30 December 2016.
THE FOUNDER ***1/2
Everyone knows the McDonald’s name, the mass-produced, fast food hamburgers that have conquered the world, for better or for worse. The original idea came from two McDonald brothers in California who were proud of their innovative success. That was in the mid-1950s, and it was like a “symphony in hamburger efficiency”. But the idea may have stayed right there in San Bernardino if it weren’t for Ray Krok, the fellow who took their ingenious concept and decided to take it on the road – in other words, franchise it.
This is his story, how he came up from the failed salesman he was, to jumping at a brilliant idea when he saw it, and creating from it a worldwide conglomerate. It’s his business trajectory and his personal life, brought to the screen as the ultimate American success story: hard work, grabbing opportunities and ruthless dealings.
Michael Keaton is Krok personified, the little man becoming bolder and greedier with each successful manoeuvre. A more colorful, more American story you couldn’t find – he who fights toughest gets the golden goose, or rather, the Golden Arches.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, the film radiates a fifties innocence and sense of fun, along with the darker, more fascinating true story of how Krok highjacked an idea, making it his own through pure gumption.
It’s a terrible shame that jaded critics can derail the success of an excellent film, as they seem to have done with this one.
Here is a fascinating tale of the future – a love story in a decades-long journey on a carrier transporting thousands in sleep pods to a new space colony. The premise is both intriguing and troubling, with moments of deep introspection, especially for one character who has mistakenly woken up decades too early on the intergalactic trip, completely alone on this vast space ship. His only companion is a very pleasant robot who is a congenial barman, played by a perky Michael Sheen. The man’s dilemma is a sort of Adam and Eve parallel – dare he wake up another human being to keep him company?
The two main characters are the radiant Jennifer Lawrence and charmer boy-next-door Chris Pratt, emanating a warm glow while they are falling in love as the only passengers awake on this space ship. And we feel as though we are them, also aboard that immense, self-propelled spacecraft – stranded, solitary, yet discovering love. It’s a heady experience.
Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (of the superb “The Imitation Game”) has created an intimate tale of love, moral quandaries and sci-fi adventure with stunning cinematography, sharp editing and magical moments.
Do yourself a favor, and check out this both thrilling and profound film.
If you love ballet, this is your film. If you are interested in how a whole family can disperse, going to work in different corners of the earth, just to secure and finance the dance career of their talented son, this is your film. If you want to see the rise of a “rock star” in the ballet world, this is your film.
This documentary by Steven Cantor about Sergei Polunin, the Ukrainian star of the ballet world is a revelation. It’s about gruelling, consistent work, family sacrifices, and his amazing rise to lead dancer in the Royal Ballet of London at the age of 19. It has it all – breathtaking beauty and ease of movement; the emotional fall after glory, and his rebellion against fame and unrelenting work.
This is a film not to miss if you love dance.
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.