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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Depression > Suicide > Romance > German > Comedy > Teens > Poverty > Sex > War > French > Amour Fou (2014/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Evergreen (2004/IndiePix DVD)/Full Moon In Paris (1984)/The Marquise Of O (1976/Film Movement Blu-rays)

Amour Fou (2014/Film Movement Blu-ray)/Evergreen (2004/IndiePix DVD)/Full Moon In Paris (1984)/The Marquise Of O (1976/Film Movement Blu-rays)

Picture: B/C/B-/B Sound: B-/C+/C+/C Extras: C+/C-/C+/C+ Films: C+

PLEASE NOTE: Evergreen is part of a solid 10-DVD set called the IndiePix Mix 10 Collection in time for the holiday season & sold through Amazon here at http://amzn.com/B01577BN8S.

Here are some dramas with their own senses of comedy (where applicable) to know about...

Jessica Hausner's Amour Fou (2014) is a tale of lovers who surprisingly become so and then become suicidal. Heinrich (Christian Friedel) is a depressive poet who constantly (to the point it becomes darkly comic) shows up asking morbid questions and being inappropriate, so it becomes particularly odd when he wants his cousin to enter a suicide pact. She rejects this, but he then finds an unlikely relationship with Henriette (Birte Schnoeink) who is very pretty and not depressed. When she turns out to have a terminal illness, Heinrich sadly starts resonating.

A very mixed script and story I did not buy, the script was eventually based on a true story, but not as it turns out, originally written as a modern day, non-historical story that the director shelved until she discovered the real life story. The actors are not bad here, but the script is ill-fitting, so this becomes Woody Allen-lite with mixed points and I didn't totally buy it even before I hear about its formation. Not a disaster, it just falls short, especially considering the subject matter.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by Hausner, a Hausner interview, Deleted Scenes and 3-minutes Hausner short Oida.

Enid Zentelis' Evergreen (2004) is an ironically titled tale of three generations of women living together due to financial issues. Henrietta (Addie Land) is the daughter/granddaughter with no bed to sleep on and wanting more in her life, when her new school has her meet a guy named Chat (Noah Fleiss) who comes from a family with money and seems like a nice guy. However, his parents (Bruce Davidson, Mary Kay Place) are starting to have troubles and we can see he has a few quirks off the bat himself. Still, Henri (as she's called for short) and Chat make and interesting couple.

Her mother (Cara Seymour) takes a tough labor job while dating a Native American guy involved in gambling and the like, while her grandmother (Lynn Cohen) tries to offer support all around. This is an all too rare portrait of poor people in America that rings all too true (Henri loves Chat's real bed and house about as much as him, since she lacks such security), but it takes a while for the story to get started and we don't get enough character study or more realistic look at said poverty. The ending is also flat and echoes the missed opportunities throughout. Still, this has its moments and is worth a look if you can be patient. The actors help.

Text bios and a trailer are the only extras.

Our last two films are by Eric Rohmer, a good director I am not a big fan of, but does quality work and has some serious admirers.

Full Moon In Paris (1984) also lands up in Woody Allen territory with the story of newly graduated interior decorator Louise (Pascale Ogier) trying to find fun in life, has a boyfriend, but decides she also wants some solitude after all her school of late. Finding all this in a new apartment in Paris, she lands up finding another man she likes and is now confused as for what to do next or about what she really wants.

This was hit and miss, though the actors are convincing, locales not bad and look of the film a plus. The problem here is that the female discourse was not strong enough and nothing really stands out here, so it is fun while you watch it, but nothing really stays with you in the end. It is very competent, but never really goes far enough to have a lasting impact. Now you can see it for yourself and judge.

The Marquise Of O (1976 and NOT to be confused with The Story Of O) is the tale of the title character (Edith Clever) surviving an attack by Russian forces centuries ago, then suddenly, inexplicably finds herself pregnant. In the meantime, a Russian soldier (Bruno Ganz in his big screen feature film debut) has fallen in love with her and wants her, but she has to reject him because of her father, the mysterious pregnancy and other standards of the day.

No doubt this is a beautiful film with costumes, production values and set design that hold up (especially in the face of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon the year before), plus the actors are well cast, but the film drags on and on more than it should and sometimes simply hits some false notes. When it does work, which is often, it feel and plays authentic, yet I still think more could have been achieved in its 102 minutes and a few moments are a little sloppy. Otherwise, a good film.

Extras in in both cases include nicely illustrated booklets on each respective film including informative text and an essay by fan and film scholar David Thomson, while the discs add archival interviews with stars from each respective film and trailers.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Fou is not perfect with color that is purposely limited, but the Arri Alexa shoot is at least consistent if not great. Director of Photography Martin Gschlacht also lensed Goodbye Mommy and Revanche, so he is very capable, but I still have issues with the results here. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Paris and Marquise (marginally the best presentation here, lensed by the legendary Nestor Almendros, A.S.C.) can show the age of the 35mm materials used, but I like there color presentations more than Fou despite Paris (still really well shot by Director of Photography Renato Berta of Au revoir les enfants and Code 68; still active) being a bit weaker than the other two Blu-rays here.

The letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image on Evergreen is soft in what one wished would be an anamorphic transfer, especially since it is a really good film shoot on Kodak color negative film stocks and the copy used here looks as good as the copies used for the Blu-rays. Director of Photography Matthew Clark moved onto a particularly prolific TV career, but this more than proves he knows how to shoot for the big screen. Sadly, this fell victim to early bad video projection at some theatrical locales at the time when such projectors were highly substandard and hurt the film's reception.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Fou is the well mixed and presented sonic winner, but is too quiet and refined at times to take total advantage of the multi-channel possibilities, so only expect so much in playback. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on Paris and Marquise show their age more than expected, with Marquise far more compressed than expected, so much so that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Evergreen actually sounds better. Guess the soundmaster must have had issues.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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