Media Capsule Reviews

The Scorch Trials

91x9iAjQw-L._SL1500_The sequel to Maze Runner is okay but nothing more. The storytelling is rather ordinary and predictable, but entertaining enough to keep viewers interested. It’s now a mix between a rebel fighter movie and a zombie movie. Hopefully the next and final instalment of the series will be better, but I won’t hold my breath because lately YA novels’ adaptations have mostly been disappointing and the first reviews of Maze Runner: The Death Cure are not very positive… stars-2-5

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Capsules

Dalida

91GpShex6uL._SL1500_Le récit tragique de la vie d’une chanteuse de charme populaire, d’origine Italo-Égyptienne. Était-elle cruelle ou juste malchanceuse en amour? Car nombreux sont ses amoureux ou ses proches qui se sont enlevé la vie! Une vie qui s’est acharnée sur elle — nourrissant et inspirant son talent — jusqu’à ce que cela lui soit insupportable. Je ne croyais pas connaître vraiment son oeuvre jusqu’à ce que je me rende compte que beaucoup de ses mélodies me soient familières (ayant grandi à l’écoute de la radio française). Un beau film mais sortez vos mouchoirs! stars-3-0

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

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Blade Runner 2049

91hcrkzdjl-_sl1500_.jpgExcellente continuité d’ambiance et de style avec le premier film. Le récit est lent mais captivant et constant. Il y a suffisamment de scènes d’action pour maintenir l’attention du spectateur (d’une façon assez similaire au premier film). L’histoire nous amène dans une direction un peu inattendue. Excellent film. stars-4-0

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

81AAEGoLMWL._SL1384_A good old space opera with lots of humour, some reflections on solitude and a good dose of action that defies the laws of physic. But who cares when it’s greatly entertaining! stars-3-5

 

 

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Capsules

Wonder Woman 

91wpz6nkrdl-_sl1500_.jpgThis is the story of the transition of a classical hero into a superhero. Beautifully choreographed combat scenes. Probably the most accomplished movies set in the DC universe so far. It offers stronger moral and better storytelling than any other character of the Justice League, and is less dark and violent than the Batman or Superman movies. It about time we see a movie with a strong female character. Let’s see more of that. Strangely the extra on the BluRay are longer than the movie itself! stars-3-5

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

John Wick 2

9172FEX3XlL._SL1500_Boring! Almost non-stop violence with a thin tread of story. Keanu is cool but that’s not enough to sustain a movie. And yet it was a success at the box office. What ever! stars-2-0

 

[ AmazonBiblioIMdB  OfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

Captain America: Civil War

91am8N7+o7L._SL1500_This movie is all that we expected it to be: entertaining with lots of fighting and explosion. Released two years ago, it strangely foretold the socio-political situation of today’s USA. When you’re against an enemy, no need to fight: you just need to plant the seed of dissent and let it follow its course. People will destroy themselves (now, the country is divided, the Republicans are divided. Even the Democrats are divided, well done mister Russian Dictator!). Of course, the movie ends on an hopeful note — eventually all wounds between friends will heal… You just need to watch the next movie! stars-3-0

(Of course, in order to avoid being accused of whitewashing, they added the Black Panther in the line up — how many Avengers is there, anyway? And they ended up producing what is said to be the best movie so far in the Marvel universe. I can’t wait to see this one…)

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBOfficial  WikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

X-Files TV series Season 11

220px-The_X-Files_Season_11With this new (and final) season of the TV series “they” push the self-parody even further… It’s the Trump Era after all! So nobody wants to believe anymore. And it is really funny. stars-3-5

 

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An inconvenient sequel

an_inconvenient_sequel-cov“A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought the climate crisis into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy.

Cameras follow him behind the scenes — in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.”

[From the official web site]

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Alita: Battle Angel trailer

James Cameron had been talking about this project for a long time and now it seems that it is finally a reality! Cameron is writing and producing; Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) is directing. The cast includes Rosa Salazar (Alita), Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and Keean Johnson. It is scheduled for release on July 20, 2018. The teaser/trailer is available now on Youtube:

It is, of course, based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga Gunnm (銃夢 / Ganmu / lit. “gun dream”) which was translated in America as Battle Angel Alita. It was originally published in Japan by Shueisha in Business Jump magazine between 1990 and 1995, and was compiled in nine tankōbon (but republished later by Kodansha). The English version is published by Kodansha USA and the French version by Glénat. There was an animation adaptation in 1993.

Interesting facts: Cameron was first inspired by the manga when he created the TV series Dark Angel in 2000. Also, it seems that the main character will be entirely CGI animated and that Rosa Salazar is playing the role through motion-capture.

It looks quite interesting and visually faithful to the original. I can’t wait to see it and hope I won’t be disappointed.

Sources: AnimeLand, ICv2, IMdB, Wikipedia.

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34e Festival du Film japonais de Montréal

ConsulatGeneralDuJapon-logo

Comme a chaque année la « Japan Foundation » de Toronto et le Consulat Général du Japon à Montréal ont le plaisir d’offrir gratuitement des projections de films japonais. Veuillez noter que la bande originale japonaise est sous-titrée en anglais. Les places sont limitées et seront attribuées selon le principe « premier-arrivé, premier-servi », sans réservation préalable.

