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Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot) (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 27, 2010 by  



The director of “Amelie”, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is back with a comedy titled “Micmacs” featuring an ensemble cast and wonderful cinematography that looks absolutely beautiful on Blu-ray!

Images courtesy of © 2009, 2010 Epithete Films, Tapioca Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, France 2 Cinema and France 3 Cinema. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot)

DURATION: 104 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English, English sDH

COMPANY: Sony Picture Classics

RATED: R (For Some Sexuality and Brief Violence)

Release Date: December 14, 2010

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Scenario: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant

Producer: Frederic Brillion, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Gilles Legrand

Music by Raphael Beau

Cinematography by Tetsuo Nagata

Edited by Herve Schneid

Casting by Pierre-Jacques Benichou and Valerie Espagne

Production Design by Aline Bonetto

Costume Design by Aline Bonetto

Starring:

Danny Boon as Bazil

Andre Dussollier as Nicolas Thibault de Fenouillet

Nicolas Marie as Francois Marconi

Jean-Pierre Marielle as Placard

Yolande Moreau as Tamouille

Julie Ferrier as La Mome Caoutchouc

Omar Sy as Remington

Dominique Pinon as Fracasse

Michel Cremades as Petit Pierre

Marie-Julie Baup as Calculette

Urbain Cancelier as Le gardien de nuit de Marconi

Patric Paroux as Gerbaud

Jean-Pierre Becker as Libarski

Stephane Butet as Mateo

Phillipe Girard as Gravier

First it was a mine that exploded in the middle of the Moroccan desert. Years later, it was a stray bullet that lodged in his brain… Bazil doesn’t have much luck with weapons. The first made him an orphan, the second holds him on the brink of sudden, instant death. Released from the hospital after his accident, Bazil is homeless. Luckily, our inspired and gentle-natured dreamer is quickly taken in by a motley crew of junkyard dealers living in a veritable Ali Baba’s cave. The group’s talents and aspirations are as surprising as they are diverse: Remington, Calculator, Buster, Slammer, Elastic Girl, Tiny Pete and Mama Chow. Then one day, walking by two huge buildings, Bazil recognizes the logos of the weapons manufacturers that caused all of his misfortune. He sets out to take revenge, with the help of his faithful gang of wacky friends. Underdogs battling heartless industrial giants, our gang relive the battle of David and Goliath, with all the imagination and fantasy of Buster Keaton…


Trailer

The Meaning of Flies

Mysterious

Not a Chance

That’s My Hat

What You Did

In 2009, the French film “Micmacs” (“Micmacs à tire-larigot” which translates to “Non-Stop Shenanigans”) was released in theaters.

First premiering at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, the film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Amelie”, “Alien Resurrection”, “A Very Long Engagement”) would release a film that would play as a satire of the world arms trade.

The film stars Danny Boon as the character of Bazil.  When Bazil was young, his father was killed in a mine accident and of the belongings from his father were photos with a word “Les Aresenaux d’Aubervilliers”.

Because of the death of his father, his mother was unable to cope with the death and thus Bazil was put in a boarding school in which he would get in quite a bit of trouble.  And so, he escaped from the school.

Flashforward to Bazil as an adult.  He works at a video store in which he has memorized the lines for a Bogie & Bacall film.  While he is watching, a gun fight takes place outside the store and a man’s gun falls to the road and discharges.  When Bazil goes to check and see what all the noise is outside of the store, he is hit in the forehead by the bullet from the gun.

Bazil is left in the hospital and because the bullet’s removal from can kill him, the bullet is left in his brain.  As Bazil awakens from the hospital, he finds out that his apartment’s lock has been changed, all his belongings have been taken and worse, he has lost his job.

His replacement at the video store, a girl has found one of the bullets laying outside of the store and on the back of the bullet, the words “Lex Arsenaux D’Aubervilliers” is seen.  The same name that was found by his father.  So, now Bazil carries a deep resentment towards “Lex Arsenaux D’Aubervilliers”.

Broke, homeless and dejected, Bazil meets a man named Placard (played by Jean-Pierre Marielle) who tells him that he can join a family.  He is taken to a scrap heap and in the heap is a mysterious living area  where various people with talents are living at.

Bazil meets the following people:

  • Calculator – Her dad was a surveyor, her mom was a seamstress.  She can look and hear anything and tell you what size they are.
  • Tambouille – An ethnographer from Congo.
  • Buster – A daredevil who says he is on the Guiness Book of World Records 1977 for human cannonball.
  • La Môme Caoutchouc – A contortionist who wants to use her abilities for good.

