31 March 2017.
A UNITED KINGDOM ***
How does one rate and describe a film that is not very well written, is overly sentimentalized, yet is a pleasing, touching film that should be seen? Seen for its intriguing, true historic story, and for its main star, David Oyelowo, the brilliant Nigerian/English actor who recently portrayed Martin Luther King in “Selma”.
Here he plays the young black student in England who is being groomed to be the next king of a small African nation. Botswana, to be exact – but under another name in the film. However, he falls in love with a white Englishwoman (sweetly played by Rosamund Pike), they are a perfect match, and they get married in England. But their union was a shock for her parents, his country, and the British and South African governments. For this was the staid and uptight 1940s, and everyone seemed to be against them.
Directed by Amma Assante, this is their romanticized story, an actual tale that shows the long arm of racist, backhanded diplomacy verses the bravery, faith and stubbornness of two isolated lovers who managed to overturn history in a difficult era. Somewhat in the same vein as last year’s “Loving”, the American film on the Loving family in Virginia, who also struggled for recognition of their bi-racial marriage in the early 1960s. Important revelations these, for film can be a vital tool for moral consciousness.
GHOST IN A SHELL *1/2
This action yarn based on the cult 1990s manga animation film from Japan has become a live action sci-fi blockbuster starring Scarlett Johansson. But its hollow, convoluted scenario and overload of gratuitous violence in 3D become quickly tiring (épuisant is a better word). I walked out after half-an-hour for the release of coffee and errands, and got back for the sugary ending promising more humanity for the robots, and of course the vague idea of a sequel – oh, Lord…
This is an example of the negative effect of film which contains constant mayhem and destruction that can influence young minds in perceiving all these easy killings as the “norm” and actually fun.
The only saving grace is the pure beauty of Scarlett Johansson – even though her casting has caused a racial controversy between Hollywood and Japan, for some have asked why not a Japanese heroine? As she was in “Lucy”, Johansson has gumption, is gorgeous, and has that special something…almost of a Marilyn Monroe. And her Danish co-star Pilou Asbaek isn’t bad either – a gentle/rough giant of a hero, who seems to be a rising star.
THE BOSS BABY *1/2
We love you, Alec Baldwin! You’ve been around a long time, done all sorts of characters and have those multiple actor brothers. You get better with age – you’re bright, handsome and do a great Trump on Saturday Night Live! And might end up running for prez yourself. You’re an intellectual hunk – a rarity. And you’ve got a throaty, sexy voice.
In this animated film, you’re the voice of the pushy baby who wears a suit, runs the show, is a sort of a spy and sends out for sushi. Should have been a hoot, but it’s a mangled attempt at being a smart comedy with lots of silly action thrown in. It’s not terribly funny, except for rare moments. Can’t win’em all, Alec.
FESTIVAL International du FILM ORIENTALE de GENÈVE – from April 1 – 9
Make sure you don’t miss the 12th annual FIFOG :
Here’s a rich collection of some 100 films from around the Orient, taking place in the Suisse Romande area – from our GRUTLI in Geneva, to Lausanne, Versoix and neighboring France.
More info at WWW.FIFOG.COM
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.