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"Paris, Je T'aime"

Directed by a hell of a lot of people!
Written by...yeah, a hell of a lot of people!
Starring more actors than I can count!
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  6/4/07


A short film collection by some of the world's best directors, "Paris, Je T'aime" is arthouse at its most inspired--a wide array of one-act ditties that center around random activities in Paris.  The skits are not inter-related, so this allows for us to concentrate for about five minutes on each piece, and then we get a new story and new characters for the next five-minute act.  And, while some of the pieces don't really register, there is much more good than bad amongst the 15-or-so skits, enough to make a trip to the local arthouse theater worth your while.

Some of the directors you've heard of--The Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne ("Sideways", "About Schmidt"), Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham"), Sylvain Chomet ("The Triplets of Belleville"), Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón ("Children of Men", "Y Tu Mama Tambien"), Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") and Gus Van Sant.  Some you haven't--mainly, other French directors who have made their mark with smaller but well-received films.  All this means is that the quality of the production is high, and the wide variety of actors who were attracted to this project make for quite an interesting mix of faces.  The bits range from romantic comedy to straight-laced slapstick comedy, to a couple of dramatic pieces and one or two completely off-the-wall skits, none weirder than the bit featuring the traveling hair-care salesman and the exotic Asian woman who loves him for reasons we never learn.  In-between, there are random pick-up shots of Paris by day, by night, and from almost every angle imaginable.  Some of the film is done in English, some is done in French, some is done in Frenglish, none better than Payne's hilarious-yet-touching piece on a woman (played by Margo Martindale) who is reading a trip journal to an unseen adult French class on her first trip alone to a foreign city.

It's hard to describe "Paris, Je T'aime" outside of just telling you that it's a varied collection of shorts, but I must say that it's a lively collection, and it's one that anyone who has been to or aims to visit France should check out.  Doesn't set the world on fire but it's a fine, modest collection of films that you'll enjoy with just about anyone.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09