Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Family Stone (2005)
The Beautiful Face Of Diane Keaton
That's it. I got lost in Diane Keaton's face and I went wherever she went. I loved the journey. So familiar and yet so different. Family with all the warmth of ancestral Christmas carols and a glimpse into our very near future, hopefully. She is surrounded by a group of wonderful actors. The fearless Sarah Jessica Parker, the stunning Rachel McAdams, the blooming Clare Danes, the underrated Dermot Mulroney, the surprisingly tender Craig T Nelson etc. To tell you about this family, going back home for the holidays, would be a waste of time. If you decide to go, you'll be part of the gathering, the Stone's have their doors wide open and you'll find your own place at the table. As the movie ended I had a smile from ear to ear while tears were running down my face.
Mrs Henderson Presents (2005)
Musty Old Bore
What were they thinking? Stephen Frears? I don't believe it for a minute. He's never made anything this bad. The tone of the film is impossible to grasp. Lack of money, something mentioned. Well that's no excuse. To recreate the London blitz without money is something that amateurs do, not Stephen Frears for goodness sake. Judi Dench alone is a reason to go to a movie, but not this one. Here everything is so clichéd so premeditated is anti-wit it's just unforgivable. Martin Sherman of "Bent" fame wrote the script and that's were most of the problems lay. It's not grand and funny and camp. it's not serious compelling or moving. It's not fast and outrageous and daring. It's just a disappointing crashing old bore. I'm sorry, I really am.
Romanzo criminale (2005)
To The Criminals With Love
There is long tradition in Italian cinema in which the hero is a thief or a pathetic loser or a criminal or, like in "Romanzo Criminale" all three. Part of the tradition is to humanize the beasts, to give them feelings, to make us feel for them. Here we're giving an endless romance based on the real life Magliana band, a bunch of heartless, violent thugs that dominated the Roman gangland in the 70's. Michele Placido and his script writers concoct a confused and confusing document that is as annoying, tedious and opportunistic as it is long, endless really. There is, however, one big plus in its favor, the actors. They are given a sketchy draw of their perverse characters but they go for it with body and soul. Kim Rossi Stuart's tormented Freddo exudes a cutting pain that makes you think he has a conscience. Claudio Santamaria projects danger without even trying and the "Libanese" is played by an actor totally new to me, Pierfrancesco Favino, that gives the best performance by an Italian Actor in many, many moons. Riccardo Scamarcio has a face to launch a thousand ships but unfortunately no character and Stefano Accorsi is totally unbelievable in a character that is nothing short of absurd. Explosions, production values, American style editing, but very slow pacing, a brilliant dirty photography by the great Luca Bigazzi. What a pity that with all of this talent available the end result is so mediocre.
Thank God For Nicole
Nicole Kidman makes the whole wretched thing almost palatable. The, supposedly, inventiveness of this farce within a farce is hammered on with such lack of subtlety that, sometimes, you want to shout at the screen "Hey you! We're not brain dead! We got it! Move on! Will Ferrell is still a great TV comedian. How is it possible that nobody has told him that on the big screen less is more. Strangely, Nicole Kidman, the witch, is totally rooted in reality, we believe her. Will Ferrell, the mortal, is a loud caricature from beginning to end and we just can't get the attraction. There are some little perks however, Carole Shelley as Aunt Clara took me, thankfully, out of the movie and I spent at least 15 minutes asking myself where I've seen this actress before - The Odd Couple, one of the Pigeon sisters! Goodness! I was uncomfortable with Shirley MacLaine's cameo because I love her and I could only focus on the strange tightness in her face. I am a Kidmanite through and through that's why I go to see everything she does because I know that, even if she's involved in something quite beneath her, she manages to sparkle, to shine to surprise. Thank God for you Nicole.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
A Cinematic Landmark
The feeling lingers. The images come back, not to haunt you but to reassure you. There is an element of hope within the melancholic sadness of this Ang Lee masterpiece. There hasn't been such a limpid definition of love since the world was still innocent. Limpid, yes, that's the word that comes to mind, remembering the shy lopsided smile of the extraordinary Heath Ledger. Who could possibly have predicted that Heath Ledger was such a giant, unquestionably destined to a legendary career. Well, Ang Lee I guess. Lee seems in total control of his canvas. Every frame is a moment, the silences are exquisite, the humans are as humans are and we're allowed to dive into their hearts without tricks without illusions. Raw, limpid, poetic and above all, true. I can't wait for the world to meet Jack and Ennis in this startling Ang Lee, Larry McMurtry universe.
