“How I became a superhero” – A little ambition for French cinema

A bit of superheroism in the French audio-visual landscape. With “How I became a superhero”, Douglas Attal, son of producer Alain Attal, tackles the eponymous novel by Gérald Bronner for a heroic-detective trip.

Paris, in 2020. Two cops, Moreau (Pio Marmaï) et Schaltzmann (Vimala Pons) investigate the circulation of a mysterious substance, providing superpowers to those who lack them. In a society where, now, supermen are trivialized and live alongside normal citizens, Moreau’s origins and past hamper the progress of the investigation.

“How I became a superhero” embodies a new ambition, a welcome risk-taking …– Sven Papaux

“How I Became a Superhero” seems to intertwine a “leather cop” side to the Olivier Marchal with an Arte series typed “Ad Vitam”, or an American one like “Engrenages”. A hybridization of genres which makes it possible to lay a French-style foundation, before embracing the popular and dear to Marvel genre of superheroism. If it takes a little time to adapt, the film ends up taking. Douglas Attal gives flesh to his project. He managed to develop a marked psychological dimension, which others lacked, such as the disappointing “Black Widow”. The character of Pio Marmaï, casual and exhausted by his job, adopts a stunted investigator posture of abject sufficiency, when he faces his new partner, embodied by Vimala Pons. The French actress completes this rather refreshing duo for a French cinema in need of new faces.

Leïla Bekhti in “How I became a superhero”
© Shanna Besson / Warner Bros. France

Without being sparkling, “How I became a superhero” embodies a new ambition, a welcome risk-taking. Even if the subject does not breathe originality, it is fashionable to take advantage of a job well done and appreciate these aging heroes, taking the big American machines against the grain. Benoît Poelvoorde in super-costume, with Parkinson’s, or Callista (Leila Bekhti) turned back into an educator, the gang may not be as glamorous as the Avengers, but they have their own identity. This is the real world, and Douglas Attal is inspired by super-heroic codes to integrate an intimate and urban touch. Besides the choice to maintain a very “French” context, one of the nice surprises of the footage is Swann Arlaud (“Little Peasant”, “Grace to God”) in the role of an antagonist far from his usual compositions.

If it takes a little time to adapt, the film ends up taking …– Sven Papaux

A film that maybe smells already seen? Yes ; a plot that has nothing very folichon? for sure. But the paw of Douglas Attal and the mix of genres make it all refreshing, pleasant. The fiber of French thriller is nicely grafted to this revisiting of a theme which, although very American, is nowadays largely anchored in pop culture.

3,5/5 ★

Since July 9 on Netflix.

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“The sense of family” – Honey, we exchanged our bodies!

Franck Dubosc and Alexandra Lamy take the cue to embody the Morels, a small family unlike any other. In the early morning, father, mother, grandmother and children exchanged their bodies. In theaters since June 30.

One day, the Morels wake up with a funny hangover. They find that everyone’s mind is stuck in the body of another family member! The young Chacha, 6, is stuck in the body of the father (Franck Dubosc), himself a prisoner in the body of his son, the son in the body of the older sister, the mother (Alexandra Lamy) in his daughter’s body. In short, in the midst of a marriage that is in turmoil and a professional life as a dilettante, the Morel family is completely upset.

For the best and for the sake of laughter; like a dyslexia of reality, the exchange of chasubles has always been the hottest thing in comedy. From cult film to juicy nanar, let’s quote “Freaky Friday” with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, the surprisingly round belly of Marcello Mastroianni in “The most important event since man walked on the moon” or Matthew Perry who never ceases to be 17 years old in “17 Again”; body swap is always at the helm of an exploration of the lives of others, of a lesson learned from the other side of the looking glass.

A perfect, even very scholarly illustration of his initial statement …– Theo Metals

With the Morels, the roles are also reversed, all of a sudden. In the morning the father sucks his thumb, the mother is as tall as three apples and the grandmother has dissipated in the body of a teenager. A big generalized “deepfake” gangrene the Morels and it remains only the post-they on the fronts to see more clearly. And a curse (or blessing, who knows!) Never comes on its own. While Alain Morel, husband, father and editor in chief, tries to negotiate with the unions to save his newspaper, and his wife, a nurse emeritus, seems to have found a little exoticism in the arms of another (Artus), the exchange of bodies falls a bit like a hair on the family opera soup.

© Kare productions – Gaumont ressources

There is an inevitability of cinema. Great directors become manufacturers and great ideas ricochet. He had written “Vilaine” and “Kaboul Kitchen”, Jean-Patrick Benes embark the everlasting ones Alexandra Lamy and Franck Dubosc (here in their third film together) to tell us a very small story of family life. Symptomatic of a cinema that produces tailor-made comedies and morals that are certainly laudable, but prefabricated, “Le sens de la famille” puts everything on the aura of its main duo. However, Nils Othenin-Girard and his younger sister outclass parents in small shape. So let’s get along, it’s not Quvenzhané Wallis dans «Beasts of the Southern Wild», mais Rose De Kervenoaël deploys convincing energy to keep the footage afloat.

