Koch Lorber's July '09 Releases
Bye Bye Monkey (July 8/09)
A hopelessly irrelevant, downright interminable piece of work, Bye Bye Monkey follows Gerard Depardieu's Lafayette as he encounters a variety of idiosyncratic figures (including Marcello Mastroianni's Luigi and James Coco's Andreas) and eventually comes to adopt a chimp after discovering him near the body of an overgrown ape. Filmmaker Marco Ferreri's jaw-dropping incompetence is evident virtually from the word go, with the director's refusal to offer up a single authentic character or situation ensuring that there's virtually nothing here designed to capture and sustain the viewer's interest. The ongoing emphasis on unreasonably quirky elements is exacerbated by a total absence of context, as the movie transpires within an alternate reality where rules of conduct and behavior are completely non-existent (ie a group of feminist actresses casually decide to knock Lafayette unconscious and rape him). Depardieu's surprisingly obnoxious performance - in his hands, Lafayette comes off as an aggressively loopy figure who seems to be suffering from a mild case of mental retardation (ie enough with that whistle, already) - compounds the movie's myriad of problems, although, to be fair, Ferreri's woefully inept sensibilities ensure that none of the film's performers come off well here. The final result is a completely worthless endeavor that's almost guaranteed to turn off the vast majority of its audience, with the viewer ultimately forced to occupy their time with some other activity while the film transpires (ie a crossword puzzle, a paint-by-numbers kit, etc).
no stars out of
Don't Touch the White Woman (July 14/09)
A sure candidate for the worst movie ever made, Don't Touch the White Woman details the events surrounding Custer's Last Stand - with filmmaker Marco Ferreri's expectedly irreverent sensibilities transforming what could've been an intriguing endeavor into a relentlessly obnoxious and flat-out unwatchable film-school experiment. Ferreri's notorious incompetence is reflected in virtually every frame of the proceedings, as the director mixes contemporary and historical elements - ie Nixon is President and characters wander around in sweats, yet Custer sports his full regalia and travels by horse - for reasons that are never made entirely clear. It's consequently impossible not to wonder just what the point of all this is, with the woefully nonsensical atmosphere exacerbated by a persistent emphasis on some of the ugliest visuals ever committed to celluloid (ie your garden-variety home movie possesses more impressive production values than this utterly worthless piece of work). And though it boasts an admittedly strong cast (including Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, and Catherine Deneuve), Don't Touch the White Woman remains a hopelessly (and aggressively) interminable experience from start to finish - with Ferreri's staggering lack of talent cementing his place as a hack of the highest order.
no stars out of
Menage (July 15/09)
Though it opens with a fair amount of promise, Menage ultimately succumbs to the aggressively weird attributes that writer/director Bertrand Blier has hard-wired into the proceedings - with the frustratingly uneventful nature of the screenplay only exacerbating the movie's myriad of problems. The storyline - which follows a feuding couple (Michel Blanc's Antoine and Miou-Miou's Monique) as they encounter (and eventually become entwined with) a homosexual criminal named Bob (Gerard Depardieu) - boasts few attributes designed to capture and sustain the viewer's ongoing interest, as Blier's relentlessly off-the-wall modus operandi effectively ensures that the film runs out of steam almost as soon as it starts. There's subsequently little doubt that the unabashedly ludicrous premise plays a significant role in Menage's downfall, with the seemingly endless parade of eye-rolling plot twists - ie Antoine and Monique rob a house with Bob minutes after meeting him, Antoine eventually embarks on a torrid love affair with Bob, etc, etc - draining the movie of both its momentum and authenticity. It would, of course, be relatively easy to overlook such deficiencies were the film not entirely lacking in laughs, yet Blier's inability to elicit even a chuckle from the viewer inevitably highlights the storyline's inherently shallow and downright pointless nature. The enthusiasm with which the three stars tackle their respective roles is impressive, admittedly, though this is hardly enough to justify the existence of what is otherwise a hopelessly wrong-headed piece of work.