Ghost in the Shell

At first glance, the story of this live-action version seems rather faithful to the original. If the manga offers the base of the story (chap. 1, 3, part of 8, 9 and 11), it follows more the storytelling of the animated movie. Shirow’s manga is rather disorganized with lots of silly or humorous moments, while Oshii’s anime movie is more linear, but with lots of reflective and philosophical pauses (maybe a little too much). In this regard, the live-action movie seems more balanced. Of course, they changed a few things here and there but the spirit is all there (no pun intended). My main complain is that this story doesn’t show any Fuchikoma (think tanks, a.k.a. Tachikoma (in the TV series): spider-like robots with great sense of humour that assist in combat) and it is missing the incredibly beautiful music by Kanji Kawai, which is heard in the movie only in the end credits. However, the biggest change is in the background stories of both the puppet master and of the Major, which were completely altered in order to link them together. I am not sure (I can’t really remember) but I think they may have taken a few elements from the TV series and OVAs (at least the part on the origin of the Major). They also kept a hint of philosophical reflection (not too much, but just enough) to preserve the mood of the original movie—the age-old existential question of what’s make us “us”. They also paid an homage to Mamoru Oshii by putting his favourite dog (basset hound) in the story (actually, Batou’s dog comes from the second movie, Innocence — which is itself based on chap. 6 of the manga).

I heard plenty of negative comments. People complained they chose an American actress to play a Japanese character (first, this comment came out in the midst of the Hollywood whitewashing scandal and, anyway, not many Japanese actresses would have the action and language skills to play that role — although I like that Takeshi Kitano acts only in Japanese). They also complained that her acting lacked expression (come on, she plays a human turned into a machine, wondering if she’s still human, so it’s part of her role). On the other hand, some purist fans complained that they changed this or that. It’s not a perfect movie (personnally, I hate the design of the spider-tank!) and it was obviously not good enough for many since it didn’t performed well at the box office (which barely exceeded the production budget) and received lukewarm reviews (45% on Rotten Tomatoes !).

Of course, I don’t know if someone who has never heard of the Ghost in the shell universe would be able to follow, understand and really appreciate it. Because I am a fan, I am probably biased. So I wonder: purely in a technical point of view, is it a good movie? I think so. The story is captivating and interesting as it asks some relevant questions about human nature and it remains one of the best depiction of the cyberpunk genre I’ve seen. The storytelling is fluid and easy to follow (unlike Oshii’s movie), the acting is good and the special effects are superb. In the end, what else should we expect from a movie? Ghost in the shell is a complex universe, first in its story (socio-political cyberpunk) but also in its making as the franchise includes several manga, movies, TV series and OVAs, so maybe we should try to see the live-action more as what it is in itself than try too hard to compare it to the manga or anime. For my part, it’s an excellent entertainment and I enjoyed it a lot.

Ghost in the shell: USA, 2017, 107 min., PG-13. Dir.: Rupert Sanders; Scr.: Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, and Ehren Kruger (based on the manga by Masamune Shirow); Phot.: Jess Hall; Ed.: Neil Smith, Billy Rich; Mus.: Clint Mansell, Lorne Balfe; Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han, and Juliette Binoche.

[ AmazonGoogleIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

 

Ghost in the shell (攻殻機動隊 / Kōkaku kidōtai : Gōsuto In Za Sheru / Mobile Armored Riot Police: Ghost in the Shell) : Japan, 1995, 82 min.; Dir.: Mamoru Oshii; Scr.: Kazunori Itō (based on the manga by Masamune Shirow); Phot.: Hisao Shirai; Ed.: Shūichi Kakesu, Shigeyuki Yamamori; Mus.: Kenji Kawai; Voices: Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka, and Iemasa Kayumi.

An excellent adaptation of the manga although with a little too much philosophical pauses. If the sequel movie is also nice (Ghost in the shell 2: Innocence) it doesn’t follow the manga. My favourite part of the franchise is the TV series Ghost in the shell: Stand Alone Complex (there’s also an OVA series: Ghost in the shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture).

[ ANNAmazonBiblioGoogleIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

 

Ghost in the shell (攻殻機動隊 / Kōkaku Kidōtai / Mobile Armored Riot Police) by Masamune Shirow (translated by Frederik L Schodt and Toren Smith). Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Manga, 2004. 368 pg. $24.95 US / $33.99 Can. ISBN 1-59307-228-7.

This is one of my favourites manga. It offers an excellent cyberpunk story (although the storytelling is a little episodic and disorganized), with an awkward mix of action and humour. The second part, Man-Machine Interface, has a better graphical quality and incredible cyberpunk scenes, but the complexity of its political and terrorist plots makes it a little hard to follow.

[ ANNAmazonBiblioGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldcat ]

[ Traduire ]

Movie capsule-reviews (02.017.204)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The latest Luc Besson’s movie (The Professional, Fifth Element, Lucy) is based on the comic series Valérian and Laureline by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières. That series is one of my favourite comics and it has a quintessential place in my heart as it is one of the series that made me discover science-fiction (in the comic magazine Pilote). The movie looks like a Fifth Element on speed and a darker Star Wars. It respects the spirit of the comic but doesn’t really FEEL like it. However, despite many criticism I’ve heard, I found the acting to be faithful enough to the original characters (at least as they were portrayed in the latest albums): a somewhat clumsy Valerian (however, I admit that, barring some occasional heroism, he is far from being an action hero in the comic) and an intelligent, kick-ass and beautiful Laureline! I am also sure that some dumbass will complain that the spaceship looks a little like the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars but, since the comic series was created ten years before Lucas’ franchise, I am sure it is the other way around.

Although the title might let us believe that it’s an adaptation of the Empire of a Thousand Planets, the movie’s story is, in fact, based on Ambassador of the Shadows (the sixth album: L’ambassadeur des ombres) and is relatively faithful to the original. However, in the movie, Central Point is rename Alpha and its origin story has unfortunately been changed to make it centred on Earth (it evolved from the Space Station) and the humans are kind of in control of the Council (this human-centred aspect goes against the spirit of the comic — although it reflects the imperialistic ambition of the humans in the comics). We find in the movie some of the critters from the original story like the shingouz (the three informants) or the transmuteur grognon de Bluxte (the converter) — but the role of the latter is quite different. And the biggest change of all: in the original story it is Laureline who conducts the investigation to save Valerian who was captured with the ambassador (and not the contrary as in the film). And of course the movie ending is more positive (for Earth) than in the comic but it is still a kind of love story between Valerian and Laureline. All in all, it is a nice adaptation of the original story.

My only complain is that the time-traveling aspect has been totally erased from the story — because, above all, Valerian & Laureline are spatio-temporal agents! That omission is rather annoying. But, since there will never be another Valerian comics (unless, of course, the authors feel the movie’s pressure), this adaptation is surely the next best thing (slightly above the animated tv series). The 3D effects are superb and provide quite an immersive experience. The story is good, the acting great and the movie offers excellent workmanship (although quite expensive). I can’t ask for more. All in all, despite the fact that the reviews are not that good (maybe people can’t appreciate french sci-fi?), I was entertained and enjoyed it thoroughly.

[ GoogleIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Fantastic Beast and where to find them

This movie is really fleshing out the Harry Potter universe and giving it a different perspective, this time from 1926 New York (the relations between wizards and no-majs [muggles] is completely different). It makes the Potter’s alternate universe much more interesting. The acting is good but it is especially the designs and the special effects for the beasts that are commendable — although by moments it looks a little too much like a bestiary (menagerie catalog). The period sets and costumes are really excellent. Over all it’s quite a good entertainment. I am looking forward for the next movie (after taking the effort of creating an all-new cast of characters for this spin-off, I guess it would be a shame not to make it at least a trilogy!). Strangely, the extras on the BluRay Disc are almost as long as the movie itself!

