SUMMER OF 85 (2020)

Written & Directed By: Francois Ozon

Based on the book “Dance On My Grave” By Aidan Chambers

Cinematography: Hichame Alouie

Editor: Laurie Gardette

Cast: Felix Lefebvre, Benjamin Voisin, Philippine Velge, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Melvil Poupaud, Isabelle Nanty 

When 16-year-old Alexis is caught up in the deceitful Normandy sea, David heroically saves him from drowning. And, this is how Alexis meets the person of his life. But, how long will this tumultuous, dreamy relationship last? Will the dream last for more than one summer, the summer of 85?

The film doesn’t go where you expect it to go. What keeps you guessing and mystified when it comes to his film is how it plays with time throughout and leaves you expecting the worse when things are mostly innocent 

It feels a bit similar to CALL BE BY YOUR NAME. As it is a coming-of-age love story between two males of intense feelings and obsession, but yet always feels a bit more of a thriller than a true romance. Though then again young love can be innocent and messy.

Even though nonchalant It’s not even truly coming out film. As it is all relatively handled with no big revelations. Though shows itself as a love story and not one of lust or dangerous obsession 

The film runs on expectations. So that as it goes along. You constantly feel a sense of dread. Always looking for clues, hints, or motives. 

All seems to go well until a girl is thrown into the mix. Even when she had the best of interests. Proving to be loyal to all.

The main characters are the rebellious carefree type versus an introverted romantic. At first, he believes it is all in his head and just an innocent friendship. Then he realizes he is being seduced. Even though the more aggressive character might be bisexual or a sensationalist, narcissistic and not prepared for his feelings. Especially being so young, not ready for the intensity.

By the end, you find instead of a thriller you have gone through a dark drama. That also feels like a string after-school special or a coming-of-age film that has thriller elements. 

Grade: B-

JUMBO (2020)

Written & Directed By: Zoe Wittock 
Cinematography: Thomas Buelens
Editor: Thomas Fernandez 

Cast: Noemie Merlant, Emmanuelle Bercot, Bastien Bouillon, Sam Louwyck, Tracy Dossou

Jeanne, a shy young woman, works in an amusement park. Fascinated with carousels, she still lives at home with her mother. That’s when Jeanne meets Jumbo, the park’s new flagship attraction.

This film will remind some audiences in the know of Titane. As they have particular storylines that are similar but are in Totally different ways.

The French film, TITANE is dark and about more than necessarily meets the eye. Where it has things to say about many subjects. This film Is sweeter and has no pregnancies though it is a fairy tale based On reality and tries to keep matters at hand. 

This film has a sweetness but doesn’t ignore its own implausibility. As it even has the character question her sanity. Though her own faith shows through. We in The audience begin to question as we see erratic behavior and every time there is something fantastical involving others we never see it as random there is a logical reason for it all. 

The film doesn’t shy away from sex but it doesn’t make it feel tawdry it feels erotic but more out of innocence. 

Even those close to her who doubt her and her sanity. We are left to wonder if they are doing it for their own self-interest and out of jealousy. 

As the main character feels like a typical one you would find in a quirky romantic French film. She looks and dresses like a shy teenager even though she is a young woman in her 20’s.

The movie starts off innocent and as it goes along it gets more serious and into more issues and questions that are surprisingly asked. That is usually left out in films with scenarios such as these. 

Noemie Merlant really shines in this film. She stays believable and strong even though her character can be weak at times and doesn’t speak up for herself. She seems to run away rather than confront. Though she gains our sympathy and soon finds ourselves rooting for her. As we watch from the beginning her character is a tomboy but wears such shapeless clothes we wonder if she is in arrested development. through it all even in various sex scenes. She still seems like an innocent more than anything.

Emmanuelle Bercot as her mother is also strong. As a hard-driven woman. She has had her heart broken quite a few times and wants to believe in love but finds herself defined by the company she keeps usually male. She wants the best for her daughter but that seems in the daughter more or less getting into a relationship and finding a man. As she tries to act more like her sister than her mother. She is tough to a certain degree but has a soft spot for her daughter that she rarely shows.

