Tag Archives: montreal

Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne in Montreal

Over the last few years, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of shows in every music genre there is. From Muse to Eminem, from The Sounds to Stratovarius, and also the countless international artists that came to Festival d’Été in Quebec City like Metallica, Black Eyed Peas, Iron Maiden, Arcade Fire, Linkin Park, and the list goes on…

Still, after attending all these shows, there is still no one in my mind who can match the stage presence that Jay-Z has. Prior to last Tuesday’s show, I had seen Jay-Z twice; once in Montreal for the Blueprint 3 tour in 2009, and once in Detroit, in 2010, for one of the two Home and Home shows that he was giving with Eminem. Both times, I had been completely hypnotized by his charisma and his ability to crank the stadiums’ ambiance to the next level.

With the Watch The Throne tour stopping in Montreal on November 22nd, my expectations were sky high to see how the addition of Kanye West would up the ante of a Jay-Z show.

Opting for a minimalist stage design overall, the two hip-hop juggernauts started the show each on their respective hydraulic platforms, performing their collaborative single H*A*M with just two follow-spots lighting them. They went on with other songs from their latest album: Who Gon Stop Me, Otis and Gotta Have It. The visual effects became more and more elaborated as the show was progressing. The two hydraulic platforms rose from the ground, revealing LED screens displaying images of sharks and dobermans. An insane amount of laser beams started filling the Bell Centre, and eventually, two screens at the back of the arena started projecting live images of the two rappers performing, as well as some related footage to the songs being played.

Jay-Z and Kanye eventually split and performed some solo singles from their vast repertoire of classics. Can’t Tell Me Nothing, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, Power, 99 Problems, All Falls Down, Hard Knock Life, Jesus Walks and Big Pimpin’ were just a few of the titles that could be heard throughout their 35-plus-songs setlist (see the complete list here). As expected, Jay-Z’s performances were superior to Kanye, but the 34-year-old still did pretty good besides the 42-year-old veteran king of hip-hop.

Once again, I was amazed by the energy that the song U Don’t Know brought to the arena, just like the two previous times I heard Jay-Z perform it. It felt like if the Bell Centre was going to crumble under the loud screams of the crowd.

Hova was not interacting with the crowd as much as the previous times I’d seen him, but the chemistry between Jay-Z, probably the coolest person on the planet, and the mysterious and intense Kanye West, more than made up for it. When the screens showed KW as he looked at the crowd without smiling, his look was terrifying (in a good way of course).

Kanye brought a 10-minute-long emotional phase to the show, rising solo on one of the two lifting stages, dressed in all-red leather clothes, matching the lighting, and started playing the auto-tuned Runaway and Heartless.

The Throne teamed up again for the end of the show, and performed their new hit song N*iggas in Paris not once, not twice, but 5 times in a row, and finished this crazy evening with Jay-Z’s very-appropriate 2003 hit, Encore.

Jay-Z and Kanye proved that their not only watching, but holding the throne.

La francisation, la loi 101 et le ridicule d’une province

Je pars un peu avec deux prises contre moi niveau crédibilité en écrivant cet article (deux et demi maintenant que je commence mon article avec une phrase comme ça). Je ne blogue jamais à propos de politique, et ce qui vient couronner l’ironie ici, c’est que je blogue normalement en anglais (qui non, n’est pas ma langue maternelle). Par contre, quand une bande de politiciens xénophobes prennent des mesures complètement absurdes pour donner l’allure à notre province d’un champ de patates de 1,5 million de km2 avec comme habitants, des paysans sous-éduqués du 18e siècle qui pensent encore que la Terre est plate, je me permets d’effectuer un bref retour à la langue de Molière pour exprimer la honte temporaire que je ressens d’habiter au Québec quand des nouvelles comme celle-là sortent.

J’ai entendu de bouche à oreille mercredi dernier que l’Office québécois de la langue française voulait franciser les noms d’entreprises, particulièrement les multinationales, qui s’installent au Québec. Pour être franc, avant de finalement lire la nouvelle sur Cyberpresse, j’y croyais autant qu’au Bonhomme Sept-Heures.

Nous, les Québécois, on se reproche souvent, en politique surtout, de s’attarder longuement sur des pacotilles, pendant que nous avons de graves problèmes à régler en priorité, et ce, depuis des décennies. Par exemple, ce bon vieux système de santé ou nos routes qui ressemblent au centre-ville de Baghdad. Rajoutons donc ce projet loufoque de transformer Burger King en Roi du Hambourgeois sur la pile de dossiers de seconde (et même tierce) importance qui seront traités dans des délais quatre fois plus longs qu’ils devraient l’être, tout ça grâce à la machine compliquée et suffocante de la fonction publique. Combien d’argent superflu sera injecté dans ce projet ? Combien de fonctionnaires syndiqués, parfois surpayés, travailleront pendant des mois sur les modifications de registres d’entreprises que tout cela engendrera ?

Sérieusement, gens de l’OQLF, de quoi avez-vous peur ? Craignez-vous que les Québécois commencent à se souhaiter “Goodyear” au lieu de “Bonne année” le 1er janvier en raison d’une marque de pneus populaire ?

