10 June 2016.
3 to see, and 3 to miss.
MONEY MONSTER **1/2
Director Jody Foster has gone commercial in this yarn about a hostage-taking on a financial TV show. Underlying the tensions on the set is the eternal quandary between the haves and the have- nots.
And she’s thrown in stars such as George Clooney as the financial fast-talker and Julia Roberts as his behind-the-scenes producer, to whet the public interest. It could have been a fine, intelligent thriller, except for an uneven script and an implausible chase through the streets of NY.
MA MA ***1/2 (vo Spanish)
At 42, Penelope Cruz is at the height of her talent and beauty. And with this film by Julio Medem, tailor-made for her attributes, she is not only actress, but also producer. One feels her full commitment in this homage to the strength and independence of a woman struggling for her very life with an incredible amount of love, gumption and acceptance of differences.
This melodrama is an obvious tear-jerker, and except for the very last kitschy scene, it is well worth the lumps-in-the throat.
Its various story lines about cancer, mother love, empathy for a terrible loss, love and sensuality found in the strangest circumstances and the intertwined characters make up a rich panorama of life at its fullest yet most vulnerable. So go ahead and shed a few tears…
JULIETA *** (vo Spanish)
The great Almodovar is back and this latest tale, which was in the Competition at Cannes, has all his usual features: colorful decor; mother/daughter relationships; the intricate manoeuvrings of fate; difficult life choices, and his homely muse: Rossy de Palma.
Here’s a rich melodrama of a woman’s life, before and after her daughter’s birth. It’s a good one, but it somehow trickles away from the memory; not a sign of a masterpiece, like his “Talk to Her” or “Volver”.
And the 3 to miss:
THE NEON DEMON – Blood and gore are the staples of this idiotic happening in the modelling industry. Or how to destroy the image of the innocent, virginal Elle Fanning by the Danish bad-boy director, Nicolas Winding Refn.
MA LOUTE (vo French) – This French farce on the northern coast of the country is so silly and exaggerated, you wonder why you haven’t left the cinema yet.
ELLE (vo French) – Sexploitation by Paul Verhoeven of “Basic Instinct”, with the usual lady-is- sick, Isabelle Huppert. Here’s a woman who gets a kick out of brutal rape – go figure.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
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.