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L'ora di punta (2007)
Powerful Tale--Told simply--With Magnificence...
I had never seen the actor Michele Lastella prior to this film. I was blown away by his performance. I don't want to sound like I'm overstating here--but he has a rare gift of being able to communicate contradictory emotions simultaneously. As he was courting an older woman--actress Fanny Ardant--I sensed his disdain and his insincerity together. He made me feel his conflict, and let me know that this was manipulation, not genuine caring. Brando could do that but to get me so lost in his work, Lastella must have some new magic or else I am hallucinating. I was fascinated by how easily he played people to get his own way and how later, when his deceptions became clear, how he was able to suspend me between panic and the belief that he was ruthless enough to make it all come out the way he needed it to. In ruthlessness, I seldom find hesitation, once the dye is cast--and Lastella plays it that way. I hope he has a body of work because I want to see more of him.
Major Mistake for HBO to Remove Great Moment for Viewing
Not only is this one of the best attempts at drama HBO has ever produced, the finished product has a quality and sheen rarely achieved in this venue. This cast is beyond belief with an interaction I have never seen before. Hoffman, Ortiz and Nolte make the simplest gestures memorable. The writing is so mesmerizing it seems to be over before it's barely begun. The other less-obvious fact no one gets is that this effort has the potential of cult status which many thought John from Cincinati aspired to but did not fulfill, trailing off instead to mediocrity. It would be very simple for the brilliant writers to create (with long-shots, archival footage and slow-mo} a finished product which relies mainly on clever writing and (God forbid I say it) Artistic Action Sequences. This wonderful attempt should not be scrapped--it should be re-thought.
Two for the Road (1967)
Find Out About REAL Marriage...
Not quite the Audrey we are used to seeing in the 60's. Makeup seems a bit garish now but somehow it elevates me back to that time when I was young and the world seemed to make so much more sense somehow. Oddly, it dealt with reality via marriage in a way few films had up to that time and this in an era when relationships between the sexes had never been more tested. Cynicism about the opposite sex, however, had just begun to rear its ugly head. The film still manages to carry the message: NO MATTER HOW HARD IT GETS, THIS IS WHERE ITS AT BABY. Me? I preferred the more stylized Breakfast at Tiffany's for entertainment and this film works for me when I really feel sad and want to feel sadder. I am drawn into the magnificent tapestry of this flick more deeply every time I view it. Finney as the consummate 60's young man not willing to sacrifice virtually any part of himself and choosing Hepburn PRECISELY because he cannot really take her seriously on an emotional level only to find himself in something more complex albeit sweet than he ever imagined. We never doubt that Audrey loves him and wants to ensnare him in the very vapid world of which he is so afraid, but she only realizes years later that the trap she set would put her into a life she never really wanted because she never looked beyond the adolescent attraction to how those emboldened character defects of her mate would rise up to overwhelm her--after all, wasn't his arrogance and pride the very things she was drawn to? The answer to this dilemma is really the magic and substance of TFTR and makes it painfully watchable as you get older and realize that substance someday outweighs clichés and stylized endings.