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venerdì 31 maggio 2019

Ted Bundy (Netflix): review of movie and docu- series

Zac Efron said he heard about the possibility to play the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy years ago. After being wordy recognized for "teenager" roles, such the one in High School Musical, which brought Zac to the spotlight, the 31 years old, has decided to grow up in recitation. After a series of roles in a variety of productions - The Disaster Artist, The Greatest Showman, Neighbors, Efron appeared for another "macho role" in Baywatch (2017) aside The Rock. But know, Ted Bundy is something of a revolution.

Ted Bundy, other face, besides being handsome and fascinating, was that of being a complete disturbed human being, who, without any sign of mercy and with horrendous violence, murder more than 30 women (the actual number has not being confirmed)  in 7 different Us countries. Ted was active form approximately 1974 and 1978, and his trial went on until he was executed of death penalty in the state of Florida, after confessing, in 1989. Ted's wake of violence put in crisis the entire Us police departments and intelligence, because young women started to disappear, in silence and without witnesses, and then their rests were found here and there, in natural landscapes, especially in paradisiac areas near the rocking hills. Ted was an individual who suffered of a series of mental illnesses, including manic-depression, but was persuaded to be not only sane, but brilliant instead. He coved his terrible dark side with a great savoir faire as he was willing to become either a politician or a lawyer - he took a degree in psychology, and was studying law. Interesting is also the role of the girlfriend (played by Lily Collins), with whom Bundy had a dependence and idealized relationship. But the women, was the first one to realize his controversial aspects (!)

The thing that I enjoyed in this movie ( "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" directed by Joe Berlinger) , was the fact that Zac Efron was able to play Ted's dualisms, letting the spectator (as we were the people who lived in Ted's years) with a great, indescribable sense of doubt. Could a fascinating, intellectual young man really be such an evil monster?
Ted Bundy had the ability - and the willingness, I have to say to be "remembered" in a way- and I ensure you, that a sense of magnetism pervade his personality and sticks with you after watching.
Why are we so attested by crime stories? Because every human being as an evil part. This is why, as Ted said in the documentary series powered by Netflix ("Conversations with Ted Bundy" which I recommend), that the "monster" is not recognizable as an ugly Frankestein, but can live within any (apparently) respectable person.

Ciak Movie rating: 5/5.

Micol Sartori

venerdì 17 maggio 2019

Got season 8 review: epic wrap or failure? (no plot spoiler inside)

All the world was holding their breath for the release of the ultimate season of Game of Throne. The last season, indeed. At the moment of writing, 5 of the 6 episode has aired world-wide, but, the spectators have already expressed their opinion of HBO's pupil. 
Metacritic.com has collected, so far, 864 users opinion: 335 are positive, 123 mixed and 406 negative. 

And, has it happened with other series such as the Mentalist, when people asked and obtained a last season and other infamous petitions regarding particularly Netflix productions (which often are not heard-e.g Gypsy), fans have asked for the remake of the whole season 8. They claim that the HBO production have failed in portraying the best ending for such a superbe series as Got, and they are particularly angry about the development of some characters in the latter episodes, as well as not standing the "waste of time" of episode 1 and 2, and the too rapid wrapping up of the battle versus the dead chapter. Will the petition be effective? 

In my case, accordingly to Ciak Movies policy, I don't want to spoil anything before last episode.
But,  I have to say that season 8 was made with too much rush, maybe under HBO or other marketing pressures (have you seen the tons of Got merchandisings?). Even if this choice was, let's say, smart, in the short term, I bet all the fans would have waited happily another year/couple of years for a better conceived screenplay and execution. 
The series, produced by Benioff and Weiss after the acquisition of George R.R. Martin's novels, is out since 2007. As a result of numerous shifts on the director chair, among these, Espenson and Cogman, season 8 appears to be a season "without the guidance" of a solid hand. 
Too many shifts in the characters perception, which is a thing we get used to in the previous season, but that were better explored, with a deeper logic and reasoning. The concept that in Got " they all die" is not far from the truth, the point is, how, in what occasion, by whom. 
We will continue the discussion, more in detail, next week. Let me know what you think, adding a comment below.

Micol Sartori 

sabato 11 maggio 2019

The Sister Brothers

The Sisters Brothers (2018) is a dark comedy- western directed by Jacques Audiard, starring Joaquin Phoenix, John C.Reilly (who is also a producer), Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed. The movie was presented at the 2018 Venezia Film Festival and won the Silver Lion for best direction. 
1815, somewhere in west America, in the middle of the Golden Rush fever.The Sisters Brothers, Eli (Reilly) and Charlie (Phoenix) are two hit men hired by the Commodore (high raking military commander, who exercises a great power in that geographical aerea). Because the Commodore has many interests, both in America and outside the country, and, most of all, is a very rich and influential personality, he decides to send the brothers after the chemical expert Warm. Apparently, Warm has discovered a special formula to detect gold in the rivers and guess what? He becomes one of the most "wanted" man in the Country. In order to capture the chemical, the Commodore has hired also a writer, Morris (Gyllenhaal), in order to entertain and guide directly to the Sister brothers Warm. But a great chemistry came up between the two men, who share the same ideals in life, so the writer decides to give up his mission to join Warm's search for gold. After a series of adventures in which we discover the personality and tragical family history of both Eli and Charlie, the two cowboys finally found Warm and Morries. But instead of killing them, they begun to pursue the Golden Rush themselves. The ending is quite unpredictable, with an important come-back to the Sister's lost humanity.

