Golden Globe: No Japanese winners

At the Golden Globe 2019, held on January 6th, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has awarded Bohemian Rhapsody for the Best Motion Picture (Drama), Green Book for the Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Glen Close for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama), Rami Malek for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama), Olivia Colman for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Christian Bale for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Alfonso Cuarón for Best Director.

Surprisingly (or is it, really?), I have not seen any of the nominated TV series either for Drama (The Americans [the winner], Bodyguard, Homecoming, Killing Eve, or Pose) or for Musical/Comedy (Barry, The Good Place, Kidding, The Kominsky Method [the winner] or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). And I am not sure I am interested. Although, I’d like to see  Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite or Crazy Rich Asians (when they comes out on dvd)…

However, the categories that interest us the most are those where Japanese movies were in nomination. Unfortunately, no Japanese movie received any award this year.

The Best Animated Motion Picture award went to Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse. It is quite disappointing because I thought that Mirai had some chance. Even the heavily Japanese-inspired Isle of Dog [on which I commented] deserved the award better. That’s a shame.

The Best Foreign Language Motion Picture award went to the Mexican movie Roma. However I was really cheering for Shoplifters [the latest film by Hirokazu Kore-eda, which was shown at the FNC and commented by Claude R. BlouinAsianWiki / IMDb / Wikipedia]. It is just bad it didn’t win.

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Murder on the Orient Express

268x0wA murder on a luxurious train forces a Belgian detective on vacation to get back to work. It is an entertaining and beautiful movie (with nice CGI scenes of old cities or of the train slithering through the snowy mountains) but it is mostly unremarkable — beside the many inconsistencies, the average [over-] acting (despite an all-star cast) and the outrageously grotesque moustaches of Hercule Poirot. Frankly, I did not like Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation of Agatha Christie’s landmark character. I guess it was one adaptation too many for this famous 1934 detective novel… Over all, despite a Box Office success (revenu were more than six times the movie’s budget), it’s a rather disappointing movie. It got a lukewarm reception with ratings of 58% / 54% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.5 on IMDb. stars-2-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblio MtlGoogleIMDbWikipediaYoutube ]

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RBG

RBG-covI just watched this CNN documentary about the life of judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It is really a historical crash course about the other side of the fight for civil rights: the legal aspect of the women’s lib movement in which RBG played an essential role. The film is composed of extracts of hearing and court proceedings as well as interviews with RBG, friends, family and some legal or political experts. We first learn how she became a lawyer in 1959 (Harvard and then Columbia) but couldn’t find employment because she was a woman. She taught law at Rutgers. Within the ACLU she co-founded in 1972 the Women’s Rights Project which oversaw hundreds of gender discrimination cases, RBG personally arguing six of them before the Supreme Court (winning five). It is incredible how such a small and frail woman could be so dedicated and determined to fight gender discrimination in any way necessary in order to slowly build up precedents and find justice.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter nominated her as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C.. In 1993, Bill Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court where she played an iconic role. With the retirement of Justice O’Connor in 2006, she became the only woman on the court, until the nomination of Justice Sotomayor in 2009. First considered a moderate, she shifted toward the Left to preserve the balance as the court became more conservative. She is known for her dissenting opinion. She could be the last line of defence against the civil rights roll back by the Trump administration. Strangely, the appeal of her work and personality — through an Internet meme named Notorious R.B.G., which was comparing her to rapper Notorious B.I.G. — has given her great pop culture fame.

This is a great documentary that is fun to watch, but also very informative. I’ve learned a lot about American history. It is also a nice introduction to another movie about RBG’s life, this time a fictionalized account of her early days, titled On the Basis of Sex and which was just released this Christmas. RBG was well received as it earned a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.6 on IMDb. Therefore, it is highly recommended. I recorded it when it aired on CNN in September, but it is now available on Dvd (from Amazon or your local library) and can also be streamed on iTunes or Amazon Primestars-3-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ Amazon PrimeGoogleIMDbOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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Transformers: The Last Knight

TransformersTheLastKnight-covThis story literally puts Earth against Cybertron. It’s Megatron versus Unicron. The Transformers have been here since the night of time. They fought with King Arthur, they fought in World War One, and even against Hitler. But we didn’t know about it because their existence has been occulted by a secret society started by Merlin himself, as he was entrusted with a power staff to control them all (or at least the three-headed dragon made of the bot-knights of the round table!). And Stonehenge is a weapon (more or less; maybe more a socket for a weapon…)!