The body swap is always at the helm of an exploration of the lives of others …– Theo Metals

A ritornello of passing time and missed acts, a hymn to the family in these uncertain times. To charm us Jean-Patrick Benes even brought us back Sebastien chabalis telling you! Painless, colorless, almost insignificant, and yet a perfect, even very scholarly illustration of his initial statement, “The meaning of the family” will displease as much as it can seduce. After all, sometimes it is good to live in the land of zero risk.

2/5 ★

Since June 30 at the cinema. More information on “Le sens de la famille”.

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“La Fine Fleur” – The power of roses

Second feature film by Pierre Pinaud after “Parlez-moi de vous” in 2012, “La Fine Fleur” takes Catherine Frot into an enchanted tale among the roses. Screened in preview at the Angoulême French film festival in 2020, the film receives the official selection label at the 2021 Alpe d’Huez festival.

Eve Vernet is a designer of roses. Once a symbol of prestige, it is now on the verge of bankruptcy. In the hope of saving the small independent company, Vera, her long-time secretary, hires three reintegration employees with no experience.

In his new film, Pierre Pinaud talks about art. But not the one we are so used to seeing inhabit our screens. Here, no painting, ballet, singing; no, none of that, but roses; of all colors, of all scents. This French specialty had so far failed to find its place on our big screens. Fortunately for us, Pierre Pinaud remedies this, and reveals all his passion for flowers. Because yes, our director likes his subject. It is this love that drove him to write this film. From his childhood memories to cultivating his garden square with his grandparents, he offers us a sensitive film, where the rose is the star. Everything is almost a pretext for making us discover his mysterious world. Almost documentary scenes explain the nature of a quality rose; introduce us to the principle of hybridization; introduce us to the prestigious Bagatelle Park competition. We then seize the patience and the know-how required of these creators of beauty, and we are all the more admiring.

All the beauty of the subject is explained to us there; the finesse of a competition rose, exposed …– Maxime Maynard

Catherine frot (“Marguerite”) is Eve Vernet, and she masters the role. Without ever disappearing completely into this character of a small business owner, she shapes him to make it her own, and that fits her like a glove. It was Madame Dorieux from Maison Dorieux in Montagny, the filming location, who taught our actress these small gestures that she seems to master with the greatest professionalism. She knows, and we believe in it. Vincent Dedienne, who had already worked with Madame Frot for the play “The Carpe and the Rabbit” in 2020, plays the antagonist with a rather pleasant lightness. Olivia coast (“Les Gazelles”) is Vera, the collaborator of always.

Melan Omerta and Catherine Frot in “La Fine Fleur”
© URGENT

New employees in reintegration come to life thanks to Marie petiot («Holly Weed»), Fatsah Bouyahmed (“The cow”), and above all Melan Omerta. For his first role in a feature film, he is a real revelation. In the skin of Fred, little guy who finds himself immersed in this flowery universe, he is astonishing in sensitivity and subtlety. The evolution of the relationship of his character with that of Catherine frot is natural and touching. We may regret that this relationship takes precedence over all the other characters, of whom we ultimately know very little.

It is with great pleasure that we let ourselves be drawn into this world so close, but so far away …– Maxime Maynard

“La Fine Fleur” plays with our senses, and that it is pleasant to let yourself be carried away by the sounds, the smells and the images. All the beauty of the subject is explained to us there; the finesse of a competition rose, on display. The cinema is the perfect medium for appreciating the aesthetics of the theme. The colors stand out on the screen and charm us. But the film goes further and finds a way to nourish our sense of smell. Small moments of olfactory description let us imagine the smells, and we find ourselves inhaling the thousand-and-one fragrances that perfume the universe of Eve.

Fatsah Bouyahmed, Marie Petiot, Melan Omerta and Catherine Frot in “La Fine Fleur”
© URGENT

Without being omnipresent, the music of Mathieu Lamboley managed to perfectly accompany the story. The classical compositions are counterbalanced by old American crooner tunes, which bathe the artistic chaos of Eve with a certain warmth and melancholy. The rapping talents of Melan Omerta emerge with an energetic piece that finds its place perfectly in the assembly. The French song is not forgotten, and cradles us with its poetry. We let ourselves be carried away by all its charming melodies, without ever diverting our attention from the story.

