French-Belgian comedy (2010)
Catherine Deneuve plays a trophy wife who steps in to manage her tyrannical husband’s umbrella factory (a nod to Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) when he is taken hostage by his striking employees. She proves to be very competent indeed but her ex-lover and local politician played by Gérard Depardieu causes a bit of trouble. It’s set in 1977 and the art direction has been done beautifully. A witty comedy about a dysfunctional family, business, politics and gender.
Associés contre le crime (Partners in Crime)
French crime comedy (2012)
Prudence and Bélisaire Beresford have decided to retire from crime solving. Bélisaire writes an autobiography but Prudence gets bored and sets up her own detective agency. They take on the case of a missing Russian heiress who was last seen at a Swiss spa. This is Pascal Thomas’ latest adaption of Agatha Christie’s short story collection. I’m yet to see the other ones. A very funny film that occasionally reminds me of Inspector Clouseau. Catherine Frot is an absolute joy to watch.
What a Way to Go!
American black comedy (1964)
Widow Louisa, played by Shirley McLaine, ends up on a psychiatrist’s sofa after trying to donate a multi million check to the IRS. She believes that her fortune is cursed and she tells us about her four marriages that all ended in her husbands dying in bizarre ways. The amazing Edith Head designed seventy-two costumes for Shirley. This film is a feast for the eye. And watching Gene Kelly sing, dance and smile never fails to cheer me up.
Irish music biopic (2012)
This is the true story of Terri Hooley, the record shop and music label owner who turned into Belfast’s godfather of punk. Richard Dormer is very likeable as Terri and you easily get carried away by his enthusiasm. I saw this at the pictures about a month ago with a dear friend and I left with a huge smile on my face. The gig scenes and the music took me back to attending punk gigs as a teenager. I haven’t enjoyed a music biopic this much since 24 Hour Party People. The 1970s colour scheme is perfect! Oh, and my favourite living person is in it, Dylan Moran.
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort)
French musical (1967)
Catherine Deneuve and her real life sister Françoise Dorléac play twin sisters Delphine and Solange who long to find love and move away from Rochefort. They teach ballet and music for a living. The film is set during a weekend when a fair comes to the small seaside town. There’s singing and dancing, and most importantly there’s Gene Kelly. The pastel colour scheme is marvellous. This is a film you feel and the feeling is pure joie de vivre.
The Trouble with Harry
American black comedy (1955)
The trouble with Harry is that he’s dead. His corpse is found on a hill in a small town in New England. The residents can’t decide how or why he was killed, or what to do with the corpse. They have different reasons to believe that they’re responsible for Harry’s death. Shirley McLaine is fun to watch in her first film role. This is Alfred Hitchcock’s most experimental film and it’s a strange one. No one reacts like you would expect and there isn’t really any suspense. It’s brilliant. I love his dark, twisted sense of humour.