Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Movie: “Snatch” (2000)

“Sanych” by Guy Ritchie

Title: Snatch

Year: 2000

Director: Guy Ritchie

Producer: Matthew Vaughn

Written by: Guy Ritchie

Music: John Murphy

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Mike Reid, Rade Šerbedžija, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Alan Ford, Sam Douglas, Robbie Gee, Lennie James.

Length: 104

Genre: Crime Film

Distributed: Columbia pictures (UK), Screen Gems (USA)

Released: August 23rd, 2000

What happens if an American jeweler, an ex-Russian KGB agent, a Londoner diamond dealer, and a boxing promoter meet together?

The result can only be an explosive situation in which everything is valid (and incredibly casual) to achieve his own purpose.

In the “Snatch”, Guy Ritchie created ironical, comical and casual situations where they – who were the less lucky and unrelated to the original story – get out as the incredible winner of the match.

Frankie “Four-Fingers” (Benicio Del Toro) robbed an 86-carat diamond to deliver to Doug “The Head” (Mike Reid), a Londoner diamond dealer, on behalf of theNew Yorkjeweler Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina).

But the thieves, who helped Frankie, wanted to obtain the gemstone, so they advised him to get a gun from Boris “The Blade” (Rade Šerbedžija), in order to have the diamond without being involved.

In the meantime, Turkish (Jason Statham), who needed a new caravan as office, contacted a group of gypsies to get the new one.

His socio Tommy (Stephen Graham) and one of the boxers went to the camp to complete the purchase, but, because of an impromptu challenge, the boxer was defeated by Mickey (Brad Pitt), a gypsy and new box champ.

They had a new athlete for the fight, whom it did not like to lose, by causing a lot of problem with the local gangster Brick Top (Alan Ford).

Boris, who had debts with the gangster, hired two careless pawnbroker, Vinnie (Robbie Gee) and Sol (Lennie James) in order to steal Frankie the diamond.

Subsequently the troubles in getting back the diamond, Cousin Avi flew toLondonwith his bodyguard (Sam Douglas) by hiring “Bullet-tooth” Tony (Vinnie Jones), a mercenary, by giving him the job to find Frankie.

The two stories converged incredibly by re-establishing the freedom of the gipsy and the recovery of the precious stone by they who had commissioned the diamond robbing.

A story directed in flawless way by Guy Ritchie who contains under a point of view a strong moral meaning: not always the weak is defeated by he who looks like the stronger and more powerful.

The viewer can taste funny interpretation of Brad Pitt who, from naïve gypsy, will reveal a cunning thinker an own-business man.

Movie: “Crank” (2006)

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Crank, 2006 Source:

Title: Crank

Year: 2006

Director: Neveldine/Taylor

Producer: Tom Rosemberg, Skip Williamson, Michael Davis, Gary Lucchesi, Richard S. Wright

Written by: Neveldine/Taylor

Music: Paul Haslinger

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Keone Young

Length: 93 min

Genre: Action Movie

Distributed: Lionsgate Lakeshore Entertainment

Released: September 1, 2006

Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), a killer engaged to murder Don Kim (Keone Young) – boss of the expanding Chinese mafia – on behalf of Carlito, leader of the Mexican-American criminal branch, woke up in a bedroom in Los Angeles.

He did not remember anything, but he found a DVD – Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), his long-time rival, has poisoned him with a new synthetic drug, ‘Beijing Cocktail’, which inhibited the flux of adrenaline by slowing the working of the hearth and causing the death of the person who has been injected to.

It started a long run against the time to try an antidote to stop the effects of the drug.

Among shoot-outs, chases, and paradoxical situations, the advice of Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), a doctor of the Mafia, and the particular support of Eve (Amy Smart), the Chelios’ girlfriend, helped the unfortunate killer to keep high the level of adrenaline and settled the situation with his rivals.

The rhythm of the movie is fast, appealing and frantic – without doubt the viewers do not fall asleep – and the story is original enough to catch the curiosity of the people.

A good soundtrack, having strong hard rock and in some part hip-hop hints, goes with the narration effectively – it is worth to quote Quiet Riot, ‘Metal health’, or Refused, ‘New noise’.