This is a film that might not always make sense but it does have a charm that is constantly on display and tries to always stay in reality. Even with its more fantastical elements.

Grade: B


Written & Directed By: Cedric Klapisch 
Cinematography: Benoit Delhomme 
Editor: Francine Sandberg 

Cast: Garance Clavel, Zinedine Soualem, Olivier Py, Renee Le Calm, Simon Abkarian 

Chloe, a young woman, is going on holiday. She entrusts her beloved cat to Madame Renée’s care. But one day Madame Renée (an old lady of the neighborhood) can not find the cat. Chloe starts searching the neighborhood… This is the pretext for the exploration of a quarter of Paris and his inhabitants.

A French film that starts with a simple premise of a young woman looking for her missing cat. That ends up leading to a bunch of adventures and experiences that usually involve some kind of romantic entanglement

This is the first film of French writer director Cedric Klapisch that I saw that perfectly sets up his usual bohemian style. His films work more as ensemble pieces with a main character in the middle. Who this story usually either revolves around or is at the center and cause for situations

As the movie goes on this is really a film about the neighborhood and its citizens more a kind of anthropology study to a degree. As we watch how they work like a well-oiled machine. With one another. While also watching how their quirkiness helps to guide and make connections for the main female character In The middle of all of this.

The film is eclectic and colorful and mostly fun than anything else, not Too dramatic. Yet at times romantic and showcasing how easily we can read into things and believe people at their words a little too soon before they have proven themselves.

This is a French film that was perfect for the time period and comes off as a quirky French film where you want to be in the movie or move into this neighborhood. As it is a classic neighborhood with more younger people moving in and experiencing it’s the charm. So that it feels like that French getaway you might have always wanted to experience in your 20’s so you would get the modern and old school In Equal measure. as you get an insider look at all around France and the different neighborhoods or districts as they prefer to call them

Though the film doesn’t really have too much to do with the story or plot. As you more or less follow Chloe, the main character on her journey, and get to feel or at least witness her experiences. So the film is kind of free form in a way without being experimental. As for all of its freedom, there still feels like there is structure here.


This will be a little familiar but allows you to see where it all started at least In theme. Though they are constructed they manage to surprise you and add color to the films through the characters. Who we get to know a bit about and get to spend a little time with. As they only add to the enjoyment of the picture.



Directed By: Alain Corneau 
Written By: Alain Corneau & Nathalie Carter 
Cinematography By: Yves Angelo 
Editor: Thierry Derocles 

 Cast: Ludvine Sagnier, Kristen Scott Thomas

Ruthless executive Christine brings on Isabelle as her assistant, and she takes delight in toying with the young woman’s innocence. But when the protégé’s ideas become tempting enough for Christine to pass on as her own, she underestimates Isabelle’s ambition and cunning and the ground is set for all-out war. 

Even after watching the film haunts you. The characters and the images. It is predictable, but then throws quite a few twists at different times to keep you off its trail. Like a Hitchcock thriller that is not as concerned with shocks as with the story. It looks rather plain and matter of fact. Yet sharp that as the film progresses. 

Its story takes center stage and makes you focus on it and the actions of its characters. Though I find this film perfect. It is a film I would love to one day make a remake of only to pay tribute to the film and help it be discovered by more people. It seems Brian Depalma has beaten me to it. 

it’s a beautiful film that is no-frills at times it is minimal, but a film you must pay attention to through it.It constantly drops clues to remind you of things that you may have forgotten or inform you of details not previously shown. Even once you think it is over, the film throws another shock at you. Not like a horror film. But something a little more disturbing. 

 Ludvine Sagnier Lights up the screen. Her performance is amazing. As she is put through the wringer, She has a deadly innocence about her. She has an angelic look as she at first is a meek victim. Then becomes a fighter as the film moves along. It’s nice to see her play more than the sexy roles she constantly gets. 

 At first, I thought the film would be about power and office politics, Dirty Tricks. A battle of female empowerment. Then it becomes a crime thriller than an innocent proving film against time. 

Kristin Scott Thomas is English but speaks fluent french. That makes you believe she is a natural-born French woman.  

Everything about this movie is so shiny and clean. Like the directing and acting. The film is finely polished. I watched it on a whim and am glad about what we get in return. 