This French specialty had so far failed to find its place on our big screens …– Maxime Maynard

While not adding anything new to social-leaning French comedy, the feature film by Pierre Pinaud nevertheless succeeded in entertaining us. The characters are endearing and fair, the story full of twists and turns. But it is the very theme of the film that captivates us. The creation of a rose is a very mysterious subject for a large majority of us, and it is with great pleasure that we let ourselves be drawn into this world so close, but so far away. We come out with a new look. A nice and light comedy to have a good time at the cinema.

4/5 ★

June 30 at the cinema. More information on “La Fine Fleur”.

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New to the cinema: the editorial staff recommends these 3 films

The return of an already cult horror saga, a not-so-ordinary spy and an American-Korean family on a small farm in Arkansas … here are the three films recommended by the editors this week.

Before, everything was peaceful in the small town where the Abbott family live. But that was before monstrous creatures arrived and decimated most of the population. Ultra sensitive to noise, aliens with sharp teeth attack at the slightest rustle of leaves. After losing her husband Lee (John Krasinski) and her son, and having given birth in her bathtub, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), accompanied by her children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Skirt), decides to leave the family home to venture into nature. The three adventurers, always on tiptoe, will discover that they are not the only survivors and that the ravenous beasts are not the only danger.

More information on “Sans un Noise 2”.

Minari is a herb from East Asia, called water celery and cultivated in the wild. Its development is a sign of mystery, symbol of a fertile land. This herb is in the image of this expatriate South Korean family, arrived from California so that the father embraces the activity of farmer. The “American dream”, rough life, in a house on wheels in the depths of Arkansas. A family, but above all a little boy who is getting used to his new life and to his grandmother whom he did not know.

More information on “Minari”.

In 1960, Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) crosses paths with MI-6 and the CIA. This modest English representative is called upon to establish a relationship of all dangers with the Soviet colonel Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze). As Penkovsky prepares to become a traitor of the nation, frightened by the nuclear follies of Nikita Khrushchev, head of the Soviet government, he decides to pass the plans and information necessary to the West to avoid a nuclear war. Wynne will therefore initiate a series of trips back and forth to Moscow, arousing the suspicions of the KGB.

More information on “An ordinary spy”.

Check out all the new releases this week at the movies.

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“Conjuring: Under the influence of the Devil” – The occult sciences facing justice

After a number of dispensable spin-offs, it’s time for the 3rd installment of the “Conjuring” franchise, with Michael Chaves at the helm. He reminds us of the Devil, just that, through the story of Arne Johnson, in 1981.

Rebelote for the Warrens. Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are grappling with a devastatingly powerful demon. Called for the exorcism of a little boy, they will have to face a particularly tenacious demon. The forces of Evil are spread from one body to another, from that of the little boy to that of Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), the brother-in-law. This time it is no longer a question of a simple haunted house, but of an affair of chaotic scope.

After simply bad spin-offs (“Annabelle” or “The Nun”), the original franchise is back in service. A surprising first part and a less convincing second. And for the 3rd, what does Michael Chaves have in store for us (“The Curse of the White Lady”)? Let’s say it right away: the fall is on. After the sophistication of the first part, seeking to use horror to immerse himself in the occult sciences, this one prefers to serve you a tray of jumpscare. A little one there, another here, yet another for the form, and here Chaves, despite his paw and his eye, serves us a fan of artificial cold sweats.

“A range of artificial cold sweats …”– Sven Papaux

Flashes, like this first scary scene, to finally sink into a frantic race to break a satanic curse. Nothing new under the sun, apart from a cast which remains excellent. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson could almost become an iconic couple of contemporary (horrific) cinema, Ruairi O’Connor could well become a major actor – in the false air of Bill Skarsgard -, and the appearances of John Noble – ah, our famous Dr. Walter Bishop in the series “Fringe” – in the guise of a retired priest. “Conjuring: Under the Devil” has a sleek camera and thoughtful visual effects. But the whole is high-sounding, so suited for a franchise that could have strayed from obscure paths. A lack of daring that drowns under a strange rhythm, as if jerky …

The Warren couple in full audience (screenshot of the trailer).
© Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

The “Conjuring” universe is withering away, that’s a fact. Perhaps the interest is elsewhere, more on the substance than on the form. So yes, it’s a horror film, but behind it, there is this vision through the prism of Christian dogma: the divine (and faith) versus the occult and Satanism. In the hands of another screenwriter and perhaps rid of the label “Conjuring”, the film could have claimed more in order to build a narrative that is built around the first plea of ​​a man accused of murder and who pretext for demonic possession. Convince the court – and therefore the public – that the occult sciences and Satanism are very real. Unfortunately the sluggish horror outweighs the real strength of the film.

2/5 ★

“Conjuring: Under the influence of the Devil” is to be discovered from June 9 at the cinema.

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