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Silence

The movie is set in the same era than the TV mini-series Shogun (James Clavell‘s best-selling novel was inspired by the fascinating life of English navigator William Adams). While Shogun was mainly concentrating on the political reasons that brought Tokugawa Ieyasu to ban christianity and the Jesuits from Japan, Silence explores the religious reasons. The Japanese mind-set (buddhism, shinto) was said to be incompatible with the Church teachings which was often distorted by the local followers. Also, like in the 2nd century Roman Empire, a religion empowering the poor and disfranchised was seen as subversive. Finally, the shogunate was quite wary of the political interferences caused by the religious and economical rivalries between the European superpowers of the time (Spain, Portugal, England, Netherland). Japanese had no patience toward the European arrogance, although they would gladly use their knowledge (medicine, science, technology) when it was needed and trade with the Dutch — who didn’t care much about spreading their religion.

Along with The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun, Silence is part of a trilogy of movies where Scorsese explores the struggle with faith, a subject that seems dear to him. Based on the novel by Shūsaku Endō (which had already been adapted to the screen in 1971 by Masahiro Shinoda), the story is inspired by the life of Giuseppe Chiara, an Italian Jesuit who went to Japan during the Kakure (hidden) Kirishitan period in search for fellow priest Cristóvão Ferreira. In many aspect, Silence is similar to The Last Temptation as the main character wonder why the terrible suffering he witnesses is met only by God’s silence. He is also constantly pushed to renounce his faith by Japanese officials and then tempted by his tormentors to reveal he didn’t!

It is a quite beautiful movie on a very interesting and deep subject (although, personally, I find it hard to comprehend how people could endure this kind of hardship for such a silly belief) but it is a bit long, cerebral and offers several cruel scenes. Despite great acting, the movie received quite a lukewarm reception, not so much amongst the critics [see reviews from The Guardian, The Atlantic, The New Yorker] as from the public (the box office was abysmal). It’s understandable for a beautiful but difficult movie that was released against a though competition (the Martin Luther King holiday weekend also saw the release of Hidden Figures, La La Land and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story !!!). Despite all this, I liked it very much.

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Warcraft

Even if I never played any of the World of Warcraft games, I liked this fantasy movie because somehow it felt familiar. The world is obviously well developed (i.e. numerous video games, novels and comics), the story is interesting, the acting is good enough and the special effects are excellent. When it comes to those so-called “blue-screen” movies (actually they’re green), where most of the scenes involves some sort of special effects, I am always afraid the story will be shallow, but it is not the case here. Despite the fact that there has been plenty of other high fantasy movies and TV series around recently (The Hobbit & Lord of the rings, Shannara Chronicles, etc.), this one offer something original enough to be interesting and entertaining. Of course, you still have humans, dwarves, elves and, most importantly, orcs, but the mix doesn’t feel stale. It is interesting to note that Warcraft was directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), the son of David Bowie.

Although the ending clearly leave the way for a sequel, none has been produced or announced so far (after a year). The movie did quite well at the box office (nearly three time its budgets) but probably not as much as expected or at least not enough to entice the producers to green-light a sequel. And to me that’s probably the most disappointing aspect of this movie. However, SOMEONE was obviously disappointed by the movie (the game fans? the muggles?) because the critics were not very good (seriously? 28% on Rotten Tomatoes!). Well, it was good enough for me.

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Il Divo

After seeing Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, Youth and his TV series The Young Pope, we were curious about his only major film that we hadn’t watch yet. It doesn’t have the depth and beauty of the other movies, but the story is interesting from an historical point of view. I vaguely remember earring in the news about events like the Aldo Moro’s kidnapping and murder in 1978, but don’t know much about the Italian political scene. So, I learned a lot with this movie. It is a biographical drama about Italian seven-time prime minister Giulio Andreotti who allegedly had ties with the mafia — most of his opponents or critics were murdered — but nothing was ever proven in court. It is set between his seventh election in 1992 and his failed bid for presidency and trial in 1995. Like most European movies, it has a slow pace and long scenes so north American viewers can be easily bored (although there’s a lot of violence). But for me it was worth seeing.

