The Intouchables

discs intouchables

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Intouchables Philippe (François Cluzet) is a wealthy quadriplegic in need of a full-time caretaker. The list of applicants is long, but it’s a lower class Senegalese immigrant named Driss (Omar Sy) who gets the job because Phillipe wants someone who won’t look at him with pity. The relationship is bumpy at first, but the pair become fast friends through mutual respect and a shared sense of humor. Writer/directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano based their film on a true story, and while the subject of Philippe’s reality could very easily have made for a sappy melodrama, they wisely avoided that route. Instead the movie finds real humor and compassion in the developing friendship and the effect it has on these two lives. The script is surprisingly funny and never maudlin, and both leads show spectacular chemistry and personality. [DVD extras: None]

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Sean Penn

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that isn’t stalking Maria Bello. It swears. Sean Penn has been one of Hollywood’s top actors for decades now, but he’s never really been the sort of performer who stars in big budget blockbusters. Doesn’t he deserve to have his own action franchise already? Well, if his latest project takes off at the box office, he might get it. THR reports that Penn has signed on to star in an adaptation of one of French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette’s books, “The Prone Gunman,” where he will play a badass spy type who gets betrayed by his organization and ends up getting chased all across Europe in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Think of it as being like Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, only starring an actor.

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Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp My Valentine

Harvey Weinstein. This guy. He’s crazy like a fox, and not all of his moves can be understood ahead of time, which is why he often prevails. In the case of the music video for Paul McCartney‘s “My Valentine,” it’s unclear who he’ll prevail over, but the producing titan has requested that theaters in New York and Los Angeles play the black and white work (which features Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman signing the lyrics to the song (before Depp takes a sweet acoustic solo)) before screenings of The Intouchables. There is no connection between the two projects (at least not one that could be made without Kevin Bacon), so it all seems sort of bizarre. The Intouchables is the latest Olivier Nakache film which tells the comically dramatic story of a wealthy quadriplegic man hiring a poor man from the projects to take care of him (Review here). Oh, no. Does Weinstein think quadriplegic people and deaf people are the same? Hopefully not. At any rate, here’s the video if you’d like to prep for the movie that it has nothing to do with:

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The Intouchables Movie

On the surface, The Intouchables sounds like another trite, feel-good movie about a mismatched pair of unlikely friends, who come together to inspire each other despite overwhelming odds. Or, maybe it’s a remake of The Untouchables with an unfortunate typo. But it’s not about sending anyone to the Chicago morgue, and your everyday buddy movie simply doesn’t achieve the enormous box office haul that’s been amassed by this French drama, which has reportedly earned more than $280 million before even opening stateside. So The Intouchables has clearly hit unique nerve. After all, it’s not a big, expensive blockbuster or a sequel to a mega-popular franchise. Still, the formula for success here, perfected by co-directors/writers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, is clear: Find characters worth caring about, cast actors who are adept at making you feel for them and surround the stars with an inspirational narrative centered on meaningful, affecting human growth.

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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