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mercoledì 19 giugno 2019

Doloy y Gloria: 2019 is Almodóvar's

Dolor y gloria (2019) , written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, is a Spanish drama starring Antonio Banderas as Salvador Mello; Penélope Cruz is part of the ensemble as well.

The Plot:  Salvador MelloAlmodóvar's alter ego, is a movie director in decline because of mysterious health problems. Thanks to a former actor, Alberto Crespo, the director discovers the great power of heroin as a pain killer and hallucinogenic. The drugs are an expedient to start a flashback throughout Mello's life, passing by his childhood in Paterna (a Spanish town where he moved with his family) to his adulthood in the roaring Madrid of the 80s. The red line of this story is re-discovery the reasons of the artists motivation, and to do so, Mello has to face a great number of emotions and memories from the past.


  • Antonio Banderas is one of the most appreciated actors in the whole history of the Spanish cinema. In this movie, he confirms his super-powers - he has won the Palm D'Or at Cannes- as he is presenting Mello as the clear alter-ego of the living legend Almodóvar. Perfectly in the character, even with an identical haircut. 
  • Almodovar has not only written and directed this movie, he has also contributed to the set up of some scene using personal items. Dolor y Gloria closes a trilogy started in 1987 with La Ley del deseo
  • The importance of the figure of the mother to understand Mello's personality and scars in life. Penelope Cruz is superbe in playing the role of the young mother, inspired to Sophia Loren. 
  • I enjoyed the game of mirrors between Almodovar- Mello and Crespo. 

Ciak Movie Rating

domenica 16 giugno 2019

Veronica Guerin: Blanchett at her best

Veronica Guerin (2003) is biographical crime film directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Cate Blanchett as the protagonist.

Plot: The movie presents the contribution of the irish journalist Veronica Guerin (Blanchett). As a crime reporter for the  Sunday Independent, her investigation on the Dublin drugs racket cost her life, but contributes to change the irish legislation.


  • Seven years after the death of the actual irish reporter Victoria Guerin, this movie is an hymn to this amazing profession. Journalism is something that goes far more beyond the passion for writing, it is about the truth: discovering it and sharing it with the public. The achievements made in the Irish system of laws in matters of drugs, thanks to the contribution of Veronica's work, were inspiring. 
  • The most impactful scene for me was Veronica entering the ghetto area, with kids of 3/4 years old with syringes in their hands. The situation was clearly out of control, but it was more easy to look the other way. 
  • How director Schumacher creates the character of Veronica, exploiting Blanchett's impeccable facial expressions. The process of defining the strength and weaknesses of Veronica is silent and 2d: I enjoyed Veronica's high speed driving !
  • The Irish accent: Blanchett, who is an Australian actress, speaks as she were a real dubliner. I loved also the locations: all the scenes were set in Ireland.

Judgement: Although the movie is a bit slow comparing to the most recent Truth (2015) , if you are a fan of the genre (or of Cate Blanchett as I am), it is worth watching. 

Ciak Movie rating: 5/5 

venerdì 14 giugno 2019

Chernobyl: why this series is highly intoxicating

Chernobyl (2019)  is an HBO miniseries based on the historical facts of Chernobyl disaster,  written and created by Craig Mazin directed by Johan Renck. Starring Jared HarrisStellan SkarsgårdEmily Watson and Paul Ritter, the series has recently aired in Sky Italia.

Comment after episode 01x01

  • This series is an incredible journey into Chernobyl's reality. Through the point of view of the workers and their family we get to discover how was living in an area of the remote Russia devoted to massive nuclear industry. 
  • The negligence and how people (including nuclear engineers) have underestimate the danger of the radiations. From the sense of surprise of the citizens whilst witnessing the great fire of the platform's radiator - they were amazed of the beautiful colors ! - to the tragic knowledge of the real effects of the rain and of the toxic air... such contrast was so well exposed, that drives the spectator to a sense of anxiety and incredulity. 
  • How the executive and the politicians have tried to "cover" what happen, in order to "protect" the Russians... was pathetical and nauseating.
  • The set, all the surroundings of the nuclear platform, the cars, the clothes and also the mentality of the people (most of all the ignorance of the consequence) was made with rough realism. 
  • I hope this series will be the ultimate commemoration to all the victims of Chernobyl.

Ciak Movie Rating: 5/5 - WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE EPISODE 2. 

