June 6th, 2010 · No Comments
June 5th, 2010 · No Comments
June 1st, 2010 · No Comments
Sergio Castellitto is a fine actor. And I mean fine in the sense of “superb,” rather than “passable.” He is excellent here as the deeply flawed central character, as is his co-star, an astoundingly unglamorous, often homely, Penelope Cruz. The two play rather unconventional lovers whose relationship is replayed in the mind of Castelitto’s character as he awaits the prognosis of his severely injured daughter.
But as this film’s director (he also shares script credit with the source novelist), Castellitto must be held responsible for weaknesses that tend to overshadow the film’s strengths. Clearly his biggest success here is in extracting strong and believable performances. But the much better [Read more →]
May 31st, 2010 · 2 Comments
May 30th, 2010 · No Comments
Alright, I’ll admit it. I enjoyed this film a lot more that I expected. Yes, there are parts of it that are patronizing (many caused from playing the younger brother for laughs), and the story is too saccharine for my tastes. But there are worse films one could imagine being offered on a long flight. A worthy best picture nominee it is not, in my opinion. Likewise, Sandra Bullock is a good actress, and she’s good here. But not good enough to have gotten my vote, were I an academy member.
May 29th, 2010 · No Comments
May 28th, 2010 · No Comments
May 17th, 2010 · 3 Comments
Fergie is pretty great. That’s something I’d never have imagined being in a position to say. As a cinema lover, though, there’s a lot more going for Nine than just Fergie. But none was as big of a surprise to me as she – and the choreography of her number, “Be Italian,” with its direct visual references to Fellini’s 8-1/2. I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this film. Instead, from the large visual flourishes to the more subtle thematic symbolism, I was pretty captivated. Maybe I’m still coming down from of my Werner Herzog existential trip.
May 17th, 2010 · No Comments
The biggest reason for the smile on my face when I think about this film is that I cannot, for the life of me, explain why it is as good as it is. Like its central character (played by an actor I often don’t care much for), this film is an absolute train wreck. And yet, whether by brilliant orchestration or lucky chaos, the result is something pretty marvelous (in the strictest sense of the word). And hometown kudos to producers and (originally) Chicagoans, Alan and Gabe Polsky of Polsky Films. Whether the end result was a product of giving director Werner Herzog freedom (as I suspect) or reigning him in, it worked. I can’t explain why, but it worked.
May 14th, 2010 · 1 Comment