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Il mattino ha l'oro in bocca (2008)
Youth of Marco Baldini
I entered the theater knowing nothing about this movie, and even not it was the true story behind the popular Italian radio show "viva radio 2" and its two hosts Marco Baldini and Rosario Fiorello.
While the first half is a boring picture of a common Florence's boy in the middle 80s, story gets shape in the second half for such a problematic youth our Baldini had while he could have been nothing but a shiny happy radio DJ. In defiance of his fortune and successes he fell in ruin several times gambling with horse races, incurring big debts mining his serenity and his abilities.
Good the performance by Elio Germano, who eventually takes the lead of the whole film, and his father for the small but relevant role. Unfortunately poor the direction, and it's a shame because with someone else this might have been a success.
Amore mio aiutami (1969)
A comedy about adultery
An average couple with a son is obsessed to be in vogue with their times cutting the bridges with the old-style relationships. Unfortunately, the wife falls truly in love with a friend, and after this the husband realizes not to be ready for such a "free" menage.
"Amore mio aiutami" is a comedy, yes, but it's rather a grotesque-comedy kind of movie. Monica Vitti is an extraordinary actress, but who knows her also knows she's got one of the worst voices in history. Sometimes she's dubbed but in this she maintains her original voice: hoarse, plaintive and boring, conferring an hilarious, additional accentuation to the whole film.
Thought it lasts two hours, it never annoys with empty scenes or holes in the script, and it's also impossible to summarize even the best scenes because it's a permanent mix between situation comedy and jealousy drama.
Even the meaning hidden in the film about the techniques to keep a wife need to be got in a comic way, consider it's a satire too, with its funny lining and its sagacious content.
The average side of America
I watched and loved the early (3) seasons of Roseanne either 18 years ago, and today when I'm lucky to get the re-runs on cable-TV. The Italian version supposed that Roseanne's birth name was Anna Rosa and Jackie's Giacomina, two sisters from Napoli who moved to U.S.A. to follow a marine named Dan whom Anna Rosa fell in love. Hilarious the dubbing with Neapolitan accent and the tales from their native city.
I loved the show until Darlene was the fussy sister and Becky the good one, and sometimes their roles were upside down, but since (about) fourth season many things changed.
Too much quarrels, too much malice in the family and outside brought the show in a wrong direction.
Anyway, the first episodes are so good that I think my full 8 rate is deserved.
The highest value of this show, I think, is to show the "average" side of America. Thought I've never been there, I bet the Conners are more probable than the Huxtables or the Camdens (for example...). In other words a very good series about a normal family facing day by day authentic life's big and tiny troubles.
The Fountainhead (1949)
The prize of borrowing ideas
The fact that Cooper and Neal fell in love on the set of this film probably improved the final result of this average (in the budget I suppose) film, but yet quite original in the script.
Instead of develop a sole story inside an environment (architect studios or a editorial office) the story grows on two binaries, similar and parallel, but goaling each one to explain how fundamental is to preserve an intellectual property (a project, a press campaign, whatever), carrying, yes, every responsibility, but eventually building a position thanks of being unconventional.
Either Peter and the editor couldn't make a step without a someone else's idea. The first got in troubles when he showed not to have enough influence and earned respect to impose his strict conditions, the second to start a campaign he finally felt by his own only, but not coinciding either his boss' tastes and part of the public opinion.
Interesting and with a smart ending.
[ My vote: 85/100 ]
Mio fratello è figlio unico (2007)
Two brothers, only sons of each others
The title was taken by a 70s song by Rino Gaetano, inexplicably missing from the soundtrack, full of the greatest tracks of Italian pop of those years though. The fingers by S. Petraglia and S. Rulli in the script are very strong. Four years ago Marco Tullio Giordana with The Best of youth (La meglio gioventù) came to birth their two-hands story about Italy between the 60s and the 2000s years, and some parallels can be found between this new script and the previous one, focusing Italy in the "boom" decade (1960s), until the middle '70s, digging and studying the political context with a typical love accentuation.
In those years the Christian-democratic party (DC) was the sole entity representing the nation. Nobody after De Gasperi had his charisma and his skills to continue his path. So, a lot of people found a good shelter in the extremist parties (communist, PCI or fascist, MSI). The two brothers here join those ideas, paying in the future years their terrible consequences (living from the inside the "lead years", the 70s as they're known in Italy for the miserable succession of criminal acts).
Elio Germano is stunning. He never picked prime roles, 'till now, and he showed absolutely good skills, as great was Scamarcio. He always played frivolous roles in teenagers' movies, but this time they gave him credit and he didn't disappointed even fussy viewers (like he didn't in Crime Novel or Texas). Two brothers taking two opposite ways in their lives, loving each others very much, but politically incompatible even when on the same side.
Scenes are often cut with sketches and jokes that lighten the tension of those rough political phrases (in both directions!), the violent segments and the plot. The ending is a memorable upside-down, touching and bittersweet, with an ultimate, definitive coming of age by Accio.
I hope it will do a great job at Cannes Film Festival in the -Un certain regard- section, and like La Meglio Gioventù it will win the top prize. It really deserve it.
Awful and overrated
First of all, it's not useless confronting X-Files with CSI, but to better understand we have to study the two decades when they've developed their success.
X-Files is the King of crime TV-series in the 90s (until the early 2000s), CSI is the 2000s corresponding. The technical abilities were different 14/15 years ago than now, so a greater dosage of paranormal activities and unsolved cases is justified either for entertainment, and for material difficulties.
Don't we forget the charisma inside the two starring actors. Nobody else could be Mulder and Scully but Duchovny and Anderson.
