Logan

Logan-covThis movie from the Marvel universe is far more darker than the comedic Deadpool movies I commented earlier. Here, an aging Logan (aka Wolverine) is taking care of an Alzheimer Charles Xavier (Prof. X) along with Caliban. The X-men are no more–as mutants has been chased into near extinction. Although Transigen, under Dr. Zender Rice, is trying to create and weaponize new mutants. A compassionate nurse helps a bunch of mutant kids escape, but they are separated. With only one kid left under her care, she seeks Wolverine to help bring them to a sanctuary in the north. He first refused but grudgingly takes up the task when the nurse is  killed and he realizes that the young mutant girl, Laura (aka X-23), has the same powers as he and that his own genes were probably used to create her. It is the end of a generation and the birth of another…

The obvious comment about this movie is that it is very violent. It is even quite troubling to see such a young girl committing extremely violent acts (and even more having such a young actress performing it!). However, the story is very reflective and rich in emotions. You wouldn’t think that those could go well together. It works only because the acting is quite excellent as the actors give superb performances (particularly the young Dafne Keen, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart) in expressing a nuanced range of feelings : angst from not seeing the path forward, rage for being somewhat “powerless“ over their situation, regrets from bygone days and past mistakes, longing for a normal life and family, etc. Also it is clear that the director, James Mangold, has put lots of stylistic research into this movie (notably taking inspiration from film noir and old westerns like Shane, which is featured into the movie).  All this makes of Logan a surprisingly good superheroes movie. And indeed it was successful, both at the box office (earning five time its budget) and in reviews (with ratings of 8.1 on IMDb and of 93% / 90% [critics/audience] on Rotten Tomatoes). It is well worth seeing. stars-3-5

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Deadpool 2

6252772_sa.jpg;maxHeight=640;maxWidth=550It was unavoidable: the bad guys kill his girlfriend. The anti-superhero tries to redeem himself to be worthy of her but he remains a jerk. It offers the usual thin story (this time about family and friendship), senseless violence and teenage humour, but even worse than the first movie. Although it IS amusing to see the Marvel universe NOT taken seriously. It was a success at the box office (earning seven times its cost) and it got a surprising rating of 7.8 on IMDb and 85% on Rotten Tomatoes! Again, it’s mostly the performance of Ryan Reynolds that sustain the film. For myself, I would say that it was an entertaining movie but only if you are a hardcore fan (which I’m not). stars-2-0

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They Shall Not Grow Old

91lwssevehl._sl1500_That movie has been hyped so much that when I finally got to see it I was rather disappointed. It is not really a documentary as the picture are shown as it is without any context (places, dates or names). It is just footage of the First World War (the war to end all wars they said, but it ended up being the most useless, senseless war of all time) with voiceover by survivors who describe their experience. Not all footage has been restored, retimed and colourized — but most of it. And I am wondering when those testimonies were recorded — as the voice sounded like old men and the recording seems of pretty good quality, so it must have been done at a time when they already had good equipment, although the sound had probably been restored the same way the pictures were. Both the original footage and the audio recording of the British soldiers come from the archives of the Imperial War Museum and the BBC.

All in all, the movie is still pretty interesting as it give us the chance to witness the Great War in colour, as it was experienced by the men who fought it. It gives a really good impression of what it must have felt like. The war is not an impersonal historical event anymore as we get closer to the soldiers. It is a fit tribute for the 100th anniversary of the end of the war. I was expecting more visually, but Peter Jackson’s team did a really good work (it’s a great technological feat to gather, edit and restore all this footage) and it is therefore a must-see movie. Through this those young men will indeed never grow old and hopefully such horror will never be repeated.

The movie was shown on the BBC and is already available on Blu-ray & DVD in U.K.. It was shown in theatre for one day in North America and hopefully will be picked up for broadcast (Netflix? Amazon?) and released in DVD/Blu-ray soon. The critical response was very positive (8.6 on IMDb and 98% on Rotten Tomatoes). stars-3-0

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Deadpool

deadpool-posterA comedic take on the superhero movies (and particularly the X-Men). It offers the usual plethora of stunts and special effects, as well as the usual story [¡SPOILER! although it’s all in the trailer…]: mercenary boy is madly in love with girl, but has to leave her to go seek a cure for his cancer which turn him into a super-healing anti-hero with a new ugly face so he cannot come back to her but instead seeks revenge against the vilain who did that to him however in counter-action the bad guy kidnaps girl therefore he has to save her and they ends up back together in a happy ending but the guy remains a jerk.

It’s all rather ordinary but what’s distinguish this movie is the dialogues (actually, mostly the monologues, performed by Ryan Reynolds) which are rather funny. Frankly, the movie should have been titled “deadpan”… It’s another brainless action movie. Nothing serious (the good thing is that it doesn’t take itself seriously at all) but it offers some twisted entertainment. A fan-boy movie.

