(mx) wrote: In "French Film," struggling with the preparation for an interview with noted film director Thierry Grimandi(Eric Cantona) is the least of Jed's(Hugh Bonneville) problems as his ten-year relationship with Cheryl(Victoria Hamilton) has just taken a turn for the worse recently when she turned down his marriage proposal. So, they are now in couples counseling. At least, their friends Marcus(Douglas Henshall) and Sophie(Anne-Marie Duff) are doing much better, even with the threat of a bit of Marcus' past returning back into his life. "French Film" is an amiable enough movie with a likable cast(it's nice to see Douglas Henshall smile for a change) that barely acknowledges an incident that could be thought of as emotional rape which dwarfs any discussion of journalistic ethics. Otherwise, the movie resembles a Woody Allen film (or Woody Allen doing European films) more than the French films it seems to be commenting on. A large part of that involves separating the fiction from the reality in a relationship as the movie makes a great case for it not being important how two people meet("Scandal" has the exception to this rule) but rather how much they love each other.(The movie implies that there is something seriously wrong in Jed's waiting 10 years to propose whereas it could have just been a case of not wanting to wreck a good thing.) For example, most of the significant people I have known in my life I have met in incredibly insignificant ways.
(jp) wrote: While Burton's 'Returns' was not exactly a box-office bomb, it made half the ticket sales of its' predecessor at double the production cost: not the most promising numbers when you're talking about the sophomore release in what a big-time studio like WB intends to turn into a blockbuster franchise. To top it off, WB put the final nail in the coffin when they made a deal with national theater chains to take a *much* larger cut of ticket sales than ever before, namely under the assumption that 'Returns' would far outsell the original '89 film. Also, WB gave Burton full creative control, but spent ludicrous amounts of money on a kid-friendly marketing blitz that dwarfed even the hype of the original film, with little to no oversight during production. When the film finally hit theaters and turned out to be *far* darker than anyone had previously imagined, there was an enormous moral backlash.Tasked with making Batman a more family-friendly silver-screen superhero, while keeping the film cinematically stylish and 'edgy' for MTV and Nickelodeon-era teens, Joel Schumacher's first effort in the Bat-franchise was a monumental one, and one that has not exactly aged well (although it does fare far better than its' 1997 follow-up, 'Batman & Robin'). 'Batman Forever' is a little too cartoonish to be a film for teenagers, and a little too visually bombastic to be a film for kids - and while it boasts perhaps one of the most stellar casts in a Batman film to date, a lot of the roles feel like so much wasted potential under the screenwriting of Akiva Goldsman and Lee & Janet Scott Batchler.Indeed, Val Kilmer was at the height of his popularity, Jim Carrey was an enormous box-office draw, Nicole Kidman looked to have all the makings of a leading lady, Chris O'Donnell made for an extremely marketable Robin, and anyone who has seen Tommy Lee Jones act knows that he could have easily made an excellent Two-Face. As it stands, Kilmer makes a serviceable Batman, and even gives some small measure of gravity to the role, even if it is mostly superficial. Tommy Lee Jones trades in an opportunity to paint one of the dark knight's most troubled foes in a sympathetic light, instead opting to merely treat Two-Face like an angry impersonation of Jack Nicholson's Joker. Jim Carrey, on the other hand, does exactly what Jim Carrey did best in the 90s': in short, spastic slapstick. It's a little more toned down in comparison to movies like Ace Ventura, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber, but the obvious flair for physical comedy is still there, and it all feels very much like the trappings of a Saturday morning cartoon, which is both its' biggest flaw and its' saving grace.Indeed, as a film, it's largely inoffensive to the tastes. In this day and age, where we're used to superhero movies being set to a slightly higher standard, it's sure to upset quite a few people; but more than anything, it was merely a product of its' time - and to its' credit, the formula paid off. At the end of the day, its' story and performances are no worse than an expensively-produced Saturday morning cartoon. Kidman plays a love interest that is sorely lacking for depth and dimension, but fills the role of damsel-in-distress and eye-candy extraordinarily well. And Chris O'Donnell's Robin is, like the rest of this film, enjoyable in the right mindset; not particularly noteworthy, but not particularly bad either. The costumes and set design are a little garish, even when compared to 'Returns', but are still well-designed (bat-nipples notwithstanding, although I don't seem to have the problems with them that most people do).When all is said and done, even with Kilmer trying to wax poetic about the origin of Batman - a Batman that is actually fairly well-developed - 'Batman Forever' is a shallow-yet-enjoyable 90s blockbuster that can be worth a watch if you're willing to not take it so seriously. But in comparison to the types of superhero fare produced in this day and age, it couldn't really hope to stand up to any kind of major scrutiny.