ENGLISH MOVIE REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
by Sarah Scaddan
Highlights of English language films showing in Geneva this week.
DELVING INTO A PRIVATE LIFE – Becoming Astrid
Teenaged Astrid Lindren, who later went on to write the Pippi Longstocking series, leads a carefree but conservative life in rural Sweden. During an internship at a local newspaper she has an affair with married editor and subsequently flees to Copenhagen to secretly give birth to a son. Astrid uses her imagination and flair for storytelling to connect with her son and emerges with from this situation with the strength that forms the foundation to beloved body of work. A tender and courageous story with brilliant performances. However I read an interview with her daughter that said Lindren would have hated this film and this time in her life should be private. Eek. I feel like I have been caught snooping.
Showing at Cinéma Bio
FALL. GET BACK UP – Mid90’s
Mid90s follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era LA who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a skate shop. Beautifully captures the anger, pain, bliss, sadness, thrill and confusion of growing up.
Showing at La Scala.
PARTY ON – Gloria Bell
Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a free-spirited divorcée who spends her days at a strait-laced office job and her nights on the dance floor, joyfully letting loose at clubs around Los Angeles. On a night out, she finds herself thrust into an unexpected new romance, filled with both the joys of budding love and the complications of dating, identity and family. Julianne Moore is terrific in this. A movie that says the stories of average women deserve to be told.
Showing at Pathé Balexert, Ciné 17, Cinérama Empire,
THE CONCLUSION – Avengers Endgame
This conclusion is a big deal for Avengers fans, as big as the final series of Game of Thrones. The Avengers take a final stand against Thanos, the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe in Marvel Studios’ conclusion to 22 films. 22 films! Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos. An hour too long but some very funny moments and great action.
Showing at Arena Cinémas, Pathé Balexert.
BORING LOVE TRIANGLE – The Aftermath
Keira Knightly, in full pouting mode, is back in this period drama/romance set in darkness of post war Germany. The film aspires to be an epic romance but delivers an eye-rolling bore fest, rather like watching a Mills & Boon novel.
Showing at Pathé Balexert, Ciné 17, Pathé Archamps.
POKÉMON: Detective Pikachu
Ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu. Tim and Pikachu join forces chasing clues together through the streets of Ryme City – a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side.
Showing at Pathé Balexert, Ciné 17, Pathé Archamps
ABSOLUTE HELL, BOY – Hellboy
Hellboy is back. Based on the Dark Horse Comics character of the same name, this action story sees the half-demon superhero called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants. A box office bomb in America, I am 100% certain it is not going to do any better over here.
Showing at Pathé Balexert
COME BACK, TWILIGHT – ALL IS FORGIVEN – After
Based on Anna Todd’s best-selling novel, After follows Tessa, a dedicated student, dutiful daughter and loyal girlfriend to her high school sweetheart, as she enters her first semester in college. Her guarded world opens up when she meets a brooding rebel who makes her question all she thought she knew about herself. Corny to the point of embarrassment.
Showing at Pathé Balexert, Ciné 17,
OLD-FASHIONED HOLLYWOOD STORYTELLING – The Old Man and the Gun
The Old Man and the Gun is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), from his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities. In pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment, and a woman (Sissy Spacek), who loves him in spite of his chosen profession. A simple and easygoing joy which could serve as an ode to Robert Redford’s career, he went into retirement after making this film.
Showing at Cinérama Empire.
MEET MR LINK – Missing Link
Mr Link is 8 feet tall, weighs 630lbs, is covered in fur and looking for adventure. Missing Link is a delightful, polished and droll adventure-comedy which even squeezes in a little food for thought.
Showing at Ciné 17
THE DARK DAYS OF VINCENT VAN GOGH – At Eternity’s Gate
Led by mesmerizing work from Willem Dafoe in the main role, At Eternity’s Gate imagines Vincent Van Gogh’s troubled final-days. It’s not a biography, instead is based on letters, hearsay, fact and presumption. The pace of the film is slow and melancholic, but Willem Dafoe totally nails it.
Showing at Cinéma Bio.
HONEST AND IMMENSELY RELATABLE – What they Had
What They Had centres on a family in crisis. Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother’s insistence to help deal with her ailing mother with Alzheimer’s and her father’s reluctance to let go of their life together. You may feel like you have seen this plot before, but you haven’t seen this film. Stella performances, moments of humour and incredible honesty makes the film immensely relatable and one to watch.
Showing at Cinérama Empire.
WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS? – Free Solo
Professional rock climber Alex Honnold attempts the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan’s 900-metre vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park. Although a documentary, Free Solo is also an edge-of-your seat thriller, an inspiring portrait of an athlete and a visually impressive film. An inspirational watch but I can’t help thinking: why would anybody do this?
Showing at Le Scala.
AN AWAKENING FOR MELISSA MCCARTHY – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy is, surprisingly, terrific in this juicy dramatic role where for once she has to play it straight. She stars as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Estée Lauder. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, helped by her scoundrel friend Jack, played by Richard E Grant.
Showing at Ciné 17.
THIS GENERATION’S HITCHCOCK – Us
Haunted by an unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide is increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After a day out, they return home to find four figures holding hands stand in the driveway. They’re terrifying opponents are doppelgängers of themselves. The violence, the tears, the screams, the jump scares are all familiar, but still done in a fresh way. Jordan Peele is this generations Hitchcock. One to watch (through your fingers).
Showing at Pathé Balexert.
PACKS A POIGNANT PUNCH – Boy Erased
Boy Erased tells the true story of the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who is outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) at the age of 19. He is faced with an ultimatum: to attend a gay conversion therapy program or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Well-acted and moving.
Showing at Cinérama Empire,
WHEN I SEE AN ELEPHANT FLY – Dumbo
From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure Dumbo expands on the beloved classic story of the elephant that can fly. Tim Burton delivers his best family movie in a long long time
Showing at Ciné 17, Pathé Balexert,
JUST ANOTHER MARVEL MOVIE – Captain Marvel
The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s (with awesome 90’s soundtrack), Captain Marvel is predictable yet pleasing enough.
Showing at Pathé Balexert.
MULTI AWARD-WINNING – Green Book
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. Green Book recently won three Golden Globes including best motion picture.
Showing at Ciné 17, Pathé Balexert,