MA MERE (2004)

Written & Directed By: Christophe Honore
Based On The Novel By: Goeroges Bastille
Cinematography By: Helene Louvart
Editor: Chantal Hymans

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, Emma de Caunes, Joana Preiss, Jean-Baptiste Montagut, Dominique Reymond

Pierre, a youth, comes from his grandmother’s in France to stay with his parents in the Canary Islands. His father talks oddly about his lost youth and leaves abruptly for France. Mom promises to take Pierre to a nightclub, remarking that people will think he’s her lover. He prays. His father dies in France, and his mother wants him to empty his father’s office; Pierre finds it full of pornography. His mother takes him in tow into a night world without morality, a world of sexual exploitation, exhibitionism, and wildness. What will Pierre make of this, and what, ultimately, will he make of his mother?

Rated NC-!7

Is it art or is it pornography? Hobos to say, but this is a bad film that the only reason to watch the film is to see the beautiful euro-trash females in the hide and in sex scenes that seem realistic.

I just can’t get into a film about a mother and son who feel sexual feelings for each other. But don’t act on them.

The film is certainly erotic and has plenty of fetishes for the characters to act on and live out. As we watch the characters on their increasingly ridiculous erotic adventures.

From here on are spoilers. As this film is one you would watch more as an x-rated porn film than an actual art film. At least in my opinion as the film seems like those that as a child I would watch on cable dubbed never really knowing or paying too close attention to the plot. Though knowing nudity was involved and just sitting through the sort to get to the sex and nudity. The rest of the film feeling like filler. Now as a teen that was great, but now as an adult while it brings back a certain nostalgia. If that is all the film is really about it is disappointing or should have advertised that fact originally. Especially with such major actors cast in the film.

The story is about a son who comes home from boarding school after the death of his father. His mother, now a widow starts hanging out with some Eurotrash women, and together, they go out at night, seduce and prostitute themselves. Then the Eurotrash friend seduces the sexually frustrated son. That the film lets us know is sexually Frustrated by showing him constantly masturbating to his father’s porn collection. Not only does she seduce him. She has sex with him in public, then participates in an orgy with him. Which his mother constantly watches him and her and then actually congratulates him after. Then his mother leaves him. So he and a new girl he has met at the orgy and his mother has left him with start To date and have more adventures.

Major spoilers

The rest of the film involves beating a man half to death with a riding crop in as an S & M game. A man masturbating to his mother’s corpse. The mother slicing her own throat while giving her son a hand job.

End major spoiler

I’m sorry I just really couldn’t get into this film. I just don’t want anyone to has to sit through this film expecting something that is never coming. It was more like porn with a plot that had to include every fetish to appeal to every market out there.

This movie is based on a book. Why would anyone want to make it into a film? Maybe it sounded better on paper than it is in live-action. I don’t have European sensibilities. I’m just an ignorant American. So I don’t have too much Of an opinion on it.

For those of you who insist on sitting through it. Just to see if you can make it to the en as some kind of endurance test, why? You paid to see this for some kind of entertainment or at least to e intrigued.

I can admit the women in this film are fetching, but be warned there are not really three women to look at.

One of the problems with reviews in foreign films at times is that since they are in another language, a language you don’t really speak. Is that it is harder to tell if the acting is really good or bad. You just assume they are doing a good job as they seem believable with the text on the bottom of the screen. Or you go by the way they are saying things and the physicality.

Half the time you are reading subtitles so you look up after and may have missed a subtlety or a shot.

I give Isabelle Huppert credit as he mashes I keep her head held high and comes out of the film unscathed.

If you are looking for what amounts to erotic porn rent it. If not skip it.

 Grade: D


Written & Directed By: Michael Haneke 
Cinematography By: Christian Berger 
Editor: Michael Hudecek & Nadine Muse 

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou 

Georges, who hosts a TV literary review, receives packages containing videos of himself with his family–shot secretly from the street–and alarming drawings whose meaning is obscure. He has no idea who may be sending them. Gradually, the footage on the tapes becomes more personal, suggesting that the sender has known Georges for some time. Georges feels a sense of menace hanging over him and his family but, as no direct threat has been made, the police refuse to help…. 

