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L'entente cordiale (2006)
Based on the threadbare wheeze of a comical characters duet, this movie features an awful upper-class secret agent teaming up accidentally with an easily-corrupted, sly interpreter in that "action comedy" movie. The two sidekicks go through a ridiculous plot leading them from Paris to London, trying desperately to amuse the viewer.
Auteuil and Clavier don't act too badly, but the dialogues are so hopelessly lousy that no actor in the world would seem capable speaking those lines. How did John Cleese end up in such a disaster?
Worse, the rhythm, albeit a quintessential point in a comedy, is here completely defective. Some sequences are painfully slow and boring. Despite a comfortable budget, the action scenes are underachieved most of the time, and muddled at best. And the music, composed by a Jean-Claude Camors, is probably the worst score written this year.
A terrible movie. Avoid at all costs.
A successful, funny adaptation from a great comic book
All those who had seen it will easily agree with me : the first opus was terrible. Christian Clavier was unbearable, the story was ridiculous, the look was disappointing ; despite many talented actors and technicians, Goscinny was betrayed. Astérix et Obélix contre César was a cruel and total setback. Alain Chabat and his team had a lot of work to do in order not to fall into the same traps. Adapting Astérix to the cinema could have even considered an impossible challenge after that first disaster.
However, they made it. Astérix et Obélix : Mission Cléopâtre is a great adaptation of the famous comics. Alain Chabat, who also wrote the screenplay, could modernize the story and the characters and obtain the best from the composer, the cinematographer, the production designer, the actors... With the biggest French budget (50 million Euros), he's made a movie that is suitable for all the family, with an outstanding look and a funniest Jamel. Fast-paced, with plentiful play on words, some situations are really hilarious.
If you like Astérix, and if you like humor, you will like this movie.
A sad series of commercial, slapdash stereotypes
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Hubert Fiorentini (Jean Reno) is a cop, a tough cop. He always punches the bad guys, and even sometimes he punches the others. His chief does of course not appreciate his methods. Furthermore, Hubert has a deep scar on him : 19 years before, when he was a secret agent in Japan, the love of his life, Miko, suddenly disappeared. Since then, he never could forget her, and can't think about any other woman - despite Sofia (Carole Bouquet) tries to date him. One day, Hubert's phone is ringing: a Japanese notary is calling him from Japan. Miko has just died of cancer and Hubert is her only sole legatee. So Hubert flies to Tokyo. There, several surprises are in stock for him : Momo (Michel Muller), his former team mate, is still working for French secret services ; Miko has not died of cancer but has been assassinated ; and Hubert discovers he is the father of a 20 year-old-girl, Yumi (Hirosue Ryoko), an exuberant, trendy and spendthrift girl, whose bank account is mysteriously credited of 20 million dollars. Some bad, bad yakuza want the money, so Hubert is gonna have to take care of them in his very personal way.
`How to make easy money' by producer / writer Luc Besson
Obviously written very quickly, the story is also very stupid. There is no good idea, no interesting characters. Everything in this movie is a cliché. Even entertainment is poor - no love story, no car chases, just a few - poorly shot -- gunshot scenes. You would get bored if the movie was not so short (less than 90 minutes if you don't include end credits). Visually, the cinematography is passable. The very first shots in the nightclub are interesting, but that's all. Conventional angles, hackneyed shots, nothing that could disturb you, but also nothing new. This movie could have been shot for TV. The actors do their best -- poor Hirosue Ryoko, she acts in French and she's really not credible. Michel Muller and Jean Reno, in their very conventional roles, are giving what we expect - and nothing more. Frankly, the responsible for these poor performances is probably Luc Besson's script. Obviously he doesn't care about quality, if it can be profitable. Even the music is `stock music', a mix of techno and rock the aimed audience will enjoy.
Conclusion: a slapdash movie.
Business. That's all what this movie is about. Written, shot, and edited very quickly (six months ago the movie was still being shot), this picture had a minimal cost, a minimal screenplay, and sadly, a minimal quality. What remains when you exit the screening room? Nothing but the feeling you lost your money.
Pleasing but unsubstantial
Duc de Condé's employee, François Vatel (1631-1678) was in charge of cooking, and preparing shows for the French King Louis XIVth when he once come in the castle of Chantilly, owned by de Condé. If Vatel can impress the King, de Condé will gain his favors, and the destiny of France will change. Read (again) Sévigné to know more about Vatel.
In the movie, he falls in love with a King's mistress (Uma), he is refined, very competent (he even invents the whipped cream "crème Chantilly"). The movie shows three days of banquets.
The brilliant Gérard Depardieu is Vatel. But this time, this wonderful actor seems to be absent. He seems to wander about the tables, gives orders, and laboriously hurries. The screenplay vanishes (still Jeanne Labrune and Tom Stoppard wrote it !), the actors vanish, and finally, there is only a beautiful scenery left, due to Jean Rabasse. It is pleasing, but quite unsubstantial. Morricone's music, takes part in the quiet but shallow mood.
This movie opened the 53th festival of Cannes.
Taxi 2 (2000)
Not really better than the first one
The plot of the movie is very thin. This time, the gang is Japanese. It kidnaps the Japanese minister of National Defense. Chases in Marseilles and Paris to save him. The same actors, the same gags. The characters are caricatures. Frederic Diefenthal still can't drive, Samy Naceri goes faster than the best pilots in the best cars. The police is very, very stupid (huge pile-up of police cars in a Blues Brothers style). The captain of police is ridiculous, the nice young German girl shows us her legs more. But the chases are somewhat better, with real collisions and accidents. But it still doesn't dethrone 'Bullit' or 'the burglars' chases. However, sometimes the stunts sound strangely out of tune, compared to classical American comparisons (Ronin, Striking distance and so on...) It is fun, but really dumb. Special thoughts for the two victims of the accident that occurred during a car stunt shot.
Le casse (1971)
a Typically french of the 70ies
I like this film especially because there is a great great great car race in the streets of Athens. I think this car fight is better than in "Bullit" (by Peter Yates with MacQueen). Jean-Paul Belmondo is simply very good.