L’événement aura lieu les vendredi 20 octobre et samedi 21 octobre à la Cinémathèque québécoise (335, boul. de Maisonneuve Est, près du métro Berri-UQAM).

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Plus de détails après le saut de page >>

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FFM 2017 wrap-up

FFM_banner-2017The 41st Montreal World Film Festival (FFM) is now over. This year was a slim pick for the Japanese cinema aficionado since there was only two Japanese movies (two others were co-productions with non-Japanese directors). Besides that, the festival went smoothly for me. However, the only question remaining above our heads is: will there be a festival next year? Of course Serge Losique wants to be reassuring and said that the FFM was here to stay. He even announced the dates for the next two years: August 23rd to September 3rd 2018 and August 22nd to September 2nd 2019 !!

One of the event that I would have liked to attend (but couldn’t by lack of time) was the press conference and Master Class held at L’Astral by Chinese Martial Art Filmmaker Xu Haofeng (The Hidden Sword) on Monday August 28th. It seems that it was one of the rares (if not the only one) press conference held at the FFM this year. I really miss those… (and the film market and the press room!)

The closing film of the festival was a surprise to be announced after the awards, just a few hours before its free screening. It was meant as a gift for the movie fans.

A press release announced the awards for the 48th Student Film Festival: for the Canadian competition it went to Land by Samiramis Kia (York University, Toronto) and for the International competition it went to Elene by Seven Kayhan (Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey).

Another press release announced the awards for the festival itself: the Grand Prix of the Americas (Best Film) went to And Suddenly the Dawn by Silvio Caiozzi (Chile) and the Special Grand Prix of the Jury went to Dear Etranger by Yukiko Mishima (Japan). Check the press release for the other awards.

To summarize, I’ve seen and commented on two Japanese movies:

I also wrote a few informational posts about the festival:

Finally, here are the latest comments about the FFM in the media:

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Capsule reviews (02.017.247)

Bande-dessinée

Yoko Tsuno #28: Le temple des Immortels

YokoTsuno-28_temple_des_immortels-covUne autre aventure plutôt invraisemblable de l’électronicienne nippone. Leloup développe ici des éléments de récits qu’il avait laissé en plan dans des albums précédents ( #12: La Proie et l’ombre, #25: La Servante de Lucifer, #27: Le Secret de Khâny ). Comme c’est souvent le cas dans ses oeuvres plus récentes, le récit semble un peu précipité alors qu’il essai de raconter son histoire dans le cadre étroit  du format traditionnel de quarante-deux pages. On a l’impression de vivre le récit en accéléré…

Le problème avec des albums qui font sans cesse référence à des volumes précédents est qu’on ne se rappelle pas toujours des détails qui s’y étaient déroulés, ce qui laisse des lacunes dans la bonne compréhension (et l’appréciation) du récit. Toutefois l’idée de moines médiévaux avec des Vinéens et des tributs celtiques vivant au creux de la terre, dans un gouffre profond, a quand même du charme. C’est une lecture nostalgique mais tout de même un peu décevante, donc d’un intérêt moyen…

Cela donne le goût de relire de vieux albums (car étrangement je suis resté sur ma faim — c’est presque toujours le cas avec ces très court albums à l’européenne). Comment un artiste peut-il vivre en publiant juste de tels albums aux deux ans? C’est un dur contraste avec les mangakas nippon qui produisent en moyenne une quantité de pages similaires (en noir et blanc toutefois) CHAQUE SEMAINE (!) pour la pré-publication en périodique… stars-2-5

[ AmazonBiblioDupuisGoodreadsWikipediaWorldcat ]

Commentaire aussi disponible sur Goodreads et Les Irrésistibles.

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Magazine

AnimeLand #216

Animeland_216Le numéro de juin-juillet 2017 nous offre des dossiers sur l’importance du visuel dans la société nippone (“Quand la 2D se tape l’incruste”), sur le marché de l’anime en France en 2016 (qui ne progresse pas aussi positivement que celui du manga car divisé, à 70% / 30%, entre le DVD et le Blu-ray et considérablement affecté par la popularité du simulcast, qui a toutefois l’avantage de faire régresser l’utilisation de sites illégaux de diffusion), et sur les anime “engagés” (socio-politiquement: Harmony, Genocidal Organ, Ghost in the Shell S.A.C., Galactic Hero Legend, Gundam; ou écologiquement: L’école emportée, Conan: Fils du Futur, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, Pompoko, Ponyo sur la falaise, Earth Girl Arjuna, etc.).

