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

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

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMDbOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

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

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

[ AmazonGoogleIMDbNetflixRotten TomatoesWikipedia ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

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.

[ Traduire ]

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 ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

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 ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

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 ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

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

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

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

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

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

[ GoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

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

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

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

[ AmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

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

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

Capsules

[ Traduire ]