BETTY BLUE-37⁰2 LE MATIN (1986)

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“C’est le vent, Betty”

In 1986, this film poster was on the bedroom walls of many young students.
It was immediately iconic.
Beatrice Dalle, the stunning actress reminiscent of Sophia Loren and classic Hollywood set temperatures on fire in this stunning movie about love, life and madness.

Before it was released it was deemed too long for the cinema so was cut from its original running time of approx 180 mins to 120 mins. 5 years later, the director Jean-Jacques Beineix put that straight and released his Version Integrale (Complete Version), the full cut of the film he always intended to be seen.

Not explicitly an ‘un amour fou’ yet filled with all the ingredients, this beautifully tragic tale of love, life and mental illness between Betty (Dalle) and Zorg (Jean-Hughes Anglade) is a film that begs to be seen. If you haven’t seen yet, now’s the time.

When it was released the sex and nudity was the big topic of conversation but, 28 years later, although still plenty, is never graphic. The version integrale has a lot more nudity equality than the original cinema version with Anglade balancing it out. It is natural and definitely non-exploitative. When you compare it to some of the other films coming out of America in the 80’s (Basic Instinct, anyone?) it is far less offensive.

What occurs now, watching it after all these years, is how stunningly it is shot, acted and directed. There is a sensitivity and love for the characters that Beineix has clearly drawn. Dalle and Anglade give possibly career best performances and are backed up wonderfully by a plethora of French character actors.  Consuelo De Haviland as Betty’s best friend, Lisa and Gerard Darmon as her boyfriend, Eddy are both brilliant, giving balance to the drama of Betty & Zorg’s relationship. Jacques Mathou and Clementine Celarie as the butcher and his wife with marital problems, Vincent Lindin and Raoul Billerey as two local police officers provide some brilliantly absurd humour as does Jean-Pierre Bisson, also a policeman and rejected writer. Dominique Pinon also turns up as a small time drug dealer who wants to support his surfing dream. All these petites vignettes allow the story of Betty and Zorg to breathe freely and feel thoroughly fleshed out. There are some absolute gems here including the olive tasting/ tequila rapido scene which is pretty much a perfect scene.

This is a classic film; nearly 30 years after its initial release it truly stands the test of time as a brilliant piece of art, enjoyable, passionate and tragic.

The original French title 37⁰2 Le Matin refers to the normal morning temperature of a pregnant woman.

The first line of narration is:

“I had known Betty for a week. We made love every day. The forecast was for storms.”

An incredibly prophetic opening to an amazing film that has stood the test of time officially making it a classic.

4.5/5

BUY THE BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE

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GODZILLA (2014)

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Godzilla vs M.U.T.O.

Gojira, saviour of the world is back, and the main thing that comes to mind when watching this is that it may not be possible for a human to direct a Godzilla film with all the elements of a quality movie included.

The logistics of the monster effects alone are huge and consequently anything remotely human in story will pale in comparison.
Can it be done?

What works is the fighting. Gojira vs any supermonster. Too. Much. Fun.

How is this not gonna make you laugh? There’s just not enough of the big guy in this latest outing.

This is more like it:

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen try their best with the love story element that some genius thought you must have in order to make the film accessible to the masses.
It’s a Godzilla film, FFS!
Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche are brought in to add gravitas in order to make it into a serious film.
It’s a Godzilla film, FFS!
Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins mug and over-act for the camera as if they were actually in a Toho Godzilla film.
But it doesn’t work as only a few of the actors seem to know what kind of film they are in.
FFS. IT’S A GODZILLA FILM, PEOPLE!!!

David Strathairn, on the other hand, is right on the money with his performance and it really shows you that if you have chops it makes not one iota of difference what kind of film you are in, you will always bring interesting work to the table.
On a smaller note it was nice to see Victor Rasuk (How to Make it in America) getting a squeeze, playing a soldier.

Look, this film has many problems, wtf is happening right now, where are we, do we care, where is Gojira? Ah, there he is. Go Gojira, save us.

There was potential for making a semi-decent movie here but it just doesn’t come together. There is a fantastic sequence in a supposed radio-active area early on that recalls the world of the game ‘The Last of Us’ and there are some story elements that show promise but fizzle out too early. 

For all the money spent on the monster effects the effect may be not much more impressive than the much cheaper option of man-in-suit.

Gareth Davies who directed the brilliant Monsters must have been overwhelmed by the massive budget but manages to retain the Toho style of the previous Godzilla films from Japan; they are not best known for their incredible story telling or acting, merely the WWF antics of Gojira (and humanities’) foes.

Much has been made about the Halo jump, featuring heavily in the trailer and on many posters, it was so filled with potential but, without spoiling anything, when it comes in the film it does not come close to delivering the excitement it promises.
Ultimately, this film will make a LOT of money and there will be a sequel and I’ll probably go see but it is by no means a great piece of cinema, only the few battle sequences will definitely satisfy the B-movie fans of old.

Maybe we’ll see Godzuki in the sequel.
One can but hope.

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A generous 3/5.

BUY THE BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE