Archive for the ‘Au Cinema’ Category

A Film For Age Esteem – Quartet

May 5th, 2013 Comments off


A Film For Age Esteem – Quartet

Quartet is a delightful film that openly addresses, with humor, the trials of growing old.  Directed by Dustin Hoffman, now 75, it stars a quartet of age-esteemers: Maggie Smith 78, Billie Connolly 71, Pauline Collins 73, and Tom Courtenay 76.

Together they prove that age is not for sissies (famous quote from Bette Davis).  At the same time they prove that how you live your age is your choice.  They each choose to live it manifesting many of the traits of age esteem.

  • There is still room for romance and love.
  • You are meant to share your talents at every age.
  • Passion for what you love to do continues to drive your actions.
  • Relationships with friends of all ages remain key as we age.
  • Growing old is a continuation of life and living.

No, age is not for sissies.  Choose how you want to live your age.

Bonnie Fatio

A Film For Age Esteem

May 4th, 2013 Comments off

Au Cinéma

A Film For Age Esteem

Note: Our film critic, Neptune Ingwersen rates this film as *** Very Good.  I would add an extra star as a film for Age Esteem.  – See tomorrow’s blog to know why.  »  Bonnie Fatio

Quartet  ***  A legend of cinema known for his versatile acting, Dustin Hoffman proves  quite capable as first-time director of this sweet, moving and amusing tale of aging opera singers in a seniors’ home somewhere in England. One could mention that the luxury of the surroundings and elaborate meals are unrealistic or that the script is somewhat formulaic, but the pleasurable warmth and familiarity of a story graced by Maggie Smith as a diva, an incorrigible Billy Connolly and the adorable Pauline Collins of Shirley Valentine fame make up for any small glitches.

Neptune Ravar Ingwersen

IMG_0690 copy

Bravo Emmanuelle Riva!

February 27th, 2013 Comments off

Emmanuelle Riva, 86

In the United States the world of cinema is honored by the Oscars.  In France they are honored with the Césars.

This year Emmanuelle Riva received the César of best actress at age 86 proving that there is no limit of age when it comes to shining through your talents.  She starred in the French film Amour written and directed by Michael Haneke.  Amour was also awarded an Oscar as the best foreign language film.

Bravo Emmanuelle Riva for shining with age-esteem on the big screen as a model for each of us!

Movies Are Good For Your Age Esteem

February 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Going to the movies is good for your age esteem.

  • Films entertain, inform, educate.
  • Going to the movies is a social event that brings us into contact with others.
  • Movies stimulate our imagination and creativity.
  • Laughter, tears, and other emotions are freed.
  • Watching foreign films stimulates our language skills.
These are just a few of the reasons that Age Esteem publishes film critics to help you choose what to see.
Why not enjoy a film today?
Bonnie Fatio, founder of AgeEsteem


At The Movies II

February 1st, 2012 Comments off


 L’Art d’aimer *** (French)   Juxtaposed stories of love and amusing relationships in their many forms, delightfully French.

The Mill and the Cross (Bruegel – le moulin et la croix) ***   A magnificent analysis and literal coming-to-life of Pieter Bruegels’s famous painting, The Way to Calvary, intermingled with the politics of the era and the agony of Christ’s crucifixion. A master work.

The Woman in the Fifth (La Femme du Vème) *** (English, French)  Kristine Scott-Thomas and Ethan Hawke are entwined in a hypnotic, surrealistic tale of loneliness and longing in a Paris where elegance and low-life mingles.

Juan *** (German)   From Denmark comes this powerful modern-day version of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, starring a rugged Christopher Maltman as Juan. Mesmerizing.

Contagion ***  This disaster film about a world-wide pandemic is top-notch due to a realistic, gripping script and pacing, fine acting by an amazing cast of stars and its director, Steven Soderbergh. You won’t want to shake hands with anyone afterwards.

Happy Feet 2  ***  Even better than the original, there are adorable fuzzy kiddy penguins, snappy music, Robin Williams back as the love-crazy Latino penguin, and a lovable pair of philosophical shrimps (yes, shrimps!). For the child in all of us.

Puss in Boots ***  He’s been a bad kitty and he now has his own film! Voiced once more by Antonio Banderas, Puss is everything from lover to Zorro-like meow trying to redeem himself, between dances and swashbuckling heroics. Great fun for all kids from 5 to 95.

Monsieur Lazhar ***  This Canadian film which won the Audience Prize at Locarno is the gentle story of a refugee who becomes a fine school teacher but gets into trouble when it’s discovered he is not legal…..universal.

