• De père en flic 2 / Father and Guns 2 (2017)

    Eight years ago, the French-Canadian action-comedy movie Father and Guns was a massive blockbuster. While a similar movie like Good Cop, Bad Cop managed to reinvent itself for a stunning sequel, the makers of Father and Guns decided to stick to the exact same formula again. The plot is almost exactly the same as in the first movie: Two police officers, an overambitious father and a troubled son, infiltrate a boot camp to get some information from a collaborator of Montreal's organized crime scene. The main difference between the two movies is that the first film focused on a boot camp for difficult relationships between fathers and sons while the second film portrays a boot camp for couples where the son participates with his girlfriend while his father acts as driver and psychologist.

    Despite its repetitive formula, the movie works surprisingly well and is even a slight improvement over the first film in my opinion. The movie starts with a gripping and sinister opening sequence and then switches to a fast-paced scene with two amazing jokes that immediately get you into the movie. The pace of this second instalment is faster, the humour is more on point and the acting has also improved. Louis-José Houde has improved his wooden and stereotypical acting skills from the first part and his new on-screen partner Karine Vanasse is a much more versatile actress than Caroline Dhavernas in the first film. The movie focuses even more on lead actor Michel Côté than the first film as he incarnates an ambitious police officer, an emotional lover, a quiet driver, a radical psychologist, a sentimental loner and a tough father all at once. This idea pays off because both the character and the actor are very interesting. 

    On the negative side, the side characters and the activities in the boot camp are too similar compared to the first movie. There are some positive exceptions like the hilarious lesbian couple and the discussion about parents in the woods but these parts of the film are overall the least interesting ones. It was a good choice to focus more on what happens in between the boot camp sequences like the hilarious Scandinavian and Thai approaches. The finale was a little bit too predictable but didn't overstay its welcome.

    Despite its obvious and predictable flaws, the second instalment of Father and Guns is a positive surprise and a movie with improved acting performances, vivid action sequences, focused emotional moments, hilarious jokes and a solid dose of tension. The film entertains from start to finish. It might not beat the second instalment of Good Cop, Bad Cop this year but it underlines the fact that this might be the most successful year in French-Canadian cinema in a very long time.

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  • Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 (2017)

    I'm usually not a fan of sequels of any kind. Eleven years ago, the original ''Bon Cop Bad Cop'' portrayed the divergences and similarities between Anglo- and Franco-Canadians perfectly in a movie filled with diversified humour, stunning action sequences and a whole lot of suspense and tension plus some entertaining cultural elements related to ice hockey being Canada's national sport. This movie had a huge impact on my teenage years and is still one of my favourite films of all times. It was clear that a potential sequel couldn't be any better than this.

    And yet, ''Bon Cop Bad Cop 2'' was more than just a positive surprise and is in fact as great as the perfect original movie. The creators managed to achieve this stunning result by developing a balanced mixture of trademarks from the original film and refreshing new elements instead of just copying what had been done eleven years earlier. They kept the talented two main actors Colm Feore and Patrick Huard who have great chemistry on and off the screen, the diversified humour including amusing cultural inspirations, inside jokes for Canadians and raw comedy elements plus a solid dose of action and tension. The movie includes a handful of new elements such as a convincing story line expanding to the United States of America that fits surprisingly well in times of Trump's presidency and the rise of terrorism all around the world, two main characters that have clearly influenced each other both negatively and positively but who have also become more mature and serious in a credible way and an overall more brutal and sinister tone that makes the action sequences even more explosive, the suspenseful elements even more gripping and the humorous parts even more relieving.

    Even though this movie also focuses on Canada's diversified cultures, it might be more accessible internationally because it's easier to relate to the characters and their everyday life problems as well as to the story line involving two countries now. To be honest, this film is much better than any flick mixing elements of action, comedy and thriller cinema that has come out of the United States in the past ten years. More people should watch this movie as well as its brilliant predecessor. I have never liked sequels but now I hope that there is going to be another film of this franchise in the future. This movie makes me proud to live in Canada.

