Skip to content

Tag: Marion Cotillard

Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Steve Jobs: The Untold Story

One remembers watching the first Assassin’s Creed demo in 2007 and being wooed by its visuals and its cinematic fluidity. The fact that 10 years later none of the movie even approximately approximates this cinematic level speaks volumes about Hollywood’s conflicting marketing unability to make anything out of anything. As a movie, Assassin’s Creed is almost entirely unwatchable; as a game-inspired movie, its makes a nice bookend with Doom; as a game-inspired movie franchise, it’s dead on arrival.

Should one bother with the story? The prologue establishes that the hero’s father killed the hero’s mother because the hero’s blood was not theirs. And one more for blood purity, a worrying concern for recent alleged blockbusters. Ensues a life of crime after which Michael Fassbender, looking suspiciously handsome, clean-shaven and muscular for a prisoner on Death Row, is executed by the State, only to be ressuscitated by Marion Godzilla. Amply provided with absurd lines by the script, she warns him “You are about to enter the Animus”. There are three know modes for Miss Cotillard: ordinary girl, in which she excels, fabricated heroin, for which she has star power, and vilain’s daughter in auto-pilot. Unfortunately, she’s in full gear third mode here.

She’s “protectress of the Apple” because, see, “the Apple is everything”. Or something. And one more for questionning the nature of reality, thanks to bogus X-ray science she developped in a secret laboratory by peering once or twice in a microscope, surrounded by fake stone pillars, dusty files and glassboxes full of antiques – which surprisingly enough, won’t get smashed this time around. Not that there are no ninjas around, though.

Twenty per cent of the movie shows a CGI eagle flying over CGI nothing while CGI bloodless massacre occurs. Filters vary wildly, and there’s is enough lense flare to suspect JJ Abrams was involved in the production. The insistance of motion capture during the contemporary scenes makes the thing look and feel like a behing the scene documentary of the game’s conception, while the horrendously edited period scenes have all the dramatic impact of an epileptic fit in a smoke machine. Late into the movie, someone utters “Commencing regression”, and it’s much, much too late an awakening of conscience.

Bless the damned thing for a one minute scene opposing Jeremy Irons (who spends half the duration of the movie looking into the abyss, maybe reminiscing the time when he got interesting roles in good movies, and doubtlessly waiting to cash his check) and Charlotte Rampling, who would make any under-written villain interesting. Michael Fassbender looks hot without a shirt on. Godzilla looks lovely with short hair. And last but not least, the line “Steak for the pioneer!” is a valuable entry in our ongoing contest for the most ridiculous line of 2016. Utterly avoidable.

Leave a Comment

Allied (2016)

Play It Again, Marion

For “inspired” as it pretends to be by a timeless classic, Allied sure has a twisted sense of timing. It kind of does the trick for thirty minutes or so, on the inspired grounds of “What would Casablanca become from the point of view of the woman in charge?”, then any intention to bring a new perspective to whatever is the subject goes down the drain unhappily ever after. This is French Morocco, during WW2, the villains are Nazis and this is not a Raiders of the Lost Ark spin-off, so what were you expecting? This movie is not an oddity, it is an anomaly, not to say an abberation.

Before we get to the Ferrero Rocher extended ad, let’s talk about language in this movie. It’s about spies, see, and their ability to blend in. Miss Cotillard is very good as an agent double before the script asks her character to bend over twice, and definitely better at giving birth than at dying. Mr Pitt, on the contrary, makes a fool of himself attempting at French, all the while fooling close friends or fluent German spies. And don’t start one on simulated post-coital bliss on a rooftop, spoken in English when all the neighbours are German spies. In dialogue as in war, one has to chose sides, and this movie is neither here nor there.

So, Ferrero Rochers. One guesses the ambassador assassination features prominently in the trailers, because it’s the only exciting moment of an otherwise dull, useless and as exsanguinated as the 2015 version of Madame Bovary (featuring a dull, useless and exsanguinated Mia Wasikowska). It’s all going Bourne all of a sudden, even though it doesn’t work for a number of reasons. The best thing here are character actors, which are quite on par with the alleged original. Mr Pitt, though, strikes awkward poses in uniform during an absurd bunker scene.

And it goes and on, attempting at pilfering Hitchcock’s Notorious, then Suspicion, then Sabotage, to no avail. The original, for which one doesn’t have any feeling, at least had cult lines like “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” while here we are blessed with “Show me your chickens, Max.” Further down the drain, there is a scene which is an embarassment to France and its national anthem, not to mention the Resistance. One thought Mr Pitt should have known better after Inglorious Basterds, but one doubts anyone involved in production was over 25.

Featuring no less than Mr Pitt killing in cold blood a woman in front of her infant child, Allied is some seriously awkward stuff, intended as an hommage but ending as a travesty of everything it is supposed to revere. It’s garbage, undecided to be an old new movie or a new old one, a black hole of every talent’s involved in the pursuit of such a McGuffin of a movie. Call it the Oscar Curse; if only it was the worse thing Miss Cotillard was involved this year (see next).

Leave a Comment