Jason Statham acts his role in a perfect way by alternating violent-killer moments with funny and embarrassing situations – no one would like, or imagine, to have sex in the middle of a crowded Chinatown to keep high the adrenaline level.

The film maintains the expectations of a good action story by giving the spectators the originality of the plot and moments in which burst in pleasant laugh – ideal to pass a nice evening in company of bullets, chases and fierce criminal.

Movie: “The Illusionist” (2006)

April 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The Illusionist, theatrical poster Source: Wikipedia

Title: The Illusionist

Year: 2006

Director: Neil Burger

Producer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Michael London, Cathy Schulman, Bob Yari

Written by: Steven Millhauser (short-story), Neil Burger (screenplay)

Music: Philip Glass

Starring: Edward Norton, Aaron Johnson, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Eleanor Tomlinson, Rufus Sewell

Length: 109 min

Genre: Drama, Romance, Science Fiction

Distributed: Yari Film Group, 20th Century Fox (DVD)

Released: August 18, 2006

Vienna, 19th century, Edward Abramovic (Edward Norton), also known as Eisenheim the Illusionist, was arrested with the charges of disturbing public order, necromancy, and threat against the Empire by the Chief Inspector Walter Uhl (Paul Giamatti) during a performance.

Eisenheim (Aaron Johson) was born in a little village from the family of a cabinetmaker in the Austrian countryside, and deeply intrigued by magician tricks.

One day, teenager, he met the young Sophie (Eleanor Tomlinson), daughter of the Duke von Teschen, and they fell in love each other by starting to meet secretly – but because of the different social classes, her father discovered the place where they were used to stay, obliging them not to meet anymore.

Eisenheim escaped towards East, reappearing after 15 years as master illusionist inVienna, where, during a show, he recognized Sophie (Jessica Biel), who was going to get married the Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell).

The love between them was stronger than before, so they began to think a way to escape and live together.

After a performance to prove the truthfulness of the tricks, the Prince, who was humiliated during this in front of his noble friends and relatives, decided to shut down the theater.

Leopold had also given the Inspector the job to investigate about the illusionist by discovering the relationship with the future Empress – the following night, the Prince, asking explanation of the betrayal, murdered Sophie because of an excess of wrath and drunkenness while she was trying to escape.

This tragic episode forced the illusionist to open another theater with his savings and focus on a new performance: evoking the spirit of dead people ghosts, including the loved noblewoman.

During the show, the indignation of the spectators soared suddenly being willing to know the real causes of her death, but the police could not arrest Eisenheim for inciting to revolt, because in that moment he disappeared like a spirit.

The Inspector concluded the investigate on the case by discovering the Prince was real guilty of the murder, and during the final report, Leopold committed suicide, concluding the story.

Sure to have concluded the case, the inspector carried on his duties, until, struck by a little detail in the illusionist laboratory, he discovered the real astonishing development of the facts.

An amazing movie which confirms the strong ability of Edward Norton – main character of ‘American History X’, movie which allowed him to be consecrated great actor, and ‘Primal Fear’ with Richard Gere – of acting the roles of clever and shrewd cheat.

Rufus Sewell – already known for the TV series ‘The Pillars of The Earth’ – gives a good demonstration of his flexibility, from the sweet and fond Tom Builder in the series inspired by the Ken Follet book to the arrogant and quick-tempered Prince Leopold.

The movie carries the viewers in an involving story by keeping the grab of their attention and revealing the truth with an unthinkable coupe de theatre – who will allow the final laugh of the Chief Inspector to burst sincerely.

Movie: “Inside Job” (2011)

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

"Inside Job" poster Source: Wikipedia

Title: Inside Job

Year: 2011

Director: Charles Ferguson

Written by: CharlesFerguson,Chad Beck, Adam Bolt

Starring: Charles Ferguson (interviewer), Matt Damon (narrator)

Length: 108 min.

Genre: Documentary, Video Inquest

Precise, accurate, detailed, one of the best journalistic reports produced in these years, “Inside job” analyzed the American crisis in 2008 with an expert eye by highlighting the strict connections between economy and political world.

