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The FP (2011)
Inches from perfection.
About this fine piece of craftsmanship; either you get it, or you don't. It's really that simple.
Personally, I love this movie and before showing it to two of my friends, I knew they would love it too, which they did. Before showing it to two other friends, I knew they would be like "WTF?", and they were.
If you crack up every time you see/hear Rocky shouting "ADRIAAAN!! I did it, ADRIAAAN!", with a crooked lip, or when Ahnould is in some "powerful" emotional scene saying some cheesy lines with some melodramatic music playing in the background, you will probably "get it".
Only thing the Trost brothers could have done better is to not have the "duck-story" in the movie. It kinda removed the magic for me for a while. That sequence alone was way out of tone for the whole movie.
Other than that, perfect movie, perfect soundtrack, perfect acting, perfect everything.
Il cartaio (2004)
Mr. Argento, I am very disappointed ...
First of all, I would like to say that i'm a big fan of Mr. Argento and his films with Suspiria as my all-time favourite. But with this film, The Card Player, he has really hit a bad hand, he should have folded this film from the start. The only similarity I can find between this lousy film and most of his brilliant films are, that there is a closeup of the murderers hands wearing black gloves. That's it! The tempo, editing, dialouge, (lack of) mystery and most of all, the story in this flick is almost pathetic if you compare with his other works. Gone are the beautiful use of colors and the wonderful aesthetic shots, replaced with some wannabe-Hollywood-police-thriller style. It's like a bad directed episode of any generic police series coming from the u.s. But it's worse.
The acting is horrible, Stefania Rocca (the woman playing the lead actor) is most often ridiculous. I can't think of one single actor/actress in the film that is not messing up his/her role in one way or more.
The poker scenes in the film are also very stupid. The murderer is kidnapping young girls and then challenging the police for a game of poker for their lifes. But the type of poker they are playing is the least thrilling pokerkind there is. They go one on one, with 5 cards face up, and then they get one change to swap the cards they wish. There's no betting, no bluffing, no nothing of what poker is supposed to be. Already there, the excitement is gone. Maybe Dario should have contacted a poker supervisor for the movie? Texas Hold'em or 5 card stud would be preferred, or anything, not just that kind of poker. The other thing poker related that is somewhat strange, is that in the last poker showdown, the killer loses with a royal straight flush against an ace,two,three,four,five club straight flush. I don't know what kind of poker they're playing but it sounds strange to lose with that hand, but as i said, i can be wrong!
Another thing is these called "anti-hackers", trying to locate the killer when he's playing against the police online. One of them says: "We can't locate him , I think he's behind a firewall or something". Well, that's some real good anti-hackers the police force got... (i'm ironic).
I read someone commenting on what a wonderful job Claudio Simonetti did on the soundtrack. I can't disagree more. It's like cheezy techno meets even more cheezier drum'n'bass in an ugly mix. Comparing this score to the one on Profondo Rosso, Tenebre or Suspiria is just stupid.
The killings are also pretty dull. There's not much blood or gore, but they are O.K. i guess. Nothing special though.
Another remark on the story; It's getting quite old and boring with some strange sound getting caught on tape, and the characters can't recognize where the sound comes from, until the end and it solves the puzzle. Come on... it worked in "Bird with a crystal plumage" but not here.
One last remark on the story; We're not introduced to many likely murderers throughout the movie, no one except the men/women in the police force are explored, so the murderer has to be someone in the police force, and guess what... it is! whoo!
I don't have many good things to say about this movie, I got some more bad things to say about, but I think i've written enough of them already.
Dario Argento + Claudio Simoenetti + black leather gloves = 1 + 1 + 1 3/10. And that's just because i'm weak for those three ingredients. I wouldn't be surprised if some non-argento, non-goblin and non-giallo movie fan gave this one a 0/10. It's still a giallo movie, but this cyber-newschool-giallo does not work, at all. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry at the stupid ending scene...