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Old 10-01-2009, 06:47 AM   #1
pro-bassoonist pro-bassoonist is offline
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France L'armée du crime (The Army of Crime)



Robert Guédiguian's L'armée du crime a.k.a The Army of Crime (2009) is set to be released in France on January 19. The film was screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Variety:
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Despite a title and subject similar to Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 masterwork "The Army of Shadows," Gallic wartime fresco "The Army of Crime" is a less thrilling and more academic take on the doomed efforts of the French Resistance. Based on the actual plights of a WWII underground immigrant brigade, vet helmer Robert Guediguian's lengthy period yarn features a wide array of characters filmed with his habitual simpatico eye, but loses the dramatic thread in too many plots, too little action and not enough originality. Imposing "Army" should score local victories, but overseas campaigns will be limited to mere surgical strikes.

Widely popular in French WWII lore and previously tackled by the 1976 film "L'Affiche rouge," the FTP-MOI was a Parisian-based branch of the Resistance whose members were Communist immigrants hailing from all parts of Europe. When 10 of its top fighters were executed in early 1944, the Vichy regime plastered a now legendary red-colored poster around Paris that depicted the men as terrorists and bore the slogan "Liberators? The Liberation, by the Army of Crime."

Beginning with the group's final paddy wagon ride to the firing range and then cutting to two-plus hours of backstory, the script initially hops between the four protags until uniting them about halfway through. Although such a structure allows the filmmakers to painstakingly construct the trajectory of each character, it severely hinders the flow of the narrative and fails to make the ongoing threat of capture, torture and death seem either real or suspenseful.

The plot focuses primarily on the band's Armenian-born leader, Missak Manouchian (played by French-Armenian actor Simon Abkarian), who's first arrested and then released from prison while his fighting, charmer g.f. (Virginie Ledoyen) watches in disbelief: A seductive, soft-spoken poet with strong political convictions but little desire to draw blood, Missak soon takes up the reigns of a movement whose principal activities entail distributing pamphlets and slaying Nazis in the street.

He finds a pair of worthy acolytes in two young Jewish troublemakers, Marxist bomb-rigger Thomas (Gregory Leprince-Ringuet) and athletic sharpshooter Marcel (Robinson Stevenin). As their collected killings get increasingly gruesome, the SS-administered police begin to crack down on their network, using a local detective (played by Guediguian regular Jean-Pierre Darroussin) to snuff out those in charge.

Had the story concentrated merely on Missak and his two cohorts, it might have been engaging in the way of Melville's film, which limited the action to Lino Ventura's harrowing p.o.v. But its cumbersome attempt to follow 18 characters (including the three protags' different friends and family members) makes for too many minor plots, which are handled in quick succession with little cinematic intensity.

What Guediguian gets right is the eerie mood of Vichy-era France, where most of the population continued life as usual while their fellow countrymen were being shipped off to Auschwitz or burned alive at their local police station. Well-chosen exteriors, filmed in warm hues by Pierre Milon ("The Class"), make for an oddly tranquil atmosphere interrupted by sudden surges of violence, recalling moments from the director's Marseilles-set thrillers "The Town Is Quiet" and "Lady Jane."

Thesps are so many and so scattered that no performance is a standout, though Leprince-Ringuet ("Love Songs") gives his character some pizzazz.

Alexandre Desplat's intrusive score, plus a good deal of additional Bach and Mozart, winds up sucking the energy from certain pivotal scenes.
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Camera (color), Pierre Milon; editor, Bernard Sasia; music, Alexandre Desplat; production designer, Michel Vandestien; costume designer, Christel Birot; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital), Laurent Lafran, Gerard Lamps; assistant director, Gerard David; casting, Jacqueline Vicaire, Gaelle Baud, Sophie Hansen. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (noncompeting), May 18, 2009. Running time: 138 MIN.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:32 AM   #2
Kynch Kynch is offline
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I saw this movie two weeks ago. Good entertainment and some action here and there. I guess it mostly tried to show the toughness of relationships. Weren't as many Nazis as there were French Gestapo agents; guess it wanted to say that France was rotten from the inside or whatnot.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #3
Kynch Kynch is offline
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France L'Armée du Crime


Out January 19th 2010.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:42 AM   #4
zardoz zardoz is offline
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just saw the blu-ray edited in France by Studio Canal. (probably Optimum for UK)

it is english friendly (you chose France or England at the beginning and then get menus in the chosen language and english subtitles).


to me, the movie is more an "hommage" (a tribute) to the communist "french" resistance. Give it a try if you haven't seen it already


no test yet from pro-bassoonist ?

Last edited by zardoz; 02-07-2010 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:14 AM   #5
pro-bassoonist pro-bassoonist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zardoz View Post
no test yet from pro-bassoonist ?
Actually, I received the disc (Optimum) mid-week, and our review will be up shortly.

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Old 02-07-2010, 07:38 PM   #6
MacLover MacLover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zardoz View Post
just saw the blu-ray edited in France by Studio Canal. (probably Optimum for UK)

it is english friendly (you chose France or England at the beginning and then get menus in the chosen language and english subtitles).
Wait the French edition is English friendly? or have I read this wrong?

I am going to go nuts if it is as I normally buy the films from the Country of Origin if they are English friendly (prefer covers in original language).
Pre-Ordered: Bond 50 | The Artist | The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:53 PM   #7
DJANGO DJANGO is offline
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. . . very good news regarding English friendly - any way you can tell us about the Region Code of the French release . . .
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:44 PM   #8
zardoz zardoz is offline
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hmmm no idea on how to check region code with my european PS3 :|

when you select english at the beginning you have some optimum promotion material, so it is probably the same disc as the GB edition
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:54 PM   #9
DJANGO DJANGO is offline
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. . . thanks for your response - sometimes they list a little A B, or A B C on the back of the DVD package, sometime they don't . . .
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:09 PM   #10
pro-bassoonist pro-bassoonist is offline
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The UK disc by Optimum is Region-B "locked". While I do not have the French disc to confirm its region status, the UK disc, I believe, is identical to it as it has the same dual menu interface (where you could select either France or the UK as your country, and have the menu set up in your preferred language) found on the French disc.

Our review for the UK disc will be up tonight.

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Old 02-08-2010, 07:39 PM   #11
DJANGO DJANGO is offline
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. . . thanks for the update - perhaps a Region A release by Lionsgate will be down the road . . .
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:42 PM   #12
zardoz zardoz is offline
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only region B is mentioned on the back of my french edition's cover

sorry
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:55 PM   #13
DJANGO DJANGO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zardoz View Post
only region B is mentioned on the back of my french edition's cover

sorry
. . . thanks for taking the time to check - guess that settles that . . .
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:11 PM   #14
zardoz zardoz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist View Post
The UK disc by Optimum is Region-B "locked". While I do not have the French disc to confirm its region status, the UK disc, I believe, is identical to it as it has the same dual menu interface (where you could select either France or the UK as your country, and have the menu set up in your preferred language) found on the French disc.

Our review for the UK disc will be up tonight.

Pro-B
here it is

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Ar...y-Review/8150/
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