Comme toujours, AnimeLand nous fait découvrir de nombreux anime (Hirune Hime, Dans un recoin du monde, Golgo 13, Le grand méchant renard, My hero academia, Atom: The Beginning, la saison 2 de L’attaque des titans, Dragonball Super, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, Capitaine Flam), mangas (Kenshin, One Piece, Mob Psycho 100, Les mémoires de Vanitas, Reine d’Égypte, Voyage à Tokyo, Tenjin, Gloutons et Dragons), et jeux video (Persona 5, et un article sur les mondes ouverts). On nous trace aussi des portraits de seiyu (Mamoru Miyano) ou de musicien (Akira Yamaoka) et nous présente une dizaine d’interviews avec Kenji Kamiyama (Hirune Hime), Eric Goldberg & Neysa Bové (Vaiana), Masashi Kudo (Chain Chronicle), Yasuyuki Muto (Rolling Girls), Studio La Cachette, Nobuhiro Watsuki (Kenshin), Kiyo Kyujyo (Trinity Blood), Tatsuki Fujimoto (Fire Punch) et Chie Inudoh (Reine d’Égypte). Finalement, on retrouve les indispensables actualités et commentaires sur les parutions récentes.

Nul doute que AnimeLand est une source inépuisable d’information sur l’animation et la bande-dessinée japonaise, et le seul magazine francophone sur ces sujets. Toutefois, je n’ai rien trouvé de bien excitant dans ce numéro… stars-2-5

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Manga

Pline #2: Les rues de Rome

Pline-2-covCe second tome, s’il nous offre beaucoup moins d’action que le premier, n’en est pas moins intéressant car il approfondit de beaucoup notre connaissance des protagonistes. Euclès découvre la maison (remplit de manuscrits!) de son nouveau maître, Pline. Celui-ci souffre grandement de l’asthme mais se méfie beaucoup des médecins. Il finira cependant par se soumettre au traitement du médecin grec Silénos, qui lui recommande surtout l’air pur de la Campanie. Euclès tombe amoureux d’une jeune esclave, Plautina, qu’il a rencontré par hasard, mais celle-ci est aussi tombé dans l’oeil de l’empereur Néron! Celui-ci se sent un peu égaré sans les conseils de son précepteur, Sénèque, qu’il a exilé. On y découvre une image plus humaine de Néron, qui apparait moins comme un tyran qu’un jeune homme cultivé mais moralement faible. Poppée, qui n’est pas très aimée du peuple, se fait lancer des pierres. Elle annonce à Néron qu’elle est enceinte, ce qui le convainc finalement de la marier et de régler le sort d’Octavie. Felix, le garde du corps un peu frustre de Pline, a une famille à Rome mais sa femme se plaint de ses absences prolongées et surtout des conditions de vie difficile dans les insulae romaines. Alors Pline leur offre de s’installer dans l’une de ses maisons. Mais le personnage le plus important de ce tome, c’est sans doute Rome elle-même alors que l’on découvre plus en détails ses bas fonds et ses lupanars!

C’est une lecture passionnante si vous êtes amateur de manga historique et de Rome antique. Et ce qui est particulièrement remarquable dans cet ouvrage c’est le grand détail et la qualité du dessin de Mari Yamazaki et Tori Miki. À lire absolument! stars-3-5

Voir aussi mon commentaire sur Pline #1: L’appel de Néron

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Movies

Jackie

Jackie-dvdcovSlow, boring movie that shows a not very sympathetic, selfish Jackie, control freak of her image and obsessed with Lincoln funeral and the fact that his widow died destitute and penniless. Is this a well researched bio pic or just an iconoclast fiction? In the end, it is all about the making of the modern myth of the American camelot.

After John‘s death, Jackie meets with a journalist and reminisce about her traumatic ordeal in order to reshape her husband’s presidency. What makes a president great and be remembered like Lincoln was? His accomplishment or his image? stars-2-0

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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TV Series

Samurai Gourmet

SamuraiGourmetSomeone recommended to my wife this Japanese TV series streaming on Netflix. The subject is cool, I had already heard about the writer of the original manga and the main character is played by an actor that I like, therefore I had no hesitation to subscribe to Netflix in order to binge on this mini series of twelve episodes of twenty minutes each. I have absolutely no regret. It was quite funny and very interesting as I leaned a few things about Japanese cuisine. Highly recommended!

Nobushi no Gourmet (漫画版 野武士のグルメ) is based on a manga written by Masayuki Kusumi and drawn by Shigeru Tsuchiyama (first pre-published in November 2013 by Gentosha Plus web magazine and then in print in June 2016 — I have already commented on the very similar manga that Masayuki Kusumi did with Jiro Taniguchi in 1994-96 titled Kodoku no gourmet). It tells the story of 60-year-old salaryman Takashi Kasumi (Naoto Takenaka) who just retired. Having lost his corporate title and the support of his company, he finds himself with lots of time on his hands. His wife Shizuko (Honami Suzuki) is always busy with something (choir practice, etc.), so he goes for a walk, wandering around and decides to enter a restaurant. For the first time he has a beer in the afternoon and rediscovers the pleasure of a good meal! Being a great fan of Sengoku Period samurai stories, he often imagine what a masterless samurai (played by Tetsuji Tamayama) would do in his situation — which always creates hilarious scenes!

As most of the episode is made of showing off food and the protagonist inner monologue, you might think it is quite boring: in the contrary, it’s an excellent series (see comments on Japan Times, Eater, Thrillist) as proven by a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoesstars-4-0

[ IMDbNetflixWikipedia ]

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