Minor French farce is a mistitled little ditty about a about a competition amongst a group of businessmen to see who can find the stupidest person to bring to dinner. The problem is that they never attend said dinner party, which undoubtedly would have been ripe for comedy. Instead the “dinner game” is more of an excuse to bring two unlikely acquaintances together in the same room for 78 minutes. Of course nothing goes right in this comedy of errors. Actor Jacques Villeret is amusing as François Pignon, the nincompoop in question. His nuanced acting brings out a personality that is more sweet and sensitive than idiotic. That’s unexpected. Given the setting of the film, however, perhaps a more appropriate title would have been, The Time I Injured My Back and Had to Spend the Day at Home With an Idiot, but that doesn’t quite have the same ring now does it?
Archive for 1998
Fictional rock biopic follows the life of musician Brian Slade, based upon the life of David Bowie. Stylish period film beautifully recreates the British glam rock scene of the early ’70s. Sountrack features a pulsating score with dozens of performances of both new songs written for the film as well as actual compositions from the period. It all can get a bit MTV-style-over-substance at times, but visually striking film is so lavish and decadent, it succeeds in spite of itself. Director Todd Haynes clearly has a real love for the material that makes the film captivating. Sandy Powell rightfully received an Oscar nomination for her outstanding costumes.
Romantic fantasy presents two alternate realities which hinge on whether or not a woman catches a London train. Unfortunately, neither storyline is particularly engaging. Very intriguing idea ultimately deteriorates into a dull melodramatic soap opera. Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance as the woman who’s life branches in two directions, is compelling, but Jeanne Tripplehorn as the “other woman” gives a distractingly bad performance. Bouncy pop soundtrack is a plus.