the time.

It seems that Marion is still in contact with a myriad of ex-lovers. This adds to the sexual images and the tensions in the couple, making Jack feel even more estranged from his fiancee. This leads them to the question of knowing if they reached the love of their life or not.

There is a good dose of humor in “Two Days in Paris“. I loved all the scenes in taxis, where each time the driver demonstrated a typically French type of behavior.

The message of the movie: if you are in a couple, try to be nice to the other half.

Taken

a beautiful young actress

Famke Janssen

Liam Neeson and Famke Janssen star in “Taken“.

The movie has done very well in the box office, grossing $144 million domestically 4 months after release. The IMDB rating is 8.0/10, which is fair and puts it in the good movie category.

“Taken” is an action/thriller telling the story of a father whose daughter is kidnapped by Albanian girl traffickers.

Unfortunately for the traffickers, Liam Neeson aka Brian Mills is a retired CIA operatives from their Special Activities Division, called a “preventer”.

As you can imagine, the movie is action packed as it is going to take a lot of bullets, blood and wit for Liam to recover his daughter.

He must find her fast, very fast ,  as he is told that if he cannot locate her in the next 72 hours, she will have disapeared forever into the labyrinth of European prostitution.

The movie is centered on Liam Neeson’s quest for his daughter and it is unusual to see him play such a merciless hero, but his performance is excellent and he deserves A+. The beautiful Famke Janssen plays his ex-wife and mother of his daughter played by Maggie Grace. They certainly both do their part well, but the focus in on Liam Neeson and how he will be able to recover his daughter with nearly to clue to start with.

Yes, but he was a CIA operative, and he knows how to follow a track, however thin it can be. There is of lot of action and it somehow reminds me of “The Bourne Identity” series, which is my opinion is one of the best action/thriller of the past ten years. Without reaching this level, “Taken“will keep you riveted to the screen from start to end.

The character of Brian Mills is also very similar to Jack Bauer from the TV show “24“. But even more ruthless, as this is not just any mission, but a personal situation with his own daughter involved. And he takes NO prisoners.

Most of the movie takes place in Paris. If you like the French Capital, you may recognize some streets or neighborhoods.  The final scene takes place on a boat crusing the river Seine at night. Beautiful scenery of the noctural Seine quais. and bridges.

Pierre Morel who is a new director did an excellent job of directing the movie and you will never get bored while watching. Luc Besson produced and co-wrote the script, which explains the overall qualit and interest found in “Taken“.

The message of the movie: (except the obvious “Do not mess with a retired field CIA operative”): Prostitution and girl trafficking is a SERIOUS problem, not just in Europe, but worldwide.