À Québec, on se fait parfois traiter de “villageois” par les gens de Montréal, puisqu’on est une petite ville à 99% blanche, catholique, francophone, et selon les Montréalais, moins ouverte sur le monde. Quand l’OQLF laisse entendre des plans comme ça pour faire régner sa oh-combien-sacrée loi 101, c’est la province de Québec au complet qui passe pour “le village” face au reste du monde. Les “méchantes” multinationales doivent rire de vous lorsque vous leur annoncez une telle absurdité. Réveillez-vous, sortez de votre bulle de 1977, quand aller en Gaspésie était considéré comme faire le tour du monde et qu’un africain au Québec était plus rare qu’une mine de diamants. Nous sommes à l’ère de l’Internet, des gens qui parcourent le globe, du commerce international, de la mondialisation. Les gens sont confrontés quotidiennement aux cultures du monde entier, les médias sociaux nous bombardent de nouvelles internationales chaque seconde. Que vous le vouliez ou non, c’est la réalité du 21e siècle, et si vous souhaitez un Québec prospère, vous devrez accepter que des entreprises étrangères (qui en passant créent des milliers d’emplois et paient des millions en taxes et impôts) viennent s’établir ici, et qu’elles s’appellent Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Starbucks ou Foot Locker, comme partout ailleurs.

C’est bizarre, lors de mon passage au Costa Rica au printemps dernier, le restaurant Subway ne s’appelait pas “Subterráneo”, et j’ai tout de même été répondu par des unilingues espagnols, et personne ne se plaignait…

Autre curieux fait, j’entends rarement l’OQLF porter plainte contre les dizaines de restaurants asiatiques sur la rue St-Laurent qui portent des noms comme Fung Shing ou Shabu Kagayaki. Devraient-ils s’afficher avec leur traduction française ? Le chic restaurant il Teatro à Québec devrait-il s’appeler Le Théâtre ? Voyons-le dans le sens inverse; est-ce que nous serions à l’aise que Bombardier, notre fierté québécoise, devienne Bommenwerper lorsqu’elle débarque à Berlin ?

Admettez-le, patriotes de la langue française, péquistes, souverainistes, les Pierre Péladeau et Pierre Curzy de ce monde; vous vous nourrissez d’une haine incroyable envers l’Anglais, cette langue employée par nos maléfiques voisins de l’Ouest canadien, et encore pire, la langue maternelle des infâmes Américains, ces terribles sudistes qui sont l’incarnation de Lucifer lui-même! Vos réactions xénophobes, à la limite du racisme, vous font passer pour des bouffons, et vous ne faites que nuire à votre quête bidon de suprématie du Français.

Si vous craignez tant pour la santé du Français au Québec, attaquez-vous donc à la racine du problème plutôt que de perdre votre temps à critiquer la venue de Paul McCartney pour célébrer le 400e de Québec, ou de paranoïer sur de stupides complots fédéralistes qui veulent angliciser les Canadiens de Montréal (voir l’entrevue des Francs-Tireurs). Notre système d’éducation est une farce. Des étudiants faisant une faute aux cinq mots se voient remettre un diplôme d’études secondaires sans trop d’efforts, les cours de Français sont aussi agréables qu’une visite chez le dentiste pour se faire enlever les dents de sagesse. Tout est nivelé vers le bas, on a peur de dire à quelqu’un qu’il est mauvais, on a peur du mot “échec”.

Cessez cet hallucinant enculage de mouches, réglez les problèmes que vous avez créés, et Canadian Tire n’aura pas besoin de devenir Pneu canadien.

(Faites-vous plaisir et allez lire le hashtag Twitter #nomfrançaisdemultinationale)

Mr. Nobody review

“I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid I haven’t been alive enough”.

Probably the sentence everybody says to itself at least once in its lifetime, but are afraid of admitting it. Mr. Nobody, a movie directed by Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael, gravitates around this statement, but also around the choices which we’re confronted to in our lives.

The always amazing Jared Leto (who you may not believe, but just turned 39) stars as Nemo, a confusing character of which we see many sides during the movie. The rest of the storyline is hard to sum up without giving away any spoilers, and is hard to sum up period, because it ressembles nothing I’ve seen before. The story is original and well-put together and the characters are both complex but highly likeable. But what makes the movie is really the masterful work of direction that has been done by Jaco Van Dormael. Every shot has been thoroughly thought through, the transitions are the most impressive I’ve seen in any movie, hands down, and the way he’s able to bring you from one part of the non-linear storyline to another is so fluid that it becomes easy to follow the complex story.

The cinematography is also highly impressive. Various techniques were used, from super slow-motion images to bizarrely-focused shots that are most probably filmed with a tilt-shift lens. Some of those shots were actually shot in Montreal, which makes it even more interesting for me to spot locations that I know. The make-up job is also amazing. Jared Leto is sometimes portrayed as 118-year old Nemo, and his old self is flawless. The make-up department for this movie definitely deserves an Oscar nomination.

