Question of the Week: What’s Your Favorite Movie Set In Paris?

Happy midweek, everyone! Pardon me for being extra chirpy today as it’s only two days away before my hubby & I are off to Europe. As I’ve mentioned here, we’re going to Amsterdam – Bruges – Paris to be exact, but we’re spending the most time in Paris. We’re renting an apartment in the 15th arrondissement area for 6 nights via airbnb.com, something we’ve never done before but that’s part of the adventure as we’ll be staying away from the tourist-y area.

We wanted to visit Bruges because we saw how gorgeous it is in the 2008 movie In Bruges with Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell. That’s perhaps the most famous movie featuring the Belgian city, but Paris has been quite a staple in various films, Hollywood or otherwise. Just look at this super long list in Wikipedia. In fact, this weekend we saw 2 Days In Paris, which was written & directed by Julie Delphy who also starred in it with Adam Goldberg as her American boyfriend.

2DaysInParis

It’s a pretty cute movie, a bit vulgar in parts but also hilarious and has a wonderful scenery of Paris through the lens of a real Parisian, so it doesn’t look too glamorized. Well, it made me think of other movies I’ve enjoyed that’s set in the City of Light, whether in parts or in its entirety.

Midnight In Paris

Moulin Rouge

An Education

Inception

Paris Je T'aime – Père Lachaise Cemetery

Sabrina 1995

Phantom Of the Opera 2004

I know for sure I’d want to visit some of the main landmarks featured in some of my favorite movies. I’ve booked my tour to Palais Garnier where the Phantom of the Opera is set in, which is pretty close to the Père Lachaise Cemetery where Rufus Sewell and Emily Mortimer’s sequence is set in Paris Je T’aime. Of course Midnight in Paris has a bunch of great Parisian locations, and I have this site to use as a guide. But what I look forward to the most is just enjoying the ambiance and simply being in Paris, strolling through the streets and along the Seine river, people watching whilst sitting in a café, etc.


So my question to you today is, what’s YOUR favorite movie set in Paris?

The FCM Blog-a-thon — What movie(s) will become a Future Classic?

What a brilliant idea! My pal Paula, who’s a confirmed TCM addict, have often wondered what movies from the 21st century would stand the test of time, like CasablancaGone With The Wind or Out of the PastInstead of just mulling those over on her own, she decides to get all of us movie bloggers to join in on the fun. And so the FUTURE CLASSIC MOVIES (FCM) BLOGATHON was born.

So what do we have to do? Well, we get to pick a movie (or more) from 2000 or later, and writes about why they think it will endure to become a Future Classic. 


To me, the key to a film’s endurance has to do with the main subject matter itself, whether its theme will resonate with people no matter what age/era. The reason Casablanca achieved its iconic status and can still be enjoyed by a new generation 70 years later is that the theme of lost love, patriotism and sacrifice are all something we can relate and aspire to, no matter how many years have passed since WWII.

All of these films below are visually stunning, but just like people, looks can only be interesting for so long. It’s the substance and message that makes a movie timeless. 

So with that in mind, here are three that I think has the ingredients to become a Future Classic.

It should be obvious but spoilers may be present in this post,
consider yourself warned. 

Gladiator

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’d likely know I adore this film. It’s the first film that came to mind when Paula invited me, and in my mind, it already IS a classic and I believe generations to come would still appreciate this one even decades from now.

I selected the very same film two years ago for a blog-a-thon called Movies That Makes Going to the Movies Suck as this Ridley Scott masterpiece pretty much launched a trend of swords-and-sandals flicks that threatens to tarnish the original’s legacy. One sign of an enduring film is that some of its quotes are still used even today, but of course that alone won’t make a *classic* if it doesn’t have an engrossing story and fused with a thrilling spectacle of action and memorable performances.

Brain, brawn and heart… there’s not a lot of films that capture all three perfectly, and still manage to impress us visually with its amazing cinematography. Oh, and there’s the soundtrack. I still get chills listening to Now We Are Free, it speaks so beautifully about Maximus’ humanity. Oh I long to see this film on the big screen once again in all its glory.

HUGO

A love letter to the movies, what could be more timeless? At first glance, Scorsese’s first family film seems to be about this 12-year-old orphan boy Hugo Cabret who lives in a railway station. That’s pretty much as much as I know when I went it to see it, so what a joy it is when the film takes us into a journey that ties the boy with a real life French illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès.