It is based on a Marvel comic book set in the X-Men’s universe. Despite being called vulgar, infantile, obnoxious, irreverent, etc., it was well received (mostly by  the comics book fans) with ratings of 84% / 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.0 on IMDb ! Rated R…stars-2-5

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Tomb Raider

tomb_raider_(2018_film)This reboot of the video game adaptation is neither better nor worse than the previous one with Angelina Jolie. Unfortunately, the story is not very inspiring, but it offers good action (despite the impossible stunts typical of Lara Croft), as well as very nice acting from Alicia Vikander and Daniel Wu. I was quite annoyed by the fact that all the aspects of the supposedly Japanese ancient culture presented in the story is completely bogus and actually looks more Chinese than Japanese. (WTF!?) However, [SPOILER ALERT] I like that the ancient curse turned out to be a disease [SPOILER END]. It offers a nice breath of realism in the movie. Unfortunately, to make it cinematically palatable they had to make the disease’s symptoms completely, absurdly improbable. 

It is safe to say that Alicia Vikander comfortably slips into the Lara Croft character (despite not having her exaggerated physical attributes which she thankfully compensate with great stamina and charm) and delivers a performance that saves the movie from a complete wreck. The movie received mixed reviews (6.3 on IMDb, 51%/56% on Rotten Tomatoes). All in all, it’s an average action movie that offers brainless entertainment. It’s worth watching, whether you are a fan or not, but only if you have time to spare. stars-2-5

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Damn! The trailer is showing all the best scenes of the movie!

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Pacific Rim Uprising

pacificrim2-posterAs bad as this movie is you cannot but love it if you are a mecha (or giant robots) and a kaiju fan — which I am. There’s plenty of action (although not very realistic and playing loose with the laws of physics), not much story, a hint of human drama, and a bit of humour. There’s not much originality either, but let’s call it an “hommage.” The term Jaeger reminds me a little of Heavy Gear (although it could come from so many other sources: it means hunter in German, could refers to infantry troops, a bird, a car, or several anime or manga), some designs seems inspired by many giant robots anime (Giant Robo, Mazinger, The Big O) and, of course, the kaiju part if inspired by Ultraman, Godzilla and Gamera, but the biggest “influence” is without contest Neon Genesis Evangelion — and this is probably the closest we’ll ever get to an Evangelion live-action movie. The alien monster attacking Earth, using alien technology to develop weapon against them, the synchronization part, the tall slender design similar to the rogue jaeger Obsidian Fury (damn! I love that design!): that’s seems all “inspired” by Evangelion. Although they’ve gutted all the really interesting stuff (mystical bits and human drama) it is still pretty entertaining.

There is plenty of cool stuff in this movie. No transforming robot but instead a combining kaiju. Not a bad idea. And I’ve certainly LOL when the pilots of Bracer Phoenix have to eject and land at the feet of a statue of a… Gundam! Beautiful and really funny. I couldn’t fail to notice the heavy Chinese presence in the cast and crew (not surprising since producer Legendary was bought by the Chinese Wanda Group and some of the shooting was done in a studio in China). It did relatively well at the box office but was not particularly liked (rating of 5.6 on IMDb and 44% / 41% on Rotten Tomatoes !).

All in all, it offers brainless sci-fi action and lots of mecha & kaiju nostalgia. If you are a fan. stars-3-0

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The Bill Murray Stories

billmurraystoryApparently there are lots of stories on the internet about Bill Murray doing some crazy spontaneous things where he crashes a party or a wedding picture session, comes behind someone in a public toilet and puts his hands on the person eyes saying “No one will ever believe you”, or ends up doing the dishes in some kid’s apartment. He just shows up out of the blue, acts like he is just a normal guy (not a celebrity) but in a way that touches people’s life. Could those stories be true? That’s the question which Tommy Avallone asked himself and decided to make a documentary about it. 

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man is a documentary that retells those stories and interviews the people who experienced them. It really seems that most stories — at least those told in the documentary — are true and there is pictorial or video evidences to prove it. Avallone then goes on asking himself: why? Why someone like Bill Murray would do such things? To goof around? As a publicity stunt? Not at all. It is just who Bill Murray is. It is part of an improv thing and part of a life philosophy (something like taoism or zen). He just like to live in the moment and make people happy.

Personally, I am just wondering what makes people wake up in the morning and decides to make a documentary about Bill Murray. You are in movie school and need to do one as an assignment? Or really want answers to those questions and decide to just films everything and try to make money out of it? Or you just have the “reporter” gene in your blood? I guess someone should make a documentary about that.

It’s not a very good documentary (it’s clumsy, particularly toward the end, and I dislike when someone makes a documentary about themselves looking for something) but I enjoyed it because I not only learned a lot about who is Bill Murray, but it was also quite entertaining (lots of funny anecdotes and movie excerpts). It reminds me of this book that I once saw in the library: The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing, by Gavin Edwards and R. Sikoryak, which was basically asking the same questions. [ Amazon / Goodreads / Library ]

Apparently, Bill Murray is quite an interesting person. But whether you are interested or not, whether you like documentaries or not, it doesn’t matter: if you just take the moment to watch this sixty-seven minutes movies you will certainly enjoy it. And maybe, maybe, you’ll take something out if it and wonder, like me, could I ever be that spontaneous and really live in the moment? stars-3-0

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