12 October 2018.
A STAR IS BORN ****
Here is the fourth version of this melodrama, which originated in 1937 with Janet Gaynor as the rising star, then was repeated with Judy Garland in 1954, with Barbra Streisand in 1976, and has now emerged with Lady Gaga as the lead. Each version obviously reflects its era and its diva, but is always about two lovers whose relationship suffers from the rise in fame of the woman, while her man diminishes due to his excessive drinking problem. Some of the previous films were better expressed, some less so, but were always stressing the eternal balance of love.
So this latest was a gamble, for it could have turned out another embarrassing remake, directed by its male star, Bradley Cooper, who had never directed a film before. Well, wonder of wonders, it’s astonishingly fresh, reality-based, brilliantly written and conceived, both musically and story-wise. And above all, the two protagonists have a chemistry and pathos to them that is both exciting and moving.
Lady Gaga is for once down-to-earth and without any artifice, acting from her gut. And her singing is what she’s known for – strong and superb. Cooper is also raw in his emotions, as he should be, but that he can sing is the great surprise. And to have also written many of the songs and learned to play the guitar… they are indeed an impressive, talented duo.
Run to it – you will not be disappointed.
DILILI À PARIS **** (vo French)
When the tiny Kanak princess Dilili comes on a visit to Paris, she gets involved in a series of kidnappings of little girls that has been shocking the French capital. This exquisite animated film by the French master of animation, Michel Ocelot (“Kirikou”) is not only an exciting ride through the beauty of Paris during the early 1900s Belle Epoque, but also an enchanting journey through much of the culture and art of that period.
Ocelot weaves this thriller, which has a very feminist point of view, into a lesson for children (and fun for adults) about such important figures of that era as Picasso, Proust, Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir, Pasteur, Colette, and even Marie Curie. They all cross the path of our adorable, precocious Delili, who is bent on finding the culprits and freeing those girls who are kept in slave-like conditions.
Suspense, art and humor are all wrapped up in this lovely package along with a reminder about gender equality and the importance of self confidence, whatever one’s background. An absolute delight.
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN ***
I believe I prefer this bumbling wanna-be spy to the original Bond, James Bond, or what he has become. For it’s our foolish Mr. Bean again, or rather Rowan Atkinson, spoofing the debonair spy on ”Her Majesty’s Secret Service. »
The whole thing is silly but utterly hilarious, and it will make you forget all your woes and pains, as Mr. English advances his country’s cause with a great deal of damage to the rest of the world. He is sort of the Road Runner of the spy world. They’ve even imported an original Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko to do the honors as his foil, and Emma Thompson is over-the-top wonderful as England’s Prime Minister. She seems to be having a hysterical ball, and it’s all in great fun!
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.