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V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014
Why so unhappy, attractive French people?

Film Review

The Past

Emotional French drama explores the secrets and lies of one very troubled family

The Past is an incredibly subtle movie. Everything is played in low-key, soft voice. Very little is explicit. Mostly because none of these people wants to talk about anything that’s happening. Or has happened.

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V.22 No.46 | 11/14/2013
It’s love at first glare.

Film Review

Blue Is the Warmest Color

I was a teenage lesbian, and all I got was this heartbreaking movie

Depending on which way the wind blows, Blue Is the Warmest Color is either brilliant and groundbreaking or false and perverted. Honestly it’s all of that and more.

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V.22 No.6 | 2/7/2013
Disney’s The Aristocats gets an edgy remake.

Film Review

The Rabbi’s Cat

Arabesque animated fable offers a feline’s take on Middle Eastern religion

From the very first frames, viewers can tell the adult-oriented French cartoon The Rabbi’s Cat is going to feature some lovely, bright animation and an exotic setting. That’s almost but not quite enough to leaven a muddled story that requires a bit too much contemplation. The film is based on the work of French comic book artist Joann Sfar, who wrote and directed the lavishly animated, mostly successful biopic Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. Sfar co-writes and co-directs The Rabbi’s Cat, ensuring the artist’s vision is, for better or worse, fully preserved.

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V.22 No.3 | 1/17/2013
Having a whale of a time, wish you were here!

Film Review

Rust and Bone

A whale bit my legs off and all I got was sex with a musclebound Belgian

It’s possible the ailments afflicting the French drama Rust and Bone are not the result of anything culturally specific. They could simply be the the sole artistic bias of writer-director Jacques Audiard, with no reflection on his fellow, Sorbonne-educated countrymen. But damned if—in their dark, existential, ennui-riddled self-importance—they don’t feel oh-so-French.

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V.21 No.14 | 4/5/2012
What’s French for “Wheeeee!”?

Film Review

Declaration of War

Visually quirky French drama finds love, humor and drama in a child’s battle for life

A young mother holds her son’s hand as he’s fed into an MRI machine. The camera zooms in on her eye. As the mournful orb begins to fill the screen, the image is intercut with shots of a loud house party. The mother, even younger, hangs out in a crowded living room—a beer in her hand, raucous punk rock blaring around her. You wouldn’t think a despondent drama about a terminally ill child would be an excuse to make with the visual razzle-dazzle. But writer-director-actress Valérie Donzelli takes a number of unexpected paths with her involving feature, Declaration of War.

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Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Heartbreaker, Welcome

Notable romantic French titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker (2010)

Directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Cast: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens, Helena Noguerra, Andrew Lincoln, Jacques Frantz, Amandine Dewasmes

Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped) and Vanessa Paradis (The Girl on the Bridge) star in director Pascal Chaumeil's feature directorial debut. Alex (Duris), an indebted con artist who breaks couples up for a living, is hired by a rich entrepreneur to prevent his daughter Juliette (Paradis) from marrying her fiance. The expert heartbreaker then struggles through the hardest challenge of his career, as he slowly realizes that he has already fallen in love with his subject. Not just your regular chick-flick, Heartbreaker features an original story and compelling performances from the leads. Duris' gentlemanly mojo perfectly complements Paradis' independent spirit. The scenes are also cleverly written and shot, with stylish lines and catchy sequencing. But most exceptionally, Heartbreaker isn't showered with generous amounts of cliché and cheesiness. That's like lifetime achievement for a rom-com. In French with English subtitles. HD Available.

Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Mesrine: Killer Instinct, Mesrine: Public Enemy #1

Notable French thriller titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

Mesrine: Killer Instinct
Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)

Directed by Jean-François Richet

Cast: Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France, Gérard Depardieu, Gilles Lellouche, Roy Dupuis, Elena Anaya, Florence Thomassin, Michel Duchaussoy, Myriam Boyer, Ludivine Sagnier

This is the first film in the epic, two-part Gallic gangster saga Mesrine. Vincent Cassel (Irreversible, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Black Swan) stars as a middle-class French soldier who returns home to the neon glamor of '60s Paris and is soon mentored by a criminal kingpin (Frenchy superstar Gérard Depardieu). Jacques Mesrine was a real dude whose life in crime became the stuff of legend. Like Scarface but real. And with an accent. I mean, a French accent. In French with English subtitles. HD Available.

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NEWS

Daily Word 5.15.11: death of the arcade; Eurotras... er vision; Tim Horton expansion

Dolores Fuller, once Ed Wood's wife, died.

British woman beheaded in supermarket.

Eurovision contest winner AND links to all the other countries' performances. Woah, what's that smell?

George W.Bush was eating souffle when he got the call about Bin Laden's death.

Lady Gaga's penis shoes.

Penis-related Cannes update.

Switzerland seeks to stopper suicide tourism.

Bin Laden compound porn stash.

The head of the International Monetary Foundation and potential French presidential candidate charged with rape in NYC. He denies everything.

Deny Everything.

A Bitchin' Camaro stolen in 1975 was finally recovered

Meltdown at Fukushima.

Canada's Tim Horton's Donuts plans on taking over America.

Blackwater (now known as "Xe") hired by U.A.E. to put together a battalion of foreign troops.

Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway to ease swollen Mississippi river.

Review of awesomely bad film "Priest," with trailer.

Death of the arcade.

Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): The Girl on the Bridge, The Widow of Saint-Pierre

Notable Patrice Leconte titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

The Girl on the Bridge (La Fille Sure Le Pont)
The Girl on the Bridge (La Fille Sure Le Pont)

The Girl on the Bridge (1999)

Directed by Patrice Leconte

Cast: Vanessa Paradis, Daniel Auteuil, Frederic Pfluger, Demetre Georgalas, Catherine Lascault, Isabelle Petit-Jacques, Mireille Mosse, Didier Lemoine, Bertie Cortez, Nicola Donato

One chilly Parisian night, a young girl (Frenchy pop star Vanessa Paradis) contemplates suicide on a dark bridge. Out of the night comes a stranger (Daniel Auteuil) who offers her a second chance. He is a once great, now-faded circus performer, a knife-thrower in need of a partner. Together these two lost souls form a deep, telepathic bond. This hypnotic modern fairy tale comes from director Patrice Leconte (Ridicule, Monsieur Hire). Bring a date!

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V.19 No.43 | 10/28/2010
Joseph Vacher. Hat guy. Murderer.

Book Review

French Kiss of Death

The true story of a guy who liked rabbit-fur hats and killing people

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science

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V.18 No.45 | 11/5/2009

Bite

We just purchased a half a pound—each—of fresh chanterelles (it is fall, people!). But in a bout of lunch-box paranoia, Evan feared that the mushrooms would shrivel in the fridge and miss their peak. So we minced the beauties and made a mushroom duxelles (say “duke-sell”)—a classic French dish of mushrooms roasted with shallots, fat and wine. Nearly a tapenade, the stuff is versatile enough to work on vegan bruschetta or dress up leftovers.

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    The Red Elvises
    The Red Elvises6.12.2014