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

[ Traduire ]

Movie capsule-reviews (02.017.182)

I meant to catch up on those comments in a long time, so here are a bunch of them…

Jason Bourne

The bad guys at the CIA who erased his memories, killed several of his girlfriends as well as his father are still after him despite the fact the he just want to be left alone… It seems that spy movies now are just endless car chases and computer hacking. Boring!

 

 

 

 

[ AmazonIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

La La Land

A beautiful film that pays tribute to the city of L.A., to Jazz and to the cinema of the fifties but the director cannot deny the French blood flowing in his veins because his film is strangely reminiscent of Jacques Demy‘s The Young Girls of Rochefort, and of some cinematographic techniques of Lelouche. While paying tribute, he manges to escapes (particularly with its ending) many of Hollywood movies’ stereotypes and therefore deserves all the attention and accolades he has received. A must see, definitely.

 

 

[ AmazonBiblio — IMdBOfficial — WikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

King Charles III

I thought this TV movie would be quite bad: poorly made, poorly acted and of bad taste. But actually, it is beautifully made and, although the acting is not stellar, it is acceptable. It also brings the interesting question of what would happen to England, and to the monarchy, when the Queen dies. I always thought that it’s a bit too soon to make movies about people who are still alive. That’s why, in my opinion, Victoria is less edgy then The Crown. It’s touchy to tell the story of the early reign of Elisabeth II while she’s still the Queen and it’s even more touchy to speculate about how the monarchy would survives the death of such a long lasting monarch while she still lives. Many people have never known anybody else on the throne. Wouldn’t it put the whole existence of the monarchy in question? I think that the questions asked by this movie are spot on — although the portrayal of the royal family was often quite out of character (A resentful Charles? An over ambitious Kate Middleton?) — but all this is only speculation. Hence plenty of controversy in the press when it first aired in the U.K.

As it is based on a play, it feels very theatrical (even lyrical sometimes) and almost sounds like a shakespearian play (with verses, rhymes and lots of aparte) — so why should we be surprised that its plot offers such drama? It sounds really beautiful, particularly because of its soundtrack using baroque-style religious chants in latin — quite similar to what they used in Victoria. It’s not a really great movie but is certainly worth seeing if you are interested in either the British monarchy or in political/speculative fiction. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.

[ AmazonIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Inferno

It’s the first movie of that series for which I did not read the book. I stopped after twenty pages because all Dan Brown books seem follow the same formula, so it felt boring. And because I didn’t have foreknowledge, the movie didn’t feel boring at all. In fact, the idea of the amnesia is a clever trick that allows for a well constructed thriller.

 

 

 

 

[ AmazonBiblio — IMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Florence Foster Jenkins

This movie tells us that sometimes the beauty is not in the quality of a work but in its persistance. It is quite funny and sad altogether. Biographical movies of unlikable characters can be a drag, but in the end everybody has redeemable qualities. It ends up that Florence Foster Jenkins was an interesting woman after all (even if she really was a bad singer!) and I enjoyed the movie. Particularly because of the remarkable performances by the three main actors, but mostly Meryl Streep.

 

 

 

[ AmazonBiblio — IMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Le roi dance

After watching the second season of Versailles, we felt like seeing more of Louis XIV. However, this old movie by Gérard Corbiau (Farinelli) is more about the rise and fall of Jean-Baptiste Lully than the Sun King himself. The baroque musician was a favourite of the king and worked at the court from 1661 to 1686, when his dissolute life brought him disgrace. He wrote dances and ballets for the king, music for plays (collaborating with Molière amongst others), several operas and some sacred music. The historical subject is quite interesting, but the movie shows its age, is rather slow and nearly boring.

 

 

[ AmazonBiblio — IMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Independence Day: Resurgence

Ah, sequels… I was fearing that this would be a mere repeat of the first movie, but it is just simply worse: meaner, badder aliens come with much bigger ship and their queen to suck up the core of the planet! But, there is hope, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend?! It is very superficial and not very original. So, how comes that I enjoyed it? Probably the brainless action, over-present special effects and a few good ideas… However, I am getting a little tired of those alien invasion movies.