CSI are lame chronicle of infallible detectives that seem to know IN ADVANCE whatever they carry to the laboratory. Analysises and experiments seem a mere game to demonstrate they were right anyway two hours before and the coldness is punch in the stomach for the audience. Grissom, Willows and the other actors are detestable and quite unpleasant, even because you already know that no case is unsolved for them.
The "dark" atmosphere, the blood profusion, and the gruesome amusement is also something to be deprecated, considering the young audience watching this series. They paint the forensic job as a game, the corpses as a playground and violence as something ordinary. No. These are bad principles to pass at the new generations ! One of the worst TV-series and widely overrated by public.
A super deserved " 1 "
American History X (1998)
An earthquakes of thoughts
American History X is a literal "punch in the stomach" against racism and in-tolerances. I saw it twice to "correct" the impressions I had the first time I watched it, but still make me consider this movie good but not convincing.
The perfect script makes the dialogs fluid and entertaining, but also rich in the contents. Political debates seem real, as the director would deliver to us the "gross weight" of the words, confiding we'd make the right "tare" with our conscience. The boy Danny had a role I loved. He's probably the best actor in the movie, showing a teen-ager under the influences of a brother and mother with opposite minds, but (thanks to his age) both equally beloved, beyond political visions.
Derek's redemption is badly portrayed. There is not a single reason because he should change his life INSIDE the fascist club, unchaining brawls and wounding the boss. The "conversion" of his brother on the stands is too quick and widely unrealistic. Also, performances by Brooks and Suplee are really really bad.
The 2 hours go away rapidly when you like meaningful stories, but the shocking ending doesn't get a gram of relief. Probably it's a movie crafted for an American audience and something was lost in translation. Anyway, a minute after you've entirely watched it, an earthquake of thoughts invades your mind, with a unusual yearning to share and measure your own points of view with the others'. That's the best quality of American History X, inviting to take courage and sides on an argument, immigration and tolerance, concerning every single First World nation.
Love is out there, Nina !
'Amatemi' is an elegant, slow-paced movie about a 35 years old woman (Ferrari), stuck in an insignificant marriage without children. Taking a vacation from her job of speaker in a mall, Nina starts a new life surrendering to her repressed love temptations, picking up plenty kinds of lovers. Though I symbolized an articulated story about a woman playing with too much diverse men (with all the predictable complications) the narration is solid and linear because Nina becomes simply a hedonist, spending her free time living a lifestyle miles away her previous one. De Maria lingers just on his "muse", Ferrari, mildly on the man who probably is Nina's favorite, but delivers very little elements to draw the other figures playing ! He prefers empty sequences, wandering the city by night or at the discotheque, without dialogs or plot. When conclusions showed a banal, mathematical turn, in facts, I didn't feel cheated because the director amused to give the impression something dangerous could have soon occurred, thanks also to some misleading supernatural scenes. It's been something like a mastermind with a obvious but hidden solution.
Dragged by the marvelous notes by Riccardo Sinigallia (and his masterpiece song BellAmore, that closes this film), along with Italian pop music and sophisticated pieces at the piano, every sequence has a superb cinematography, dark and nearly chaste for the love scenes, as sex were still a taboo for a female audience (is it?), here elegantly pictured even when a bit mercenary. The title "Love me!" is a bit deceptive. Nina "begs" for love just one time, quickly persuaded it's the last !
Enduring Love (2004)
A feral love
The right way to watch a movie like Enduring love is to ignore what we're getting ready to watch. The weird and complex plot (taken by a previous novel) gravitates around the tragic death of a man fell by a red balloon and two of the people who tried to avert the accident, but it takes a particular sensitivity to appreciate this movie.
Screened at Venice 2004, Michell tried to explore a territory far from the cheap glories of Notting Hill, with a considerable outcome. He plays with us scattering false clues among the true ones, embodying Joe's point of view.
It's really hard to focus the real reason because Jed obsesses Joe, ruining his life at just one step from marriage. Joe, seriously upset for Jed's shadowing, has a bitter surprise too discovering how weak were his relations with the girl he was ready to wed, annihilating mutual trust and believing the wrong people.
Scenes are greatly filmed, with a stunning cinematography in the outside sequences, accompanied with a relaxing but sad soundtrack. There's a sound melancholy pervading the whole movie, involving us to the core of the story, at each level's disclosures.
Engaging but suitable for a restricted club of cinema-lovers.
Small productions and young directors make often a great pair to discover underrated cinema gems; like this! An unexpected good surprise that wrestles with the poor box-office gathered.
Walter (Carlo delle Piane) is a retired man who feels useless for his condition, but when he reads on a newspaper that statistically there's 1 worker for each pensioner he starts a weird chase to find "the one" who works for his pension.
After a long trip in the city, Walter chooses a thirty years old man, bachelor, extremely shy, with a boring life, named Piero (Pierfrancesco Favino). Helped by a little girl, the old man will spur the shy guy on to change his life.
Favino and Delle Piane couple is the power, the engine of the movie. Both great actors, perfectly embody new and old (actoral) school, two of the best in their generations. Anna Falchi has a marginal role, a "fil rouge" linking the audience and the story. Her confessions at the video-diary comment what happens her around (she's a neighbor of Walter), but adds some opinions too about women, love or off-topic life experiences.
Interesting the double role of the character "Piero", acted by Favino for the shy parts and by Valerio Mastandrea for the exuberant ones. Loneliness is a ghost of recent society that people (like here) have to fight day by day. Smart was the triple level on which the story develops, three confronting generations: the child, the boy & the girl, and the old man. Their approaches, with three (four) different knowledges for a common project was really a perfect idea onto invent a movie.
Extremely pleasant the soundtrack too, merely instrumental (strings and piano), nothing was disregarded at all by directors and the end was, yes, predictable, but satisfied me enough for its reassuring message.
A non-politically correct ending would have been just a useless false note, ain't I'm right ?