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bethlambert117

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9 reviews in total 
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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Good direction, laughable script, 13 May 2010
3/10

I wonder why, Claudio Fragasso, the last exponent of the Italian action movies, 70's style, persists in working with a script writer that hasn't learn the first thing about structure, character and least of all dialog. The film had the potential for a strong, committed, action packed, smart yarn. Good actors. I like in particular Luca Lionello but the script...makes the whole thing appear ridiculous. The characters move through illogical, melodramatic patterns. The dialog, specially in the most problematic second part is absurd and not in a fun kind of way but infuriatingly so. What's the reason behind it? Every bit of credibility flies out of the window and I didn't know if to laugh out loud or run out of the theater. I feel Fragasso has a good eye and he could come out with a real action flick if he had a good script to base it on.

Baarìa (2009)
89 out of 102 people found the following review useful:
Tornatore's Sicily in Venice, 3 September 2009
6/10

A red carpet event of major proportions. First time in 20 years that an Italian film opens the prestigious Venice Film Festival. The expectations were palpable. The film, as far as I'm concerned, a very personal 30 million dollar artsy rehash of a lot of common places. In a way the two and a half hours seemed to me the promotional teaser of a movie we have yet to see. In fact it looks and feels like a long, long trailer. Naturally, Tornatore knows how to steer sentiments and has a vivid commercial eye that survives in spite of the artistic aspirations. There are a couple of wonderful moments and it's a treat to see dozens of Italian stars making very brief cameos in a beautiful reconstructed city. The question is, after the emotional soirée, this morning it took me well after breakfast to remember the actual movie and I suspect that is because "Baaria" is too much and not enough at the same time. What come back to me at this very moment, trying to remember the epic is the wonderful face of Lina Sastri. So, Tornatore and his major collaborator Ennio Morricone are heading back to Oscar land. I wish them luck

23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
The Sweet, The Bitter And The Whole DamnThing, 5 September 2007
5/10

As an American who lived in Italy for longer than I care to admit who's married to an Italian and has Italian children, who's been in love with the Italian cinema since the discovery of Rossellini, Germi, De Sica, Visconti, Monicelli and some other Italian pillars of the 7th art, it is with a heavy heart that I have to confess that I'm sick and tired of this insane obsession the Italian cinema has with this bloody subject. Even if in "Il Dolce e l'Amaro" there is kind of twist in as much as the central character is a "pentito" - a man who turns against his mafia people - the story and the telling of it feels so old, so uninspired. I'm longing for something that could open a door to something new. This kind of story will continue to be told and probably it deserves to, but what I'm complaining about is the repetition in the treatment of the story. No surprises at all - emotionally or otherwise. It is in a way like the Bollywood musicals, always the same. I was, as a foreigner born Italian, a bit intimidated to talk because I thought, maybe it's me, maybe I don't get the subtle differences. I discovered that it's not just me, most Italians feel the same. Luigi Lo Cascio is a fine actor. He's confirmed that point repeatedly, but he's also a rather opaque presence on the screen. I'm dying for cinematic faces telling Italian stories in a way we've never seen before. Is that too much to ask?

14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Finally On DVD, 10 March 2007
9/10

I've been waiting for ages to have a DVD of this film to show everybody in England and the US but, guess what? It doesn't have English subtitles, in fact, no subtitles at all. How can it possibly be? Who's the myopic creature behind this move? Only Italian speaking audiences will be able to enjoy it, missing the golden opportunity to make the film known around the world. The film in itself is a gem and contains one of Anna Magnani greatest performances and that's saying something. She's funny, brutal, a force of nature. The film, by the great Renato Castellani maintains an energy that it's simply contagious. Maybe somebody behind this release wakes up and does something about it to make it accessible to an international audience.

129 out of 138 people found the following review useful:
From The Sublime To The Ridiculous, 12 March 2006
9/10

There is so much greatness in this unexpected Hollywood comedy that the cheap shots are really cheap and, quite frankly, unbearable. Buried somewhere between the special effects (extraordinary by the way) is one the wittiest satires to come out of Hollywood in many, many moons. Meryl Streep is sensational and Bruce Willis is, I swear, unrecognizable in the best possible way. The movie hits the highest moments when, for instance, Meryl asks Isabella Rossellini how much the magic potion costs and Isabella replays: "Oh the sordid topic of coin" sublime, exquisite, funny but with enormous regard for its audience. But when Bruce calls Goldie Hawn to explain the "incident" at home he goes through a TV style monologue that seems to belong to a sit-com and not to the elegant vulgarity of this three sad, magnificent wannabees. The dialog, for the most part, is the best in any American serious comedy since Billy Wilder. The structure of the script is flawless and inventive. The costumes are atrocious and certain scenes seem directed by a 3rd assistant. I don't know how to explain it. However, I have it, I own it and sometimes I put it on with my finger in the fast forward. What's good is so good that makes the whole thing really worth it.

