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Grande Ecole [DVD]
Grande Ecole [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gregori Baquet

4.0 out of 5 stars Seriously let down by the ending, 6 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Grande Ecole [DVD] (DVD)
II acknowledged that this is a movie of a stage play, but movies should never feel like a stage play. They should be more expansive courtesy of the medium, and should use techniques that enhance the script and expand the viewer’s visualisation of the world the writer wishes us to engage in. Sadly Grande Ecole only does this for part of the movie and the final scene in particular felt as if we, the viewer, were watching a stage.

But that not the really bad part. The bummer is the ending. I need something who’s read or seen the play to tell me if that is the how it ended on stage. I guess it is as the playwright Jean-Marie Besset is a scriptwriter for this screen version. Partially unresolved, somewhat dissatisfying and very, very annoying.

Now to the good bits. The actors do a good job – especially Jocelyn Quivrin as Louis-Arnault, and the absolutely stunning Salim Kechiouche as Mécir. There are good-looking men in undress all over this film and no-one’s complaining. I was sad that Arthur Jugnot’s Chouquet didn’t get more of a role, as his character could have added another dimension to the film. But the stand out was Élodie Navarre as Emeline, a conniving, duplicitous character that made you hate her. Superb acting.

This was three-quarters of a good movie. I’m giving it 4 stars (instead of 3 it probably deserves) because damn, those were good shower scenes!


Treasure Hunter [DVD] [2009]
Treasure Hunter [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Chiling Lin
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £4.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Someone slap Eric Tsang, please., 6 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Treasure Hunter [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
There’s actually a fair bit to like about this movie – but then there are some negatives that have impacted on the overall rating I’ve given.

First, the positives. The cast is hot. Well most of the principals are. Jay Chou is, well, Jay Chou. Dead-set hotness, and Chiling Lin is simply beautiful. She isn’t necessarily the world’s best actor, but she lights up most scenes she’s in just by her presence. Daoming Chen who plays Master Hua is Handsome with a capital H. So it comes up trumps in the eye candy department.

The plot is marginal and the story generally needs a bit of help, but the realisation of what the team had to work with was effective and the SFX were believable. The action scenes varied, but were generally excellent.

Now to the negatives. Number 1 is Eric Tsang. I loved Eric Tsang in Infernal Affairs, but here he is all over the shop. One minute doing slapstick, another doing drama, and yet another melodrama. He is nothing but a distraction in this movie and his part was unnecessary. Actually, now that I think about it, nearly all the characters were unnecessary. Mark that down as the second negative. The Master Hua character had the most going for it, but the scriptwriters obviously got lazy as there were many unanswered questions.

In short go to see this movie to drool over Jay Chou and his co-stars. Don’t look for a coherent plot, or you’ll end up sadly short-changed.


Presque Rien (Come Undone) [DVD] [2000]
Presque Rien (Come Undone) [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Jeremie Elkaim

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Convoluted lazy script that lacks a conclusion., 31 Dec. 2011
The Contrivance
Jérémie Elkaïm plays Mathieu, a young man taking his summer holidays on the French coast before beginning studies to become an architect. The title translates into "Almost Nothing ", although the U.S. release that I have is titled "Come Undone". Changing titles for different markets is one of David Stratton's biggest bugbears, and I'm stating to agree with him.

Anyway, back to the plot, and Mathieu 's mother is deeply depressed because of the death of his younger brother from cancer, and is cared for in a huge seaside house by Mathieu's Auntie. Mathieu mucks around every day with his younger sister, until he meets ever-so-handsome Cedric (Stéphane Rideau) at the beach. Mathieu and Cedric start up a dalliance, and everyone gets their knickers in a twist.

The film also covers the post-separation period of the blokes, but it was handled so clumsily by the Director (and editor) that I gave up trying to understand what was happening.

The Prose
Whilst nowhere near as bad as "Burning Man" as the worst movie ever to distort chronological story-telling, Presque rien make a pretty good hash of it, switching between the summer and the winter plotlines, with seemingly gay abandon. Note to Director: this isn't a smart narrative twist... it's just plain annoying.