Under the influence of Quintessa, Optimus has become Nemesis Prime! However, Yeager’s Autobot partner, Bumblebee, turns him around and, with the help of the bot-knights, they fight back against Quintessa and Megatron’s plan to destroy Earth. But it is far from over as the fight will continue with yet another movie (no, please, make them stop!)…

This movie offers a few good ideas (transformers in the past, steampunk influences, introduction of interesting new characters like Viviane or Izabella), but they are unfortunately slapped together in a messy way. The editing is horrendous, the dialogues terrible and don’t even get me started with the bad humour! At 2h34, the movie is way too long and the action is going too fast — transformations are just a blur and it feels like you’re watching a movie in fast-forward! Definitely entertaining but also rather annoying (particularly Cogman, the Bot-ler). I guess it is mostly for the hard-core fans.

The movie made plenty of money but it was disliked by viewers (with a mere 15% critic rating and 44% audience score at Rotten Tomatoes and 5.2 on IMDb — strangely the next film, standalone prequel Bumblebee, did very well with a Rotten Tomatoes critic rating of 94%). Maybe it’s time to pause and rethink the franchise… stars-2-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblio MtlGoogleIMDbWikipediaYoutube ]

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo-covThe latest Star Wars movie offers us quite an interesting (but simple) story with the usual (improved?) special effects. It’s the story of someone who gets out of the slums, with audacity and a bit of courage, doing what’s need to be done. A story of love and betrayal. It has a moral (hey, it’s Disney after all), lots of action and great humour. It also has a bunch of very interesting characters (and excellent acting to go with it). It’s sort of a growing-up story, about how a slum kid become… well… a kind of accidental hero. For the Star Wars fans it also offers lots of back story: how Han got his name, how he met Chewbacca and, later, Lando, how he got the Millenium Falcon and what makes it such a special ship, and, finally, how the rebellion started. 

It might not have the depth of the original movies (although that fame might be due in part to the legend, greater music and fantasized childhood memory) but it is, in itself, a good movie. It might not be THE Star Wars movie but, as the title says, it is A Star Wars movie. However, it is a fact that it didn’t performed well at the box-office, barely breaking-even, and was less appreciated by the fans than the critics with an audience score of 64% versus a critical rating of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s a little blend, yes, but it’s still quite entertaining and well worth watching. stars-3-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBAnQBiblio MtlGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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Japanese Film Festival

The 35th edition of the Montreal Japanese Film Festival will be held on Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st at the Cinémathèque québécoise (web). There will be three Japanese films screened for free. The event is presented by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal. The films are in Japanese with English subtitles. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations is required but you’ll need to take a ticket at the box-office.

Karera_ga_Honki_de_Amu_Toki_wa-tpClose-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、/ Karera ga honki de amu toki wa / lit. “When they seriously knit”): Japan, drama, 2017, 127 mins; Dir.: Naoko Ogigami.

After being abandoned by her mother, 11-year-old Tomo is taken in by her uncle and his transgender girlfriend. Close-knit offers a heart-warming reflection on discrimination and ignorance and, more importantly, on the true meaning of family.

Screening on November 30 at 18:30.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / JMDB / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

Chihayafuru_Part_3-p001Chihayafuru: Musubi (ちはやふるー結びー / Chihayafuru – knot) : Japan, Youth drama, 2018, 127 min.; Dir.: Norihiro Koizumi.

The young members of a competitive karuta (classic Japanese playing cards) team stand together against the odds and the emotional turmoil they face, seeking to capture and hold on to a treasured moment forever. Can they overcome their opponents?

Screening on December 1 at 13:00.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

La_La_La_At_Rock_Bottom-p02La La La at Rock Bottom (味園ユニバース / Misono Yunibasu) : Japan, Drama, 2015, 103 min.; Dir.: Nobuhiro Yamashita.

Redemption is key in this humorous story about an amnesiac thug turned singer. A powerful and moving tale that reveals human complexity, baring charms and faults alike, and will make anyone want to believe in second chances. Added bonus: great musical moments!

Screening on December 1 at 15:15.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Official / Wikipedia / Youtube ]

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Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2018

FNC47-logo-horizontal-noir.png

The 47th edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema (FNC) will be held in various Montreal theatres (Cinema Impérial, du Musée, du Parc, Quartier Latin, Theatre Maisonneuve, Cinémathèque Québecoise, etc.) from October 3 to 14, 2018. In their own words, this festival is a gathering to “celebrate our shared passion for film, (…) for cinema of all types, from offbeat, one-of-a-kind niche works to crowd-pleasers to daringly innovative big events”.  It is “resolutely forward-looking, has long been the unfailing advocate of new technologies“ making it “the best place around to preview the cinema of tomorrow”!

This year, it will offers over three-hundred movies including ten from Japan (click on the links for details & schedule):

Press review:

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