 

 

 

[ AmazonBiblio —  IMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Arrival

You could think this is just another alien invasion catastrophe movie, but you couldn’t be more wrong. This is the most beautifully complexe film I’ve seen in a very long time. Based on the novellaStory of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, it tells the story of linguist Louise Banks who is called upon by the government to help translate the language of aliens who just landed lenticular spacecrafts on twelve Earth locations. The squid-like “heptapods” have a written language made of complex circular symbols. With trials and errors she manages to exchange vocabulary and build trust until they can finally ask the million dollars question: “why are they here?” The answer will bring the world to the brink of war! Learning their language and understanding its relationship with time will also change her forever…

It’s a movie about communication and language, of course, but also about understanding and relationship. Her relationship with the aliens, with her colleague Ian Donnelly, with her daughter Hannah, with the Chinese General Shang, with time… It is certainly not an action movie — as there are many slow and long scenes — but it is a beautifully made science-fiction thriller. The most interesting to me is that it is a local movie, shot in Quebec by French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique, Incendies, Sicario and currently working on Blade Runner 2049 and developing a new adaptation of Dune) ! A must see.

[ AmazonBiblio — IMdBOfficial — WikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

[ Traduire ]

40th Japan Academy Awards (2017) winners

On March 3rd, in a televised ceremony held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo, the Nippon Academy-Sho Association awarded the 40th Annual Japan Academy Prizes (第40回日本アカデミー賞) for the best Japanese movies of 2016. In This Corner of the World won in the best animation category (but Makoto Shinkai’s Your name still got best screenplay and best music) and Shin Godzilla was a big winner with seven awards (including best picture, best director and best cinematography)!

Discover all the winners (highlighted in yellow) after the jump:

Continue reading

40th Japan Academy Awards (2017) nominees

The nominees for the 40th Annual Japan Academy Prizes (第40回日本アカデミー賞) were announced on January 15th. The winners in each category will be revealed by the Japan Academy Prize Associations at a ceremony held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo on March 3, 2017.

Here is the list of all the nominees (after the jump):

Continue reading

Capsule reviews

The Giver

In a post-cataclysmic world, humanity survives in a small utopian society which is peaceful and content, but colourless and deprived of emotions. With his coming of age, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is assigned a role as Receiver of Memory and instructed by the Giver (Jeff Bridges), who telepathically shares with him all the memories from the ancient time in order to give him the wisdom necessary to advise the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) in her decisions. With this knowledge comes the realization that this seemingly perfect society is in no way morally better than the previous one: citizens are drugged into conformity and when they become less useful or rebellious they are “released to the Elsewhere”, i.e. murdered by lethal injection! To justify their authoritarian ways, the Chief Elder says “When people have the freedom to chose, they chose wrong every single time” — true, but at least they have the freedom to be wrong! By reaching the distant borders of the community, the hero wants to reset the society in hope for a better future (and to save the woman he loves, Fiona (Odeya Rush)). Based on Lois Lowry‘s young adult novel, this science-fiction movie succeeds, with a relatively small budget ($25 millions), to create an entertaining and thought-provoking story, making us ponder the moral values of our society. Even if it’s a little reminscient of Logan’s Run, this is an excellent movie well worth watching.

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Victoria

This British drama TV series depicts the reign of Queen Victoria from her accession (after the death of her uncle William IV) to her mariage with Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) and the birth of her first child (also named Victoria). It was produced by ITV in the UK and will premiere on PBS’s Masterpiece next week. In a way, it is very similar to the series The Crown that depicts the early reign of Queen Elisabeth II. It is quite interesting to see all the politics and trials that play out around the English monarchy at such an important time in history (the Victorian era was particularly characterized by the industrial revolution and the development of railways). It’s also funny that there is so much German blood (from the House of Hanover and the House of Saxe-Coburg) in the British monarchy, and it created quite a stir at the time. But I must admit that what first caught my attention is the fact that the title role is played by Jenna Coleman (who has also interpreted Clara Oswald, one of the best companions in the new Doctor Who TV series, but also acted in Julian FellowesTitanic and in Dancing on the Edge). Also starring is Rufus Sewell, who plays Victoria’s counsel and Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. I also liked the haunting music theme. I really cannot resist a British historical drama, even less a very good one. Don’t miss it!

[ AmazonIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Dark Angel

This is a two-part mini-series (although it feels more like a TV movie cut in two) produced by ITV in the UK and starring Joanne Froggatt (Anna in Downton Abbey). It will be shown on PBS’s Masterpiece later this year. Inspired by David Wilson’s book Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer, it tells the sordid story of Mary Ann Cotton, a black widow who poisoned three of her four husbands as well as eleven of her thirteen children in order to collect insurance money and survive the harsh conditions women had to endure in nineteenth century England. You can’t help but feel some sympathy for her. A good period drama as it is often the case with Brit TV. Recommended.

[ AmazonIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Eye in the Sky

An interesting movie showing, from the British point of view, all the procedures and decisions behind a drone strike in Somalia, as well as the moral questions it raises. If you could eliminate three top wanted terrorists as well as two suicide bombers preparing for an eminent attack that could kill up to eighty civilians, would you do it even if it meant probably killing one innocent girl? The collateral damage question is always a difficult choice between two evils. In a way, nothing much happens in this movie as the story is told almost in real time. Everything is in the debate, which makes it clearly a political movie. But is it an apology of war or a critic of the politicians inaptitude? Maybe both? Interesting indeed!

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

A Ghost of a Chance

Emi (Eri Fukatsu) is a lawyer whose client is accused of murdering his wife. But he couldn’t have done it since the night of the murder he was pined down in his hotel room by a ghost! What sort of defence can you build when your only witness is the ghost of a samurai? You manage to make him testify, of course! A funny japanese movie just as I like them, with a great line-up of actors (Toshiyuki Nishida, Hiroshi Abe, Kiichi Nakai, Koichi Sato, Takayuki Kinoshita, Yūko Takeuchi, Tadanobu Asano, etc.)!

I stumbled on this movie while watching TV Japan — a New-York based Japanese language channel operated by NHK Cosmomedia America and broadcasting a compilation of the best programming from the top Japanese networks and studios, including news and entertainment programs such as movies, dramas, variety shows, anime, sporting events, etc. (and available in Canada thanks to Bell Fibe TV!). I am glad that they show movies subtitled in english once in while.

[ AmazonAsianWikiIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

Suffragette

Maud (Carey Mulligan) works in an industrial laundry house and gets involved by chance in the suffragette movement. Participating in illegal protests causes her to be outcast by her husband, which in turn drives her even further into political activism. Protests become more and more violent with property damages and bombings, hunger strikes when they were jailed, but it fails to really attract attention since the government controls the press… Until one woman, Emily Davison, is killed on a race track in front of the king. In 1928, women’s rights were finally recognized in Britain. But it took fifteen years to get there and the movie doesn’t show how Maud managed to survive during that time (if she could). Meryl Streep has a brief cameo as one of the movement’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst. It’s unbelievable to see how bad were women’s living and working conditions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For that, it’s an interesting movie but I found it was lacking passion.

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBOfficial sitesWikipediaYoutube ]

💊     💊     💊

[ Traduire ]

Movie capsule-reviews

Pompeii

Another totally unrealistic catastrophe movie. Kiefer Sutherland with a ridiculous brit accent and “John Snow” [Kit Harington] as a slave hero pointlessly saving the damsel in distress. Entertaining but not historic.

[ BibliothèqueIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

 

Big Eyes

A Tim Burton movie about the life of American painter Margaret Keane, famous for her children with big eyes art, who had to fight her husband Walter Keane up to court as he took credit for her very successful work. He was a genius of marketing but, as a frustrated wanna-be painter, couldn’t resist to flatter his ego and take credit for “their” success until she got tired of the fraud (and found religion with the Jehovah’s witnesses). Interesting subject, but a quite ordinary delivery.