Carnage **1/2  Yasmina Reza’s play about two couples spilling their guts has been brought to the screen by Roman Polanski with great actors such as Jody Foster, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly. Unnerving and at times over-done.

Dangerous Method **1/2  Michael Fassbender portrays Carl Jung; Keira Knightly is his famous patient and lover, Sabina Spielrein, who went on to become a psychiatrist herself; and Freud (a too handsome Viggo Mortensen) is a consultant to Jung’s therapy and his intimate affair. Fascinating, but the Freud part does not feel convincing.

J. Edgar  **1/2  As always, Leonardo DeCaprio is brilliant, here as the FBI’s infamous Hoover, becoming him from the inside-out, as the physical resemblance is disputable. As is the badly-done makeup work. Clint Eastwood knows how to make artsy crowd-pleasers, but treats Hoover with kid gloves and leaves us hungry for more info than he’s willing to convey.

La Délicatesse **1/2  (French)   A sweet, gentle film about a great love lost and how the lonely girl (Audrey Tautou) can fall for a seemingly mediocre guy because of his goodness and simplicity. Endearing.

La Vérité si je mens 3  **1/2  (French)  This is the third in the amusing, wonderfully clichéd and politically-incorrect adventures of a close-knit band of young Jewish business guys (dealing mainly in the garment trade), one more wild and woolly than the next, always rooting for their families, trying to top each other and get the best of their adversaries. With colorful French character actors such as Richard Anconina, José Garcia, Gilbert Melki and Vincent Elbaz, you can’t lose. This is comedy from the heart, without vulgarity.

Neptune Ravar Ingwersen


At The Movies

January 31st, 2012 Comments off

  Movies not to be missed ****

Hugo (Cabret) ****  This is a wondrous, luminous love letter to the origins and magic of filmmaking by the master himself, Martin Scorsese, via the adventures of an orphan boy living atop a bustling Parisian railroad station in the 1930s. There is cinematic history (remember George Méliès?), pathos, excitement, romance and 3D used to its fullest glory. It’s the essence of film itself, with the great Ben Kingsley.

The Guard ***1/2  Character actor Brendan Gleeson is simply amazing as a no-nonsense law officer in this quirky, tongue-in-cheek, brutally funny Irish thriller set in a small town where little happens, except this time, with a slew of loony characters. Director John Michael McDonagh starts it off sleepy but builds it up to gale force!

The Whistleblower  ***1/2  There are films that are important and this is one of them. This real-life story about the revelation of blatant sex-trafficking within the UN/private contractors organizations in Sarajevo will leave you moved and shocked, wanting to do something to put a stop to such injustice and brutality. But as the film shows, it’s easier said than done. Rachel Weisz is excellent as the concerned policewoman.

Intouchables  ***1/2 (vo French)  The true, unconventional story of an aristocratic quadriplegic and his completely-opposite caretaker has been transformed into a humorous and very human film which has broken all box-office records in France. François Cluzet and Omar Sy play perfectly off each other in this offbeat buddy film.

The Lady  ***1/2  Luc Besson is a passionate scriptwriter and filmmaker (Le Grand Bleu, Subway, Leon, La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element) who has put his heart and soul into this biopic about the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. There is Burma’s recent political history intermingled with Suu Kyi’s private life and her heart-breaking sacrifices involving her British husband and two sons versus her struggle for freedom and justice in her home country. Beautifully portrayed by Michelle Leoh, she is the female version of such giants as Ghandi and Mandela.

Margin Call  ***1/2   A Lehman Brothers-like melt-down is the premise of this tightly-wound, twenty-four hour study of mega-money manipulations among the rulers of stock markets. J.C. Chandor’s astonishingly-polished (and multi-awarded) first feature stars Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore, showing it as it is and always will be – the powerful managing to save their own hide….most of the time…

The Descendents ***1/2  Director Alexander Payne is a master of in-depth films about people’s experiences and transformations in key moments of their lives as in About Schmidt or  Sideways. Here he takes us to the glorious sea and landscapes of Hawaii and a wealthy local family whose patriarch is facing a terrible accident of a loved one and his unruly daughters, while having to decide on a huge land deal on one of the islands. A slow start develops into a gripping drama of many layers and colors, with an excellent George Clooney and fine supporting cast. Oscars?

Et si on vivait tous ensemble?  ***1/2 (vo French)  If you want to laugh, cry and be utterly amused by the trials and tribulations of a group of aging, long-time friends, run to this film starring everyone: Claude Rich, Jane Fonda, Guy Bedos, Pierre Richard, Geraldine Chaplin and the young German star, Daniel Brühl (from Goodbye Lenin), who is writing his thesis on their plan to grow old together….. A pure delight!

