Reviews written by registered user
|14 reviews in total|
Silly is the operative word but also very entertaining. What did it for me was the cast. Helen Mirren lifts whatever she is in and the endearing thing about her is that she's not "precious" She goes for it and her fun becomes our fun. Hurrah for that! To go into the plot seems an exercise in futility because that's not what we will enjoy particularly but Mirren holding a machine gun with relish, the wonderful Mary Louise Parker tied to a bed or Brian Cox with a Russian accent and a mischievous spark in his eye. John Malkovich, I hope he soon plays a woman, he would be marvelous as Edna in "The Edna May Oliver Story" He is such fun to watch. Bruce Willis can do this kind of film in his sleep and he kind of does and Morgan Freeman? Well, he's always worth the trouble. The film has already vanished from my brain but the cast is glorious.
Once every so often a film comes along that will change your perception of things. In one way or another it will give you elements to better yourself. "Precious" is such a film. Lee Daniels, the director, takes things to extremes, so much so that this could easily be an opera. When you think that things couldn't be worse, you discover that they have been worse already for a long time. Precious is played by a sort of miracle. Her name is Gubarey Sidibe and I don't even know how to pronounce it but I will certainly take her in my mind from now on, always. When she stands listening to the rantings of her mother, I surprised myself by feeling tears running down my face. The mother, a standout, once in a lifetime performance by Mo'Nique, is also a character we've never seen before. Brutal, unsentimental and truthful to the core. I saw the film over three weeks ago and I can't shake it out of my system, if that in itself is not a sign of greatness I don't know what is.
The film was received last night with an ovation. I was there in the audience, applauding. What a beautiful looking film! That was last night, today I found myself in difficulty trying to describe what I had seen. Where to start? With a kid running? Or, with Giuseppe Tornatore himself, a skillful craftsman with too much power? I suppose Tornatore is what I've carried with me from the experience. He tried to give us a "1900" but just hinting at the highs and lows with pretty pictures and Ennio Morricone. More Zeffirelli than Visconti. More Richard Attenborough than Bernardo Bertolucci. We in Italy need to see one of our most successful directors as an artist, as a man of culture. That's a trap an inhuman trap. The superficiality of "Baaria" is disguised by alluding to great themes with heavy "artistic" moments, dream like, magic realism, slow motion, but at the end of the day the superficiality shows up. Some of my favorite films appear superficial when in reality they are not. But I get terribly impatient when the opposite is true. I don't want to be negative towards this effort and I'm sure it will find a large audience all over the world I just don't want it to be presented to me like the serious work of a great artist because it's not. I loved Tornatore's "A Pure Formality" and the first part of "Cinema Paradiso" From "Baaria" I loved the beautiful faces of the two new comers in the leading roles and most of the score. I found the brief appearances by famous Italian actors entertaining but distracting. Perhaps that was the intention. Now, all said and done I will urge you to see it and make up your own mind.
The vintage tale of unrequited love, rediscovered love, sacrifice, honor and betrayal gets a new coat of paint giving the whole forced yarn an unconvincing tone. It was difficult for me to get into it because I couldn't get over the artifice. Although I believe it was shot on real locations - and the locations look great - the actors seem dressed an coiffed by a first class metropolitan expert. I didn't have a sense of hardship, I was told it was awful, but we didn't feel it. Naomi Watts gives her character a contemporary slant that it's not out of the rebellious spirit of a Garbo or Hepburn or Davis but of a miscalculation of the filmmakers. Edward Norton's timid monster is at times unbearable. You don't want this two people to get together because there is not a single moment in which I believe that the implied love is sincere. The lingering shots of the dying doesn't help one bit to make the artificial emotional storm any deeper. Everything happens too quickly although the pace goes from slow to very slow. Strange that after all said and done, compared with the recent film offerings, this is not all bad. However, I longed for the William Wyler of "The Letter"
Ferzan Ozpeteck returns to familiar territory but without the nerve, and self assuredness that he shown in the much better "Le Fatte Ignoranti" This time we're introduced to an unusual little group of friends doing all the usual things. Loving and and deceiving, being honest and compassionate, blatant, timid, courageous, self effacing. At times I thought "Saturno Contro" was going to deal with the tough theme that a gay lover is not a relative with all its thorny connotations but not such luck. Our characters are much more sophisticated and, apparently, the society they all live in, as well. There is no real conflict, really. Death is the thing and death is always powerful, specially when it touches the unsuspecting. Pierfrancesco Favino is wonderful. Human to the hilt. Even when he's given a far too long close up with tears that seem to, awkwardly, fight their way out. Luca Argentero, his lover, is definitely beautiful and gets, like Gabriele Garko in "Le Fatte Ignoranti" the most loving, lingering close ups. Again, I couldn't quite connect with Stefano Accorsi as a character or as an actor. Marherita Buy is a delight, as usual and Serra Yilmaz has become already Ozpeteck's good luck charm and she's always fun to watch. All in all, I was moved and annoyed at the same time.
