A press day chat with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, of “Micmacs”

Jean-Pierre JeunetIf you’re even a halfway serious film fan, you may have noticed that directors like Wes Anderson, Tim Burton, and Quentin Tarantino do not make movies set on Planet Earth, they make movies set on Planets Anderson, Burton, and Tarantino. I’m a bit less of an expert on France’s extremely popular Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but it’s obvious that, even when his films are set in Paris, they’re really set on Planet Jeunet. His films have their own look and exist in their own reality.

As with Tim Burton, Jeunet’s roots are in animation. Together with his early collaborator, cartoonist Marc Caro, he made two films that pretty much destroyed the idea of France as a land where all movies were gritty examinations of the lives of depressed intellectuals (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Dystopic but decidedly non-realistic, “Delicatessen” and, to a much greater extent, 1995’s “The City of Lost Children” broke through internationally, with the latter becoming a popular midnight selection and attracting a geek audience that might have ordinarily rejected subtitled films. That was followed by his first solo production and also his first and, so far, only American film. 1997’s “Alien: Resurrection” was a domestic commercial disappointment that generated mixed reviews and more than a little fan hate in the U.S. — even its screenwriter, fan-master Joss Whedon, has entirely disowned it — but it was nevertheless an international success which is still warmly embraced by its jovial director. After that, Jeunet broke through even bigger with the worldwide success of “Amelie” in 2001, easily one of the most widely seen French films in the United States of the last couple of decades — so much so that it was simply referenced as “the French movie” in last year’s “Up in the Air.”

Dany Boon in Now, Jeunet is back with his first film since his worldwide box office and critical hit, 2005’s “A Very Long Engagement,” with his own take on Chaplinesque/Keatonesque comedy with just a dash of Rube Goldberg not-quite-sci-fi. “Micmacs” stars comic Dany Boon (“My Best Friend”) as the hapless Bazil, whose father was killed by a landmine and whose health and livelihood was ruined by a bullet — each produced by a ruthless arms manufacturer. Homeless, he is befriended by a ragtag assortment of seven eccentrics with various unique skills. Bazil enlists their aid in avenging himself against the two firms.

The film has done reasonably well in its initial New York opening, and will be expanding to more theaters this Friday. It’s generally also been a hit with critics, very definitely including PH’s own Jason Zingale.

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Play “Youth in Revolt” again, Sam

Courtesy of Funny or Die and via JoBlo we have the new red band trailer for the upcoming R-rated comedy directed by Miguel Arteta, starring Michael Cera and adapted from the epistolary (look it up!) novel by C.D. Payne¬† featuring his Nick Twisp character, “Youth in Revolt.” Since this is red band and we have some of what you might call “coarse sexual language” F-words included, the usual warnings about watching this at work apply. (Of course, assuming that you’re allowed to even be here at all…you are on your break, right?)

Youth In Revolt Red Band Trailer – watch more funny videos

Pretty funny stuff but, at least on the surface, this seems almost like a teen, WASP version of an earlier film, and if you haven’t figured it out already, you can find out what it is right after the flip.

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Ms. Bacall, is that you?

I’m intensely skeptical, but someone claiming to be movie/stage legend Lauren Bacall has an account on Twitter and is doing a pretty good job of sounding like the woman born Betty Joan Perske. Well, some of the time, anyhow.

For those of you who may not be familiar with her, Bacall’s status is entirely earned. A born entertainer, she became one of the screen’s sexiest young sirens playing opposite the substantially older Humphrey Bogart, whom she married. After starring with Bogie, and stealing all her scenes, in Howard Hawks’ “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep,” she graduated to more mature roles over the years and she became a Broadway star and occasionally popped up in great movies like “The Shootist,” and TV shows like “The Rockford Files.” Now nearing her mid-eighties, she continues to work and be terrific in movies like Paul Shrader’s political thriller, “The Walker.” She even allowed herself to be robbed and mistreated by Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) on an episode of “The Sopranos.”

Lauren Bacall in As Karina Longworth points out, her posts do have a Betty Bacall like cadence, so if you’d like to think that’s actually her, I can’t stop you and I might be tempted to join you. I’m in awe to even think it might be for real.

It’ll be sometime before we find out the truth behind these Tweets. In the meantime, a great Bacall moment or two. We’ll start with her most memorable scene from “The Big Sleep,” which was actually added to boost her role after the success of “To Have and Have Not” and their marriage made Bogart and Bacall one of Hollywood’s hottest couples.

After the flip, I’ve got a couple of iconic clips with Lauren Bacall in her way, way pre-Twitter days.

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