I’ll be the first to admit. I consider myself a film academic (Mostly Home Schooled) and I don’t get this film. There is supposed to be some kind of secret to this whole film. I just didn’t see it or if I did see it, I didn’t understand it. What I can say is I think the theme of this film is about personal history. What your memory of it is vs. what the actual facts are. Just because you change and become a better person doesn’t change any evil or pat crimes. There are still victims out there who will not only never forget, but can’t forget because what may have been just an incident to you could have been catastrophic to another person completely with tremors still being felt and only getting more violent with age. 

The film begins slowly then as it get’s going it picks up some speed with shocking moments and deeply felt emotional mystery That becomes a spiraling tragedy. There isn’t even a soundtrack, nor music. Which heightens the scenes and also never leads you anywhere so you have to take the scenes as they are presented and make up your mind and piece things together yourself. No real universal truth only what you believe compared to what might have actually happened, As it is never fully explained. 

Director Michael Haneke is like a modern-day Hitchcock only more of a masochist. He has a quirk for misery and human suffering. He is masterful with pace, timing, Settings, and camera work. Nothing is ever rushed nor feel that way. The performances he gets out of the cast are deep. 

This is a foreign film so it moves slower and is more about emotions than anything else. It plays like a thriller and it is, Though not in a conventional sense really it’s more of a drama. 

Check it out But as a rental and only if you enjoy a film that really makes you think and put together its pieces. 



Directed By: Robin Campillo

Written By: Robin Canpillo & Philippe Mangeot Cinematography: Jeanne Lapoirie

Editor: Robin Campillo, Stephanie Lager & Anita Roth

Cast: Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Felix Maritaud, Adele Haenel, Ariel Borebstein, Antoine Reinartz, Aloise Sauvage 

The early 1990s. With AIDS having already claimed countless lives for nearly ten years, Act up-Paris activists multiply actions to fight general indifference. Nathan, a newcomer to the group, has his world shaken up by Sean, a radical militant, who throws his last bits of strength into the struggle.

This film presents a Strong subject and story based on historical facts. As we learn about the early efforts of ACT-UP and what they were facing off against. At least the french chapter. That was similar to the US chapters efforts 

This film feels like a miniseries done in two hours. It is a very trying and powerful movie. That is as much a drama, as a history lesson in itself told more from the radicals Point of view. Rather than a white-washed film where they make the owners that be the heroes.

The film shows that if not for the efforts of the LGBTQ community at the time. The progress for national attention and treatment would have been slower if ever even developed.

This is more than just a movie about the subject or a disease Movie. The narrative here is more of an ensemble but it is also strong.

The film is designed more as a docudrama without so much handheld camera work, but still, you feel like a Participant and witness. As we see the movement from the inside out. As well as slowly get to know abs see the personal lives of the characters. Which allows the film to be more intimate.

The film focuses on a relationship more or less and its development. That is connected to the modern era of the group in various ways. While also showing us the evolution of the group. That helps us in the audience connect to the characters. Through this process, the film reveals events and situations dramatically and still manages to be shocking at times with its revelations.

So much material and information to cover here that it feels like a dramatized documentary that gets more personal. As some of the characters, we get to know each other deeper and stand out. Even as each character is important in their own way as part of the coalition.

This is just one of those films you can lose yourself in and by the end or realize how much time has passed but definitely feel like you have been through a journey. As this is a film mroe of experience where you feel like a fly in the wall. As the film takes over.

You just watch as it tells it’s take abd unfolds a large story like a book.

As all around the filmmmaking and cast are great not a weak link . No one drops the ball. As the film and tale are emotionally penetrating and the characters are portrayed as callable and not saints.

It’s one of these perfect movies into a culture and history one was not formed upon. Like the French film THE CLASS by Laurent Cantet only that was like this film a look into a social issue and the characters involved that offers no answers. Only this tale is based more on fact and events that actually happens

This is a film that has to be seen. As it dreams you in and offers you education and an experience. 