Mr. Nobody’s cast is up too par with any other movie too. Leto is excellent as usual, and the movie features many kid and teen actors, who are surprisingly believable in their roles, which is something that most movies suffer when they try to incorporate very young actors in their films.

The emotions that emanate from this movie are really unmatched. It’ll make you feel good at some times, make you confused at other times. It’ll challenge your mind with its many twists and subliminal messages (particularly water, which is a very present element throughout the movie, and has many meanings), make you ask questions that you’ve never thought of before on various subjects, and finally, will simply make you want to live life to the fullest.

This could easily be the most under-rated movie of the last decade. I had posted the trailer of it back in May 2009, and I had completely forgotten about it. It was one of the best cinematographic surprise ever when I stumbled upon it almost 2 years later. Any fan of modern cinema should watch it and enjoy the unique experience on which Mr. Nobody will take you.

Alt for Crea

I’m a bit late on this one, but the blog was kind of left out of my life for the past week since I’ve been working like crazy. Alt, a Montreal-based production company, created a video to present the members of the jury of the Prix Créa, Quebec’s award ceremony for publicity. The short-film presents the jury in a dark, scary-movie like set with black-hooded characters. It was directed by Yan Giroux and Jonathan Desbiens, while Benoit Paillé handled the direction of photography.

New website for Fly Studio

I don’t know how long it’s been up, but while browsing the web tonight, I stumbled upon Montreal-based Fly Studio‘s website which was given a complete redesign. While I must say I’m not a big fan of the navigation system they have going on, their new demo reel and recent work is really something to look at. They have a lot going on in there: 2D text animations, 3D anims, compositing, broadcast design, VFX, name it… The quality of their work really is up there with the big American/European studios. Props to a job well done !

Another success year for IF3

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Pics from Newschoolers.com

This last weekend was the 3rd edition of the annual IF3, the International Freeski Film Festival, held in Montreal. The event is a gathering of the best freeski movies, which also brings together producers and top level athletes from around the globe for 3 days of movie premieres, both pro and am, and of course, 3 nights of insane parties.

I couldn’t make it on Thursday, which was the first day of the festival, where Simon Dumont presented his movie Transitions during a free outdoor screening. It was also the NSX party, Newschoolers.com‘s 10-year party. Then on Friday afternoon, we drove up to Montreal and made it just on time to Cinema Imperial to see Refresh, Level 1 Productions‘ 10th year anniversary movie, which I have to say is the most insane and progressive package of tricks I have ever seen by far. It just amazed me to see the level of progression from last year to this year, and I don’t even want to think what banger tricks we’re going to see next year.

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Right after that was the Reebok Classics after-party at Telus Theater, where DJ Premier mixed some insane tracks until the bar had to close. Missing Vegas, myself and a couple of friends decided to end the night at the Montreal Casino, which was not the best financial decision we made in our lives !

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Then on Saturday, more screenings were held, including Everyday is a Saturday from Poor Boyz Productions, which to me was the movie that had the best vibe of the weekend. The cinematography was insane and the skiing didn’t have much to envy to what we saw the day before in Refresh. Matchstick Productions’ In Deep closed the evening, and then it was back to Telus Theater, for the NS Awards, a ceremony that has been there since the first edition of IF3, where the best movies and skiers are crowned champion. My QC friend’s movie, The Affiliates, took the prize for Best Amateur Movie, and Alex Bellemare, a 16-year old kid I used to film with, won the title for Best Amateur Skier, so props to all of them.

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Finally, Poor Boyz’s EDIAS won the title of Best Pro Movie, and the party started (like it wasn’t already !) again at Telus Theater. Once again, mad props to Felix Rioux, JF Durocher and everyone in the IF3 organization for another perfectly orchestrated edition of IF3 !! A video on www.bombe.tv featuring Camille DG and myself (don’t ask questions…) as hosts should follow shortly this week.

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Shooting of “Dès que je t’ai vu” from Bravo

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I just came back from a 3-day stay at Montreal to shoot the new music video for my friends’ boys band, Bravo. Since their new song is about love at first sight, we decided to split to video in 2 parts: one with performance, and second, filming random girls on the street and in shopping malls, holding a white sheet with a heart printed on it. Even if some super hot chicks rejected us, we still managed to get 20-25 girls to do it, which should be a sick addition to the video.
Most of the video was shot on the roof of ad agency Bleu Blanc Rouge‘s office (thanks to them for letting us climb up there) which is downtown Montreal, from where you can see all the city’s skyline.
Most of the video was shot with my HMC150, mostly at 24 fps, but we also shot some sick footage in 60p to get fluid slow motions.
There are 2 other scenes that were filmed with a Nikon D90 in a convertible and at night near Place Ville-Marie, but I can’t leak all the hot shots, so you’ll have to wait to see the video to see that !
UPDATE: Here’s a making-of from the shooting !
Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the shoot (thanks to Alex Fortin):
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Adjusting the camera’s settings
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The view from the roof
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Shooting on the roof
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Stabilizing everything with the Glidecam
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More roof top shooting

And here are some top secret screenshots of the footage:
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