Concorso di colpa (2004)
A Pathetic State Of Affairs
I've just rushed out of the theater where this film announcing the return of Francesco Nuti (return from where?) opened today. Claudio Fragasso made an almost okay film a few years back "Palermo Milano Solo Andata" the major problem with that film was a static, humorless script with more holes than a lunar landscape. Now with the complicity of the same scriptwriter, Rossella Drudi, he concocts a shameful piece of opportunistic nonsense. He is even late in the opportunistic department. The whole thing is so old, so unfocused, so stupid. The only humor in the nonsensical script is unintentional and Francesco Nuti, meanders through the film with absolutely nothing to say or do. He seems a graduate from the zombie school of acting. Not even a minute attempt to construct real multi dimensional characters. They're all a tiny ridiculous sketch. Not a single moment of truth and for a thriller not to have a moment of suspense or excitement is really too much. The main reason it doesn't work is because we don't give a damn about any of it. Yes, it's that bad, but not bad enough to be funny it's just boringly bad, bloated with self importance. Tonight, the director will be at the Eden theater to mingle with the audience. I wish he had shown this kind of courage when he was making the movie. To let out my anger let me add that the introduction of the "political connotations" verges on the offensive and the pointlessness of the story is just a tiny example of the pathetic state of modern Italian cinema.
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
Southern Fried Gothic Of The Most Delicious Kind
Montgomery Clift was supposed to play Brando's part. Elizabeth Taylor had put her own salary as a collateral for insurances purposes. It wasn't to be but the thought stayed with me throughout the film without spoiling the perverse delights's of Carson McCuller's steamy original story. Gladys Hill, adapting McCuller's book, was clearly giving John Huston exactly what he needed, she did it two other times in "The Kremlin Letter" and most memorably in "The Man Who Would Be King" John Huston has traveled through many different universes throughout his career. Sometimes he merely visited with a fantastic inquisitive eye and his masterful hand. He was never one to judge, he seem to find redeeming sides even in the, apparently, unredeemable. Here he seems to observe this peculiar world from a distance and what he gives us is a brilliantly cinematic glimpse into the unmentionable. In lesser hands this would have been an heavy, turgid melodrama in Huston's hands is a brilliantly heavy, stunningly turgid, intelligent melodrama. Brando is terrific in one of his most uncomfortable performances. You sense he is a time bomb that stopped clicking. Elizabeth Taylor throws herself into the part with such gusto that keeps the proceedings not merely high but in flames - this was her messy wives period, Virginia Woolf and Zee - The shots of her beautifully round behind bouncing up and down her horse's saddle is a funny reminder of her National Velvet days. So far, far away. Here, her casual cruelty is so totally amoral that verges on innocence. Julie Harris's performance is nothing short of sensational and Zorro David as her loyal Anacleto starts as a caricature and ends as one of the stalwarts of the piece. The great John Huston had cinematographer Aldo Tonti to translate this kinky universe into a stunning, steamy masterpiece.
La febbre (2005)
Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Alessandro D'Alatri is one of the most interesting Italian directors around. He comes from the world of publicity but that is not enough to explain his lavish visual dexterity. His talent is as real as the subjects he touches. I fell in love with "Senza Pelle" (Without Skin) a D'Altri film of a few years ago. In that one he had the workings of an impossible triangle in the hands of three superb actors, Anna Galiena, Kim Rossi Stuart and Massimo Ghini, the rhythms and the revelations were fast and furious, lyrical and true, most of anything that, true. You felt it with every fiber of your body. In "La Febbre" his hand is still the hand of a passionate master but the story revolves mainly around one character, played by Fabio Volo. He is certainly effective, with a lovely, childish face and a melancholic smile, he has been wonderfully directed but doesn't have the depth or the range of a Rossi Stuart. His scenes are beautifully played but they work individually, not as a whole. The character through the actor seems to have forgotten what it came before. It doesn't grow and develop during the length and breath of the film, but in short or semi short scenes. I like the actor very much but the film with a great actor could have become, transcendental. The young Sordi, even a foreigner like Edward Norton could have given the part what clearly were D'Alatri's intentions. I don't want to bring this marvelous film down. It is one of the best Italian films I've seen in a long time. There's something here that we've never seen before, truly new. There is also something borrowed, the "once Italian, always Italian" syndrome and as a consequence something blue. A melancholic look backwards with the sights set, hopefully, forward.