Loneliness, abandonment, disillusionment are sentiment any of us can relate to as we’ve all felt it at some point of another. No matter how modern technology has evolved, even when we’re able to watch movies via a hologram or what have you, our humanity is what will connect us across generations. And that’s what films do in many ways. That’s why *classic* films shall always have a place in the modern world and years to come. Our great, great grand-kids will still likely be fascinated by how the past generations create the films that  become the medium they enjoy today.

The 1930s world with that marvelous vintage clock where Hugo lives in is absolutely enchanting. There’s something so magical about the way its filmed that captures your imagination. 3D will become old news one day but its charm and heartwarming story won’t likely be lost with the passing time.

[read my Hugo review]

Midnight in Paris

Here’s another one from 2011 that’s also nominated for Best Picture Oscar. I didn’t plan it that way, but I do think both films has that certain everlasting charm, and not only because they’re both set in the city of lights. The fixation with time period of past and present drives the story here and the idea of time travel certainly has a lasting effect in cinema. It’s similar to Woody Allen’s other time travel fantasy The Purple Rose of Cairo, but even more beguiling.

The protagonist Gil is obsessed with a bygone era of the 1920s, so when he’s somehow magically transported to that period at midnight, the *lost generation* looks ever so fresh and as fascinating as ever. We watch in awe just like Gil marveling at its beauty… the car, the clothes, the music… and of course the seemingly immortal personas like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso… the people in history books that we’ll always treasure for years to come.

What’s more, the predicament Gil faces is something we can all relate to. No, I’m not talking about his obsession with a certain era, but about pursuing his dreams and having the courage to break free from his stifling life to do so.

“Maybe the present is a little unsatisfying because life is a little unsatisfying” – Gil

The message about appreciating one’s life in the present will also resonate well no matter what era one lives in. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned that Paris in the rain in the finale, it doesn’t get any more timeless than this.

[read my Midnight in Paris review]


Do check out what other films people think will become a Future Classic.


Well, what do you think of my picks? Feel free to share what movie(s) you think have a long-lasting appeal.

Houdini Magic Tickets Blog-a-thon – What I’d do if I had them

Thanks to my friend and loyal FC reader Dan Stephens from Top 10 Films for inviting me to join this fun blog-a-thon! Dan explained in this post that the idea for the blog-a-thon comes from the film Last Action Hero starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The basic idea is what if you had a magic ticket that transported you into any movie you wished? What films would you want to enter the world’s of?

In order to help focus our responses whilst still keeping ’em open to all kinds of wonderful ideas and every film under the sun, each of us will base our posts around these questions below. So here we go …

What character would you most like to be sat next to on a plane?

I don’t know why but I immediately thought of a superhero alter ego to pass the time on a long flight, though most likely these two would be flying on their own planes. But hey, who said it has to be a commercial plane, so why not shoot for the stars? 😀 Initially I thought it’d be nice to be sitting next to Bruce Wayne (without Alfred on board preferably) but I feel that Bruce is more on the quiet side so I think the gregarious Tony Stark would be more entertaining. Both guys have a lot going on in their life, but I think Stark is more inclined to share them and be more chatty and flirty on the plane 😉

What character would you most want to enjoy a passionate romance with?

Ooooh this is a juicy one… and naturally the one I grapple with the most, ahah. As I’m such as sucker for those tortured souls, I go back and forth between the Phantom of the Opera (the Gerry Butler version of course, I mean even with just a half of his face he’s sexy as hell!) and Jane Eyre‘s Rochester (the Timothy Dalton’s 1983 version). But I think I’ll go with Rochester as Phantom’s lair is rather creepy. The passion and longing he displayed as he looked at Jane is so irresistible… here’s a man who’s capable to give his whole heart to the woman he loves, what could be more attractive?


If you were a cop who would you want as your partner?

Ahah, this question makes me laugh as I REALLY don’t want to be a cop nor would I be good at it. So for that reason, I’d pick someone who can perhaps do the job on his own without my help… and that is John McClane of course. Not only is he bad ass, but he’s witty and fun as well… plus, I like cops who’re as great in car chases as he does in intense shoot outs!

What animated feature would you love to walk around in?

I’d loooove to go back into the Medieval era of Sleeping Beauty. What with those friendly animals on an enchanting forest, where everything looks like a spectacular painting with gorgeous, vivid colors. Preferably the handsome Prince Philip would be my tour guide as we walk around the forest and his castle serenaded by Tchaikovsky’s music. I figure Maleficent would be too busy chasing Aurora and the three fairy godmothers are busy protecting her that we’d have the whole weekend to ourselves 😉

What movie gadget would you love to try out (or steal)?

I’d LOVE to get my hands on Tumbler from Nolan’s Batman series. I mean that’s the coolest movie ride ever and clearly Bruce Wayne loves it, too! Plus, in case anything happens, there’s the batpod as a backup, so really whats not to love?



What film’s plot would you alter and how would you do it?

Now, for this question, I don’t really have an alternative solution, but the one superhero movie ending that I always find preposterous (yes even in this genre!) is the ‘turning back time’ sequence in Superman: The Movie. I’ve already mentioned that in detail in ScarletSp1der’s blog post on It Should’ve Ended This Way. Perhaps leaving it as a cliffhanger would’ve been more heart-wrenching, though I know in a superhero movie people probably expect a more uplifting ending [shrugs].

What one film would you most want to be transported into, simply to be a part of that world?

I was so mesmerized by the enchanting city of Paris in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris… which look spectacular both during the day or at night, and even more so in the rain! Plus, when the clock strikes midnight, I’d get to experience a whole different side of the City of Lights and meet a whole set of inspiring people who’ve helped shape the creative world as we know it.

On the other side of that coin…

The world I would NOT want to be transported into:

That’s got to be anywhere there’s a zombie epidemic, especially 28 Days Later. No matter how much I love London but the scenes of the deserted city is just so darn creepy. I don’t think I can survive very long at all being chased around by terrifying zombies!


So that’s my answers. Don’t forget to visit Dan’s post to see what other people have done with their magic ticket. Now, what would YOU do with yours?

Weekend Roundup: ‘Midnight in Paris’ review

Happy Monday, everybody! It’s actually a Columbus Day holiday here, but no, I didn’t get a day off 😦

Hope you had a wonderful weekend, wherever you are. Well, mine was quite lovely. I took a much-needed blogging/computer break on Saturday to spend the entire day outdoors starting with a jog around the beautiful Lake Calhoun with friends, then off to a small town south of the Twin Cities to go hiking and take in the gorgeous Fall colors. This has got to be the best Autumn season ever with hardly any rain and temps holding in the 70s and 80s!

But guess what, despite my hectic weekend, I actually had time to see not one but two movies, no, NOT the weekend box office winner Reel Steel, not even sure I want to rent that one. I finally caught Midnight in Paris at a local indie theater, and The Beaver that’s been sitting on our counter for a whole week.

Midnight in Paris

I feel that the less you know about this film the better, which is why I’m not going to go into the plot details too much and just leave you with this IMDb description:

A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.

For most people, the appeal of this film is likely to be the ever-so-prolific Woody Allen. But his work has been hit and miss for me so the appeal of this film for me is the enchanting city of Paris and boy, this film practically doubles as a tourism video for the City of Lights. Seems like Allen’s love affair with Europe continues [his last few films were filmed in London & Barcelona] and cinematographer Darius Khondji indulges him with gorgeous shots of his city muse.

I had some doubts about Owen Wilson in the lead role but he turned out to be perfectly cast as a disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter who calls himself a ‘hack’ and longs to finally finish his novel. His comic timing as Gil generates plenty of laugh in the scenes spent during the day with his fiancée Inez’s family and friends, but his wide-eyed bewilderment when the clock strikes midnight is even more fun to watch.

Again, I’m glad I didn’t know much about the plot as what Gil encounters from midnight until the wee hours is full of surprises! Checking out the characters’ name on its IMDb would easily give it away but I suggest you refrain from doing that unless you don’t mind being spoiled.

Like most of Woody Allen’s films, this one is comprised of a large ensemble cast including Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody and also feature a small cameo of French first lady Carla Bruni. I also didn’t know Tom Hiddleston [Thor‘s Loki] is in this one, so it was a pleasant surprise! The usually likable Michael Sheen and Rachel McAdams portray their unsympathetic characters quite well, Sheen especially as the smarty-pants college professor friend of Inez. Marion Cotillard is lovely as always and her role as the free-spirited French beauty Adriana seems tailor-made for her. Her scenes with Wilson are easily the highlights of the movie for me.

I’m so glad I finally caught this film before its theatrical run is over! My hubby was initially reluctant to see it but he ended up loving it as much as I did. It’s truly an enchanting and magical film that’s full of whimsical yet poignant dialog complemented by beautiful scenery. It’s quite predictable how Gil will come to his senses by the end, but his journey to get there is wonderful to watch. I’ll definitely be seeing this one again.

4.5 out of 5 reels


What did you think of Midnight in Paris?