BOOK REVIEW: HOW TO WIN AT FEMINISM – PRESENTED BY REDUCTRESS AND BY ELIZABETH NEWELL, SARAH PAPPALARDO & ANNA DREZEN

 

How to Win at Feminism is a book that needs to be taken along with a large grain of salt as it is supposed to be a funny and subversive – if misguided – look at feminism for millennials. The writers even include acknowledge this, with, “At the end of the day, we’re just a bunch of cute klutzes who wrote an effing book” but is this admission at the end of the book one that is too little too late? If How to Win at Feminism achieves anything it is to prove that for some people feminism isn’t and will never be a laughing matter.

To read the rest of this review please visit the following website: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/reviews/book-reviews/201703/226256

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FILM REVIEW: UP FOR LOVE (Un homme à la hauteur)

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Up For Love (Un homme à la hauteur) is a French film that isn’t sure whether it wants to be dramatic and have a serious message or to be lightweight and farcical. The story is a remake of an Argentinean film named, Corazón de León. It is about a tall woman who grapples with falling in love with a short man. The story is ultimately too flippant and exploitative to really cut through.

Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars as Alexandre, a charming and witty architect. In real life, Dujardin is over six feet tall so here he is digitally enhanced to appear like a diminutive man (around four feet tall) who had problems with his pituitary gland whilst growing up. This alone feels entirely at odds with the film’s overall message of accepting people for who they really are.

A successful lawyer and blonde bombshell divorcee, Diane (Virginie Efira) leaves her phone at a monument one day and luckily it is picked up by Alexandre. The pair chat over the telephone and share a meaningful conversation before agreeing to meet in person. The two soon fall into a passionate relationship but Diane struggles with Alexandre’s height. Her feelings are compounded by the insensitiveness of the people around her. Diane’s ex-husband calls her “Snow White” at one point while her mother recklessly drives into on-coming traffic after hearing her daughter’s relationship is becoming serious.

This film, Up For Love by director, Laurent Tirard feels rather disingenuous. There are one too many cheap shots at short people and the storyline is quite predictable and clichéd. It’s a shame because this film is nicely-shot and could have been so much more. The actors are certainly charismatic and likeable enough and the story isn’t a completely throwaway one. The problem is that the tone is too light-hearted and flippant to be taken seriously and the jibes are often too awkward and cringeworthy, rather than funny.

 

***Please note: a free double pass to this film was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://entertainment.beautyandlace.net/user-reviews-up-for-love

FILM REVIEW: THE PRICE OF FAME (La rançon de la gloire)

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The Price of Fame (La rançon de la gloire) has an interesting-enough hook. It is based on some true events that occurred in the seventies when two desperate crooks decided to steal the body of the legendary, Charlie Chaplin and hold it to ransom. The film is ultimately a letdown that is plagued by problems with its execution because it is overlong and has an uneven tone.

The award-winning, Xavier Beauvois (who won the Grand Prize Jury Award at Cannes for his film, Of Gods & Men) makes his first foray into comedy here. But The Price of Fame shows that jokes are a lot harder to execute than they initially appear. The film does take some liberties with the truth (the nationalities of the thieves are switched from Eastern Europeans to a Belgian and an Algerian) but it also attempts to have the audience empathise or understand why they undertook such a bizarre act.

We are initially introduced to Osman Bricha (Roschdy Zem), a hard-working local labourer and his wife (Nadine Labaki) who is in hospital because she requires expensive hip surgery that neither of them can afford. Osman’s friend meanwhile, is Eddy Ricaart (Benoît Poelvoorde). Riccart is released from prison and comes to live with his mate and Osman’s bright-eyed daughter (Séli Gmach) to help the latter with her homework as she has big ideas of going to university to become a vet. It is Eddy who has the harebrained idea to steal Chaplin’s body for ransom and Osman reluctantly agrees after facing up to his dire financial situation.

The best-laid plans don’t always work and this is the case here. The events in real-life didn’t succeed and nor does the depiction of these events on film. The pacing is tediously slow and the scenes are far too bland and verbose to sustain your attention. There are some jokes but most of these aren’t particularly funny and the dramatic elements are lacking suspense and emotion and really do not hook you in.

Beauvois also tries to marry up the story with some aspects of Chaplin’s life and even forces one of his characters to play the clown in a plotline that feels needlessly tacked on. The best part of this latter aspect is that it does mean the audience gets to see scenes from Chaplin’s silent films. But the overall execution feels quite heavy-handed and while this is an attempt to act as a tribute to Chaplin, the film boasts anything but a reverential air for the subject matter.

The Price of Fame is very weird but it had an intriguing-enough idea. The film is ultimately letdown by some adequate performances, long dialogue-driven scenes and a plot that seems a little to lightweight to carry a two hour film. At best this movie is inconsistent and it is as bumbling and strange as its two hapless protagonists.

Originally published on 15 June 2015 at the following website: http://iris.theaureview.com/2015/06/15/sydney-film-festival-review-the-price-of-fame-la-rancon-de-la-gloire-france-belgium-2014/

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