2016 log (9)

(5 Sep) Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997, Jan de Bont) 27
[ “That’s a stupid idea.”
Here’s “Speed 2”, or “Digital Readout: The Movie”, in which “computer psycho” Willem Dafoe magically plants bombs or whatnot and takes control of all the systems on a cruise ship, with convenient digital readouts on everything letting us know how much time is left before this or that stupid thing happens. Did I mention this is a stupid movie? Keanu Reeves isn’t the greatest actor in the world, but he’s still missed here, as Jason Patric blandly takes over the supercop part while Sandra Bullock is back as the sassy everygirl. “Speed” was “Die Hard”-on-a-bus, so this is “Die Hard”-on-a-bus-on-a-boat. That, or “Titanic”-before-“Titanic”, minus everything that made “Titanic” great.
“Yeah, that would suck.” ]

(7 Sep) Harry : Portrait d’un détective privé (2016, Maxime Desruisseaux) 82
[ Entrevue avec Maxime Desruisseaux sur Extra Beurre ]

(9 Sep) Inglourious Basterds (2009, Quentin Tarantino) [ review ] 95

fast five

(10 Sep) Fast Five (2011, Justin Lin) 80
[ In this fourth sequel, the “Fast and Furious” franchise goes all “Ocean’s Eleven” on us, as Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) assembles a crack team of thieves/drivers (Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, etc.) to steal 100 million dollars from a Rio de Janeiro kingpin (Joaquim de Almeida), all the while trying to evade a DSS agent (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his men, who are hot on his trail. The plot is absolutely preposterous, the dialogue is often groan-inducing, the characters are one-dimensional, the direction is dynamic but a bit messy at times, and the performances are uneven at best… Nevertheless, “Fast Five” should satisfy most fans of old-school Hollywood action flicks, macho bullshit and homoeroticism. Again, the film as a whole is hit and miss, but the five main set pieces (the train robbery, the foot chase through the favelas, the Vin Diesel vs. The Rock fight, the ambush, the epic car chase with endless mayhem and destruction following the vault heist) are as badass, spectacular, retarded and fun as you could hope for. ]

(11 Sep) Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan) [ review ] 94

(12 Sep) Juste la fin du monde (2016, Xavier Dolan) 89
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(14 Sep) Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock) 95
[ Another great James Stewart film but in quite a different register. Stewart plays a wheelchair-bound magazine photographer who fights boredom by looking out the window into the apartments of his neighbours: the newlyweds, the sexy ballet dancer, the lonely single woman, the pianist… the murderer? This makes for one of the most voyeuristic and suspenseful films Alfred Hitchcock ever directed. “Rear Window” is packed with virtuoso visual storytelling, managing to remain absolutely engrossing even though we never leave Stewart’s tiny little apartment. It doesn’t hurt that his girlfriend is played by the most beautiful woman in the world, Grace Kelly, who never looked better than in this movie. That first close-up of her when she bends to kiss Stewart would make anyone’s heart melt. ]

(16 Sep) Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy) 90
[ It opens with a burst of epic, spectacular spectacular dance choreography, but it’s the first song number of Catherine Deneuve and real-life sister Françoise Dorléac (who tragically died soon after the release of this film) wearing big hats that completely won me over. Here’s one of those movies inside of which you wish you could live, an extravaganza of gorgeous people in beautiful costumes in wonderful location, all in glorious Eastmancolor! The music and songs by Michel Legrand are awesome, and I love the romantic, dreamy, playful spirit of Jacques Demy’s screenplay, notably the storyline about a boy and a girl who are in love before even meeting each other! And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, Gene Kelly shows up, acting and singing in French! There’s even some kind of murder mystery, which gets sung about! ]

(20 Sep) Juste la fin du monde (2016, Xavier Dolan) 89 92
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(21 Sep) 1:54.00 (2016, Yan England) 39
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

(24 Sep) First Blood (1982, Ted Kotcheff) [ review ] 94

(25 Sep) The Expendables 2 (2012, Simon West) [ review ] 90

(26 Sep) Déserts (2016, Charles-André Coderre & Yann-Manuel Hernandez)
[ Entrevue avec Charles-André Coderre & Yann-Manuel Hernandez sur Extra Beurre ]

(29 Sep) Kill Zone 2 (2016, Cheang Pou-soi) 45
[ This is technically the sequel to 2005’s “SPL: Kill Zone,” which I haven’t seen, but from what I understand, the two films have little in common, with no returning characters and unrelated storylines. Yet I had trouble following it at first anyway, what with the exposition dump and flashbacks introducing various characters, including a prison guard (Tony Jaa) whose daughter is sick, an undercover cop (Wu Jing) who’s a junkie, and an organ trafficker (Louis Koo) who needs a heart transplant. I dug the cinematography and editing and whatnot, and when a fight or shootout breaks out, there is some pretty impressive choreography on display. Yet to be honest, I didn’t really connect to the action. A lot of the time, I lost track of who was who and who everyone was trying to beat or kill… I don’t know, man, I just didn’t care about anyone here, which made the dialogue scenes particularly dull, but which, again, also extended to the action scenes, which felt rather random and anonymous to me, even though I could see that they were well made and all. Your mileage may vary, etc. ]

(30 Sep) Zootopia (2016, Byron Howard & Rich Moore) 81
[ Wait, is this really supposed to be a kids movies? Because it’s really smart and incisive and provocative… I guess Pixar films can be those things as well, but I was still surprised by how “adult” this Disney production is. It’s this whole allegory about a world in which predators and prey coexist peacefully, but then some predators “go savage” and it brings out major racism in their fellow mammals… Pretty heavy, all too relevant stuff for a cartoon about talking animals! Now, it’s also gorgeously animated, mostly bright and colorful and fun, but it truly makes you think and shakes you up a little. ]