Apart from that major criticism, the script is a hanger, that is, there is so much unresolved, it is almost as if they ran out of time, or the Director Sébastien Lifshitz and his co-writer Stéphane Bouquet got bored, or funding dried up. There is nothing wrong with the writing per se, it simply isn't finished.

The Talent
The casting in film is competent, but few of the cast are of note. The casting of Dominique Reymond as Mathieu's mother was probably the one stand out, but she is given so little screen time in which to develop her character, that the experience was one of a lost opportunity.

To talent of the other kind, and the picture on the DVD cover of stars Jérémie Elkaïm and Stéphane Rideau has been given the old air brush treatment, I assume by Pierre et Gilles (Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard), although they are not credited. Hence, on the cover they look absolutely stunning. In the film, they are not treated as kindly, but still they are handsome enough anchors. There's more than enough shirtless scenes to keep fans' interest.

The Summation
I have to admit a tinge of disappointment with this movie. It was convoluted, had a lazy script, and lacked a conclusion. Nonetheless, the leads did well with the material offered to them, and for that it gets three stars. But only just.


Give Me Your Hand (Donne-Moi La Main) [DVD]
Give Me Your Hand (Donne-Moi La Main) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Hauthier
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £10.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, poetic and confusing, 31 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Contrivance
A pair of 18 year old twins hitchhike to their mother's funeral in Spain - that's the extent of the plot. This is director Pascal-Alex Vincent's first full-length feature, whereas previously he has been much lauded for his short films. In fact, it's his only full-length feature.

Someone referred to this as a melancholy drama, as apt a description as I could think of. Much has been written on the directionless nature of the film, and it is a pain in the rear. You never get a sense that the boys are heading to Spain, rather it feels like they are wandering around aimlessly. This may seem a minor criticism, but it does scream large at you after about 30 minutes of screen time.

On the positive side of the ledger, the opening animation is superb, and sets the scene of the love/rivalry between the two brothers so well, that I would have been happy to stop watching there and then - and said "that was a good short".

The Prose
Director Pascal-Alex Vincent co-wrote the script with Martin Drouot and Olivier Nicklaus, both of whom have worked primarily on shorts. This shows: the script was the same length as most short films you would have seen. "Spare" is a reasonable description of the script. It does however lend itself to the feel of the film (see "melancholy drama", above).

There isn't a single line from the movie that could be called memorable because, well, there aren't many lines at all.

The Talent
Alexandre Carril as Antoine and Victor Carril as Quentin were excellent in their roles, with Alexandre Carril's portrayal of Antoine leaving me positively seething by the end of the film, always a sign of at least reasonable acting ability. In truth the twins have so few lines, it's hard to judge their acting ability in full, but I could not find reason to criticise any of the casting.

To talent of the other kind, and the lead twins are identical, separated only by a scar over the left eye of one of them, and different haircuts. On occasion I found it quite difficult to tell who was who, which meant that for me the story-telling was broken in parts. The premise of the story was that the two brothers are 18 year olds - and when the film started, the twins looked in their mid-20's. However, through the film they appeared to morph, and in some scenes they did indeed look 18, whilst in others I thought they were in their late-20's. In any case, they are hot as in sizzling hot.

The Summation
One day I am going to spew forth a spiel on what constitutes a "gay movie", but until then let me just say that this is not one. The promotion by gay distribution powerhouse Peccadillo Pictures would have you believe otherwise - and the photography on the DVD jacket is deliberately misleading. The actual gay sex scene is so lacking in conviction as detract from the whole of the movie.

Rather, this is a reasonably well-made road trip movie which includes sexual liaisons of more than one flavour. It is in turns poignant, poetic and confusing. But is it worth a watch.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2012 12:23 AM GMT


The Raspberry Reich [2004] (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [US Import]
The Raspberry Reich [2004] (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [US Import]

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic, it ain't., 29 Dec. 2011
The Contrivance
The self-style "Sixth Generation of the Baader-Meinhof Gang", later referred to in the film as "The Raspberry Reich" kidnaps the son of a wealthy industrialist, with a view to making demands of the said industrialist. In moving towards making those demands we learn of the dogma of the leader of the group (Gudrun) which includes the importance of personal life in revolution, including the breaking of heterosexual and possessive sexual norms. This she claims as the Homosexual Intifada, which did provide a rather humorous basis for the movie.