The torturous road of South African diamonds to the greedy fingers of an indifferent world makes this new Edward Zwick movie one of the most powerful Action/Adventure/Dramas to come out of Hollywood in a long time. The perfect balance between entertainment and a thoughtful social commentary helps the center of the story to have a real heart and a palpable respect for us, the audience. All this praise and I still have not mentioned Leonardo Di Caprio or Djimon Hounsou but I'm going to. Di Caprio opens a new door, introducing us to a character who is a first in his already extraordinary career. He startled us as a very young man with "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" before he fell with a serious case of Titanictis. Now, after a three a long and serious Scorsese cures, this spectacular actor makes me believe that we haven't seen anything yet. Remarkable. As remarkable as the soulful Djimon Hounsou who manages to give the film a visible soul. I was moved and yes, I must admit, surprised. Apart from the visual and interpretative prowess of "Blood Diamond" there is a realistic view of a third world country as shattering as the unforgettable one in "City Of God" Don't miss it.
A family drama like no other. Two hours plus that rush at the speed of light. This is cinema. I'm sorry but it is. Don't look for inner meanings. This is the work of one of the greatest artists of our time. Yes, I'm talking about Mel Gibson. And as most of the great artists, he's bound to be controversial, erratic and infuriating sometimes but, thank God he exists. He's always going to surprise us for better or worse in sickness and in health. There are no intellectual under pinnings here. This is an adventure flick that takes us to places we've never been before. It entertains and moves and startles. Masterfully shot at a breathless pace that never, ever, lets go. And then, of course, the acting - if you can call it that. The most remarkable performances by an ensemble cast of unknowns. Gloroious faces that speak louder than words. Well, as you may have guessed. I'm overwhelmed by the experience. Thank you Mel, thank you very much.
I saw her Elizabeth I not so long ago and I was bowled over by her fearlessness, I was moved, transported, amused. Now, Elizabeth II, the living Queen. Helen Mirren accomplishes the impossible. She lets us know the Queen, her Queen, without passing judgment. Just being her. I found myself understanding her dilemma in human terms. Something that she had done so brilliantly with Elizabeth I, she humanized her or rather she allows us to find the human creature behind the iconic façade. The difficulty of not falling into a caricature or a simple impersonation may have seemed insurmountable but here she is. Perfect, real, extraordinary. Long Live Helen Mirren!
Oliver Stone salutes the ordinary heroes of this extraordinary circumstances. He puts himself way behind their stories, so far behind in fact that he is almost imperceptible. In Italy, the academics, snobs and other fauna dismissed it as rhetoric and banal. I have the words of the laid back "opinionist" Barbara Pallombelli accusing Stone of "inventing" How silly really. The ignorance between the cultures seems insurmountable sometimes. The story was told by the two men under the rubble and their families. They were working people, not professional "opinionists". They will hum the theme from Startsky and Hutch to keep themselves alive. I wonder what pseudo intellectual would have done.The film is a gripping depiction centered mostly on two men and their families. The event caused a catastrophe that is still growing, based mostly in personal interest and massive inter cultural ignorance. The film is not about that. The film is about the tiniest enormity of the domestic drama. I wept and longed for a private happy ending. The rest, well the rest is still part of our daily existence. Most of the detractors accuse World Trade Center of not being an Oliver Stone film, if he had done a classic Oliver Stone film he would have been accused of that. Stone will be controversial even for standing still. My hat to you Mr Stone, please keep going your own way.
I'm so brainwashed about Elizabeth I, Bette Davis, Judi Dench, Glenda Jackson, Flora Robson that it was startling at first to get to know the woman behind the icon. Helen Mirren is beyond superb, she is a miracle worker. Meryl Streep called her "an acting God" and she wasn't kidding. I'm not going to go into the story, we all know it, more or less, but I can assure you we've never seen it quite like this. Her imposing presence doesn't cancel her humanity, her rages, her pain, her longing her capacity for love and compassion with the fierce awareness that she is the queen and not just any old queen but Elizabeth I Queen of England. A total absorbing delight from beginning to end. Long Live Helen Mirren!
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