41 out of 81 people found the following review useful:
Apartment Less Than Zero, 7 October 2005
2/10

I finally seen this with my own eyes. What a missed opportunity. If their intention was to remake "Apartment Zero" with two females in the lead, they failed miserably. They missed the point of the original,totally. Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh are very good but the movie isn't. I lost patience with the convoluted phony attempt to capture my attention within the first 15 minutes of the film.. I'd seen it all before. I felt treated like an idiot. There is no psychological road to follow because the characters are replicates from better movies, they don't have a life of their own and as a consequence, I didn't care. By the way, where are Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh? I haven't seen them in a long time and I think they are wonderful - in other movies that is.

1832 out of 2212 people found the following review useful:
Two Men In Love at the Venice Film Festival, 3 September 2005
10/10

It was a real ordeal to get into the screening. The anticipation was palpable. The film arrived surrounded by a plethora of innuendo. "A gay western" "Heath and Jake's hot scenes" As soon as the film started every imaginable preconception flew out of the auditorium. This is a remarkable, moving and powerful love story. The setting is that of a modern western "The Last Picture Show" comes to mind. Ang Lee's attention to detail verges on science fiction. You can actually smell the place. Extraordinary. I'm not going to reveal anything about the story - Gian Luigi Rondi a legendary Italian film critic, revealed the ending to a television audience, what was he thinking?! - The film will be enjoyed much more allowing the story to unfold without having passages underlined and attention drawn to this or that particular. I felt compelled to write this comment because I'm overwhelmed. It has changed my perception, I must confess, about certain aspect of same sex love because I didn't think of same sex when I was watching it, I saw two human beings (amazing performances by both actors)I have the feeling "Brokeback Mountain" will make history, deservedly so.

37 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
Lows and Lowers among Highs and Highers, 30 August 2005
7/10

Biopics are a devilish thing. Is as if the subject himself boycotted the operation from beyond the grave. The ultimate breach of privacy, isn't it? One feels like a voyeur, compelled and revolted at the same time. Goeffrey Rush's brilliant portrayal makes things even worse, I mean better, no I meant worse. A life of massive ups and downs for public consumption. Peter Sellers with a Cary Grant complex and a talent bigger than himself told in bits and pieces. To the ones who know about Sellers is a rather frustrating experience. Dr.Strangelove yes but not Lolita? The relationship with Blake Edwards deserves a movie of its own. The first massive heart attack was during Billy Wilder's "Kiss Me Stupid" but there is no mention of that. I know that to compress such a life without a structure within a two hour film it's an impossible task so what we're left with is a courageous attempt at tell us the sickly existence of one the greatest that ever was, a superlative performance by Goeffrey Rush, an astonishing Charlize Theron as Britt Eckland and very little else. I suppose that should be enough. Yes, it should, shouldn't it?

Bellissima (1952)
50 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Magnani and Visconti, 29 August 2005
10/10

It was as if I had taken a time machine back to 1951. Sitting at the open theater of Tiberina Island in Rome, Anna Magnani's voice bounced off the ancient angles of this stunning roman spot. "Bellissima" is a timeless masterpiece. A rarity in Visconti's oeuvre. He puts all of his uncanny attention to detail to the service of Magnani's bombastic, tender, funny, extraordinary performance. Visconti knew how to bring the best in his actors. Even Maria Callas who, under Visconti's guidance, went from the greatest Opera singer to the greatest actress singing Opera. There are moments in "Bellissima" that can only be described as a love letter from Visconti to Magnani and vice versa. She has a few close ups that tells us how much love, respect and admiration existed between this two enormous artists. Look at her moments in the mirror, combing her hair naturally, debating under her breath the proper pronunciation of a word. She, not a conventional beauty, looks ravishing. The message about the dangers of immediate fame and fortune could have been written today. If you have a chance, don't miss it. If you love film, it's a must!