Franco Ferrini

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Once Upon A Time In America Review


OK
I'm as big a fan of misogyny as the next guy, but how did this hateful and often tasteless Godfather ripoff become a classic? What, just because it's four hours long? Robert De Niro and James Woods are never hard to watch, but even here their take on Jewish gangsters in New York from 1900 to 1960 or so wears awfully thin as they brutalize one woman after another and get into the kind of mobster scrapes you've seen in upteen other movies. And after the top names, the talent roster is pretty thin. Treat Williams? Elizabeth McGovern?

Continue reading: Once Upon A Time In America Review

Once Upon A Time In America Review


OK
I'm as big a fan of misogyny as the next guy, but how did this hateful and often tasteless Godfather ripoff become a classic? What, just because it's four hours long? Robert De Niro and James Woods are never hard to watch, but even here their take on Jewish gangsters in New York from 1900 to 1960 or so wears awfully thin as they brutalize one woman after another and get into the kind of mobster scrapes you've seen in upteen other movies. And after the top names, the talent roster is pretty thin. Treat Williams? Elizabeth McGovern?

Continue reading: Once Upon A Time In America Review

Sleepless Review


Good
You've got to hand it to Dario Argento -- he might be a king of schlock, but he sure is inventive about it.

With Sleepless (a direct-to-video feature), Argento somehow convinced Max von Sydow to appear in this story about a decades-old killer who appears to have come back from the dead. Or is it a copycat killer? Von Sydow plays an old Italian(!) police detective who solved a 1983 serial killing spree in Turin. Long since retired, he is called upon once again when the same M.O. turns up in a rash of murders in the present. Argento spikes this derivative plot idea with some curious (to say the least) plot details. The original killer was a dwarf -- and the police round up the entire Turin dwarf population in the present-day investigation. And some of the murders are nothing short of bizarre -- most notably when one poor girl gets repeatedly impaled through the face with a clarinet, shown in graphic detail. Argento's usual touches -- plenty of gore in extreme close-up -- are readily found.

Continue reading: Sleepless Review

Phenomena Review


Good
The Phenomena here must be how Jennifer Connelly's utter lack of acting ability on display in this film eventually translated to an Academy Award later in her career. Lessons? Dunno. Anyway, Dario Argento's movie is rather typical of his oeuvre and one of his better attempts. In this installment, a sleepwalking (literally) Connelly uses her odd ability to communicate with insects (yes, she can even hear them over the synth-ballad soundtrack!) to help an investigation into a serial killer who's plying his trade near her Swiss boarding school. Silly and hammy, it's redeemed by some interesting moments and a good amount of suspense, despite the fact that there's a giant monkey pushing Donald Pleasence in a wheelchair. And I'm not kidding.

Continue reading: Phenomena Review

Franco Ferrini

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