Jane Eyre ***1/2   In the great BBC tradition of fine drama, here is the latest version of Charlotte Bronté’s classic about a mysterious and troubled aristocrat and the young governess with whom he falls in love. Starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and the multi-talented Irish/German Michael Fassbender, who seems to be everywhere these days, it is brilliantly acted and filmed like a work of art by Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre): a love story and melodrama captured in time.

50/50  ***1/2   Joseph Gordon-Levitt (rightly nominated for a Golden Globe) plays in the real-life story of a young man who finds out he has massive cancer of the spine and how he deals with the possibility of a 50/50 chance at life when you’re only in your twenties. The beauty of this film is the tenderness and humor that makes it not so much about the cancer but the relationships that become magnified when such tragedy strikes, whether they concern him, his buddy, mother or girlfriend. Quite unforgettable.

Mission Impossible 4 – Ghost Protocol  ***  Directed by Brad Bird, this is the best Mission Impossible to date. Tom Cruise and his astounding stunts are first rate, the script is tight and intelligent and the action is non-stop fun, from Russia to India and Dubai. This is grandiose popcorn entertainment with quality!

Reconciliation – Mandela’s Miracle ***  This fine documentary traces the oft-told story of Mandela’s decades-long imprisonment, his release and his honorable and peaceful rise to the presidency of South Africa. And above all, his amazing grace and forgiveness of his tormentors, which is the miracle of the title.

Le Havre *** (vo French)  Aki Kaurismäki has always had his own quirky style – 1950s formica decor in pastel-colored sets, frozen acting with lingering looks, and naive, simplistic stories. In this latest tale set in the port city of Le Havre, about a little black refugee and an aging shoe shine man who takes him in to protect him from the law, he has humanized his characters and given them depth and humor. A sweet, singular experience.

Neptune Ravar Ingwersen

Good AgeEsteem Movies For May 2011

May 12th, 2011 Comments off


May 2011 AU CINEMA

Good **

Winter’s Bone **1/2 In the poverty-stricken Ozarks of Missouri, a young girl sets out to find her outlaw father who has put up their home as bail. This is an unendingly dismal portrait of the miserable reality of their lives. Well acted and true to the region, but did it deserve to be nominated among the best films of 2010?

November  **1/2 (vo French)  A luminous documentary about an old mother and her eccentric son in their remote ancestral home somewhere near Alsace. It may feel static, but the beauty of the images has a hypnotic effect.

Los Colores de la Montana **1/2 (vo Spanish)   A touching and earnest foray into the tragedy of simple, innocent village people terrorized between the rebels and government troops in Columbia.

Unknown (Sans identité)  ** With Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger, this is an intriguing tale of mistaken/lost identity and a chase to find the truth in a maze of spies and hit-men in Berlin. This formulaic thriller has too many holes in its script, but an interesting finale. Bruno Ganz is great.

Ma part du gâteau  ** (vo French) Cédric Klapisch (L’Auberge espagnol) delves this time into two opposing worlds – that of a factory worker/maid and a rich trader who was instrumental in the downfall of her factory.  Karin Viard is charming as the initially-clueless maid, wowed by her new lifestyle.

La Fille du puisatier ** (vo French)  Based on a Marcel Pagnol classic and in the genre of Jean de Florette, Daniel Auteuil’s first endeavor at writing and directing is lovely to look at in the lush Provence, but too clichéd, sentimental and with some awkward acting from strong performers such as Darroussin and Azema. He should stick to being one of France’s great actors.

The Hunter ** (vo Farsi)   A stark and unrelentingly bitter tale of a man who loses his family in Tehran and tries to hit back at random. As director and actor, Raffi Pitts can’t make up his mind if this is a political statement of despair, a family tragedy or a thriller.

I am Number 4  (Numéro 4)  ** Like the vampire Twilight series, this looks like the beginning of a new franchise of good vs evil, aliens this time. The good guy alien is a dish of course, and his counter-part earth girl is sweet and trusting – what else? The evil aliens are really ghoulish….

Neptune Ravar Ingwersen


Very Good AgeEsteem Movies for May 2011

May 11th, 2011 Comments off

Take 2

May 2011 AU CINEMA

Very Good  ***

The Fighter ***   Another true story, of two brothers, from the wrong side of Boston, who manage to hit the boxing big time due to their (sometimes destructive) loyalty to each other, and despite an overpowering mother, drugs and a band of loony sisters. Oscar-winning acting all around.