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  • Yoga Hosers (2016)

    From a purely objective point of view, ''Yoga Hosers'' could be seen as one of the worst movies ever made. The story is extremely weak. The movie has several big plot holes. The acting performances are somewhere between average and terrible. The characters are quite one- dimensional. The special effects are extremely cheap. The movie is filled with stupid stereotypes about Canadians and Germans. The German, French Canadian and English Canadian accents are also stereotypical and while a few expressions and pronunciations are employed correctly, they are completely exaggerated and annoyingly repetitive. The movie also rips off other films, characters and even actors. Even the soundtrack seems to have been put together in a very odd way where the main actresses perform famous classics in mostly horrid ways.

    And yet, from my subjective point of view, I adored ''Yoga Hosers'' from start to finish and not only despite but because of its flaws. If you are ready to switch your brain off, have some fun and watch this movie with a few friends, this is an entertaining, light-hearted and surprising party movie. It doesn't have the diversity, intensity and uniqueness of its predecessor ''Tusk'' but it has its very own style and might also have a small but faithful cult following in the years to come.

    The movie literally got me right from the start. I'm a huge fan of metal music and its diverse sub-genres, so when the film opened with a reinterpretation of Anthrax's famous ''I'm the Man'', I got my first positive surprise. The new lyrics for the song aren't very innovative but they are amusing and the idea itself is quite cool.

    The characters in this movie are so stupid, stereotypical and one- dimensional that it's actually funny. From the horny, obsessive and possessive stepmother over the angry, closed-minded and severe physical education teacher to the hysterical, megalomaniac and narcissistic villain, you get a whole series of hilariously entertaining characters. I somehow liked the so-called school hottie who actually looks plain horrible and who pretends to be a gentleman and turns out to be a satanist. His slightly retarded sidekick is another stereotypical character that is so over-the-top that I had to laugh about him all the time.

    Throw in a lot of interesting story ideas and you get a very unusual potpourri. The historic references to Canadian national socialist Adrien Arcand show that the makers of this film are actually familiar with Canadian culture and history. The movie also makes fun of cheap magazines and the obsession of media with stars and starlets in general. The idea to center this story around two bored, cynical and naive female store clerks who are addicted to their cell phones and judge everyone and everything around them is also quite interesting. It's actually interesting to live this story from the point of view of two unsympathetic anti-heroes that symbolize stereotypically everything that might be wrong with the the new millennium's generation. The older generation isn't portrayed in a more favourable way though and is often depicted as conservative, grumpy and prejudiced. The film also lives from its numerous cameo appearances featuring Johnny Depp as weird French Canadian police officer, Justin Long as surprisingly aggressive yoga teacher with weird marketing ideas and slogans and Kevin Smith as the face of an army of miniature monsters made of sausages and sauerkraut.

    This leads us to the incredible story line. A follower of French Canadian national socialist Adrien Arcand, a doctor from Berlin called Adronicus Arcane, purchases some land in Winnipeg, builds a subterranean palace, creates an army of tiny sausage warriors with sauerkraut blood, places himself into cryopreservation and plans to wake up one hundred years later in order to conquer North America. He wakes up three decades too soon after a power shortcut caused by a band performance in the back-store of a convenience store. He decides to send out his sausage warriors to kill people and get their body parts to build an ultimate monster suit for his sausage warriors. Unfortunately for the villain, he is living below the convenience store of two bored female clerks, naive high school students and yoga enthusiasts who will team up with a strange French Canadian police officer to save their country.

    Let's put this simple. If the story sounds like a cool idea to you, you will like this movie like I did. If you thing it's the worst thing you have ever heard, do yourself a favour and avoid this controversial cult flick. If you are somewhere in between, watch this at your own risks. I can't wait to watch the final instalment of the True North trilogy called ''Moose Jaws''.

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  • The Family (2013)

     

    "The Family" is an enjoyable and entertaining movie that though lacks depth and direction. It's a comedy movie that intends to be a satire of several gangster movies. The clash of cultures between a family of Italian origin from Brooklyn living in a remote small-town in France is another main element of this film. While the movie has a couple of hilarious scenes, most of them remain predictable and are filled with dumb stereotypes that had already been cited over and over again. Among the funny moments, there is also some action and suspense but not too much of it.

