6 August 2021
It’s high summer in Geneva and it looks and feels like November! What have we done to deserve this continuous rain and these dreary skies? Great movie weather, but there again it’s the summer misery of action or horror films (which I simply refuse to see), mediocre French comedies, and tons of kiddie fare.
But there are still some excellent films you may have missed (and I have reviewed) – so catch them before they’re gone – at the Cine17, Empire, Scala, Nord-Sud, Bio, etc…check times on www.cineman.ch :
THE FATHER ****
IN THE HEIGHTS (D’ou l’on vient) ***1/2 (a modern musical that will raise your spirits)
THE COURIER ***
THE MAURITANIAN (Désigné coupable) ***
TRUE MOTHERS *** (vo Japanese)
DRUNK *** (vo Danish)
SOEURS **1/2 (vo French)
SUICIDE SQUAD 2 ***
Ouch – what fun! What super bloody fun! You get its lunacy already from the title. Despite all its excessive gore, foul language, crazy creatures and pyrotechnics, the hilarious dialogue and sharp characterizations of his protagonists that James Gunn is known for, buffers the crudeness.
For this is the director of the wonderful repartee in the always sweet and amusing “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Except here he has added a great deal of violence in this uber-carnage about the U.S. (once again) going into a country – this time a South American island – to supposedly save the world and democracy…Sure, we know how those adventures turn out, time and time again.
But somehow the characters end up being endearing, if that’s possible. Taken from the dregs of various prisons to become this doomed Suicide Squad, there is the ditsy, babydoll-like lunatic, Harley Quinn, played by the gorgeous Margot Robbie, the heroic Bloodsport – brilliantly embodied by Idris Elba – who is in continuous rivalry with the super-patriot, Peacemaker (John Cena), who is anything but. There is a very anxiety-ridden Polkadot and a sleepy, but so sweet millennial, Cleo Cazo who has a way with rats and monsters. And of course the vile government boss played by Viola Davis. I tell you, just getting to know these types is half the fun of this crazy adventure. If you can relax (while closing your eyes some of the time) and let the comedy take over, this is a wild ride.
BENEDETTA *** (vo French)
Dutch director Paul Verhoeven is known for sexploitation thrillers such as “Basic Instinct”, “Showgirls” and “Elle”. I finally saw his latest historical drama about Benedetta, the 17th century nun in Italy who was apparently a self aggrandising visionary but was also accused of having a lesbian relationship with a novice. The film had a bombastic opening at the Cannes film festival, and Verhoeven played on its fusion of sex and religion, relishing its scandalous theme.
In all fairness, this French/Dutch production is one of the best works he has done, melding history, religious hypocrisy, ambitions and jealousies, and a natural hunger for sensuality in his usual steamy style. This is high drama with a lot of religious hocus pocus, the devastating Pest of that time and early feminist inklings thrown in. The alluring Belgian actress Virginia Efira is overwhelming as Benedetta, along with excellent performances by Charlotte Rampling as the waning Abbess and a snakelike Lambert Wilson as the corrupt Nuncio from Florence. It is titillatingly well done and worth a viewing.
Oh dear, Shyamalan is back with another one of his dark, creepy works. Indian/American director, M. Night Shyamalan of films such as “The Sixth Sense”, “Unbreakable” and “The Village” is once again giving us another of his supernatural, twisty plots to supposedly enchant us…and make big bucks from the horror and mystery-loving crowd. Sometimes the films really work, as in the intriguing 1999 “Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis and the 11 year-old Haley Joel Osment, but often they are just commercial attempts at continued fame.
His latest starts off with a family going off on a dream vacation in an all-paid-for paradise. But the secluded island the hotel manager sends them off to for a day turns out to have strange powers…
Should we reveal the plot? Well, the title tells it, so here goes – the dozen participants seem to be growing old at an amazing pace, creating havoc and terror, both for them and for we, the audience.
Lots of overacting, no character development (how can they – they’re dropping off like flies), much too much unpleasantness and tension. Hey, but that’s what his fans have come for. By the way, the van driver is Shyamalan, himself.
Take it or leave it – it’s a lightweight.
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.