The director and co-producer Charles Ferguson interviewed the characters of the story – MPs, bank and financial high rank managers, economists – by asking them biting and provocative questions.

Matt Damon lent his voice as narrator by leading the viewers in this world made of easy high profits, wealth, and political powers assembled in a small group of individuals’ hands.

The documentary consisted of five parts from the beginning of this trouble in the Sixties.

After 20 years, the laissez-faire policies of Ronald Regan boosted the financial industry with the fundamental help of leading American economists: Alan Greenspan – who declined to be interviewed – former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Robert Rubin, Co-chairman of Goldman Sachs.

A strict cooperation between technology and finance created one of the most dangerous – and, under certain aspects, mysterious – financial products: the derivatives, a sort of ‘gambling’ bond issued to protect to from losses of companies’ failures.

The director edited the movie skilfully by alternating interviews and clips of the investigations realized by the senate hearings, in which appeared clearly the impressive inability of the managers to explain the causes of their bankruptcy.

Subsequently it presented a satisfactory analysis of the journalistic inquests made before and after this catastrophe – the Allan Sloan’s piece, senior editor for Fortune Magazine, stood out among the others for his complete comprehension of the phenomenon.

But the viewer will remain upset by watching and hearing the senseless answers of Daniel Sparks, former mortgages department head of Goldman Sachs, to the insistent questions of Senator Carl Lewin, chairman of the delegation.

Frederick Mishkin, governor of Fed from 2006 to 2008, provided, sadly, the funniest performance – during his interview he alternated vague answers with non-answers.

At a certain point, Charles Ferguson asked him why he left the Fed in August, and the economist answered that he had to revisit a text book.

The director’s remark was blazing: “I’m sure your text book is important, but in 2008, you know, somewhere more important things were going on in the world, don’t you think?”, leaving the economist with a empty look towards nowhere.

The movie carried on interviewing eminent economists and University teachers – for instance Martin Feldstein and Glenn Hubbard – who admitted, astonishingly without regret, their decisions when they were respectively members of the AIG and Capmark Financial Corporation.

The last part – “Where we are now” – consisted of a wrap-up on the current situation; the societies, American in particular, are becoming poorer and more unequal by obliging the governments to increase taxes, especially in education, and cutting public services – while the connections between banks and politics are become stricter.

Although Barack Obama promised to introduce regulation for the financial market, Wall Street carried on its lobbyst power, and William C. Dudley, the former Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs, the biggest financial institution using derivatives, was appointed president of the NY Federal Reserve.

Besides no one financial actor has been prosecuted for security fraud or accounting fraud.

The period after 2008 disorder created a lot of examples of films on the subject – ‘Capitalism: A love story’ (2009) by Michael Moore or ‘Debtocracy’ (2011), by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou – but this work can be assessed the best, essentially for two strong reasons: the main, Charles Ferguson put the people in front to a camera, and the viewers can see directly who made mistakes and dirty profits.

The second, the journalistic seriousness explaining the facts, combined with a clever hint of irony, does not annoy the viewers by allowing them to enjoy intensely the narration.

Unlike the Moore or Kitidi and Hatzistefanou work, ‘Inside Job’ avoids propagandistic tones by providing all the necessary knowledge to think about a good alternative to the current system.

Movie: “Contagion” (2011)

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment


Title: Contagion

Year: 2011

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Written by: Scott Z. Burns

Music: Cliff Martinez

Starring: Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow,

Lenght: 106 min

Genre: Medical disaster

Distributed: Warner Bros

Epidemic catastrophes, mortal flues and infectious slaughters caused by incurable viruses have always intrigued the film industry – the best examples are the works by Robin Cook.

Epidemic catastrophes, mortal flues and infectious slaughters caused by incurable viruses have always intrigued the film industry – the best examples are the works by Robin Cook.

The last movie of Steven Soderbergh can be added in this multitude of works.

The story is quite simple – Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), an American woman, comes back from Honk Kong, and after some days she and his son die because of a new and extremely mortal flu.

This is the beginning of a terrible epidemic, and facing political plot, difficulties and the investigation of a blogger journalist (Jude Law), the scientists will discover the vaccine to stop the disease.