RIP to all the victims of Chernobyl

Micol Sartori

giovedì 13 giugno 2019

Why Aladdin is the best live-action so far

Aladdin (2019) is a live action adaptation of the famous 1992 Walt Disney's cartoon. Directed by Guy Richie, starring Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari plays the nemesis Jafar and Will Smith as the blu- genie. 

The plot we all already know: Based on the book "One Thousand and One Nights", the protagonist is Aladdin, a pickpocket poor young man, who casually falls in love with Princess Jasmine, the daughter of the Sultain of the Arabian city of Agrabah. The villan Jafar is the 2nd most powerful man of the reign and wants to replace the Sultain by all means possible. To do so, he encourages Aladdin to stole the magical jar in which the Genie is contained. After, the Genie and Alladin become friends and through 3 magical desires and a twist of magic, the genie helps Aladdin to conquer the heart of the beautiful Jasmine. Then, the genie's owner becomes Jafar and, because his wish is to become the most powerful being in the universe, the blue-genie capture Jafar in the tiny jar. And the end is a classical happy-ending.


  • Will Smith as the genie is hilarious ! The genie in this live-action is the most powerful character in the movie: he brings up the funny level of the story and is the glue of all the adventures. Thanks to Smith's performance, to me, Richie's movie is even more enjoyable than the original cartoon. 

  • Only a few roles in Mena Mossoud's career and none of them as prepared him to become the crucial figure of a Disney's movie. I've enjoyed his spontaneous smile, although I've found him a little bit mechanical, comparing to the tornado Smith or the gracious Naomi Scott.

  • Guy Richie has created a masterpiece. Sincerely, Aladdin is the best action movie so far. The combination between the special effects and the carnivalesque colors are incredible to watch. 
  • The only thing that I've not enjoyed was the music. But I've watched the Italian version of Aladdin, therefore I must have missed the folklore of the original songs.

Ciak Movie rating: 5/5 - TRULY RECOMMENDED ! 

And you, what do you think? Let me know your opinion, commenting below. 

Micol Sartori

lunedì 10 giugno 2019

Dark Phoenix wins the Ciak Movies title of "worst X-Men movie" !

Dark Phoenix (X-Men movie series) is a 2019 superhero movies, released in June 7th, produced by 20th Century Fox and distributed by Walt Disney Studios. Directed by Simon Kinberg, Dark Phoenix broast a great cast: Sophie Turner plays the protagonist Jean Gray; Jessica Chastain as the alien-villain Vuk;  Michael Fassbender (Erik), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven), Alexandra Ship, Nicholas Hoult which form part of the X-Man cast, as well as Jean's boyfriend Tye Sheridain, the ciclope; James McAvoy is Professor Xavier.

The plot: The movie starts up in the '70s, when a child Jean (Tuner) discovers her super-powers after causing, with the power of her thought,  a mortal car accidents in which her mother dies. The girl, successively is brought in Professor Xavier "special school", where she was taught to play her role in the world as a mutant. The movie is set when Jean is first added to the X-Men team to save a group of astronauts that were launched outside the Earth's orbit, in an explorative mission. In the space, Jean discovers a source of energy which is similar (and much more powerful) of her own skills. She embodied it, becoming the most powerful creature on earth. To liberate herself from all the fears, pains which shore up her young life, Jean as to pass by a process of disruption. So the Phoenix can rise. 

  • Dark Phoenix could be an interesting movie, with the help of the HUGE cast of stars, but it is not. The plot is too dramatically repetitive and banal, with no twisted points that can capture the interest of the spectator. Even the combat scenes are plait, with none sense of suspension: also the special effects are not well employed, with the only exemption of the "super light" power. 
  • I didn't like Sophie Turner at all ! The actress, the Got's great Queen of the North, seems still unlocked in her HBO role: a great sense of dignity, calm and self-possession (too much, even when Jean shows her flaws) are in contrast with the contrasted character of the Dark Phoenix. I would enjoyed her to embody the character more dynamically.
  • Jean killing Raven: what a silly way to die for Jennifer Lawrence character ! And also, Jean fighting against Erik is simply... unbelievably banal.

Judgement: With a 22% Rotten Tomatoes scores, Dark Phoenix is running towards the title of "Worst X-Men movie", even though its release has opened with a positive sign (140 million $ globally).
So watch it, only to prove that my review is incorrect !

Ciak Movies rating: 2/5 stars. 

Micol Sartori