Pina  3D ***1/2 (vo German/English)  Remember Wim Wender’s trailblazing documentary about Cuba’s Buena Vista Social Club?  He enchants us once again, this time on the sublime dance sequences of the late German choreographer, Pina Bausch. Here’s one master honoring another….

Rabbit Hole ***1/2    A haunting story of the loss of a child, the mourning process and what it does to the marital relationship. Director John Cameron Mitchell manages to grip you from the get-go and Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart carry their cross with honor and grace, plus a great crew.

Cirkus Columbia *** (vo Serb)   Danis Tanovic hit the film world with a bang with his outstanding No Man’s Land, winning many awards. His concern with the war and the tearing up of his country, Yugoslavia, continues here. 1991 – just before the war, in a bucolic village, a successful native son returns from Germany after 20 years, with money and a sexy girlfriend. Things have changed….

The Company Men ***   Here is an up-dated, more human Glengarry Glen Ross, about the harrowing tale of men losing their jobs and feeling completely paralyzed and rudderless in a ruthless corporate system. Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and the whole cast are excellent.

Women without Men *** (vo FarsiShirin Neshat, the celebrated Persian artist, spins a melancholy, hypnotic tale of four women from varied backgrounds who come together against the backdrop of the 1953 Mossadegh/Shah/CIA upheavals in Iran. Despite its magical surrealism, it’s uncannily timely.

The Adjustment Bureau (L’agence) ***   Here’s a fine romantic thriller that’s also a philosophical mind-bender. Matt Damon convinces again as the fellow who dares defy fate and its weird agents. There’s great, intelligent fun in this freewill vs destiny brain-twister.

Silent Souls (Le dernier voyage de Tanya)  *** (vo Russian)  A strange, evocative saga of a burial in a remote part of Russia. Two men take the body of the woman they’ve both loved on a journey to a pagan ceremony of farewell. Slow, moody and quite unforgettable.

Hugo Koblet – Pedaleur de charme *** (vo German) This docu/biography on the famed Swiss champion cyclist of the 1950s, Hugo Koblet, is an eye-opener about the man who charmed his fans and the ladies but somehow lost track of his own life. Delightfully retro portrait of those simpler times….

The Source Code *** Jake Gyllenhall plays a heroic soldier who has to find the bomber of a passenger train.  Duncan Jones, who did the mysterious Moon, is again in futuristic mode and grabs us once more in this thriller that defies logical convention and could go on to another fine sequel…

Rio 3D ***  Very cute animated tale of a nerdy Minnesota blue parrot and his devoted mistress who end up in Rio de Janeiro , with all the fun, beauty and trouble you can imagine there.  The birds are a blast, the sound track is bombastic and it’s a super panorama of Rio life.

Die Fremde (When you Leave)  *** (vo German/Turkish)   Austrian Feo Aladag’s first feature film is a strong statement on the divide between Eastern and Western culture in Germany. A Turkish woman leaves her husband and wants to live a decent life with her little son. Her conservative family feels their honor has been tainted. What ensues is shocking, tragic and all too real.

Justine Bieber – Never Say Never **1/2    I thought this teenage singing phenomenon was just another fabricated, fluffy-haired flash-in-the-pan, until I saw the film. The kid is really talented and knows how to put on a show, which culminates in Madison Square Garden. He’s adorable, clean-cut, loves his family and is a good influence on his myriad young fans. Check him out.

Neptune Ravar Ingwersen


Top AgeEsteem Movies In May 2011

May 10th, 2011 Comments off


May 2011 AU CINEMA

Superb ****

In a Better World (Revenge)  **** (vo Danish, English)  Winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar, here’s yet another outstanding, universal film from Susanne Bier of Denmark. Covering two families, each with their own losses and sorrows, it follows the evolution of their two troubled sons who become friends in school. There is the father who helps as a doctor in Africa, marital problems and bullies of all sorts. It’s a rich and comprehensive kaleidoscope of today’s world, in all its aspects.

Wasteland (De la poubelle au musée) **** (vo Portuguese and English)   If art is transformation, this is the core of its creation – as Brazilian artist Vik Muniz turns garbage into works of art. Or rather, takes amazingly gentle, noble and wise garbage pickers in the biggest landfill in Brazil and transforms them and their lives into something very moving and beautiful. Director Lucy Walker deserves all the awards for her documentary, a true work of art, for it also transforms us.

127 Hours ****   PUT ASIDE your disgust at his cutting off his own arm to escape! That is only two minutes of this exhilarating true story. The rest is riveting, innovative drama, brilliantly directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and a celebration of life, family and survival. Trust me.

