Alberto Grimaldi

Alberto Grimaldi

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Review


Essential
Positioned in history between the earnest majesty of John Ford's The Searchers and Sam Peckinpah's doomed cowboy dirge The Wild Bunch, Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is animated by the best those classic westerns have to offer. Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western masterpiece is still committed to many of the basic conventions of the not-yet moribund genre, embracing the wide-eyed epicness of Ford's standard-bearer. But Blondie (Clint Eastwood), Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), and Tuco (Eli Wallach), the respective title characters, occupy a brutal and complex moral world akin to Peckinpah, where women are beaten, crippled fathers are executed in their homes, and the ironically-named "good" guy earns his name for being only slightly less vile than the other gunslingers.

But Leone's mixture of seemingly incompatible elements is what makes The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly so great. Not only does he combine a Cinemascope-era outlook with an eye for grittiness, but he mingles tasteful realism with a flamboyant, self-conscious style. Freeze frames, intertitles, and point-of-view shots brilliantly co-exist with the meticulously appointed period sets and sweeping frontier vistas. This fusion, in addition to a surplus of creativity and lack of restraint, makes the third in the so-called "man with no name" series the crowning glory of his career.

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Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom Review


Weak
Fashioning a defence for Salo is a bit like representing Manson at an appeals hearing, and many who try are hard-pressed to come up with explanations why this -- perhaps the most notorious piece of cinema ever produced -- is an important piece of work. The story, if you can call it that, is based on the Marquis de Sade's most famous work: 16 young boys and girls are rounded up in Nazi Italy and led off to a palace in the country, where they are subjected to orgies of infinite varieties, an extended series of experiements regarding human feces, and finally, put to death en masse. Sure, it's easy to read this as an indictment of the Nazi regime -- but shit eating is pushing things a bit. Rather, the more compelling argument is that Pasolini simply gives up: Humanity is lost, depraved, sick, and worthless.

Whether you agree or not, you'll have a very tough time stomaching this movie (if you can find it at all). Pasolini's message isn't just distasteful, it isn't delivered very well either: The film is rough, the sound is erratic, the pace is jerky. In all honesty it's a terrible, terrible experience -- but give the guy credit: It's certainly unique.

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Last Tango In Paris Review


Good
Last Tango in Paris raised a lot of eyebrows, but not for its plot. Rated X, there's enough nudity and naughty talk to almost make you forget you're looking at Marlon Brando's sweaty body. Almost.

Unfortunately, this "torrid love affair" between a grieving American (Brando) and a pouty Parisian (Maria Schneider) -- they don't even tell one another their names -- is overlong and overblown. It's Bertolucci, after all, making a film inspired by his creepy desire to bone an anonymous woman he once saw. The story is one of dysfunction and thinly veiled misanthropy; love is left as an afterthought.

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Gangs Of New York Review


Extraordinary
Because Martin Scorsese's blood runs Big Apple red, it's a remarkable coincidence his first project following September 11 is Gangs of New York, a magnificent drama that seems to spring directly from the panic, violence, pain, and fear the terrorist attacks wrought on the director's hometown. In the wake of 9/11, the master of Mean Streets was almost expected to weigh in and help close the door on our national tragedy.

Over the course of his career, Scorsese has proven he fully understands the tension that once fuelled - and continues to fuel - this powder keg of a city. With Gangs, he rewinds the clocks to present a vicious social and political history lesson that retraces New York's early steps in an effort to better understand the many ingredients of the current Melting Pot.

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Gangs of New York Movie Review

Gangs of New York Movie Review

Because Martin Scorsese's blood runs Big Apple red, it's a remarkable coincidence his first project...

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