Movie Capsule-reviews (02.018.145)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

StarWars-LastJedi-covThis movie offers good action and relatively interesting storytelling. It fits pretty well within the saga and it is a great joy to see Mark Hamill as Luke again. It is beautifully made and succeeds to express the depth of the characters’ angst facing their destiny — but with a good dose of humour. However, this movie is turning a page, as Disney seems to bring the franchise into a new direction. Yes, let’s get rid of all the old characters to reboot the story with an entire new cast! Good? Bad? We’ll see. I greatly enjoyed the movie but, strangely, there’s a disparity on Rotten Tomatoes between the critics’ rating (91%) and the audience’s (46%). stars-3-5

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Maze runner: The Death Cure

MazeRunner-DeathCure-covBetter than expected. I liked it despite the low Rotten Tomatoes rating (42%). Good action (bigger and louder than the previous two movies) and drama (although not always credible and sometime predictable). It is supposed to be the end of the trilogy, but the open ending might suggest otherwise… After too many average YA novel adaptations (i.e. Hunger Games or Divergent) it doesn’t feel too original, although I am a sucker for any dystopian, post-apocalyptic story — even with a simili-zombie twist. Anyway, I am not too demanding with that kind of movies: I just want to be entertained. stars-2-5

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Fahrenheit 451

fahrenheit451-covThe latest TV movie adaptation of the great Ray Bradbury’s novel is quite disappointing. It is a slow burn: there’s not much action, the acting is not that great, and the storytelling felt like cold ashes compared to my memory of the novel. Although it is not that different from the previous, interesting but painfully slow, adaptation by François Truffaut. Evidently, Ramin Bahrani wanted to rekindle Bradbury’s dystopian future (where “firemen” burned books instead of putting out fires) in order to give a warning about the dangers of a presidency during which truth and personal liberties are eroded a little more every day. stars-2-5

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Assassin’s Creed

AssassinsCreed-covI never played the video game but despite this I still enjoyed the story. The concept of the “genetic memory” is quite far-fetched but still somewhat interesting. Strangely, I was expecting a movie set in the past, not in the modern days, so I was a little caught off-guard. It is amusing to see the templar knights portrayed as the bad guys for once. Can wanting to end all violence and wars be a bad thing? Of course, it is if it involves removing all free will from the people! 

It is worth watching mostly because it is so visually beautiful and entertaining — but not much else. stars-3-0

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All the way

AllTheWay-covThis is a biographical TV movie mostly about Lyndon B. Johnson’s struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act. The title comes from LBJ’s campaign slogan (and how his opponents’ misused it!). It is an interesting historical movie, but it also offers sort of a commentary on the contemporary political situation. Politics don’t really change much with time and all the political in-fighting is quite reminiscent of the 2016 election campaign. However, fifty-four years after LBJ passed his civil right bill that was supposed to put an end to white people killing black people, where are we? Again, nothing seems to have changed much. Quite an educative movie indeed. stars-3-0

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Youth-covTwo retired friends, composer Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and filmmaker Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), are spending their vacation in the Swiss Alps. Fred is bugged by the Queen’s emissary who want him to perform for the prince’s birthday, but he refuses because the music piece they chose was written for his wife (who has now Alzheimer’s). Mick is putting the finishing touch on the script of his next movie. Family and friends will bring disturbance, drama and, eventually, tragedy.  This is another relatively contemplative movie by Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo, La Grande Bellezza). It is rather similar to The Great Beauty. It is a really beautiful movie, with great actors (although the acting itself seems a little contrived sometimes), and which offers deep reflections on life. I enjoyed it a lot. stars-3-5

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Notable News (w13-w22)

In the last couple of months (ten weeks!), there was really nothing new on the domestic front. The same old routine. Spring finally came, the air warmed up and (after a little icy setback) the buds started to open, quickly blossoming into a late summer. I experienced, again, some health problems which kept my moral down for a while. I had my old computer repaired and finally got a new one, which meant lots of hardware and software installations, reorganizing the working area, etc., which made many onomatopoeias come to mind (Aauugh!, *whimper*, *Phew*).

