30 June 2023.
What can one say – it’s summertime and the living is easy… At least for us here in Geneva – the 7th ranked BEST city in the world to live in – out of hundreds. Check it out – from Condé Nast.
So enjoy the lake, the surrounding mountains, the long, late evenings al fresco in the garden at home, or at the many restaurants dotted along our wonderful lake. We are truly blessed.
But now to the movies…it’s the usual dismal summer fare – mind-numbing blockbusters and myriad kiddie animations – apart from a few exceptions. So hang in there until the autumn when the good ones from the big festivals such as Venice, Berlin and Cannes start trickling in. In the meantime, I will remind you of the few worthwhile ones…
Just need to report on these:
INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY **
For the fans of this franchise, started by Steven Spielberg ages ago with a young Harrison Ford, go see it – you might have fun. For normal film buffs – it’s just a human ‘BeepBeep, the Roadrunner’.
Jones is still there as a tired, retiring professor when a young scientific damsel comes to him with an adventure that concerns the studies of his old friend from WWII, Basil Shaw. Once again, Jones has to save the world – what else is new? Directed this time by James Mangold, it’s almost three hours of frenetic chases and forgettable escapades, if that’s your thing. Smarter to head over to the refreshing lake…
ASTEROID CITY *
Why don’t great artists stop when their talent diminishes and finally vanishes?! If they don’t realise it themselves, why don’t their partners, family, friends and colleagues tell them? It has been sadly that way through the ages, even with the likes of Fellini, Visconti, Sinatra – and Picasso, in his last frenzies.
Wes Anderson used to be the director of quirky, delightful and imaginative tales. From “The Royal Tenenbaums” to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, by way of the brilliant animation “The Isle of Dogs” and many more wacky stories, he regularly enchanted his audiences. His steep downhill came with his convoluted 2021 “The French Dispatch”.
His latest, straight out of Cannes – where they still consider him a master – is, like the previous, another self-indulgent waste of time. Does he think that by hiring a multitude of top stars (Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Margot Robbie, plus so many others), he will be assured of a masterpiece? All he is now doing is using them as puppets, wasting their talents and boggling our minds with this latest folly about the creation of a play within a film that looks like the backlot of a fake high school stage. It’s actually Asteroid City, a pastel-coloured deserted town in the middle of the Arizona desert which is holding its annual celebration of a 5000-year-old crater and its meteor. Don’t ask.
None of it makes sense nor does it touch our emotions or intelligence. It’s simply filled with artificial characters spouting pointless blabla about nonsensical scientific ‘facts’ and supposed world-shaking events. He wishes! It’s mind-numbing, but some critics stand by him, as they would with a case of ‘the emperor’s new clothes’…A great pity.
VERS UN AVENIR RADIEUX * (vo Italian)
Unfortunately, more bad news about past masters grinding out useless films beyond their prime, as the aforementioned Mr. Anderson. This time it’s Italy’s famed Nanni Moretti, and his latest film, again from Cannes, is another self-aggrandising vehicle for the director. He not only wrote and directed the film, he also puts himself at the center of it (at least Anderson spared us that), pontificating on lessons about filmmaking and the unity and fidelity of the Italian Communist party, during the Hungarian uprising in the 1950s. It has wooden acting and stilted, didactic dialogue.
Once again a film within a film, once again a navel-gazing approach by the director. It is all quite tiresome, watching these creators adore themselves on the big screen, while the audience is held hostage as spectators. Someone should let them know…
Here are some worthwhile ones left to see (all previously reviewed here) :
For drama, dance and passion – CARMEN
For action and good fun – THE FLASH
For a romance gone wrong – L’AMOUR ET LES FORÊTS
For an outstanding film despite its violence – SISU
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.