Saturday, July 30, 2016

La Géopolitique des Séries - Dominique Moïsi

Well, yes : 
Interesting ideas. In a nutshell, Moïsi claims the post-9/11 "golden age of TV" reflects an end to hopefulness, and the dawn of a reign of fear and anxiety.

To prove his point, he examines a couple of major TV series and concludes, basically that : 
- 'Game of Thrones' mirrors our fascination and awe for chaos,
- 'Downton Abbey' shows our nostalgia for a more orderly and secure past, 
- 'Homeland' represents America's reactions to terrorism, whereas
- 'House of Cards' sees cynicism triumph over the American Dream.

(Admittedly, none of these theories are exactly groundbreaking.)

However : 
This reads precisely like a French University work : 
- Too long by ca 30%, 
- Could definitely have done with a bit more thinking-through
   (Publish or perish, I know. But it does the writing no good.)
- And that flowery, semi-literary, wannabe-poetic style that drives me absolutely up the wall.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Breakin' Point - Peter, Bjorn and John

I won't pretend this did not take some getting used to. 
It did. 
But then, if you stop to think about it, so does almost any music worth listening to. 

This I found to be rather unassuming yet clever pop music. 
Definitely worth listening to.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WTF with Marc Maron podcast

Maron is extremely productive (over 700 episodes to date) and - I guess - very convincing, since his interviewees hold such prestigious names as Susan Sarandon, William Friedkin, Daniel Radcliffe, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Keith Richards and Barack Obama, no less.

Sadly, I find it hard to focus on the guests as Maron himself is rather of the obtrusive kind and, to my mind, takes up way too much room for himself. 

If roaring laughter, reiterative 'fucks' and persistent butting-in do not bother you, then by all means, log on to the 'wtfpod' and listen. 

The Louis CK episodes were brilliant. (But then I am beginning to seriously doubt he is capable of anything less.)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Arthur and the Minimoys - L. Besson 2006

Dear me, I wonder how many times we sat through this with my bambini before they grew too old, and before I came across it on TV the other day?

Gazillions of times, most likely.

An updated view : It's a bit long to take off and admittedly not 100% original, but it does sidestep many of the Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks pitfalls, and the dialogue is pleasurably playful. 
All in all, it has aged gracefully.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Greatest Hits - 2Pac

So however much I consider myself a rap-neophyte, I realize I must still have have listened enough to recognize when I hear it :
          a. obvious talent
          b. outdated music.

This was both. Pity he went and got himself shot.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rock the Kasbah - B. Levinson 2015

Certainly, there is a reason why Bill Murray is regarded as a national treasure in his home country. 
That reason becomes obvious in more modest productions like this (and 'Lost in Translation', to which this film is something of a distant wanna-be cousin) where he is given free rein and yet miraculously does not overdo it, although admittedly not always helped by the script.

His out-of-luck rock manager struggles along on an unlikely adventure around Kabul, and even though this involves stereotypes to no end (the kind-hearted hooker, the tough-guy mercenary, the vicious warlord...) and other undeniable flaws, there were also a couple of laughs. 
I kind of enjoyed it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Stupeur et Tremblements - Amélie Nothomb

'Fear and Trembling' - the directly translated English title - defines the state a mere mortal should find him/herself in when addressing a superior, according to Japanese beliefs.

Nothomb's problem, during her internship at a Japanese firm, is precisely her lack of fear and trembling. A fault no doubt inherent to her inferior, Western nature, according to her closest supervisor, with whom she develops a tempestuous and ambiguous relationship.

This short novel is autobiographical; it depicts Japanese professional life from an outside yet very benevolent point of view and it is particularly well penned. 
Nothomb's style is incisive and poetic at the same time, and this was a pleasure to read.

(Any reference to Kierkegaard's opus of the same name was perfectly lost on me, as I am not at all familiar with his work. A lack in my education, no doubt.)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sixtape - Superbus

French pop/rock music is not generally my first pick, as you may already have gathered.
I like guitars and a proper bass line, as opposed to most French producers.

Now, I have no idea who produced this (I was unable to find a name despite intense googling; some things were so much easier when an album was an actual, physical object with TEXT on it!) but I'll wager he/she is not from France, as the basic pop tunes are spiced up with a classic rock-sound. Like it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

La Chance de Ma Vie - N. Cuche 2011

The pitch is slightly out of the ordinary - the male protagonist brings bad luck to the women he dates - but the treatment is just too light, even for a romcom, and so it all ends up silly more than anything else.

Still, I sat through it, which means something, I guess.

Paris looks absolutely gorgeous.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

This Is What the Truth Feels Like - Gwen Stefani

I reckon artistry without interference of the artist's inner life is probably Pitbull or One Direction, therefore vital. 
Still, I have lately come to consider for instance Woody Allen's private life way too intrusive; I can no longer separate the rumours from his films, there are just too many parallels and mental images popping up.

For all I know, I might still have enjoyed Stefani's album without being aware of her recent divorce yet I do think that having an inkling of the facts can only add depth and feeling to the music. (Much as was the case with Martina Haag's latest book.) 

As it is : Decent pop/rock music with occasional reggae influences! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Paul Klee at Centre Pompidou, Paris 4th arrdt

My foreknowledge of Paul Klee was all but nonexistent, so the low-expectations principle was in the bag from the outset.

Thanks to this as exhaustive and as educational exhibition, I am now better informed.
Few of his works actually appealed to me, but at least now I know what he is about..! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Night Lights, season 4

Previously, on this blog : Loved season one, was sorely disappointed in season two, felt very thankful the show picked up some in season three, yet stalled after the first couple of episodes of season four.
Frankly, I would never have proceeded to finish the season, had it not been for the insistence of my Ciné Fast friend. 

Now that I have seen it : The season-four reboot is a good idea, but not enough to compensate for what I consider a less well-balanced plotline and characterization.
The nuanced characters from season one have gradually turned into stereotypes, and the plotline is increasingly predictable, although also containing a good number of logical fallacies
It is still a good show, but it I definitely should have settled for the first season. It has been downhill from there.

To sum up, no peer pressure in the world will make me sit through season five. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Heroes - Sabaton

I'd be hard put to justify the presence of this album in my ipod. 
Because they're Swedish? Because my daughter likes them? They make a peachy soundtrack to my running? 
Probably all of the above. It's some power-metal-stuff, though rather commonplace, as far as I can tell. Ghost are Swedish, too, and a lot more original.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Fargo, season 1

Truth be told, I quit somewhere half way through this. 

Not that it wasn't inventive and entertaining - it was! - it just didn't captivate me at all, I'm not sure why.
Perhaps I just need to accept that Noah Hawley, for all his talent, simply isn't quite my cup of tea. (Read The Good Father a couple of years ago.)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Proposal - A. Fletcher 2009

Not that this was in any way an unforgettable masterpiece (predictable but cute and with playful dialogues) but still - rembember when there was more to film than sequels about superheroes?