PearlsBeforeSwine-20180106I tried to apply to a couple of new jobs in order to get out of the nut house where I works but with no luck. To make things worse, the company we hired to repair the balcony & backyard keeps dragging their feet and nothing seems to get going. I want to prepare the garden for the summer but will we be able to do any gardening? My life seems on hold. I have many new project ideas to keep me busy but there’s so little time, so many things to think about and to do, all at the same time, that’s overwhelming, mind-crushing, depressing even…

I spent so much energy running like crazy at work (and for a whole week the temperature in the library was between 24 and 28 ºC!), coming back completely exhausted, hoping for a new job (or some sort of fairy god-mother intervention), waiting on the contractor (I took some vacation in order to rebuild the garden after the works would be done, but I feel I wasted my time…), stressing about health problems, reorganizing my computers and my network (extending ethernet to compensate for Bell’s weak wi-fi for example) that I really didn’t read or write much. Again, getting caught with life so much that… I forgot to live! It seemed that time was slipping through my fingers like sand. I felt (and still feel) tired all the time…

When I am at work I feel miserable but, when I am at home and look at this house — this little and comfortable nest, or safe-house, we have set-up for ourselves — I feel pretty good and content. I have everything I need and could ask for (okay, maybe not that marble bust of Lucius Virus or a more quiet and pleasant job — but, who knows, it might come someday). So, I have no real reason to be unhappy (beside watching the news, of course). I just have to tell myself that, again and again, and repeat it,  each time I have to face the darkness…

However, I was not completely idle. I wrote a little (commenting on Le secret des vietnamiennes, Venise and Bug, as well as a few movies). I also attended the Congrès Boréal, went to Ottawa to watch tulips and to the annual book sales of the libraries (so far I bought a few novels and about thirty-five manga!). Unfortunately, I mostly kept myself entertained: I finished to watch The Durrells, some old favourites TV series like Homeland or The Expanse, and tried some quite excellent new series like the remake of Lost in Space, Little Women or The Good Karma Hospital. I even discovered a new TV service, BritBox, but haven’t had time to try it yet.

PearlsBeforeSwine-20180111On the world stage we find the usual disasters: Trump ramping and raving (blaming everyone but himself), floods here, volcano there, many more sexual scandals, ups and downs in North Korea, war looming in the Middle East (Gaza, Iran), add another ebola epidemic, or an occasional school shooting and you have the picture. But there are also some good news, like a very Royal Wedding! [See detailed day by day events for April and May]

Through all this I tried to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual), after the jump.

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Images du mer-fleuri

Tulips under the rain in Ottawa

Yesterday, we went to Ottawa to admire tulips under the rain. The famous Ottawa Tulip Festival was already over but the tulips were still there, in pretty good shape — although many were quite past their prime. In the beginning, it was rather deserted but as soon as the sky cleared, the crowd came back.

The tulip created for the one-hundred-fifty anniversary of the country, the Canada 150, was still omnipresent. I guess it represents well how Canadians see their country: it’s pure-white anglo with a streak of bloody French!

This year, considering the weather, we visited only the Commissioners Park around Dow’s Lake — although when it cleared we also went for a walk on Parlement Hill. But there was not only tulips to admire. There was many other plants and flowers, as well as a few critters.

Like in the past, I deplore that the tulips were badly identified: there was a sign telling which tulips are planted in each flower-beds, but nothing to let us know which tulip is which! Fortunately, there’s Google…

I took three-hundred-and-seventy-three pictures. Here I offers you a ten percent sample… Enjoy! (They can also be seen on my Flickr album and I’ll add some more in future flowery-wednesday pics)

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[ iPhone 8+ / Nikon D3300, Ottawa, 2018-05-22 ]