Neptune Ravar Ingwersen


Movies Worth Seeing

February 6th, 2011 Comments off

IMG_0057AU CINEMA February 2011

Very Good ***  Good**

You will note several foreign films among these.  Watching them in their original language will stimulate your brain neurons, good for your age esteem.

Another Year ***1/2   Mike Leigh of England makes films about ordinary people and here he depicts a very happy, loving couple surrounded by an array of miserable mortals who just can’t get it right. It could have been dreary, but it is a perfect example of great drama based on simple observation.  And how, sadly for the losers, one’s character ultimately defines one’s life.

Angèle et Tony *** (vo French)  By artist and first-time director Alix Delaporte, this is somewhat the French version of the above, with a bit more hope and sensuality thrown in – naturellement! It’s a sort of modern Taming of the Shrew: an incongruous couple meet and slowly discover each other, due to Tony’s basic goodness and patience, and despite Angèle’s rough, desperate character. It’s fresh and moving in its treatment of simple people, making them shiny and special.

Last Night ***   A yuppie couple have a tiff after a party when the wife detects a definite attraction between her husband and his sexy colleague. He denies all, she forgives, but the seeds of doubt have been sown. This is a smart, elegant take on modern relationships and fidelity, moments of temptation and the Venus and Mars differences between women and men.  It’s an excellent beginning for Iranian/American director and screenwriter Massy Tadjedin, who has managed to rope into her film such stars as Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet.

Honeymoons ***  (vo Serb)  The terrible difficulty and injustice of emigration and being a refugee is treated here within two hopeful love stories, one of an Albanian couple and the other Serbian. They go from their dysfunctional families and weddings to the hell of trying to enter fortress Europe, even with the correct documents. It’s gripping, revealing and brilliantly directed by Goran Paskaljevic.

Africa United ***  This colorful road movie, about a handful of African kids crazy about football, covers a lot of ground – not only the seven countries it traverses, from Rwanda down to South Africa, but such topics as class, prostitution, child-soldiers, AIDS and of course friendship and solidarity. The destination of the World Cup down in South Africa is the vehicle for this exuberant journey of fun and mishaps, which mixes in some charming cartoon footage that’s the fairy tale which carries the children through this improbable voyage. Sweet, naive and hopeful, it’s the work of British director, Debs Gardner-Paterson, who knows Africa well.

La Petite chambre ***  (vo French)  A stubbornly grouchy old man (the grand Michel Bouquet) resents his aloof son and wants to be left alone. A caretaker for the elderly, who has her own heartbreak, manages to bring him out of his shell. Touching and well directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, both from Lausanne, it was the Swiss entry to the Oscars.

In the Beginning there was Light (Am Anfang war das Licht) **1/2  (vo German)  Apparently there are certain people who can subsist on air and light, without eating or drinking for long periods of time.  Are they liars and charlatans or deeper spirits than the rest of us? And why would they not want to eat? The Austrian P.A. Straubinger sets out to find out who, how and why in this engrossing and well-researched documentary. He leads us through the scientific facts, but there is also the Eastern idea of higher consciousness that cannot always be explained. He goes to all corners of the world, from Australia to the US, India, China and Europe, and takes us from scepticism to considering spirituality and the importance of mind-over-matter. This is well-balanced, eye-opening reportage.

Toi, moi et les autres **1/2  (vo French)   A bit of Romeo and Juliette and a modernized offshoot of Les parapluies de Cherbourg, here’s a socially-conscious musical by Audrey Estrougo that’s young, touching and aesthetically filmed, set between a wealthy family and an immigrant section of Paris. It has some lovely songs and a delicate Leila Bekhti as the heroine, but is too lethargic in its pacing.

Rien à declarer **1/2 (vo French)  After the colossal success of Bienvenu chez les Ch’tis, France’s Dany Boon has been looking for his next big comedy. This one, about two opposing border guards (Boon and Benoît Poelvoorde) on the French and Belgium sides, is an amusing take on their differences and prejudices at the time when European borders were being eradicated. A good premise and quirky characters make for many laughs – the café-owners and the bumbling drug-transporter are hilarious.

The Black Swan **  Here’s a bit of the classic Red Shoes, lots of melodrama, some quite fearful scenes set in a New York ballet company and a sublime Natalie Portman as the tortured, paranoid, perfectionist ballerina. Darren Aronofsky’s surrealistic film is somewhat over-the-top, but Portman is fragile and convincing, meriting her Golden Globe.


Neptune Ravar Ingwersen, film critic