5 July 2019.
TOY STORY 4 ***1/2
Pixar is no doubt one of the finest and most innovative of the animation studios, and their Toy Story saga which started in 1995 is the most popular and touching of their works. They brought inanimate toys to life with excitement and pathos that have delighted kids from 3 to 93. The Toys are back, in a new home, after they were mistakenly shunted aside when their original owner Andy went off to college in the tender and teary “Toy Story 3”.
Of course, it’s the always responsible cowboy Woody, voiced by the exuberant Tom Hanks, who is the leader of this loony pack of toys, but the fun and excitement continues with some new and old characters, like the confused Forky, who thinks he’s garbage, the cool Duke Caboom, who is a bit insecure, and feisty Bo Peep, who may be Woody’s favorite.
This motley crew of toys are gentle metaphors for many of our own human traits and frailties, and it’s wonderful how Pixar manages to bring out the best in these characters – something that is so important for the child in all of us.
NOUREEV – The White Crow ***1/2 (English, Russian, French)
The Russian Rudolf Nureyev was not only a great ballet dancer but also an exceptional, strong-headed personality in the artistic world. This biopic directed by multi-award-winning actor Ralph Fiennes brings out Nureyev’s force of character from his early years to the definitive moment when he defected to the West in 1961.
In a mesmerizing style, the film moves back and forth from his difficult childhood in Siberia to his formative ballet classes in Leningrad, his meeting and working with the gentle dance master Alexander Pushkin (played by Fiennes, with an amazing grasp of Russian) and his more-than caring wife, to his exciting introduction to semi-liberty in Paris. Fiennes brings to life the fiery young Nureyev (played by a convincing Oleg Ivenko) who knew what he wanted and didn’t let mediocre teachers, Soviet rules or borders confine his ambitions.
Written by David Hare of England’s National Theatre and such films as “The Hours” and “Denial”, it’s exhilarating to watch the development of this talented and ambitious person who evolved from a timid child in awe of his often absent father to a world figure who literally danced his way to freedom.
With great artistry, this captivating tale let’s us into corners of Nureyev’s life that few knew.
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.