    What I liked about the movie were the perspective changes. At some points, you see the gangsters trying to track down the family and the American agents giving their best to protect them even though they act somewhat silly and unprofessional. In the movie, you follow the traces of the criminal family father who is ready to change things in town he doesn't like and who starts writing his memoirs. You also see some scenes of the mother who seems naive and religious at first sight but also uncovers a lot of criminal potential. The family's daughter looks very good and gets a lot of attention at high school but her unrequited love to a math geek adds a dramatic and romantic touch to the movie and drowns her into depression. The son is going through hell on his first day at high school and then starts to elaborate a smart revenge on everyone around him where he comes close to his father. The acting in the movie is quite okay. Robert De Niro has some charm and charisma. Tommy Lee Jones as ill-tempered, serious old school agent also has a few strong scenes. The best acting though comes from the family's dog and I don't mean that in an ironic way. The pet is involved in some of the funniest scenes of the entire movie in my opinion. Each time it appears, the movie gets rather interesting and a new twist or turn while some parts of the film feel disoriented.

    The story of the movie is very thin and some scenes are completely dumb. The way the imprisoned gangsters find the whereabouts of the family is nonsense. The final fighting scenes on the movie are rather lame as well and I was really expecting something longer and more intense. The way the movie ends is almost abrupt and didn't please me as well.

     

    This all sounds rather negative now, but fact is that this movie is a quite diverting film that never gets boring despite its obvious flaws. It's a good film to have some laughs and switch your brain off because there is no big story you need to follow. You see a couple of older star actors and actresses as well as some solid young actors. If you can live with an absent story and a lot of stereotypes, you might eventually enjoy this action comedy movie but don't expect too much from it. Let's also add that this is a "film for the whole family" compromise kind of thing which means that everyone may find it okay but nobody really adores it. In fact, I would rather recommend you renting or buying the film instead of going to the cinema just for this. 

     

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  • Scary Movie V

     

    In case you didn't know, Hollywood is becoming less and less original. The number of sequels or remakes even seems to be at new heights this year: "Carrie", "Die Hard V", "Evil Dead", "Fast & Furious 6", "Iron Man 3", "Man Of Steel: Superman 6", "Star Trek 12: Into Darkness", "Very Bad Trip 3" and so on. The strange thing is that people seem to want to see the lukewarm old stuff again and again and massively run into the theatres. Guess why I've switched to European and Asian cinema over the years. But from time to time, you go back to the movie theatres on a nostalgic note to watch some of those sequels. I've enjoyed the Scary Movie instalments when I was younger and when a few friends asked me to watch the new output I spontaneously joined them and gave this film a try.

    I must admit that this fifth part of the series had a couple of good laughs for those who know horror movies quite well. I laughed about the absurd sex scenes in the "Paranormal Activities" beginning, the stoned dialogues between Snoop Lion and Mac Miller on their way to "The Cabin in The Woods", the strange rituals executed by housemaid "Madea" Maria, the appearance of the intelligent ape Caesar as in "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes", the "Inception" influenced dream sequence about "Fifty Shades Of Grey" or the religious teenagers in the cabin in the woods reminding of "Evil Dead" were quite funny. On the other side, other passages were rather dull and had their lengths as the "Black Swan" and "Mama" scenes.

    I must admit that I got out of the movie theatres with a big smile on my face and I had really enjoyed this entertaining and short flick while it lasted. It's not the best "Scary Movie" but also far from being the worst part of the series. That being said it was better than I had expected it to be. 

    What really struck me though is the fact I have some problems to call back in mind all the details of this movie. This is due to three reasons. The story line of the movie is even more stupid than usual and had an almost total absence of sense. The acting is even less impressive and more stereotypical than before. I'm aware of the fact that this kind of movie won't win any Academy Awards but this time the flick was only centred around quick jokes and a few cameo appearances. This movie is another meal of Hollywood junk flick food. It's entertaining but after all quite predictable and superficial of course. It's easy to digest but it's quickly gone as well.

    In the end, the film can be resumed like this: it's entertaining and quite funny when you watch it but you will soon forget it as well as there is honestly said nothing memorable or outstanding about it. Fans of the first four instalments should watch this fun ride as well. Those who didn't appreciate the first parts won't like this movie either and probably hate the fact that these instalments have been brought back to life again. 

     

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