Grade: A


Directed By: Patrick Mille
Written By: Patrick Mille, Julien Lambroschini & Sabrina Amara
Cinematography: Andre Szenkowski
Editor: Samuel Dansei

Cast: Vanessa Guide, Alison Wheeler, Margot Bancilhon, Philippine Stindel, Patrick Mille, Christine Citti, Susana Pires, Chico Diaz, Joseph Makebra 

Four childhood friends reunite for a wedding in Rio, only to find themselves on the run through the Brazilian countryside after accidentally killing someone at a drug-fueled party.

The film feels very 1980s inspired. As the plot feels high concept and simple. As it takes a GIRL’S NIGHT type story and takes it further and more action-oriented.

It even feels directed like an interaction action film from the 1980s. So that you always feel a bit of nostalgia. If you are a fan of films from the decade. 

The film offers a kind of girl’s gone wild scenario. As the characters deal with being on vacation in Brazil for a friend’s wedding and their lives not going too well. So they decide to show e fun no wild out. Which eventually leads to trouble. The film presents deals with them trying to stay out of trouble as more complications are presented.

Even though the film sounds like it would more be  T & A fest. It is more for female viewers. As most of the male characters are stupid, evil and manipulative.

The film sets up an older male villain. Whose motives are understandable partially. As he is only reacting to the death of a loved one. One who ended up being reprehensible. Showing that the Apple doesn’t fall far from The tree.

The film plays so broad but then reins in some scenes that want to be more dramatic or character building. 

The film certainly switches tones as it begins like a screwball comedy and then becomes more hardcore at first serious then action but tries to keep a sense of humor through it all. Leaving the film to be inventive and thankfully fast-paced.

In trying to stay out of trouble they are lead into all sorts of criminal activity and hijinks that eventually allows them to have a full-fledged adventure. That stays on the move and exposes a silly and unexpected side. 

Even if the last-minute hardcore action seems a bit much. 

The four leads all play types more than characters but all are needed for their particular skills that help along the way and they all have their own appeal. 

The more darker-skinned characters are shown more as villains, tough and dangerous. It doesn’t seem intended that way but still comes off that way and noticeable. 

The film offers an interesting tale of a girl’s vacation in its own way.

The film unfortunately might be entertaining as you watch it but by the end feels forgettable. 



Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Written by Jean-Luc Godard & Catherine Vimenet
Cinematography: Raoul Coutard
Editor: Francoise Collin & Chantal Delattre

Cast: Marina Vlady, Anne Duperey, Roger Montsorat, Raoul levy, Jean Narboni 

In this film, ‘Her’ refers to both Paris, the character of Juliette Janson, and the actress playing her, Marina Vlady. The film is a kind of dramatized documentary, illustrating and exaggerating the emotionless lives of characters in the new Paris of the 60s, where commercialism mocks families getting by on small incomes, where prostitution is a moneyspinning option, and where people are coldly resigned and immune to the human nightmares of Vietnam, and impending Atomic war.

When it comes to the films of Writer-Director Jean Luc Godard you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you get absolute masterpieces at other times you get films you respect but might not love and then you get his more experimental films that can go either way. Sort of what it seems like Modern director Steven Soderbergh attempts.

Though both of their films can be off-putting for certain audiences. It might feel like most of those cinema comes off as pretentious.

This is one of the later films. Where he fills the film with beautiful women who keep your interest especially in close-ups but then the rest of the film is pretty much philosophical notions and existential discussions that become quite boring and superficial.

Where the genius lies is that he puts all of these speeches and interviews. While following certain characters. So that we examine their day-to-day experiences and living conditions. Then inserts the interviews and discussion. As well as his own whispered narrations asking us to question what we see and ponder them in different ways.

This is pretty much an experimental film all around. At times we see the characters off the wall characteristics. Like reading randomly from a stack of books while a friend writes down what they are quoting. Or a photojournalist dressed in an American flag t-shirt interviewing two women he has paid to undress in front of him while he asks questions and boats of his adventures. 

All of this is indebted to the politics at the time. Which instantly dates the film and radicalizes it to a degree. While trying to add cinematic tricks and observation. That it comes off more like a lesson than an experience.

