27 May 2022.
I was away last week so these backed-up films may have shorter reviews. We also apologize for the mix-up of titles to UNE HISTOIRE PROVISOIRE (an intriguing film) in the May 13th column.
TOP GUN: MAVERICK ***
Tom Cruise is back in his Maverick role after 36 years. The macho posing, the exciting aerial combat scenes, the new love interest (Jennifer Connelly), and the off-and-on camaraderie are there, just more mature, a bit heavier. It seems to have garnered far higher marks than the original, more heartfelt cult film by the late Tony Scott. That’s possibly due to its incredible production quality that has the cast flying with actual Navy pilots plus using their aircraft carriers. And then there are the clever script throwbacks to the original film which you might try to catch.
The new director Joseph Kosinski has made it slick and super commercial, with top names such as Hans Zimmer and Lady Gaga for the soundtrack music. It’s a must for Top Gun fans.
Cruise is good, as always. Those who resent and denigrate him for various reasons should see his “Last Samurai”, “Collateral”, “Rain Man”, “Born on the 4th of July”, “Minority Report”, “A Few Good Men”, etc, etc…before they judge. He started young, has made an abundance of both art and commercial successes, and at 59, has had amazing staying power. He deserves his stardom.
Cannes honored him fully when they opened his film there. It got a lengthy standing ovation and the red, white and blue Patrouille de France flew over from high above as the whole crew mounted the red carpet. It was a grand homage. Cruise, in turn, spent long moments with his waiting fans on the Croisette, signing autographs, conversing and taking pictures with them.
COUPEZ! (FINAL CUT) ***1/2 (vo French)
I really dislike horror films and especially cringeworthy zombie flicks. Never see them nor review them. But, by the talented Michel Hazanavicius (of the multi award-winning 2011 film “The Artist”), this zombie movie is a hilarious comedy with such surprising twists and turns, clever timing, editing and acting, that it had me rolling with laughter rather than cringing in my seat.
It’s a brilliantly concocted film-within-a-film and Romain Duris surpasses himself as the eager director under duress. Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois and a wonderfully loony ensemble cast make this a comedy not to miss! It opened this year’s Cannes film festival, out of competition.
NAVALNY **1/2 (vo Russian, English)
Alexei Navalny, the brave and tenacious political opponent to Putin, who was sentenced to nine years in prison, is an enigmatic hero to many people. In 2020 he was poisoned by Putin’s people, eventually flown to Germany for treatment, and when recovered, turned around and went back to Russia, knowing he would probably be arrested.
What makes him tick, what does he think he can possibly achieve by becoming a living martyr? These are questions we’d like answered by a documentary on such an exceptional man.
The film shows us a debonair, attractive individual with a beautiful, loyal wife at his side and two model-like children. His daughter is at Stanford University in California, his teenage son is a staunch ally. They speak English, dress stylishly and move around like successful citizens of the world. But he is now in a maximum security prison, and anything could happen to him.
There is much contradiction here and it’s not really explained. This documentary mainly covers the poisoning incident, a bit like a thriller. It doesn’t answer the more pertinent questions as to Navalny’s own raison d’être. That leaves one somewhat frustrated.
JUNIPER (LE PASSÉ RETROUVÉ) **
Despite the imposing Charlotte Rampling, this film about a feisty, hard-drinking grandmother coming to terms with her errant grandson is a bit of a fabricated all’s-well-that-ends-well tale.
Bitter old woman, frustrated kid, some forced time together, and all is as it should be. Set in New Zealand, it’s somewhat slow, dull and predictable.
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT (UN TALENT EN OR MASSIF) *
Talent is not the word here in this ego-driven love letter by Nicolas Cage to himself. If you really like Cage you may want to see it, otherwise give it a wide berth, as it’s pure, silly narcissism…
Malkovich did it so much better with tongue-in-cheek humor and innovation in the 1999 “Being John Malkovich”.
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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.