Weekend Roundup: TCFF Sneak Peek, a French comedy & the Great Gatsby

Happy Sunday everyone!

Well it was a rather packed weekend starting with the a TCFF Insider Series event on Friday night. It was the perfect venue for early September as a touch of Autumn filled the air as we gathered poolside at the University Club in St Paul on top of Ramsey hill, whilst sipping cocktail & munching delicious hors d’oeuvres.


We watched a compilation of 12 trailers of some indies/docs/features films that’ll be showing at the film fest in mid October. One of the features are already on my most-anticipated Fall movies list, yay! I can’t tell you yet which films are playing as details are still being finalized, but let’s just say I’m super excited!

Well I only got to see two movies this weekend. Somehow my hubby and I have been in the mood for French comedies lately. Last week we saw The French Minister, well this weekend we saw…

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

I’m not always a fan of Luc Besson movies but this one turns out to be entertaining. It’s got a bit of Indiana Jones/The Mummy but with a female heroine instead. But this movie is more of a zany fantasy-comedy with some laugh-out-loud moments involving mummies being brought back to life. Louis Bourgoin as the protagonist is fun to watch. She reminds me a bit of Katherine Heigl with dark hair but with more spunk and likable presence. Mathieu Amalric (who I remember as the villain in Quantum of Solace) has a small role but entirely unrecognizable here under heavy *ugly* makeup.


The movie is loosely based on a French comic of the same name that takes place in in 1910s Paris which features some gorgeous scenery of the city of Light. Some of the movie’s more fun and fantastical part involves a large Pterosaurs that hatched when a Professor uses a telepathic technique. The CGI looks pretty good and definitely enhances the fantasy element of the story. I was quite surprised however, that the reason for all those adventures Adèle went through turns out to be quite a heart-wrenching, albeit there were some creepy moments involving Adèle’s sister. Besson made some hilarious *historical* reference as to the origin of the pyramid in front of the Louvre, though the cliffhanger involving a doomed ocean liner is rather odd.

Overall I enjoyed it, I think if you like the two action-adventure movies I mentioned above, you might enjoy this one too.

3.5 reels

Sunday night is usually reserved for some Toby Stephens watching and this time I chose this TV Movie of …

The Great Gatsby (2000 TV Movie)


I’ve seen this movie three times so far and I enjoyed it every single time. Sure it didn’t have the lavish style of Baz Luhrmann’s version nor its budget to depict the lavish, over-the-top parties in Gatsby’s house, but it certainly didn’t put me to sleep like the 1974 version with Robert Redford. I wish this adaptation had captured the manic energy of the roaring 20s though, even the music was a bit melodramatic. But the two performances, Toby as Jay Gatsby and Paul Rudd as Nick Carraway, won me over. In fact, just like in the 2013 movie, there’s more chemistry between Jay & Nick than Jay and Daisy.

Toby made for a charming & suave Gatsby, with that signature smirk of his and looking dapper in those tailored suits, but what I like about his performance was how emotional and real it was. The way he looked at Mira Sorvino’s Daisy made you believe he truly was infatuated with her, that he was besotted beyond reason. I’ve grown to like Rudd’s performance here as well as the story’s most relatable character. I’ve seen him mostly in comedies but he certainly had dramatic chops and he makes for a compelling and sympathetic narrator of the story. What’s more important than the visual style and costumes, which this adaptation lacked due to budget constraints, it does capture the tragic story of Gatsby and like Nick, I certainly was on Gatsby’s side.

Since I bought the dvd, it came with a great biography of its author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who undoubtedly has lived an intriguing life that rivals his most famous literary hero.

3.5 reels

Well, that’s my weekend roundup folks. So what did you see, anything good?

43 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: TCFF Sneak Peek, a French comedy & the Great Gatsby

  1. Ted S.

    Sounds like it’s a fun night at TCFF preview party. I’ve never heard of those two movies you watched, didn’t even know there was a The Great Gatsby TV movie! And can’t say I’m that interest in seeing either of them. 🙂

    I didn’t see anything over the weekend, spent most of the time with my girlfriend, we don’t get to see each other often so we wanted to take advantage of this weekend.

    1. It was fun Ted, wish you had been there. The weather was perfect too, I prefer a little cooler than scorching hot, esp when you had to sit outside.

      I think you might enjoy the Adele adventure movie, it’s similar to The Mummy which is also a comedy action adventure.

  2. Sounds like you had a great weekend. Haven’t seen the 2000 version of Gatsby or the French comedy, but they both sound more like winners than losers. What did I watch? The original Planet of the Apes and lots of football and baseball. Outside hiking this weekend 😉

    1. Hi Cindy! It was a nice one but this weekend will be even better as I’ll be in NYC 😉

      If you like the Gatsby story, I’d give this TV movie a shot, mainly for the acting of Toby & Paul Rudd in a rare serious role. He fits the role of Nick even better than Tobey Maguire did I think. Oh you saw the original Planet of the Apes! Was it a rewatch for you? I actually just saw that for the first time a few weeks ago.

