Mary Elizabeth Winstead is remarkable as a young woman coming face to face with her alcoholism and a partner who is clearly not willing to face his own demons. Flawed, but dynamic. When the end credits start to roll, the film is only at 1 hour and 15 minutes, a blessing and a curse. It feels like the perfect spot to end the story and simultaneously does not feel like it's dug deep enough.
Director Gilles Bourdos recreates the sunkissed summer of 1915 for this biopic of Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet in a remarkably understated performance).
Renoir refrains from being a full retrospective of a man who was once at the forefront of the Impressionist movement. It takes us instead to only a few months of his later years, where he's ravaged by arthritis and mourning the death of his wife. Two of his sons are off at war and he's living in the countryside with his moody teenage son Coco (Thomas Doret, The Kid With A Bike) and a host of women who keep up his estate and wellbeing.
Renoir is mostly focusing on still-life paintings at this point in his life, but the arrival of a beautiful red-headed woman named Andrée (Christa Theret) takes him back to nude portraits. Even though his hands are frail and he requires focused assistance to squeeze the colors out of his paint tubes, this new muse seems to bring him back to life. The dynamic changes once his 21-year-old son Jean (Vincent Rottiers) returns from World War I with an injured leg and becomes smitten with Andrée.
Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bin (In The Mood For Love, Norwegian Wood) shoots the film in golden hues filled with sumptuous scenery. Almost every shot looks as though it could be placed in a frame and put on the wall next to one of the classic paintings depicted.
The screenplay is not as in-depth as one might hope, only scratching the surface of the complex relationships involved. Andrée never fully develops as a character much beyond that of a temptress who doesn't mind taking her clothes off. The style alone is enough to recommend the film, but there's no question that you have to be patient and allow this one to unfold. There are even a few thinly veiled references to Jean's later career as a director, some more obvious than others.
A few of the film's early reviews criticized its pacing as excessively turgid, but I would have gladly spent more time with this fractured family, watching as a creative genius struggles with the aging process.
This comes closer than any film that I've seen in the last decade to capturing the fun of Can't Hardly Wait. Sure, parts of it are completely obnoxious and the ending is pretty stupid, we laughed our asses off for most of the movie.
Cameos abound - Ana Gasteyer & Kerri Kenney as Roosevelt's moms made the entire movie (the shot of them weaving a quilt of Obama on a loom made me fall off the damn couch).
I wasn't sure what to expect, but in the final third, I turned to my wife and said: "This would actually be a good TV show."
Ex-army cop and lawyer partnered up to fight dirty scumbags. Now on the USA Network. Or FX.
Jack Reacher, the film, has a quiet charm about it and some small bits of humour. I liked the vibe of it, kinda quirky and 80s with a bit of Law & Order thrown in, thus the realization that what we were watching was a long TV show.
Not too shabby, pleasantly surprised.
Despite an obnoxiously comical score by Wyclef Jean, this doc provides a fascinating behind the scenes view into the world of the Williams sisters. Anybody who has followed their careers should find elements to enjoy here. It's not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a lot of great home movies/unedited news clips from when they were kids. The filmmakers were also given what appears to be unfettered access to film them over the entire year of 2011, which had plenty of ups and downs.
One thing is for sure: their father is a nut job, but he sure made that family rich.
I gave it an extra half star as a tennis fan, YMMV.