Jean-Marc Vallée

1995
Liste noire 45
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

1997
Los Locos 85
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

1999
Loser Love 12
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

2005
C.R.A.Z.Y. 89
[ review ]

2009
The Young Victoria 62
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

2011
Café de Flore 59
[ I find that movies like this are the hardest to review. Not because they ultimately fail in my opinion, au contraire, but because they get so many things so right before ultimately crashing down. In what could be construed as a stylistic follow-up to his modern Quebec cinema classic “C.R.A.Z.Y.”, writer-director Jean-Marc Vallée impresses once again with his mastery of visual storytelling, delivering countless memorable shots, transitions and, in what may be his greatest skill, sequences set to music (Pink Floyd, Sigur Ros, The Cure, etc.). Attempting to simultaneously tell two apparently unreleated stories, one set in contemporary Montreal and the other in 1960s Paris, the film hits a wall when it quickly becomes clear that one timeline is much more involving than the other, namely the latter, which depicts a French single mother (Vanessa Paradis)’s affecting and somewhat disturbing codependent relationship with her son (Marin Gerrier), who has Down syndrome. I was left mostly cold by the present-day portion, which deals with the first world problems of a yuppie-scum jet-setting DJ (Kevin Parent), who’s perfectly happy with his sexy young blonde girlfriend (Évelyne Brochu) but who still has conflicting feelings about his ex (Hélène Florent), who also happens to be the mother of his children (Rosalie Fortier and Joanny Corbeil-Picher). On the whole, “Café de Flore” also suffers from dialogue and voice-over narration that are often way too on the nose, it can be tiresomely repetitive (why make a point once when you can do it 10 times?), and the pseudo-mystical way the two story threads finally connects is groan-inducing at best. So basically, I came out of the theatre unsure what to think, having loved some elements, hated others… I might still marginally recommend it, but this remains a frustratingly uneven picture. ]

2013
Dallas Buyers Club 71
[ Matthew McConaughey is not the only thing that’s skinny in “Dallas Buyers Club”: the film as a whole displays very little fat, it cuts right to the point and pushes its story forward without wasting any time. Here’s this guy, this redneck cowboy who somehow tests positive for HIV and is told he has only 30 days to live, but he won’t have any of it. We get all of that in barely 10 minutes, then they hit us with a “Day 1” title card. Here we go. There’s also no excess fat to Jean-Marc Vallée’s direction, which is very raw and edgy, mostly using handheld cameras and natural lighting and what looks like real locations. And then, yeah, there’s Matthew McConaughey who not only lost a scary amount of weight to play this part, but also put his all into it, from his charisma and natural energy to a whole lot of pain, desperation and fury. His character is a real live wire who just won’t accept that all signs point to him dying sooner rather than later and he manages to make us sorta believe that maybe he can beat this by doing some research, finding and importing experimental drugs and whatnot. Heroic stuff, but the guy is already your typical hero: he’s very much flawed, drinking, smoking and snorting cocaine his way through life… He also happens to be homophobic, which is quite the problem when the cards he’s been dealt force him to interact with the homosexual community, particularly a transvestite wonderfully played by Jared Leto. Both McConaughey and Leto recently won a Golden Globe and got nominated for the Oscar, and it’s well deserved. ]

2014
Wild 91
[ review ]

2016
Demolition 90
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]