  3. Finally got to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Good stuff.

    Neighbors with Seth Rogan was missable. Not that it’s beneath me its just that it didn’t make me laugh. Rogan has his moments but this wasn’t one of them.

    Had a mini Shailene Woodley marathon with Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. Divergent is no Hunger Games… it was just OK. As for The Fault in Our Stars sadly there’s a scene set in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and all I could think of was Justin Bieber. If you don’t know the story, Google it. Great… now those two things are inexorably linked forever for me. Damn him!

    Speaking of Canadian… watched The Trailer Park Boys series released Friday on Netflix. It’s the funniest thing to come out of Canada since SCTV. Pretty raunchy stuff but it makes me ROFL.

    Lastly I watched some of the Danish series Rita on Netflix. It’s about an anti authoritarian school teacher (Mille Dinesen… who reminds me a lot of Linda Hamilton) who tries to save the kids from their overprotective parents. I really liked it. Bravo tried to remake it here in the US with Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn in the lead only to cancel it after seeing the pilot. Probably a good choice.

    1. Ruth, also wanted to say that this TV adaptation of Gatsby was certainly a well kept secret. Toby Stevens didn’t even come onto my radar until this year with Black Sails and The Machine.

      Adele is in my queue.

    2. Hello Dave! Glad to hear you like Guardians of the Galaxy too! Seems that it’s a hit w/ everyone. I have no desire to see Neighbors, not a fan of Rogen & his co-horts nor do I find him all that funny.

      Oh I think I know the FIOS scene in Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Not sure I know about Bieber but let’s keep it that way, ha..ha..

      There’s quite a lot of foreign series in Netflix isn’t it? This Danish one looks pretty good. Heh, I hate that Hollywood is always trying to Americanize everything.

      Ohhhhh you saw Black Sails too? I didn’t know that. So what did you think? Specifically Capt. Flint of course 😉

      1. I haven’t seen Black Sails yet but you’ve certainly celebrated Toby here, haven’t you? 😉 I did see The Machine though and liked him in it. I’m just amazed that he’s been around 14 years and I hadn’t heard of him.

        Yeah Rogan’s stoner humor is love or hate it. I really liked Freaks and Geeks as it was pretty close to my school days so I root for him a little bit. I gotta say the movie 50/50 which he produced and had a small part in was quite good even if you’re not a Rogan fan.

        1. Ha..ha.. yep, Toby’s gonna be a staple in this blog for some time 🙂

          Glad to hear you liked him in The Machine. Yeah it’s a shame that he’s not more well-known. He does a lot of British shows as well as plays in the West End so he’s more famous in the UK.

          Oh I have seen 50/50, that’s probably the only Seth Rogen role I liked, but mostly I was impressed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in that one.

  4. TCFF sounds Luke lots of fun. Between my daughter’s soccer game, funeral of someone my wife knows, my monthly writers meeting, and the start of pro football season, I only managed to squreze in one movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not really a fan. I’ll probably post the review next week.

    1. Hi Wendell! So you’re a big football fan eh? Yeah my hubby was very happy to see Vikings won big last night against St Louis 😀

      I just saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 last weekend, yep not a fan either, nothing amazing at all about it.

  5. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    Sounds like a fun time was had by all during your pool side screening!

    Luc Besson is kind of hit and miss with me, too. Not a “Go To” guy. But he is sometimes interesting.

    Though there is certainly nothing wrong with a full blown costume adventure fluff with fantasy, Heavy Metal, science fiction overtones. Especially when the heroine wears them so well!

    The first step in understanding an obsession is admitting one exists. ;D
    Not a huge fan of Fitzgerald and ‘Gatsby’. Though a less opulent and more grounded, toned down look at the character intrigues with Ms. Sorvino and Mr. Stephens.

    My sleep cycle got messed up Friday night. So I stayed up late and caught the superb B&W ‘The Battle of Algiers’ from 1966, early this A.M. A taut, tight, gritty, near documentary look at France’s last attempt to hold onto their long faded empire across the Mediterranean.

    1. Hello Kevin!

      I didn’t realize Luc Besson was directing this until I saw the credits, but I’m glad this ‘Adele’ movie was more hit than miss. The heroine is fun to watch, she’s certainly got the look & spunk to carry the movie.

      Ahah, well I think my blog is my *Toby therapy* and I’m not ashamed to admit my *affliction* 😀

      So I take it you have seen this Gatsby TV movie. You said it best, it’s less opulent and more grounded, they made Gatsby more human than this larger-than-life character who is impossible to relate to.

      The Battle of Algiers is the one by Klaus Kinski right? Or am I confusing it w/ something else?

      1. jackdeth72

        Hi, Ruth:

        You’re confusing ‘The Battle of Algiers’ with ‘Aguirre, The Wrath of God’. Two entirely different films.


        ‘The Battle of Algiers’ is an award winning film by Gillo Portocorvo. And one of most balanced execution of tactics by the French Foreign Legion against well ensconced, motivated and funded Muslims demanding independence. And Muslim tactics against the French in and around the Casbah. Cramped quarters and narrow maze like alleyways abound in high angled, downward shots. Ironically showing how little has changed. And that a new kind of strategy is required.

