Friday Flicks: Does the World Really Need a Paranormal Activity 4?

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Holy Motors


It’s been a pretty solid year for French cinema. The Artist swept all before it at the Oscars but still didn’t have it all its own way in France’s own annual awards, the Césars, thanks to The Intouchables. But could the best film of the lot be Holy Motors, which is about a day in the life of a unique individual who goes by the name of Monsieur Oscar?

Directed by the enigmatic Leos Carax, his leading man (Denis Lavant) plays a rare combination of millionaire and serial disguise artist, who transforms from one persona to another while being chauffeured around Paris. It’s typically surreal stuff from Carax, who has only made five previous features over the past 30 years or so. (Getting even more meta: Leos Carax is the director’s nom de plume, a rather clever anagram of the first two parts of his real name, Alex Oscar Dupont). There’s not too much point trying to delve deeply into the plot, especially when you consider that Carax thought about casting Charlie Chaplin for the lead role (seeing how we’re not in Weekend at Bernie‘s territory, good luck with that).

While everything evidently surrounding Holy Motors and the director is distinctly odd, Carax is actually having the last laugh as the reviews are uniformly excellent. “Perhaps strangest of all, it’s a film … that’s a contender for the best of the year,” notes Empire. “It’s a happy return to the cinema for Carax, and likely to prove the classic he has been hoping to make,” concludes the Observer. “Typically confounding but on every level that matters a work of unfettered — and liberating — imagination,” writes New York magazine. And the Daily Telegraph believes that “Holy Motors is so much more than an arthouse Greatest Hits tape, and purrs along the dark, deserted highways of the mind with a muscular, erotic charge that is all its own.”

MORE: Palme d’Or Preview: Handicapping Five Top Contenders at Cannes

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: Holy Motors might be baffling but there’s arguably more imagination at work here than in all four Paranormal Activity movies put together.

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