When Eric Lazard takes his girlfriend Colleen to Florence, Italy to visit his cousin Anna, everything in his life changes. He has failed to make a career in the NFL after a successful term as a college football player but when Colleen breaks his heart and declines his marriage proposition, he feels like he's lost everything. Anna's partner Gianni decides to try and cheer him up by introducing him to an ancient Florentine sport called Calcio Fiorentino, which is basically soccer without any rules. Naturally, players are often seriously injured or even killed, but Eric gets a buzz out of it made more intense when he meets a pretty local woman named Stephanie.
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Beautifully written and directed, this fact-based drama is an odd mixture of excellent acting and not-quite-right casting. Anton Corbijn clearly knows the subject, since he's a celebrity photographer making a movie about a celebrity photographer. But in this case, the subject of those photos is the elusively magnetic James Dean, a tricky person to recreate dramatically.
It's set in early 1955, as James Dean (Dane DeHaan) has just finished filming East of Eden and is hoping to land the lead role in Rebel Without a Cause. No one knows who he is yet, but freelance photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) has a feeling he could become a big star. When Dennis' agent (Joel Edgerton) lands a commission from Life magazine, Dennis follows James from Hollywood to New York and home to his Indiana farm. But James is evasive and mercurial, and it takes a lot of tenacity for Dennis to crack through his shell to get the shots he needs. Eventually they even become friends, inspiring each other to pursue their dreams on their own terms.
The plot is loose, focussing more on the internal journeys these two men take than on any constructed storyline. And the film switches back and forth between their perspectives, which kind of leaves it without a point of view. But this gives both Pattinson and DeHaan the space to create authentic and complex characters. Pattinson gives his most layered performance yet, especially in scenes involving Dennis' ex-wife and young son (Stella Schnabel and Jack Fulton). Meanwhile, DeHaan creates a character who's thoughtful and fascinating, haunted by his past relationships and unafraid to stand up to the Hollywood system in the form of mogul Jack Warner (a scene-chewing Ben Kingsley). The problem is that, despite a lot of subtle (and more obvious) physical touches, DeHaan never echoes Dean's wiry, hungry energy.
Continue reading: Life Review
James Dean is a rising superstar; handsome, slick, smart and mild-mannered, and yet rebellious with dreams of being a famous actor. For passionate Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock, Dean poses the perfect subject for his latest project and he's determined to capture the star in all his glory ahead of the release of his break-out movie 'Easy Of Eden'. It takes little persuasion on Stock's part to get Dean to agree to the project and the pair set out on a journey from Hollywood, through New York, and over to Fairmont, Indiana where Dean was originally from. Stock's plan is to capture the raw emotion and energy of this iconic figure of angst and coolness, and it doesn't take long before the two start to build an extraordinary friendship, that's made all the more heart-breaking on screen when you consider it's the final months of his life.
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Alessandra Mastronardi - Shots of a host of stars as they attended a photocall at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival for 'Life' at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, Germany - Monday 9th February 2015
Baldwin plays an architect who returns to his student stomping grounds and meets Jack (Eisenberg), who seems to be living his old life, even as he falls for a friend (Page) of his girlfriend (Gerwig). Meanwhile, there's Leopoldo (Benigni), a dull businessman who suddenly becomes a celebrity for no reason he can see, is pursued everywhere by the paparazzi and starts to enjoy the high life. Across town, Jerry and Phyllis (Allen and Davis) arrive to meet the fiance (Parenti) of their daughter (Pill). Then Jerry pushes a future in-law (Armiliato) into becoming the latest opera sensation. Finally, a young couple arrives from the country to start a new life in the city, but the husband (Tiberi) ends up having a farcical day out with a sexy prostitute (Cruz) while the wife (Mastronardi) meets her favourite actor (Albanese).
Continue reading: To Rome With Love Review
When Eric Lazard takes his girlfriend Colleen to Florence, Italy to visit his cousin Anna,...
Beautifully written and directed, this fact-based drama is an odd mixture of excellent acting and...
James Dean is a rising superstar; handsome, slick, smart and mild-mannered, and yet rebellious with...
After Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen remains in a cheery European mode for another breezy...