de-VICE #2

movie review: luc besson's "angel-a"

Home
C-CHAN happy snaps!
inane contact details
PAPRIKA: the new anime from satoshi kon - review
one photo says it all: TOKYO DISNEYLAND
TEKKON KINKREET anime preview
KEITAI KOUTURE exhibition
album of the moment: V/A - HIFANA presents NAMPOOH CABLE
ZU-ZUSHI, part 2: IF? Records return to Melbourne
the HISTORY OF JAPANESE ANIME!
NOUVEAU UK ELECTRONICA: disco_r.dance
is this the coolest show on JAPANESE TV?
the best ADVERTISEMENT of all time
JEFF MILLS launches his "one man spaceship" in Tokyo
jonathan more raps about Dr Who: COLDCUT stylee
BEN SIMS labels for Andrez, September 2006
PowerShovel, Ltd.
SPANK ROCK rant a bit to our Tim
FAMKE JANSSEN raps about "x-men 3"
george w. bush: the real state of da union
PLAID: all about greedy baby & i-warp
movie review: STUDIO GHIBLI'S "gedo senki"
new IF? RECORDS sites
WORLD CUP round-up
IFFY links
TOKYO TECHNO parties 2006
muzak of da month #1: joy division rejigged...
movie review: "CARS"
new LITTLE NOBODY info links
BRAZIL music demo competition!
T.O.E. TV 1994
5000 FINGERS OF DR. T - "barbequeued crickets" video-clip
TIM DELUXE: ego killer
DORAEMON: is this the best japanese anime?
cocoa-chan blog
"get yer mitts on it" book selection #2
brazil
completely archaic video-clip of the month
silliest video of the year
the world cup
yoko umehara, art et al
gloria gaynor: that '70s diva
movie review: "poseidon"
little nobody / schlock tactile / andrez bergen
nightmares on wax
kid 606 'sometimes' video-clip
enka!
vegemite: anime stylee!
movie review: "dreamer"
1967
the winners: the coolest, kitschest tv themes
jeff mills 'life cycle' (1994) video-clip
jammin' unit vs. vj sniper (video-clip)
movie review: luc besson's "angel-a"
classic japanese movie previews
si begg / the noodles foundation 'mad as hell' video-clip
evangelion vs. rammstein
kid koala 'fender bender' video-clip
dj shadow 'six days' video-clip by wong-kar wai
plaid 'eyen' video-clip
neil landstrumm / scandinavia
ken ishii - 'extra' anime video clip by koji morimoto
mamoru oshii - 2006
peanut butter wolf / stones throw
mr. scruff
hexstatic
william shatner fuels-up
si begg / noodles 2006
q-bert
kid koala
video archive: front 242 'Headhunter'
movie review: mamoru oshii's "tachiguishi retsuden"
merzbow
from the back of the fridge: cristian vogel (2000)
tony leung: 2046 / in the mood for love
movie review: "the producers"
ninja tune: zen tv II tour
kenji kawai
skalpel
classic movie o' the month
"get yer mitts on it" book selection #1
movie review: osamu tezuka's "blackjack"
wine guzzler of the year award
fantastic plastic machine
coldcut: 'sound mirrors', ad infinitum
gene farris: 2006
captain funk / oe
yamaoka
the glimmers
deep dish vs. madonna
zen paradox / steve law
vitalic
khan oral / captain comatose
luke vibert / wagon christ
from the back of the fridge: claude young (1998)
schlock tactile
calvin & hobbes
the winner: best american comic book cover of all time!
from the back of the fridge: melbourne - voiteck & honeysmack (1997)
from the back of the fridge: ken ishii (1999)
from the back of the fridge: aphex twin (1997)
cyberdada: archive playlists (pbs-fm)
muzak of da month (march): prefuse 73
muzak of da month (april): tachiguishi retsuden soundtrack
de-VICE #1

angel-a.jpg

Andrez Bergen / Special to The Daily Yomiuri


Dir: Luc Besson

Cast: Jamel Debbouze, Rie Rasmussen, Gilbert Melki, Serge Riaboukine


According to the movie reference Web site imdb.com, French film maker Luc Besson has been involved in the production of 27 different TV and cinema titles. And that's just in the last 12 months.

His job descriptions vary - think producer, executive producer, associate producer, coproducer, extra-special-producer, and what not - but I think you get the gist.

It's likely that 90 percent of these flicks you'll never hear about, while the other 10 percent you'll wish you hadn't.

By contrast, in 1997 Besson produced just one film: Gary Oldman's exceptional (if harrowing) Nil By Mouth.

That year also boasted Besson's final successful directorial vehicle, The Fifth Element. It was cheeky, irreverent, and a rollicking roller-coaster ride.

The subliminal delusions of Bessonian grandeur - vaguely evident as much there as in his earlier movies like Leon (The Professional, 1994), Nikita (1990), and Subway (1985) - didn't explode into full force until he lobbed Jeanne d'Arc (Joan Of Arc) into the cinematic fray seven years ago. That film bombed, and he hasn't directed anything since.

Until now, that is.

All of which augurs ill, and conspires to paint a gloomy picture of what to expect from Angel-A, a flight of fancy filmed in black-and-white, in Besson's native language, around the picturesque tourist locales of Paris.

In fact, Paris should be listed in the credits as an integral member of the cast, or the film retitled The Bridges of Paris County. There are literally dozens of frames of famous Parisian bridges by longtime Besson collaborator Thierry Arbogast.

He may have shot classics back in the day like L'Appartement (The Apartment, 1996) for Gilles Mimouni - but more recently he helmed the camera on screen "gems" like Catwoman and Wing Commander. Yawn.

It's on a bridge that this particular story - Besson himself calls it a romantic comedy - unfurls.

Minor-league swindler Andre, who happens to owe money to every crook at every level in the Parisian criminal pecking order, is at the end of his tether - so he decides to skip repayment plans by doing le grand jump off a bridge.

In that moment Angela miraculously appears, bearing the same suicidal inclinations. Both somehow survive the waters of the Seine, an event as unlikely as their subsequent team-up, and Angela repairs the tatters of Andre's life - aided only by a limitless supply of self-lighting cigarettes, and a nod or two toward God.

Comedian Jamel Debbouze, who plays Andre, lacks the charisma and acting repertoire to hold down the central male role here; the supporting character he played in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie, as the grocer's assistant, may have had shorter screen time but was a lot more memorable.

The fact that the guy bears a spitting-image resemblance to American character actor Luis Guzman (Carlito's Way, Traffic) may be beside the point, but it's downright disturbing.

Rie Rasmussen, a Danish former model and short-film maker herself, better fulfills Besson's need for tall, gangly, tough-but-drop-dead-gorgeous girls, and stands literally head and shoulders above Debbouze.

She gives the character what seems her best shot, yet Angela remains disconcertingly underdeveloped. It's also obvious that Arbogast and his director are more concerned with their voyeuristic camera-play.

Besson does grant tantalizing moments that entertain aside from the mandatory glimpses of lithe, sexy legs - like Andre being dangled off the Eiffel Tower, and the twist on the club scene where he thinks he's inadvertently acting out the role of Angela's pimp - and the story actually borders on poignant for just a few seconds.

The rest of the time the pedestrian acting, the languid script, some clunky angel symbolism, an awkward sense of humor - and quite possibly Besson's long-absent directorial presence - deflates the movie's monochrome sail, and it's just plain dead in the water.

The movie is currently playing.
(May. 20, 2006)

Enter supporting content here

hit right here to sell yer soul and go back to de-VICE #1

new crappy nonsense for a nouveau year