        Recommend it highly!!!

        While ‘Aguirre…’ from 1972, has Klaus Kinsky as an insane Spaniard seeking out El Dorado. The City of Gold. In a film that seats warped Testosterone amongst incredible, impassable jungles. Planted Kinsky and director, Werner Herzog firmly on the map!

        1. Ahah, see I knew I screwed up the title with something else. ‘The Battle of Algiers’ sounds intriguing but all the politics might go over my head a bit, I’m not familiar w/ war history & stuff like you, sir 😀

          Ah yes ‘Aguirre…’ seems to be a cult favorite. I saw some bloggers has Kinsky’s face as their gravatar and stuff. My friend Vince told me of an interesting & weird documentary about Kinsky and Herzog’s strange friendship, can’t remember what it’s called now though.

  6. Haven’t seen either of those movies, but will add the first one to my to watch list as you know I’m a big fan of action films. I watched Think Like A Man Too which was pretty bad and this documentary about chocolate on Netflix which was just OK.

    1. Hi Nostra, always nice to see you stop by! I was curious to see the first Think Like A Man but then I changed my mind. Perhaps that’s a good thing then, ahah.

    1. Hi Mikey! Well I know I’ll stay away from stuff like [REC]. I actually watched a TRAILER of V/HS or something like that and man I couldn’t even get through that, let alone the movie! Ha..ha.. you’ve been playing games a lot, no wonder your site hasn’t been updated in a while 😉

  7. I saw a whole bunch of movies, actually, more than entire last month – Firelight, again, obviously, for my birthday celebration because this is such a romantic movie and between swimming naked, making Sophie Marceau moan like insane and carrying his daughter on his shoulders Stephen made me gasp for air there 🙂

    I also saw Morning Glory, Guess who is coming for dinner & The Accused for Fisti’s Twice a best actress thing. Good God, the last one was so heavy.

    1. Hi Sati! Oh I saw that you are participating in Fisti’s Roundtable thing, good for you! If I didn’t have TCFF I might be able to do it, but as a consolation prize I’m gonna do the Recast-athon blogathon for him 😀

      Glad to hear you had a lovely B’day! Oh I just checked that Firelight is available to rent in Amazon, so I might give it a shot later this month. I quite like Sophie Marceau, boy Stephen got to get it on w/ a lot of hot actresses didn’t he? 😉

      OMG, The Accused is definitely a heavy movie. I saw that in my teen years and that was a bit traumatizing for me.

  8. Oh Ruth you are so cute! Is that the look your husband gives you when you talk about Toby?! haha He’s like a Toby movie again…poor guy. I can’t remember if you told me did he like Black Sails? Sounds like you had a nice weekend. Can’t wait to hear about the movies you will get to watch. I didn’t do much this weekend, I just officially moved, so I have been so tired from everything all I wanted to do was just relax and do nothing. I saw a bunch of random movies and caught up on my shows, you know me! I am loving Outlander right now. Are you still watching that? Every time I see Sam Heughan I think of you. I was about to start North and South and then my husband came home and we ended up watching something else, but that is on my list to watch. You like that one right?

    1. Hello dahling! Ahah, you don’t want to see my hubby’s face when I’m talking about Toby;)

      I totally understand you needed some r&r, girl! I would too if I had just moved! Ahah, you thought of me every time you watch a Scottish actor right? I’m quite well-known in the blogosphere for having a penchant for the Scots 😀 Sam is gorgeous but I still prefer Sam Reid from BELLE, which you must watch pronto btw!

      Yes I LOVE N&S, I still watch clips of it from time to time. It’s still Richard’s best role, though I’m not as enamored w/ him anymore now.

  9. Cool! The TCFF Insider event sounds so fun! Same goes for Adele. Haven’t seen this version of Gatsby but i agree on the awfulness of the 1974 version. UGH! This weekend I watched Chef!

    1. Hi Fernando! I can’t wait to finally get all the film schedules for TCFF, but we have to wait until TIFF is done. This TV movie version certainly is better in my book as it didn’t put me to sleep! I also didn’t buy Redford as Gatsby. I just wish A&E had a bigger budget to improve its production values though. Did you like Chef? I thought for some reason you already seen that one.

        1. Yeah, I especially didn’t like Mia Farrow, but Sam Waterston was ok as Nick tho I also like Paul Rudd in this version.

          Oh I see. I heard that it’s full of delicious food scenes so I’ll make sure I’m not hungry when I watch it 😉

  10. Very cute picture of you and Ivan! Sounds like a lot of fun.

    I’m now very curious to see that version of The Great Gatsby, probably more to see a dramatic side of Paul Rudd than Toby Stephens, but certainly curious to see it nonetheless. I actually really enjoyed the 2013 version.

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  12. Oh, I’ve been interested in The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec for some time. I might check it out, since I (usually) like Besson and Indiana Jones/The Mummy.

    1. Hi Josh, I think you’d enjoy the Adèle movie. It’s really quite entertaining, which I can’t say about some of Luc Besson’s movies lately.

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