Monthly Archives: November 2011

Both Released in 1992, both made on low budgets, both receive NC-17 ratings, both long forgotten. See any similarity in the promotional poster?
I was pretty surprised that when I typed Bad Lieutenant into GOOGLE for an image, all that came up were screens and posters for the 2009 Werner Herzog version. It’s hard to believe that these diamonds of perverted cinema been forgotten/ out shined already. Damn shame….
Although some people in my neighbourhood seem to think the holiday season starts the day after Halloween, the FIRST day of the holidays for me has always been Dec the 1st. So, without further ado…

In a box office filled with teenaged blood suckers, the second coming of feet that are happy, and finallies to stoner comedies, it’s pretty obvious that Hollywood is in a season of creative draught. That’s why when I went to see Café de Flore (2011) in an nearly empty theatre (the only other patrons being senior citizens) I was glad to be reminded that hope for creativity, in this industry that seems to be interested only to sequels and spin-offs, is still alive and kicking up here in the north. Café is the latest from Quebecoise director turned filmic DJ Jean-Marc Vallèe, who returns to his specific brand of musically driven filmmaking that gathered the worlds’ attention in 2005 with his earlier release C.R.A.Z.Y. Now six years later, Café shows that Valle’s passion for mixing stunning imagery and philosophical flare hasn’t wavered a bit.

Café omnisciently traverses through the trajectory of three different story lines, often shifting terrains in a ghostly fashion, alternating between various time periods and events that are shown in a manner that wilfully disorients. Vallèe is no stranger to having his films span over the course of a lifetime, but this film dashes routine story telling aside in search of a style that is surprisingly more mature than his past work. Café tells the story of middle aged DJ Antoine Godin (Kevin Parent) who after leaving his wife of twenty years for his considerably younger mistress Rose (Evelyne Brochu), feels that his life is incomplete. Meanwhile Antoine’s ex-wife (Hélène Florent) is deeply troubled by their divorce and starts to have terrifying nightmares in which what she calls a ‘little monster’ haunts her. Throw in the other plot about how a strong willed single mother named Jacqueline (Venessa Paradis) whose determination for her mollycoddled Down Syndrome son (Lucas Bonin) to have a ‘normal’ life becomes a psychotic obsession, and you have your hands full with this plot. Café makes us work at every twist and turn of the story, and in the process of our connecting the dots Vallèe   delivers his own doctrine about the enduringly trangressive nature of love and the odyssey of human existence. With this said, Café isn’t a film for everyone, but for those who can deal with the film’s brainteaser style, a true reward is to be had.

In Café, Vallèe maximizes on the use of nostalgic songs where most directors who overuse cinematic musical scenes (Zack Snyder ahem) fall incomparably short. Vallèe enlists some big name sounds (Sugar Ros, Pink Floyd, The Cure) in an effort that helps to translate the film’s moods and thoughts into smooth crystalline scenes. Café asks us: how does one show the multifaceted nature of human relationships and co-dependency? Vallèe’s answer of course: with stark visions and a damn good soundtrack. Oh and I know it’s not ‘cool’ to do this anymore, but without giving too much away this is a film that you will want to sit through the credits for because there’s a real pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

I should be working on my abstract for my Cult Cinema research paper, but I got sucked into Apple Trailers.

This one makes me wonder: do people even understand what a trailer is for anymore? Why should I go see this movie if I already know everything that happens in it?


I was actually thinking about THX 1138 today, and I happened to come across the trailer for George Lucas’ latest project Red Tails. Props to Lucas for stepping out of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones universe for the first time in about the last decade. Still I’m not really sure what to think about this film though. Although Red Tails has been in the works since 1998, could this film being released in this present day (a time when the film industry shows its phobia of releasing anything that won’t make it big bucks by releasing sequel after sequel) be an indication that Red Tails appearance as the film about the African American pilots of WII that has been so carefully neglected in the American War film spectrum, is not actually what it seems? I mean surely just because a film is a blockbuster doesn’t mean it can’t be a good film, but two real problems exist here: 1) Lucas hasn’t put out a well received film since The Land Before Time (1988) and 2) Lucas has never been a consistent director.
Him and his long time buddy Francis Ford Copolla share a lot in common, especially because their biggest hits were films that they were less than enthusiastic about working on (The Godfather (1972), Star Wars (1977)). Copolla never being considered filmicly consistent either, its interesting though that their biggest films were some of the first in the film industry to spawn sequels and trilogies that would be the only in filmic history to be considered better than their predecessors.
With a budget of 25-35 million, a familiar cast of African American actors (Method Man, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Junior), and production by Lucas himself, its hard to imagine that this film will do poorly. The real question is: will be good?
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