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At the Movies: The Princess of Montpensier, The Human Resources Manager, and Fast Five

5:00 PM, Apr 29, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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THE WEEKLY STANDARD's Kelly Jane Torrance reviews three new films this weekend for The Washington Examiner. First up is the French film The Princess of Montpensier:

It's not just the war between the Catholics and the Huguenots we experience viscerally here. The strange world of the 16th century comes to life in this dark and haunting French period drama. As she stands naked facing the wedding bed as a new bride, Marie must tolerate the onceover her own father gives her before the marriage is consummated in front of a roomful of people.

Director Bertrand Tavernier has made a stunning film, one that competed for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. His camera deftly follows a duel in the courtyard, then focuses on the joy and pain in the faces of his characters, people whose emotions can never be their own.

Also coming to town this weekend is another foreign film, the Israeli flick The Human Resources Manager:

"The Human Resources Manager" is one of those hybrid films often called a dramedy or a tragicomedy. As this Israeli film begins, though -- and even as it progresses -- it seems more like a mystery.

The man of the title (Mark Ivanir), in charge of personnel at Jerusalem's biggest bakery, is ready to retire for the day when his boss (Gila Almagor) calls him into her office. She's gotten notice that a newspaper is about to publish an unflattering story about the company. One of its employees was killed in a suicide bombing and days later, no one has claimed her body. She's a temporary worker, so the immigrant has no family in Israel. A brash reporter (Guri Alfi) charges that the manager doesn't actually care about the people under his control -- it's "inhumane" not to notice a worker is missing and to leave her body to rot in the morgue.

And, of course, there's the inescapable Fast Five:

Hot men, hot women, and hotter cars. It's a winning formula, as the producers of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise have learned.

The last installment, "Fast & Furious" -- hey, it's a slightly creative way to name a sequel -- was made for $85 million and grossed more than $353 million worldwide.

Do we really need a fifth movie filled with car races, car chases and car crashes? Of course not. But then, we also don't need the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren or the Autobahn. But they add an awfully lot of fun to our short, brutal lives.

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