Romain Duris

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Mood Indigo feels like a line in the sand. For the anti-appreciates of Michel Gondry‘s style, it could almost be taken as a dare. “You don’t like twee whimsy? HERE’S EVEN MORE OF IT.” For fans of the director, it comes across as a test. “You love this cotton candy stop-motion quirk? We will shove it down your throat for two hours (an hour and a half in the US cut).” In previous Gondry films, flights of fancy came within specific settings, like dreamworlds or sweded movies. The entire universe of Mood Indigo is a cacophony of magical doohickeys, alien practices and other phenomena that go both unexplained and uncommented-upon. Alarm bells skitter around on insect legs. People go on dates in flying cloud machines. When they dance, their bodies contort into weird, often unsettling ways. A contraption called a pianocktail mixes drinks based on what keys you hit on a piano. And so on and so forth. None of this fantasticalness is of Gondry’s invention. The film is a faithful adaptation of French writer Boris Vian‘s 1947 novel “L’Écume des Jours” (“Froth on the Daydream” or “Foam of the Daze“). All this weirdness springs from Vian’s imagination — Gondry and his crew are merely the enthusiastic translators from page to screen. If nothing else, the film made me want to check out the book and see just what kind of madness can come from the uninhibited possibilities of the written word.

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Mood Indigo trailer

Back away from your fluffy DVD collection, unhand that Cheshire Cat-smiling theatrical poster and give that cardboard box some breathing room — it’s time for us to hit you with a big, fresh smack of charm and colors and Audrey Tautou just like, totally dying. Michel Gondry is back, baby, and he’s got an extremely “Michel Gondry”-looking film to entertain his (adorably) rabid fanbase, all with extra Tautou sweetness to rope in the Amelie obsessives out there. It’s sort of like if drugs were made out of cotton candy and gentle nap time dreams. And, yes, that’s a very good thing. Looking more like the direct descendent of his The Science of Sleep (a film that I will champion until the day I die, if only for the yarn ponies) than a close sibling of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Mood Indigo has Gondry again trafficking in charm, a word that will be used ad nauseum to describe the film, because it’s really the only one that fits. Based on Boris Vian‘s beloved novel of the same name, Mood Indigo sees Tautou and Romain Duris (he’s dreamy) meeting cute, falling in love, hitching up and dealing with imminent death. Wait, what? We’ll get to that, but until then, let’s just soak in all the Gondry-esque charm in the latest Mood Indigo trailer, okay? It’s sweet, we promise. Also, this trailer graces us with perhaps the most definitive and on-the-nose Gondry line ever: “I demand to fall in love, too!” Perhaps we will all fall in love with Mood Indigo, together and after the break.

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Populaire

We get it – you have options at the movie theater. A quick glance over at BoxOfficeMojo reveals that there are about fifty movies in theaters right now, and while they’re perhaps not all conveniently showing near you, fifty is a big enough number to ensure that most moviegoers have plenty to pick from. With the release of a string of new films today, from Battle of the Year to Prisoners to Rush (in limited release) to Sundance hit C.O.G., all the way down to Wednesday’s release of the very charming Enough Said, it’s obvious that audiences aren’t strapped for choices when they head out to the multiplex. Which is why it might see strange that this space will now be used to encourage you to go see a limited release, fifties-set French film about speed typing competitions that is so strapped for recognizable stars (at least in the U.S.) that it’s been forced to tout the supporting work of The Artist’s Berenice Bejo, simply to encourage people that it features people they recognize (even just a little bit). But Regis Roinsard’s Populaire is so thoroughly charming, so delightfully sweet, and so often very funny that it deserves any attention it can get. Not sold yet? What if we told you that, despite all its silly-sounding trappings, it’s really just a tried-and-true romantic comedy at its heart. You miss rom-coms, don’t you?

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Mood Indigo

Though most of the people who read this site probably don’t speak French, you’re likely all going to want to watch the French trailer for Michel Gondry’s new film L’écume des jours (or Mood Indigo when we get a trailer in English) anyway. There really isn’t much talking here, and Gondry’s work is so visual that you’ll get the gist of what’s going on anyway. And Audrey Tautou… well, she does adorable in any language.

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The Green Hornet was a brief interlude into the mainstream (or as far into it as he could go) for Michel Gondry. The director seems far more at home when working with the fantastical, the sweetly bizarre, and the effects that are done in-camera. Fortunately, he’s got his passport stamped and he’s ready to return to that world. According to Variety, Gondry will be adapting the Boris Vian novel “L’ecume des Jours” for the screen. According to Google Beatbox, that translates to The Foam of Days, but they’ve added another “the” in for good measure. The plot focuses on a man who invents an instrument that plays both for the ears and nose who falls in love with a woman, but after the two are married, they discover a rare medical ailment which demands that she always be surrounded by flowers. As if that weren’t Gondryesque enough, it also tells the story of another couple and their quirky issues. Plus, he’s got a hell of a cast lined up.

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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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