More on “The Terror”

TheTerror-posterI just finished watching The Terror — which I already commented earlier this month. It’s interesting but a little disappointing. The fantastical aspect of the Inuk mythology seemed at first the most promising element but was left largely unexploited. The slaying of the beast was the symbol of the white men killing the native spirits, or their innocence, the beginning of their conquest. I guess the larger theme is homo homini lupus or, in extreme circumstances, men are their worst enemy. It’s a story of survival, even if it failed for all but one — who nevertheless disappeared into the wilderness as he went native, probably to atone his failure. Apparently, they are planning a second season set during WW2 in a Japanese-American internment camp. An interesting speculative-historic drama. stars-3-0

[ BiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]

Capsules

The Terror

the-terrorI’m watching The Terror (three episodes in so far): It’s cool, although the storytelling moves like a slow agony and the suspense is unbearable! Joke aside, it is a very interesting 10-part TV series from AMC, based on Dan Simmons’ novel of the same title. I was first hesitating to watch as it is presented as an horror drama, but it should be considered more fantastic (as it seems to follow Todorov’s definition of the genre). The series was well received (92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and for good reasons: It has a great cast (Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, Ciarán Hinds, Nive Nielsen!) and offers an interesting story about Franklin’s lost expedition which was looking for the Northwest Passage in 1845–1848. The story is, of course, largely fictionalized, but nevertheless based on all the known facts about the fate of the expedition. Many subsequent expeditions searched for survivors or for the two Franklin’s ships without much success: the only clues cames from Inuk eyewitness accounts (1854-55), as well as a few artefacts and skeletons (1859-69). Only very recently, modern expeditions found the remains of the HMS Erebus (2014) and of the HMS Terror (2016). stars-3-0

[ BiblioGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

[ 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 ]

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 ]

Brit Box

britbox_logo_stacked_canada_flavourI first saw an advertisement for this on Facebook but didn’t pay much attention to it (because, these days, who trust what they are seeing on FB). I’ve also seen lots of similar offers in Totally British magazine, but it looked like it was either expensive, complicated or semi-legit solutions. However, when I saw an ad on TV (I don’t remember if it was on CNN or MSNBC) then it got my attention as it looked quite serious. Everyone who is a fan of British television should have a look at this.

BritBox.com is similar to Netflix: it’s a digital video subscription service. It offers a large selection of TV shows for streaming (dramas, comedies, mysteries, documentaries, soaps, lifestyles, etc.) to the difference that those shows are exclusively British. It claims that they are the “Biggest streaming collection of British TV… ever” !

You can sign in for a 7-day free trial and, after that, you can indulge your inner Brit by paying only $8.99 per month and be able to cancel anytime. Forget about catching a few Brit TV shows on CBC, PBS or BBC Canada. Now you can watch the best of Brit TV anytime, anywhere (web, phone, tablet, Apple TV, etc.), uncut and commercial free. All you need is an internet connection. Quite interesting.

BritBox is co-owned by the BBC and ITV and launched in Canada last February. 

Here’s a few of the shows available on BritBox that I found could be quite interesting to (re-) watch: Agatha Christie’s Poirot (6 seasons), Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (2006), Around the World in 80 Treasures (2005), Blackadder (5 seasons: 1983-89), Bleak House (2005), Cadfael (4 seasons: 1994-98), Classic Doctor Who (25 seasons: 1963-89), Cranford (2 seasons: 2007-09), Desperate Romantics (2009), Doctor Zhivago (2002), Dunkirk (2004), Elizabeth R (1971), Father Brown (1974), Hammer House movies (1980), Inspector Morse (8 seasons: 1987-1993), Lark Rise to Candleford (4 seasons: 2008-11), Life on Mars (2 seasons: 2006-07), Maigret (both 1992 and 2016 series), Midsomer Murders (19 seasons: 1998-2018), Poldark (1996), Prime Suspect (7 seasons: 2991-2006), Red Dwarf (12 seasons: 1988-1999, 2009, 2016-2017), Rosemary & Thyme (3 seasons: 2003-07), Sharpe (7 seasons: 1993-97, 2006, 2008), Sherlock Holmes (4 seasons: 1984-1985, 1986-1988, 1991-93, 1994), Spitting Image (5 seasons: 1984-88), The Champions (1968-69), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1981), The Moonstone (1972-73, 2016), The Queen’s Archive Speeches (1940-2002), Torchwood (4 seasons: 2006-11), Tutankhamun (2016), and Upstairs Downstairs (both series: 1971-74, 2010-12). Just to name a few! 

