Fantasia 2018

fantasia2018

The 22nd edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival will be held in Montreal from July 12th to August 2nd 2018. It specializes in animated and live-action genre cinema (fantasy, horror, action, science-fiction, etc.), but mostly horror and asian action movies. It will open with Daniel Roby’s “Dans la brume” (a Canada-France co-production). As usual, the festival will be offering “over 125 features and 220 shorts, featuring the premieres of more than 100 cutting-edge visions from across the world.”

The asian movies line-up (our main interest here) includes eight movies from China (six from Hong Kong), twenty-four from South-Korea, one from Vietnam and, of course, twenty-eight from Japan (including six anime). Here the list of Japanese movies:

Anime

Live-Action

It is interesting to note that a large majority of those movies are manga or novel adaptations. I am particularly interested in seeing The Travelling Cat Chronicles and Tremble All You Want — unfortunately I don’t have time to attend the festival… Check the festival website for more details (description, cast & crew info, schedule, location, etc).

[ Traduire ]

Alienated

Catching up on some of the movies recorded on my PVR, I decided to watch the latest two movies from the Alien franchise: Alien Resurrection and Alien: Covenant.

AlienResurrection-covIn this 1997 sequel of the Alien franchise, Ripley is brought back to life by cloning in order to deliver an alien embryo for an army mad-scientist to study. Of course, everything goes wrong and close quarter’s chases ensue. However, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, Amélie) is no Ridley Scott and the movie doesn’t have the thrill of the original and is riddled with inconsistencies. I’ll list two. First, cloned someone along with the parasite that infects her, and she keeps her personality and memories? Even the pseudo-explanations given to justify that doesn’t make any sense! Second, the alien queen switches from oviparous reproduction to viviparous in the middle of the movie, as she gives birth to the end-level monster which ends up so weak and pitiful that you almost want to champion him instead of the good guys. However, I like that the genetically-mixed Ripley, believe it or not still played by Sigourney Weaver, is such an ambivalent character that you keep wondering whether she’s the bad guy of the movie. I also like the character of Call, played by Winona Ryder. Despite those few positive aspects, the movie is barely entertaining. For once, Rotten Tomatoes seems to agree with me (critics rating at 55% and audience rating at 39% !). stars-2-0

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

Alien-Covenant-posterAlien: Covenant is the 2017 sequel to the Alien prequel, Prometheus, both directed by Ridley Scott. His experience and skills make for a story that is a more suspenseful thriller than the movie above, but after so many iteration, it unfortunately has nothing original left to offer. It’s the same old story. Katherine Waterston, who plays Daniels, the movie’s heroine, is a suitable replacement for Ripley. But in the end the movie received only an overall rating of 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A radio signal brings a colony-ship to an earth-like planet home of the ship encountered in Prometheus. There, the android David has released the pathogen that creates a new type of aliens that consumes all animal life on the planet. David awaits, in what looks like an old temple, for new life to visits him so he can pursue further his experiments in creation. I like the fight between the two androids, David and the newer (but emotionally neutered) model named Walter (both played by Michael Fassbender). An opened ending leaves space for yet another sequel. Alien: Covenant is well-made and entertaining, but what’s the point to repeat endlessly the same kind of story? Apparently, that’s what Ridley Scott thinks as well, and he is planning something rather different for the eventual sequel… stars-2-5

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

[ Traduire ]

Black Panther

BlackPanterThat movie had been hyped so much that when I finally got to see it I was almost disappointed. It is what is now the average super-heroes movie with a thin storyline and lots of special effects. Superficial but with just enough storytelling to be interesting and a plethora of action to be entertaining. The originality of this film is that it offers a cultural super-hero — which bring a breeze of fresh air into the genre. Maybe we’ll see some offshoot of this concept, creating a new trend (the Maori super-hero or the Navajo super-hero or the Mexican Quetzalcoatl-man?) — as long as they don’t push it too far… 

The movie was very successful (97% on RottenTomatoes and returned six times its cost with a box office of $1.3b!). The acting was excellent and I liked very much what they did with the African accent of the characters (I wonder what was their inspiration for it?). It reminded me of the south african-style accent for the Belters in the TV series The Expenses. So, excellent idea to revive this super-hero (he appeared first in 1966 in the comic Fantastic Four #52), average action movie and, all in all, a good entertainment. Let’s see now what more they will do with this character. stars-3-0

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

Victoria & Abdul

Victoria&Abdul-covBased on a book by Shrabani Basu, this movie is the fictionalized account of the extraordinary friendship between Queen Victoria and an Indian-muslim servant named Abdul Karim (a.k.a. the Munshi) that broke her boredom and loneliness, reviving a little her days for the last fifteen years of her reign (1887-1901). Of course, such movie is always largely made of fiction — how could we really know what happened between them? — but the fact remains that they spent lots of time together and Victoria gained an interest into the farthest corner of her empire. Amusingly, it makes of this movie some sort of a sequel to Mrs Brown (1997) where Dame Judi Dench first portrayed Victoria. However, the major aspects of the story must be somewhat truthful as it is based on the memoirs of Ponsonby, Victoria’s private secretary, published in 1951 and on Abdul’s own diary and some of his correspondance that were discovered in 2010. This little historical insight into Victoria’s reign, the excellent acting and the light tone — almost comedic — of the movie makes it being quite enjoyable and entertaining. stars-3-0

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]
Capsules

American Made

AmericanMade-poster

Poster art

This movie is presented as a biopic but it’s really just “inspired” by the life of Barry Seal. It’s nevertheless enjoyable to see Tom Cruise play in a comedy — although this story should really be a tragedy since it’s about how Reagan’s government was trying to prevent communism to prevail in Central America by arming the Nicaraguan Contras against the Sandinistas using drug smugglers. It doesn’t end well for Seal but the light tone of the movie makes the heavy subject entertaining enough to be enjoyable — while we should have been puking in disgust instead… stars-2-5

 

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]Capsules

The Dark Tower

DarkTower-covOnce again a movie that was widely trashed by the critics (16% on Rotten Tomatoes ! — although it did well at the box office and the audience score is at 46% — the overall critical response being that it is “incomprehensible to newbies and wildly unfaithful and simplistic to fans of King’s books”) but which I greatly enjoyed. Despite not having read Stephen King’s series, I had no problem following and understanding the story. The storytelling was well paced and I found the background of the story quite interesting: what’s not to like about a universe that mixes dark fantasy’s wizards and western’s gunslingers! The acting is rather good, and, although the story itself is not exceedingly great (it feel like an relatively ordinary YA movie), it is quite entertaining. A sequel is considered and a TV series is in production at Amazon. stars-3-0

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]
Capsules

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

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

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 ]

Capsules

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

 

 

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

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

 

[ IMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

[ Traduire ]