Why this movie is worth watching:
  • After American Hustle, the Sausage Party and, most of all, Phantom Tread, Anna Purna pictures has taken a step forward towards maturity. Next summer stay tuned for "Where'd go Bernardette" starring Cate Blanchett.
  • Joaquin Phoenix is rising his career in an incredible way. The talented actor, after Her, You Were Never Really Here, Don't Worry and Mary Magdalene (where he played Jesus!), is delivering another intense performance. Phoenix is simply the perfect drunkard, badass, disordered but irresistible character, no matter if the film is historical or set in an imaginary world. Can't wait to see him in Joker ! 

  • I loved the moments between the two brothers: even if they are both rough men, Eli has always an eye on his little brother. Interesting to watch also the transition from a cowboy era to the modern era, with the experience of both pleasures and pain. 
  • Charlie's craziness in the Golden Rush fever moment of the four men, was the symbol of how blind we are when it comes to become a rich man. Translate this into history, and we arrive straight ahead to the Indians genocide (which is not mentioned in the movie).
  • I enjoyed the fact that Eli and Charlie speak all the time about the Commodore, and project to the spectator his fearful presence. But in the final scene, this incumbent person, is just another avid old man. 

Negative aspects (of a blurred ending): 
  • The void that comes after the Commodore's death. The commander was the last stronghold of the western-world or the Gold Rush will continue, besides the barge of modernity?
  • What will the Sister Brothers do them? After returning to their childhood, another life is possible for them?

Ciak Movie Rating: 4/5. 

Micol Sartori 

domenica 5 maggio 2019

Green Book

Green Book (2018) is an American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. The movie takes place in the '60s, following the adventures of the afro-american jazz pianist Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) and his boy-guard, the italo-american Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). Although Don is a jazz star and is booked all through the US, because of the color of his skin, is life is as hard as his black fellows. The star is convicted to dirty motel rooms, constraint to take alternative road to reach the south as to avoid Ku Kluk Klan,  to use separate rest rooms, to entry black bars only etc. In one word, the generously musician is allowed to be in the presence of the "elevated" and "refined" white people only when is longilinea and delicate hands caress the piano. 

  • The contrast between the luxury of the gentlemen houses or the golden architecture of the best American theatre that had hosted Don's concerts and the rough, dusty, durty and unsafely places occupied by black American was something that definitely stroked me whilst the view of this movies. How come that in the most liberal country of the world, racial differences were so deeply eradicated ?
  • Besides, of course, the performance delivered by Ali, a remarkable actor of this emotional real-story is Viggo Mortensen. When I first watched the movie in original English  Viggo was perfectly speaking the Sicilian dialect: an all-round performance by the danish-american actor, who gives heart to the handy sicario Tony Vallelonga. For his family's sake, Tony leaves his job as a "security- guard" (scagnozzo, in Italian) in a mafia's night club to follow, not so happily at first, the black musician. In the scenes before Tony decides to sign Don's super generous contract, we know that Tony is racists, as most whites at the time: in an interesting scene were two carpenter were fixing stuff at his own house, Tony's wife (played by Linda Cardellini) offer them something to drink. As a result of his exogenous mentality, Tony throw the two glasses on the bid. The man was really racists or was acting only as a response of a common mentality? Green Book as a whole, is the answer to this question. 
  • The friendship between Don and Tony is one of the most beautiful relations  portrayed by the contemporary cinema: two men convicted by a so called advanced society (Tony, as an Italian, was a victim of racism himself), believed in the power of humanity (and I would like to quote Jason Donhue, " I see humans but no humanity"), and together they started a fuse to change the world. 

Positive aspects:

1) The acting was impeccable. Also Linda Cardellini was, yet again, worth watching.
2) I enjoyed the movements of the camera, so attached to Don's blue Cadillac. 
3) The journey in the south was a discovery: of Don's history and feelings (also about his sexuality) and of Tony's good heart. The existence of an on-paper "Green Book" was something interesting to know about. 

4) The direct and egalitarian relationship between Don and Tony. I enjoyed every little quarrel. And Don helping Tony with the letters !
5) Don lived in a fakery world of self-isolated luxury. He practically idolatrate himself, even though, when he was outside his palace, he was only another faceless black. This factor was incredibly well portrayed by the director, who balanced the scenes with parsimony.
6) Tony's Sicilian accent and the Italian micro society. So real and funny. I loved that the openness of the Italian people was portrayed as, during Christmas time, they accepted Don as part of the family. 

Negative aspects (if any):
1) The piano scenes in which Don performs, reminds me of Casablanca. But, in Green Book, "the black guy at the piano" is a human being with feelings, not smiling and acting as a muppet as in the 40s iconic movies. More than a negative aspect, this is, a negative feeling. I felt so sorry for the thousand years of apartheid. 

Ciak Movie review: 5/5. EXCEPTIONAL

Micol Sartori