[ BibliothèqueIMdBOfficial siteWikipediaYoutube ]

Les Visiteurs: La Révolution

En 1123, le chevalier Godefroy de Montmirail, dit « le Hardi » (et son écuyer, Jacquouille la Fripouille) voyagent dans le temps grâce à la potion d’un mage. Mais rien ne va comme prévu et, dans ce troisième opus, le duo (Jean Reno et Christian Clavier) se retrouve en 1793, soit en pleine Terreur révolutionnaire! Amusant mais la formule commence à se faire vieille.

[ BibliothèqueIMdBWikipediaYoutube ]

Race

An interesting film about the struggle of a black athlete to get into the 1936 summer Olympics and to show that black lives matter — while teaching a good lesson to Nazi Germany. More interestingly, it’s what the movie fails to show that is the most important: despite his four olympic medals, Jesse Owens will be totally ignored after his return to the U.S.A.. After all, the blacks in America were not that much better off than the jews in Germany. He died of cancer at 66 years old, poor, after holding small jobs and making a few business ventures. He was recognized only posthumously with a Congressional Gold Medal awarded by George W Bush in 1990! Not totally accurate, but a moment in history worth remembering.

[ BibliothèqueIMdBOfficial siteWikipediaYoutube ]

[ Traduire ]

Discovery: five new anime to watch

In This Corner of the World

While watching the news on NHK World earlier today, I saw a report on a new anime movie that sounds quite interesting. Based on a manga by Fumiyo Kōno, this historical animated drama tells the daily life of young newly wed Suzu in the Japanese countryside of Kure during the years leading to WWII.

In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に / Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni): Japan, 2016, 130 min.; Dir./Scr.: Sunao Katabuchi; Anim. Dir.: Hidenori Matsubara; Char. Des.: Hidenori Matsubara; Mus.: Kotringo; Prod.: Masao Maruyama (MAPPA), Taro Maki (GENCO); Voice cast: Rena Nōnen (Suzu), Yoshimasa Hosoya (Shūsaku), Natsuki Inaba (Harumi), Minori Omi (Keiko), Daisuke Ono (Tetsu), Megumi Han (Sumi), Shigeru Ushiyama (Entaro), Mayumi Shintani (San), Nanase Iwai (Rin).

ANN / IMdB / Japan Times / Official website / Wikipedia / Youtube

Four more anime titles have caught our attention in the last few months:
Continue reading

Opening of the 33rd JFFM

As I mentioned before, the 33rd Japanese Film Festival of Montreal was held at the Cinémathèque Québécoise on October 27th and 29th. This free annual event is co-organized by the Japan Foundation (Toronto) and the Consulate General of Japan in Montreal.

Before the screening of the first movie, A Tale of Samurai Cooking, the attendees were treated with a few canapé and a degustation of sake. There was a presentation by the a staff member of the Japanese consulate in Montreal, followed by allocutions of the Cinémathèque general director, Marcel Jean, and the Consul General in Montreal, Hideaki KURAMITSU.

Here’s a video of the opening allocutions (available on Vimeo):


You can also check our comments on two of the three movies presented at the festival: A Tale of Samurai Cooking and Sue, Mai & Sawa: Righting the Girl Ship.


[ Traduire ]

A Tale of Samurai Cooking

“Haru has an excellent sense of taste and unsurpassed skill in the kitchen, but her impetuous character leads to her husband asking for a divorce after only a year of marriage. One day, she is approached by Dennai Funaki, a samurai chef from Kaga, to marry his son and heir, Yasunobu.”

“Serving the Lord of Kaga not with the sword, but with the kitchen knife, the Funaki family has been known as “Kitchen Samurai” for generations. However, Yasunobu’s lack of culinary skills has placed the Funaki name in peril. To save her new family and its status as “Kitchen Samurai”, Haru decides to teach her new husband the refined art of Kaga cuisine from her point of view. Inspired by a true story.”

(Text from the Cinémathèque website)

Continue reading