6 April 2018.
DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT ***
The multifaceted director Gus Van Sant (among his 48 works – “My Own Private Idaho”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Milk”) is back, this time with an intimate, bittersweet film about a severe alcoholic.
Through a wild night of too many drinks with a reckless friend and a car accident, John Callahan ends up as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic.
This whole thing could have been quite depressive, but Van Sant’s light, impressionistic direction, the always excellent Joaquin Phoenix as Callahan, a blond, unrecognisable Jonah Hill, and the delicate Rooney Mara, manage to make this true story of the shock-cartoonist John Callahan a tender, almost amusing tale of redemption through art. For while trying to quit drinking, he’s nudged by various ‘angels’ to take his newly-discovered talent for controversial cartoons seriously. As his fame grows, so does his self-esteem. This is that story based on his memoirs, before his death in 2010.
DANS LA BRUME *** (vo French)
Paris, a normal day until a strange movement of the earth, a sort of an earthquake, provokes a deadly fog that suffocates everyone in its path as it settles over the city. Only the very heights of Paris are spared – the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Cœur on Montmartre, the top floors of high buildings.
We are with a couple that manages to think quickly, rushing up to the top apartment in their building, where they are invited in by an elderly husband and wife who are dazed by the catastrophe. The young couple, played convincingly by Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko (getting better with each role), has an adolescent daughter who has lived in a hermetic bubble since birth, in their already fog-covered apartment. She at least is safe in her comfortable, air-tight cubicle, though now without electricity its batteries need to be changed periodically. You get the tense picture…
This apocalyptic tale of what could go wrong with our abused earth is both a nail-biter and an edgy family survival yarn. Inside the grey fog, French Canadian director Daniel Roby has managed to slow down this thriller to make us feel with each of the characters. Can they be saved, will they survive?
It’s a tough, introspective film – not for the faint-hearted.
RED SPARROW *1/2
Waste of talent is a terrible thing. This film, which could have been a super spy thriller, misses its mark by a mile, due once again to the lack of that most crucial of film elements – a viable, worthy script. To top it off, the awful directing drowns it completely.
This exaggerated yarn of a Russian ballet dancer who is forced to become a Soviet spy is so mangled with embarrassing clichés that it turns cringe-worthy. The lovely Jennifer Lawrence overacts here, never convincing us as a Russian, nor gelling with her counterpart American spy, played by a bland Joel Edgerton. The talented, usually-intense Matthias Schoenaerts is miscast as the evil uncle, while Charlotte Rampling and Jeremy Irons (as the token classics…) seem terribly embarrassed by all the garbage they are spewing out.
With all its stars and hype, you’ll probably want to see it – save your money instead.
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.