The Prose
Director Bruce La Bruce was also the writer, and it's hard to see in which role he was worse. There were some classic lines: "How many times have I told you that homosexuality is only to be used for revolutionary purposes?", "The Revolution is my boyfriend" and "Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses", amongst others. But really the script could have been written on the back of a beer coaster.

The Talent
It was remarkable that Director Bruce La Bruce could have amassed such a list of truly ordinary actors. I did not know Susanne Sachsse (aka Susanne Sachße) who played the lead female role, and so was very surprised to learn that she had starred in over 30 movies, and in fact had professional training. I can only put it down to bad direction - there is simply no other way to get such gogglingly-bad acting. Okay, so I made up the word gogglingly-bad, but you get my drift.
Out of the 30-something credited actors, only one stood out, and that was Pünktchen who played the Drag Queen Bouncer. A small part, but oh so convincing.

To talent of the other kind, and this movie was chockers with it. They were all pretty vanilla, and pretty much bloke next door types, but so long as you're not looking for muscles, there was plenty to keep most entertained.

The Summation
As other reviewers have noted, make sure that you buy this (Region 1) version. There is nothing more annoying than on-screen censorship as the other version contains. This was of sufficient humour value - and of mainstream porn value - to warrant a viewing. A classic, however, it ain't.


Slingshot [DVD]
Slingshot [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jiro Manio

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An immersive experience, 5 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Slingshot [DVD] (DVD)
I watched Slingshot for the second time last night. It is interesting that a Director such as Brillante Mendoza can use hand-held cameras to evoke a very powerful sense of being there, right where the action is. In fact, as happened the first time I watched this movie, I found myself surprised when the credits rolled around that the characters in the movie were actually actors, so wholly engrossed in their lives and criminal activities had I become.

One other compliment to the Director: he has a knack of building suspense without seeming to do so. The opening scene of the police raid is a case in point, where I was on the edge of my seat fearing what would happen to all the men rounded up. Riveting.

Two criticisms: the film contains many sub-stories, but few - if any - are resolved, which I found infuriating. The second criticism is the look of the film, washed out to the point that if celluloid had been used I would have thought that it was improperly developed. Can anyone shed light on whether this was a deliberate move by the DoP, or whether this DVD is a bad reproduction?


Sugar [DVD]
Sugar [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brendan Fehr

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where in the world are all the dramaturgs?, 22 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Sugar [DVD] (DVD)
A Canadian rom-dram, this has Andre Noble as Cliff sampling gay street life with the ever-so-stupidly name Butch (Brendan Fehr) who is a prostitute, one who is prepared to do anything if the price is right.

I was saddened to learn that Andre Noble died only a few weeks after this movie's release, as he appeared to have a real talent albeit one constrained by the nuances of this particular script.

The supporting characters in this movie are given pretty short shrift which is a pity, as the character of Cookie, his sister, could have been so much more. In fact, the script is the weakest part of the film, with the audience left to guess aimlessly at the motivations of the characters for the choices that they make which are more often than not, destructive.

The other bug-bear with this movie was that the film stock appeared to be poor quality with variable colouration. Might just be being too picky, though.

This is watchable, but flawed. Could have used a dramaturg, big-time.

3 out of 5 smack addicts from me.


Garcon Stupide [2004] [DVD]
Garcon Stupide [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Pierre Chatagny

4.0 out of 5 stars Great story let down by the ending, 22 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Garcon Stupide [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
Garçon stupide (Stupid Boy) is touted as a Swiss coming-of-age flick. "Coming-of-age", though, is a little too glib a handle for what is a story about a young man coming to the realisation of how he affects those around him, and how they affect him.

The first positive to comment on is the novel use of a hidden character in the movie - a person who is not revealed (visually) until the end of the film. It made for an interesting juxtaposition to the straight to camera action for the rest of the movie.

The main character Loïc (played by the quite beautiful Pierre Chatagny) has issues, and his coming to terms with them is what the film is about. The latter part of the movie where he has an infatuation with a soccer star, I found less believable, and the conclusions the main character drew from a meeting with the star are hard to swallow.

Nonetheless, this is a good production with central characters that you come to feel for.

4 out of 5 internet dating liaisons from me.


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