Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Film Industry's Dirty Little Secret?

I have been watching a lot of foreign films lately ... French films that is.  I am watching these films in an effort to improve my French which has gotten a bit rusty these days.  A few days ago, I stumbled upon a French Romance-Thriller titled "Anthony Zimmer", released back in 2005.  The mystery-spy thriller is one of my favorite genres, so I uploaded the movie and begin watching.  The descprition for this movie wasn't very extensive, so I really didn't know what to expect ... but as the movie began to unfold the storyline looked very familiar to me. 

About 20 minutes into the  "Anthony Zimmer" movie,  I figured out that this movie was basically the same storyline as the recently released blockbuster movie staring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, "The Tourist."  I couldn't believe it? !  Granted there were a few variations, but basically the story was the same.  Actually, I think I found the storyline and characters in the French film to be a bit more believable and exciting.  The setting was different too:  The French film is set on the French Riviera, in Nice ... "The Tourist" (American version) was set in Venice.  Instead of a boat chase along the canals in Venice there are some amazing car chase scenes in the French film.  


These two movies being essentially the same got me to wondering just how many other blockbuster American films had been so blatantly base-lined off of French and other foreign films?  Well, I'll be sure and let you know if I come across any other copycat films. 

I have to say, the French do make some pretty impressive films.  Another recent favorite of mine (also a "chick flick") was "The Princess of Montpelier."  The costumes, setting, and cinematography in this film were beautiful.  The acting was decent and I could really relate to the free-spiritedness, yet intelligentence tempered with  level-headedness of the main character (the princess), Marie. And yes, I had silly tears in my eyes while watching this one ... but don't tell anyone ; ).  So if you're if you're in the mood for a good foreign film, you might want to check out the latter two titles.  Let me know if you have other foreign film suggestions; I'd really appreciate the input.  Let me know if you stumbled across any other copycat films as well.  Happy film watching ... next best thing to escaping into a good book.  Enjoy!

10/20/2010  Found another pairing ... "La Femme Nakita"  (French)  and "No Way Out" (American).  There are bound to be more .... you think?

11/15/2011 ... Okay, to be fair ... I noticed while inadvertantly catching the end of the movie "The Tourist" on television late last night that the movie did credit the original move "Anthony Zimmer" with being the baseline for the movie "The Tourist" ... But this honorable mention was burried on like the very last page of credits, after the song credits and listed in very tiny print.  Still, they owned the source ... so that is something.

12/20/2011 ... Just watched another action-thriller, newly out in theaters (but also available on demand for a small fee):  "The Heir Apparent" .  I don't even have to write a review because another individual,  Matthew Stechel, sums up this  movie rather nicely in his review:

"The Heir Apparent won't be the most memorable film you've ever seen...but it was a well done enough action film of the "old school" french variety that will play very nicely on TV in years to come. Sleek enough to hold your attention and telling a story that doesn't insult your intelligence but won't really tax it either--the movie works well enough while its going, but once its over you'll either have trouble believing what you just saw, or you won't really care what you just saw--you'll just wanna see another movie asap.

Requiring a daring man of action to save the day but really just a continuing series of action sequences barely held together by a continuing storyline (ironically not unlike district b-13 which while an awesome movie is much much more of an example of "new school" french action film that's more in vogue right now.) The Heir Apparent is supposed to be more of an old school french action movie--like this could've easily been made with jean paul bellmondo in the 70's.

Largo Winch is the adopted heir to the CEO and founder of this gianormous company--when the ceo is found dead--its up the adopted heir to find out why, who, when, and if possible save the rest of the company. (Largo is a guy who loves breaking out of places--you see him as a kid running out the window of his bedroom--he hates being cooped up in one place...naturally a break out of jail sequence is included here, but with the nice twist that largo really really doesn't want anyone to help him with it....he's also apparently fiercely independent which just makes you wonder why he's doing what he's doing but no matter.) Anyways the bulk of the plot is basically Largo being recruited by the board of the company to do whatever he can to keep the company from being swallowed up by its main competitor. (this requires basically getting the majority of stock in the company back from the guy who owns the competitive company, but of course there's so much more to that then just going up to the guy and making him hand over the shares of stock) That's really all you need to know---anything else is stuff that comes up throughout the story that you just kinda roll your shoulders and go with--otherwise you'll have too many questions and to question what's happening here is besides the point.

Some of the action scenes are pretty cool...and the lead actor has an appealing what me worry? attitude that matches the tone of the movie perfectly. The reversals and double reversals that happen throughout the movie don't really add anything besides obstacles for the main character to hurdle over--but hurdle them he does, and well. Kirsten Scott Thomas appears but adds nothing except maybe a sense that something significant is supposed to be happening here, but its pretty clear its not. Ummmm the movie was entertaining enough--like it was fun to watch, but after an hour or so it gets kind of dull, like you start to wonder what the point is, why is Largo Winch so perfectly willing to be used by his father's board members when he himself has no interest in running the company at all anyways---there are flashbacks of him talking to his father that are meant to give depth to largo's character but only serve to remind us that we could be watching a much better movie if Largo could just somehow get out from his father's company's shenanigans. Anyways--it was an OK movie--but there were hints that it could've been something more. As it is its not bad, its actually pretty fun to watch but i'll prob forget i saw it in a day or two."  (please see IMDb link above for more info)
Apparently there is also a sequel to this movie titled: "The Burma Conspiracy."  So if you like the film "The Heir Apparent", then know that another follows.

It was kind of neat to flip through the list of movies that some of the other actors have done.  For instance, I knew that recognized the character "Naomi" ... She was the Princess of Montpelier (in the movie by the same name) that I had mentioned in my original post.  The list of movies also gives me other ideas for additional French/foreign films that I may want to watch in the future.

No comments: