Monday, January 02, 2006

JOYEUX NOEL - Eurofromage!

JOYEUX NOEL/MERRY CHRISTMAS is a big fat euro-fromage that shouldn't work but kinda does! It is a movie so over-laden with peace, goodwill and humanity, that any honest god-fearing capitalist should be vomiting as they watch it. That I enjoyed this movie will be an eternal source of shame and dishonour. But I did. I fell for it. Watching those lovely soldiers in World War One uniforms downing their rifles, crossing no man's land and singing carols, as on that famous Christmas in 1914, brought a tear to my eye. However, as we all know, Christmas movies suck, and just to redress the balance, let me list a whole bunch of reasons why any self-respecting cineaste should have been throwing rotten tomatoes at the screen.....

1. We get the Wrong German. British audiences know two German actors on sight - Benno Fuermann - the steroid-induced twat in the Nibelung movie - and Thomas Kretschmann - the gorgeous skipper in King Kong. The hero of JOYEUX NOEL is Benno not Thomas, and that, dear ladies, sucks.

2. The story thread that involved Diane Krueger going to the freakin' front line to sing carols to the troops is so ridiculous that it makes Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo look like a plausible depiction of continental dating. This is not helped by the fact that Krueger and Fuermann, who play opera singers, are the worst lip-synchers in the history of cinema. A generation raised on Madonna is not gonna be convinced.

3. As with all movies financed by EU tax breaks, we have 5% of Barroso's recommeded daily allowance of Euro-propanda. The Germans are OKAY, the French are OKAY, the nasty English are absent, instead we have the Brits own oppressed ethnic minority - the Scots etc.

4. In general, the production values of this movie are piss-poor. I've seen more solid-looking sets on a 1970s episode of Doctor Who. In JOYEUX NOEL we see $22 million thrown at the screen, with barely a decently photographed shot in the entire 100 minutes. I mean, what happened to the cash? Was the executive producer smoking crack?

5. While I applaud the complex web of EU wide tax breaks that allows rich bastards to recycle tax losses by financing duff films, part of me screams at the lack of free market rigour to the whole process. It's not that this film will lose money that bothers me. It's that it was DESIGNED to lose money. After all, how can you hope to cream the US market in a war movie where not only do the Yanks not win, they aren't even in it?

JOYEUX NOEL/MERRY CHRISTMAS is already on release in Europe and the Far East. Somewhat bizarrely, it goes on limited release in the US on the 3rd March 2006.

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