12 November 2015.
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.
Big news: Geneva’s refurbished EMPIRE CINERAMA is open!
The big news this week for Geneva’s film lovers is the brand-new cinema at 72 rue de Carouge. It’s a lovingly restored and renovated venue born from an old movie theater that came into being in the 1920s, and went through various phases, last called the Cinestar. At one point it may have been torn down, but was saved by a team of enthusiastic film lovers, Didier Zuchuat, Jamal Zeinal-zadeh, Jean-Pierre Grey and Sylvain Prévost, who also revived the exclusive Cine17 at the rue Corraterie.
Let’s support this independent initiative that wishes to stand tall against the overwhelming multiplexes. With its state-of-the-art screen, 330 red-velvet seats and VIP balcony, it is now partnering with the TOUS ECRANS fest, and then will start with a bang with the new James Bond film, SPECTRE, reviewed below.
What do we all want from Bond, James Bond? We keep going back, time and again, and this will be the 24th time. We’ve seen him as Sean Connery (all-time classic favorite), George Lazenby (short-lived, but the closest to Fleming’s creation), Roger Moore (the charming, dandy version), Timothy Dalton (seriously decent), Pierce Brosnan (oozing elegance) and now the petulant, toughest one, Daniel Craig.
Author Ian Fleming and his most famous fan, JFK, had already made Bond a myth in the early 60s, even before the Broccoli clan made him into a worldwide blockbuster.
We know he’s invincible, a bit of the Roadrunner or England’s human answer to Superman. We love to see him overcome those nasty villains, the most infamous being Dr. No, Goldfinger and Blofeld. And how he beds those “Bond Girls”, one more scrumptious than the other, but none making him stray from “her Majesty’s service”! And of course those vodka martinis with a twist of lemon… It’s a franchise made in heaven.
And this latest? Well, the great theater/film director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”, “Revolutionary Road”) has been coaxed back after his excellent “Skyfall”, which breathed quality back into a series that was becoming mediocre and convoluted. This one starts off with an over- the-top sequence in Mexico City. Gets the whole thing going on a huge high, and just keeps those crazy action sequences coming, in between some classy quiet time and amusing dialogue with M and Moneypenny, as well as my personal favorite, Q (a tongue-in-cheek Ben Whishaw), who is the smartest, sweetest nerd you’ll come across.
And of course his ladies, of which Craig’s Bond is gallantly protective. Monica Bellucci as a Roman widow is touching, but far too brief, while Lea Seydoux makes a spunky, convincing new love interest. Christoph Waltz is a wonderfully understated villain, of pedigree quality, harking back to another era. For Mendes has again made quite a few nostalgic nods to previous episodes. Try to catch them.
The main gist is that to rule the world, you need to have complete control over modern surveillance and technology. Sound familiar?
Of the two-and-a-half hours, I would have cut some 30 minutes of the really unbelievable sequences, and clarified some of the twists, but let’s not get finicky. For Bond is back, and in mean form!
NOUS TROIS OU RIEN ***1/2 (vo French)
Here’s an extraordinarily-polished first film by and with the talented Iranian/French comedian, Kheiron, who tells his life story starting with his parents and grandparents in Iran. It covers three generations of a close-knit family while illuminating the dramatic events of his home country Iran, both under the Shah and the Islamic revolution. And he melds it into his own life as a baby refugee who grows into a success story in his new country, France. He turns the rough moments into bearable ones with subtle humor and manages to throw in laughter mixed with the tears and fears of leaving one’s home. Leila Bakhti, Gerard Darmon and Zabou Breitman are excellent as his mother and his grandparents.
This fine homage to his father’s strong principles is also a salute to hope and solidarity everywhere, especially in these times of world turmoil.
2 to MISS. Save your money! (Not even worth full reviews):
LOLO – A supposedly romantic comedy from the French/American Julie Delpy that is so idiotic and excruciatingly vulgar that it should be boycotted!
ANGE et GABRIELLE – And this second French romcom is foolish, tiresome and predictable.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars