The Odyssey (2016)
“No, no, no, you did not understand, no…I am not making animal documentaries. I am going to tell the story of men who are going to explore a new world” (Jacques Cousteau in “The Odyssey”).
I grew up watching Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s TV documentaries, amazed at all the underwater world, unusual sea animals and Cousteau’s adventures. Now, there is a French-language biopic starring Lambert Wilson as Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Pierre Niney as his son Philippe and Audrey Tautou as Cousteau’s wife Simone. The film explores Cousteau’s life from the late 1940s until about the 1970s, showing his journey from an underwater enthusiast to a TV celebrity, not forgetting his private life. A passionate explorer, Jacques Cousteau was indeed a pioneer in marine research and exploration, practically inventing underwater breathing equipment, and very slowly in his career moving from unethical handling of the marine world to promoting the protection of environment. Ironically, the biopic provides little insight into the personality of Jacques Cousteau, and in terms of drama, the film is stale. However, thanks to the beautiful score composed by Alexandre Desplat (“The Painted Veil” (2006)) and Matias Boucard’s rich cinematography, there are other things here to contemplate, for those interested.
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Directed by Angelina Jolie, and featured at the forthcoming Toronto International Film Festival, “First They Killed My Father” promises to be a powerful film. See also the list “My 10 Favourite “Human Rights” Films“.
The Founder (2016)
“It’s not just the system, Dick. It’s the name. That glorious name, McDonald’s. It could be anything you want it to be…it’s limitless, it’s wide open…it sounds like…America” (Ray Kroc).
The title sounds like something on the topic of religion, doesn’t? Well, apparently not in the times we live in. The McDonald brothers’ success was to the 1950s what the social network’s success was to the 2000s. The story of McDonald’s, one of the most recognised food chains in the world, is sure to fascinate and intrigue. Not only “The Founder” is based on a true story, but it has a stellar performance by Michael Keaton (“Batman Returns” (1992), “Birdman” (2014)) in the role of Ray Kroc, who takes the McDonald brothers’ concept of a fast restaurant service and turns it into a global fast food empire. The year is 1954, and Kroc, a milk-shake mixer salesman, meets Richard and Maurice McDonald, two brothers who run a food joint focusing on three specific menu items and on the rapidity of their service. Kroc has never seen anything like this before, and proposes to the brothers a deal.
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It looks over-sentimental, perhaps, but is bound to be inspirational.
“Christine” is a drama by Antonio Campos, based on the real life of Christine Chubbuck, a TV reporter in the 1970s in the US, whose troubled professional and personal life leads her to commit one of the most chilling and gruesome acts on live television. In this film, the lead character is played by Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Christina Barcelona” (2008), “The Prestige” (2006)), and her performance is rightly considered by some to be one of the best performances by a leading actress of 2016. Overall, the film presents the story of Christine powerfully and resolutely, although there is no escaping the feeling that the film is both too long and hypocritical.
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A Dangerous Method (2011)
With “A Dangerous Method“, David Cronenberg (director) has the plan to immerse the audience into the world of a forbidden love affair and an intellectual discourse on the fascinating topic of human psychiatry. The film follows the complicated working relationship between two of the most prominent psychoanalysts of the 20th century, Professor Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Dr Jung (Michael Fassbender), as well as shows Dr Jung’s sophisticated affair with his “hysterical” Russian patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). Although nearly all the actors in the movie give praise-worthy performances, the film is also emotionally empty, predictable and, ironically, generally uninteresting.
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