Philippe Falardeau ought to be a lot better known that he is. With seven full-length films behind him -- four of which TrustMovies has seen and found exceptional, each in its own way -- this fellow has the knack of directing a movie (and sometimes writing it, too) with exactly the tone, style, pacing and all the rest that the subject requires. That the four films I've seen are wildly divergent in subject, tone and style, makes Falardeau's work all the more impressive.
Congorama (2006) is like little seen before or since: a search-for-family movie that goes from real to surreal and beyond without missing a beat. It's Not Me, I Swear! (2008) is all about a oddball ten-year-old with growing pains, and it's as good a film, in its own way, as is The 400 Blows. His next movie, Monsieur Lazhar (2011) was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and might easily have won. It's that good, as it takes in everything from education to immigration, suicide to sacrifice. Based on a one-man theater piece, the manner in which Falardeau opens it up to include a whole world is in itself stunning. (You can read my earlier interview with M. Falardeau here.)
CHUCK, another "little" movie that turns out to be big in every important way. Here, the filmmaker is working with his starriest cast yet -- the likes of Liev Schreiber (above and below), Elizabeth Moss, Naomi Watts and Ron Perlman -- as he tells (with the help of a four-man writing team, including Mr. Schreiber) the tale of the boxer, Chuck Wepner, whose life story appears to have inspired a certain Oscar-winning movie named Rocky.
IFC Films and running a solid, entrancing 98 minutes, Chuck hit the cultural centers a couple of weeks back (in Los Angeles, look for it at Laemmle theaters; in New York City, you can view it at the AMC Lincoln Square 13), and it will open here in South Florida this Friday, May 19, in the Miami area at the AMC Aventura 24, Regal South Beach 18, and AMC Sunset Place 24. On May 26 it will open in Boca Raton at the Regal Shadowood 16 and in West Palm Beach at the AMC CityPlace 20.