And several others in the scrap heap underground.  Together, this group takes belongings from the scrap heap, fix them up and resell them.

One day while out on a job, he stops by a building which has the name “Lex Arsenaux D’Aubervilliers” on it.  Immediately, Bazil wants to meet with the president of the company, Nicolas Thibault de Fenouillet, but is kicked out of the building.

When Bazil sneaks into a party for “Lex Arsenaux D’Aubervilliers”, he is disgusted by how little they care about how their ammunition is being used and more for profit.

So, now together with his new family of talented individuals, they form a group to take down the corruption of “Lex Arsenaux D’Aubervilliers”.

VIDEO:

“Micmacs” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).  Immediately, “Micmacs” captures your attention with its vibrant and detailed PQ.  The detail of this film is absolutely wonderful.  From detail of the various objects around the underground to the closeup of Bazils fingers and seeing the fingerprints.

But it’s the colors that really stand out.  The reds, the ambers, the greens are strong in HD and I was very impressed by how beautiful this film looked.  Black levels are nice and deep.  I didn’t see any artifacts nor did I see any blemishes or banding.

For me, the highlight of this film is the fantastic cinematography by Tetsuo Nagata (who did a great job with the films “La Vie en Rose” and his segment “Quartier de la Madeleine” for the film “Parise, Je T’aime”).  Very artistic cinematography utilized in this film.  I was very impressed!

Overall, another impressive film in HD from Sony Pictures Classics!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Micmacs” is presented in French 5.1 DTS-HD MA.  The film is pretty much dialogue and music-driven.  I did notice in the beginning of the film, this is where you hear a lot of the surround channels being utilized.  From the gunshots to the cars driving over an overpass to the machinery at the scrap heap.

But for the majority of the film, I did notice it becoming more front and center channel driven for dialogue and music with some scenes using the surround channels sparsely.   But dialogue and music is crystal clear and for the most part, the lossless audio is very good.

Subtitles are in English and English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Micmacs” comes with the following special features in standard and high definition with English and French audio with English subtitles:

  • Commentary with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet – Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet gives us an enthusiastic and interesting commentary on the talent, the characters of the film and the various locations of where “Micmacs” was shot.
  • The Making of Micmacs – (47:22)  Behind-the-scenes of various scenes from “Micmacs” and the challenges that the set designers and crew had during the filming.
  • Q&A with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Actress Julie Ferrier – (10:38) The Q&A session for “Micmacs” filmed at the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Animations: Absurd Deaths – (2:14) Featuring animations of unusual deaths.
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:11) The original theatrical trailer for “Micmacs”.

If there is one thing that came to my mind when watching “Micmacs”, it was think of the fun and unusual moments of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie” and you will see such moments in this film.

In some ways, I was thinking of a French version of “Oceans 11”, with a group of people with multiple talents helping their new family member Bazil take on the company that hurt him and killed his father.

The film has its share of fun and hilarious moments but almost similar to how I feel about “Oceans 11” (2oo1), I felt that the characters weren’t fleshed out quite well.  There were a lot of gags and it was great to see Danny Boon (Bazil) really doing a pretty good job in showcasing physical comedy but the other characters, aside from “elastic woman” and maybe “Calculator”, the film didn’t really make me want to care for the other characters.

The performances were fine, the cinematography was wonderful, I just felt the storyline was more or less, been there and seen that.  Personally, I felt the screenplay would of helped if the antagonists made us really hate them.  Made them more evil that we can easily sympathize and root for Bazil and friends.  But I will say that I did enjoy how the revenge was carried out and was content with how the film ended.

It’s interesting because on the Blu-ray, there is a Q&A session by those who watched the film who ask the director how come there was no violence and Jeunet answered that there is too much violence, TV, video games that he wanted to avoid that.  And I can see where he’s coming from but I felt the film was too safe for its own good and the group’s form of revenge wasn’t as exciting as I would have hoped.

But “Micmacs” is not a bad film, it’s just a film that tries to escape the banality of similar films by featuring more comedy and sight gags but instead of becoming an exceptional film, it ends up being an average film storywise but in terms of cinematography, Tetsuo Nagata did a wonderful job with this film.  “Micmacs” looks absolutely stunning on Blu-ray and the shots he captured on film were magnificent!

Overall, if you did enjoy the film, the Blu-ray release is fantastic in presentation and the Sony Pictures Classics release comes with a good amount of special features more than the UK E-1 Entertainment Blu-ray release of the film.

Once again, despite its shortcomings, “Micmacs” is a fun film and definitely worth giving a try.






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