Chuck (US – 2016) – Short Review

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Chuck (it was titled the The Bleeder when shown at TIFF in September)is based upon the real life story of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner who had a shot at glory in 1975 facing Muhammad Ali in the ring and making it to the 15th round.

Directed by Philippe Falardeau (The good lie) it stars Liev Schreiber (Spotlight, X-Men), Naomi Watts and Ron Perlman (Hellboy). It is said that Wepner’s story was influential in the Making of Rocky (1976). At least that is what he wants us to believe.

We are witnesses to the preceding, then the fight and the ensuing downfall. The depiction of 1970’s era is honest, the performances are enjoyable, especially Perlman as the manager. A colorful manager is a must to any boxing film.

Chuck is a pedestrian ride narrated with with a great dose of narcissism, but in such a self-deprecating way it ultimately becomes sympathetic. Chuck is much about trusting the word of the one telling the story…

I, Daniel Blake (UK – 2016) – Short Review

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When I, Daniel Blake won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, Ken Loach entered a highly select group of directors who took home the award twice. Much has been written about it since (it comes late on our Canadian screens as Cannes 2017 edition is already at the Gates) people even suggesting the jury’s top recognition had more to do with the overall body of work – Loach is already 80 – than the film itself.

So what?

I, Daniel Blake  bears Ken Loach (and screenwriter’s Paul Laverty) signature all along. It depicts the despair of a 59-year-old worker, Blake, who, after a heart attack, must apply for social care. Mr Blake contributed a whole life to a system soon to discover it doesn’t really work both ways as Continue reading

The Lost City of Z (US – 2016)

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James Gray’s new film, The Lost City of Z, is a drama- adventure based on the real life character of 1910-20’s British explorer Percival Fawcett, following him on the trail of a mythical city lost in the Amazon. It stars Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight).

As opposite as it can be from more poetic art house adventure on similar subject, such as Werner Herzog’s Aguirre- The Wrath of God (1972), it is nonetheless effective and exotic, if conventional. It relies plenty , of course, on the artistic output provided by highly gifted cinematographer Darius Khondji (Seven, Fight Club, Amour, etc), fully capturing the essence of lights, shadows and movements.

The Lost City of Z basically aim, Continue reading

Vues d’Afrique – last weekend

 

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The 33rd Montreal Vues d’Afriques Film Festival is still alive and kicking through the whole weekend, from Friday to Sunday April 23rd. Note that most films are either shown in French or with French subs.

This Friday bring your kids to the matinees at Cinemathèque Québecoise for intriguing collections of films dealing with social issues. There are four programs aiming at your kids to choose from. At 20:30, if you are still around, It is the Cuban night. It continues on Saturday and Sunday with various selections from Morocco, Haiti, Senegal et Al.

Details: http://www.vuesdafrique.com/

 

Trainspotting 2 is pointless

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20 years after the facts, Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie are back in business. Ewan McGregor (Renton), Ewen Bremmer (Spud), John Lee Miller (Sick Boy), Robert Carlyle (Begbie) reprise the roles that made them famous.

Mark Renton returns home. Twenty years have gone by. There was a betrayal back in the days and the wounds are still wide open. Sick Boy and Begbie are looking to strike a vengeance upon Renton. As usual, Spud doesn’t fully understand where he stands…

The original team, headed by director Danny Boyle, is behind this follow up to the triumphant Trainspotting (1996). The original film Continue reading