Behind the Candelabra - Before Elvis, before Elton John and Madonna, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. A name synonymous with showmanship, extravagance and candelabras, he was a world-renowned performer with a flair that endeared him to his audiences and created a loyal fan base spanning his 40-year career. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and off stage. In summer 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair. Steven Soderbergh's HBO production takes a behind-the-scenes look at their tempestuous relationship - their first meeting backstage at the Vegas Hilton to their bitter and public break-up. Link to Cameron Williams' review at Graffiti With Punctuation.
What's In A Name - Vincent (Patrick Bruel), a successful 40-something, is about to become a father for the first time. He is invited for dinner by his sister and brother-in-law (Valérie Benguinui and Charles Berling), where they catch up with a childhood friend (Guillaume de Tonquédec). While waiting for Vincent’s wife (Judith El Zein), always behind schedule, the dinner guests gleefully bombard Vincent with questions on his fast-approaching fatherhood. But when his hosts ask Vincent what name he has chosen for this future offspring, his response plunges the family into chaos. This stage-to-screen comedy was a box-office smash in France.
Weekly Recommendation: I am sure 'What's In A Name' is reasonably entertaining but it feels like just another 'French film', and will likely get lost in the shuffle. I was bored throughout 'The Wolverine', rarely enthralled by the action, unmoved by the drama, and put off by the unnecessary 3D. The top pick this week is 'Behind the Candelabra', which was itself a disappointment, personally. Phenomenal performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon and the honest portrayal of Liberace's extravagant private life are worth the admission, but I felt the film, admittedly overlong, begins to lose some spark following a drastic shift in tone.