It is certainly worth a look and I am planning to sign in for the free trial during my next vacation in May for a binge-test! Watch this space (and let me know what you think of it if you are already a subscriber)!

Sources: 

[ Traduire ]

Something new on TV

First, tonight it’s the Golden Globe Awards

I also noticed this week-end that Vermont PBS started showing daily (at 12:30 am) an half-hour of NHK Newline! I am glad to see that, at a time when many Americans think it’s great to be isolationist again, a TV station dare to show some openness to the world. For years now, PBS has been keeping open a window on Europe by showing an half-hour of BBC World News (otherwise available on the BBC World News and BBC America channels). Now they show that they understand that news from Asia matters more and more as they open this window on the English-language news from Japan’s NHK World, which covers the essential of what’s happening in Asia. Also, the NHK World News channel is itself available more and more on various cable providers in North America (mostly on the west coast). Unfortunately, I doubt it will ever be available on Videotron’s or Bell’s line-up — although it doesn’t really matter since it is anyway streaming on the internet and through apps. However, it’s great that more Americans are exposed to Asian (and Japanese) news through PBS. Kudos to the Public Broadcasting Service!

After watching the Christmas episodes of Doctor Who (a female Doctor, that’s promising!), Murdoch Mysteries (average) and Call The Midwife (a snowy episode quite of circumstance), as well as the first episode of Knightfall (quite interesting) and the mini-series Gunpowder (a different point of view of the Guy Fawkes story with Game of ThronesKit Harrington playing his own ancestor Robert Catesby!), I finished binging on Viking (season four and most of season five) so I am up to date now. I still have a few episodes of the 6th season of Father Brown and the season finale of A Place to Call Home 5th season to finish but I am already looking for something new to watch…

Luckily, Star Trek: Discovery second-half of its first season is starting tonight and there a new season (the 11th !) of X-Files that just started (I am not sure about watching this one…), but I also discovered today that the seventh and last season of Un Village Français (a French TV series about the impact of WW2 and its aftermath on a small village’s daily life) is now available to watch! It’s already available for streaming in French on ici.Tou.tv and will start streaming with English subtitles on MHz Choice on January 30th (the PBS-affiliated MHz Worldview [Mountain View Digital signal 57.2] is already broadcasting the sixth season) which is also available in Canada! (Darn! Another streaming app to subscribe to!)

So many shows to watch… No wonder that I don’t read much lately!

[ Traduire ]

Ishiguro gets Nobel Prize in literature !

British writer Kazuo Ishiguro (mostly known for his books The remains of the day [1989] and Never let me go [2005], which were both adapted into movies) has received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. The award was announced on October 5th. Sara Danius, the secretary of the Swedish Academy, said that his novels showed “great emotional force” as he was uncovering “the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.” She also described his style as a “mix of Jane Austen, comedy of manners and Franz Kafka.” His recurrent themes seem to be identity, memory, time and self-delusion.

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954 but moved to Surrey, England, at age five because of his father’s work as an oceanographer for the NOCS. He always stayed close to his Japanese roots because, until age fifteen, he had planned to go back to Japan but, instead, his family decided to settle in England (he received British citizenship in 1982). He graduated from UKC in English and Philosophy in 1978 and received a Master in creative writing from UEA in 1980.  Before starting his writing career in 1982, he wanted to be a musician and worked as a social worker. Strangely, his life background and relationship with Japan is very similar with Belgian author Amélie Nothomb and their writings share some themes.

To celebrate Ishiguro’s Nobel Prize, NHK World re-broadcasted a two-part special where the writer gives a lecture about his work. Originally broadcasted on October 22nd and November 5th 2016, the show is titled “First Class [in literature], Kazuo Ishiguro: My Secret of Writing” and is still available for streaming until October 25th, 2017 [Part 1 and Part 2]. It is also partly available on Youtube [in English and in Japanese]. It is very interesting and well worth watching.

Sources: BBC, Le Devoir, Goodreads, HazLitt, Japan Times, NHK World, Wikipedia.

[ Traduire ]