Even if the story looks interesting, unfortunately the result is quite unsatisfactory.

The movie development is slow and boring, and because of this slowness it does not transmit the necessary tension and anxiousness of this situation.

The acting is disappointing as well, Gwyneth Paltrow is insignificant – her role lasts twenty minutes, and it is nothing special, very distant from her previous acting.

If she is insignificant, Matt Damon never get in the part – he is the husband of Beth, and obviously protects his only daughter, but he is never involved in the plot, neither he tries to understand why his wife has died, nor he carries out some action – for example contacting the medical staff or the blogger journalist – to understand the truth behind these deaths.

In my opinion, Jude Law is the only one who gets inside the role well, acting like a real investigative reporter who wants to fight the power to get the truth.

Another disappointment is the connection among the characters, which is almost non-existent.

The scientists’ team does not contact the husband of Beth to get information or examine him – the only precaution is 40 days under observation and a little interview.

But there is no contact between him and the journalist, and they look living separate story.

Every character looks following his way of facing this trouble without being related one another.

In this boring movie development the final turns out to be a well done ‘coup of the theatre’, giving to the viewer an unexpected answer to the epidemic.

This idea could be arranged and developed better considering the important and pompous cast used to create it.

Movie: “The Nutcracker in 3D” (2011)

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment


Title: The Nutcracker in 3D

Year: 2011

Director: Andrej Konchalovskij

Written by: Chris Solimine, Andreij Konchalovskij

Music: Eduard Artemiev

Lyrics: Tim Rice

Starring: Elle Fanning, Charlie Rowe, Aaron Michael Drozin,Nathan Lane, John Turturro.

Lenght: 110 min

Genre: Fantasy

Literature, theatre and film industry are closely interconnected, and a huge number of masterpieces test or have tested the ability of directors.

It is enough to think about the influence of Arthur Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie with Hercules Poirot or Shakespeare with Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

“The Nutcracker in 3D” is the last movie by the Russian director Andrej Konchalovskij, clearly inspired by the famous ballet which Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky set to music.

The theatrical work was adapted from the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

Set in Vienna, the movie tells the story of two children, Mary (Elle Fanning) and her brother Max (Aaron Michael Drozin), during the Christmas period.

One evening their parents leave home to attend a worldly event, and Uncle Albert (Natham Lane) has the duty to look after the children.

Albert is an eccentric man, clever, beloved by his niece and nephew, and a toy-lover.

He gives them a house-doll with inside three singular puppets: a cycling-monkey, a sleeping clown and a coloured drummer boy, but the best surprise is a wooden nutcracker toy soldier that is shaped (Charlie Rowe).

He called him NC and where it comes from is a mystery, “I would tell you, but if I do it, I have to kill you”, the uncle answers playfully.

After dinner the children go to sleep, and during the night the nutcracker comes to life, waking Mary for asking help, because he is a prince whom a spell transformed in nutcracker.

The cruel Mouse King (John Turturro) invaded his country to destroy every toy and starting a process of ‘ratization’ of the citizens.

The little puppet and his house-doll friends will lead Mary and her brother Max in an incredible fight to save the realm with no holds barred, which will finish with their victory.

This fairy tale is not for children. Konchalovskij included a huge number of cultural references that are not simply understandable.

Uncle Albert is a clear homage to Albert Einstein – he is a supporter of relativity, so nothing is pre-determined, and he explains this theory to Mary and Max writing the famous formula E= mc2 on a small blackboard.

The mum of the children is a upholder of the psychoanalysis. “Joseph listen, do you remember what doctor Freud told us about child psychology and dreams?” she will remind her husband after Mary tells them of the encounter with the alive nutcracker.

Citing Shakespeare, before choosing to escape, the Mouse King will cry out, “To be or not to be that is the question”.

Despite the cultural efforts and the important work at which the movie is inspired, the result disappoints the viewer.

The dark and gloomy atmosphere turns out to be ponderous and excessive, and even if the sequence of the first half is fluent and quite pleasant, the second half lost strength and speed, making dull on the chase and conflict between the prince and the Mouse King.

A good TV movie for passing a cold and snowy evening at home, but for which is not worth to spend the cost of cinema ticket.