France

As director/writer/producer Luc Besson has been responsible for a seemingly endless number of slick action films filled with gunplay, heroics, and a clear disregard for the laws of physics. He’s made action stars out of children and women (The Professional and La Femme Nikita), street gymnasts (District 13), and cabbies (Taxi). Hell, he even turned comic actor Jason Statham into a convincing action lead with The Transporter. Recently he’s found a new niche with lead actors approaching their sixth decade of life. Taken saw Liam Neeson demonstrating his very specific set of skills against some baddies, and now Jean Reno is shooting his way throughout the beautiful city of Marseilles in a bloody tale of revenge and family business gone awry. Charley Mattei (Reno) is a happily married father of two who once upon a time was also a mobster. He quit the business to focus on the joys of family, but it seems his past family, the ones that carry guns and horse heads in the trunks of their cars, didn’t like the way he said goodbye. They ambush him one morning and leave him for dead with twenty-two bullets lodged in his blood-drenched body. But they made two mistakes… they killed his dog. And they didn’t kill him.

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Ah, the romantic comedy. Is there any genre more undone by the generic machinations of heartless hacks and unfunny “stars” in lead roles? The ingredients should be simple… two people fall for each other and face obstacles on the way to hopefully being together. Whether they get there or not is irrelevant. Make the romance heartfelt and believable and the laughs genuine and frequent and you’ll have a solid romantic comedy. Notting Hill, When Harry Met Sally, My Best Friend’s Wedding… when it works they’re more than just great examples of the genre. They’re great movies period. Heartbreaker works.

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Africa, more than any other continent, seems destined to be represented cinematically as a place filled with danger, strife, uncertainty, and upheaval. If the wild life or harsh conditions don’t get you a citizenry motivated by fear, religion, or anger most certainly will. But surely there’s joy to be found somewhere within its borders? Some pockets of happiness and smiles? Some village where something as trivial as a Coke bottle can lead to a tale of humor, warmth, and slapstick? No? Nothing? Fine. Let’s take a look at Claire Denis’ bleak, violent, and challenging film White Material instead.

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Foreign Objects

We all know the dirty little truth about stereotypes is that they usually have some basis in reality. A minor basis to be sure and they’re most often incorrectly applied as generalizations, but come on people, I’ve ridden in cars driven by Asian females and it is terrifying. One such stereotype that I’ve only heard second hand is about the rudeness of the French. But for all the friends and acquaintances who’ve sworn to its veracity my years of watching French films haven’t born it out to be true. (Because cinema represents reality obviously.) Until now. It’s rare to find a movie that dares to make one of its two leads a complete and total prick, but The Dinner Game does just that. And the fact that for all of his arsehole-ishness the guy still manages to be likable? A feat only those well-versed in rudeness could accomplish. Every Wednesday a gaggle of dicks invite one guest each to a very special dinner. The invitees are chosen based on a simple criteria… how stupid they look and act. The friends basically spend the evening letting their guests make fools of themselves and compete to see whose idiot is the most entertaining. Pierre Brochant thinks he hit the mother-load when he comes across a man named Francois Pignon. He makes matchstick models of bridges and other man-made objects and as an added bonus he’s short, balding, and desperate to please others. Ideal idiot material. Brochant is giddy at the thought of […]

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The first two rounds of competition were a great warm up, but the competition gets ugly now as the wins come harder. No contest in that round exemplifies that more than the battle between the French representative and the USA rep. Amelie defeated District 9 in a surprise victory, and it goes into its round against The Dark Knight with momentum and the status as a fanboy killer. It will still have an uphill battle, because the US representative is (unlike the real World Cup) picked to win it all.

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Here were are in the first match of Round Two. The Elite Eight is at stake with every pairing, and this might prove to be a tough one. District 9 defeated Sin Nombre in Round One, and Amelie blew Whisky out of the water, but now they face off against each other. Two heavy-weights in a bare-knuckle brawl for supremacy, and we’re not even to the finals yet.

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The second match up of Round One finds underdog Uruguay up against powerhouse France. It was going to be an uphill battle for the 2004 film Whisky, but going up against the Oscar-nominated, extremely well known Amelie might see it exiting the tournament in the first round unless there’s a massive upset.

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Like those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials where the chocolate and peanut-butter are accidentally combined, Mutants sees someone dropping their dramatic love story in my zombie horror…

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I’ve always been a sucker for good romantic comedies. The problem these days is that for every Love Actually or Notting Hill there are ten Ugly Truths or Bride Wars. The balance between the romance and the comedy needs to not only be believable, but that balance needs to be just right. Which brings us to a French film that pretty much gets it all right.

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‘I Come With The Rain’ opens with someone beating the crap out of Josh Hartnett with a baseball bat. Sounds like a missed opportunity for the marketing department doesn’t it? You probably would have heard of the movie if that scene was the entire trailer.

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oam-tocatchathief

For the holiday weekend, we take a trip to the South of France. But we’re skipping Cannes in order to catch up with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly as they try to stop a devastatingly talented jewel thief.

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martyrs4

Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… France!

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cannes_festival_logo

Cannes is just a few months away, and since we’re tired of caring about the Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter has released a list of possibles that’s too good not to dissect.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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