As even at times the director seems to interview people off the street who we never see. Where the footage becomes a scattershot. Other than showing constant construction.

Which we never see what came before or after.

It/‘a a film that is full of ideas and its heart seeks to be in the right place but to a degree feels empty. Where emotions should be.

The film seems to try and show it’s Characters are used to their lives. So they have no reason to emote or seem like they are seeking to strive or escape. They just deal with the everyday. 

Even with a title that seems like the film will focus on the lead female.  As we try to get to know her and become obsessed with her. Showing her in all her glory. Instead, she is just part of the overall who we occasionally see. Though she is the most constant. 

The film or filmmaker wants us to know certain things about her but also expose her to the audience in all aspects. So that while we might fall for her we also know her. So that here is some kind of relatability but the end. Even if it just feels like a movie of expression wanting to say something yet cramming as much different stuff that connects into the tale and trying to decipher it all. 

Grade: C+

DHEEPAN (2015)

Directed By: Jacques Audiard 
Written By: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain & Noe Debre 
Cinematography By: Eponine Momenceau 
Editor: Juliette Welfling 

Cast: Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby, Vincent Rottiers
Marc Zinga Dheepan is a Tamil freedom fighter, a Tiger. In Sri Lanka, the Civil War is reaching its end, and defeat is near. Dheepan decides to flee, taking with him two strangers – a woman and a little girl – hoping that they will make it easier for him to claim asylum in Europe. Arriving in Paris, the ‘family’ moves from one temporary home to another until Dheepan finds work as the caretaker of a run-down housing block in the suburbs. He works to build a new life and a real home for his ‘wife’ and his ‘daughter’, but the daily violence he confronts quickly reopens his war wounds, and Dheepan is forced to reconnect with his warrior’s instincts to protect the people he hopes will become his true family. 

The first French film shot nearly entirely in the Tamil language. In fact The first film in Tamil language and with Tamil lead actors to win the Palme d’Or.

The film involves a former soldier is suffering from PTSD. Tries to start over with a new identity and a fake family.

Not as violent or action-packed as once thought and advertised. As mostly there are scenes of action but we see it mainly from his point of view and more towards the end. Even though throughout the film the characters are surrounded by dangerous characters and hear stories of violence in their new home and the one they are coming from.

As the film moves along it becomes a slow-burning vigilante tale with heart. As it seems here thankfully the film considers the characters first and the action is secondary.

Once the action starts what a glorious sequence it is. The film is full of vivid handheld camera work which makes some scenes more dramatic than one would think.

The film focuses on him and his makeshift wife mostly. Their relationship and how it actually blossoms purely out of survival at first then slowly becomes affectionate. While they also raise an orphan girl who is more in the background and used more to help them get sympathy but is the chain that binds them together. As they have escaped war-torn Sri Lanka only to move into and work in a gang filled Parisian housing development (projects)

She slowly gets close to the son of the elderly man she takes care of, the son is a gang leader who is under house arrest. So that she is constantly in the middle of the current war going on in the streets. 

Everything goes good until the third act with the reemergence of an old general who has lost it. He seems to have cursed them as old nightmares come to the forefront in the new form of continuous random violence until DHEEPAN decides to take a stand. As he couldn’t before, forming a peace block.

The film is pretty straight forward which is why it might seem like I am just telling the plot and scenes. Just as with his precious film director Jacques Audiard has us with the characters every step of the way. Right up in their faces.

The film is an immigrant story that doesn’t solely focus on being in a new country and trying to assimilate more dealing with the troubled past of the characters as they try to settle. Starting a new life when virtually everything is new and different. Especially as most of the leading cast had never acted in a film before. So it gives the film unmannered performances that make it feel all the more natural and real.

It’s the anti – BROOKLYN movie (which is a romantic tale of an Irish immigrant in New York on the 1950s)

Not much happens but much is felt though at times the film seems to try to hide it’s hand. Even as one thing really particularly shocking happens in the film.

After his more provocative films. He plays this one pretty straight other than turning the camera in characters and cultures usually not seen on the big screen.

Happy for the ending as it is rare for these types of tales to end positively and with promise. They always seem to be downtrodden, sacrificial, or compromised.

Grade: B+