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Amarcord Review


Extraordinary
The problem with puberty, above all the sexual frustration and general malaise, is that you become an unavoidable know-it-all. It's an element of discovery: Whenever you discover something for the first time, you automatically think you have it over on everyone else, until you finally realize that everyone else figured it out before you or exactly when you did. Federico Fellini's Amarcord has a deep love for that feeling of discovery, of that brash cockiness, and realizes that nothing can really subdue this feeling. Not even World War II.

In a strange little town in Italy, a pack of boys, led by Titta (Bruno Zanin) live in the eccentric world of sex, family and war. Titta's ant-fascist parents are only the tip of the Iceberg. His uncle lodges himself in a tree and cries out to the heavens and anyone listening "I want a woman!" while his friends and him pee through tubes for pranks, take part in circle jerks, and fantasize about the local beauty, Gradisca. His father gets interrogated by Mussolini's soldiers to the point where he defecates himself, and the local shopkeeper, with a bust the size of most family sedans, gives him his first sexual encounter (presumably also the strangest he'll ever encounter). I'm leaving out the peacock, the speed racers, the nympho who lives by the sea, and the plucky narrator.

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Amarcord Review


Good
Fellini's Amarcord is a loving portrayal of small-town life in 1930s Rimini, Italy just as he remembered it, from the perspective of a delinquent teenager. The film is full of oddball characters, busty shopkeepers, creepy schoolteachers, pompous priests, crazy family members, a trashy hooker, and of course, Il Duce. Our young hero and his friends rake the muck, naive of an impending WWII and without a care in the world. As such, it's the more fanciful and lighthearted first half of the film (obviously a big inspiration for some of Woody Allen's work) that works the best. By the time Fellini has a dwarf nun chasing an uncle up a tree, a fog-shrounded city, and a weeding reception in the middle of nowhere, the charm has worn off considerably.

Rififi Review


Excellent
When a movie begins with a con being freed from jail, you know one of two things will happen: Either he'll be called in to help the hapless police solve an impossible crime that's had them baffled for months, or he'll be tempted by one final heist, a perfect job that will let him retire a wealthy man.

Rififi, a French film originally released in 1955 as Du rififi chez les hommes, is a film noir. Which means, of course, we're going to get the heist.

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The Truth About Charlie Review


Weak

Perhaps it's not fair to begin a movie review by comparing a remake to its original, but since director Jonathan Demme has been proudly trumpeting "The Truth About Charlie" as a reimagining of Stanley Doden's 1963 romantic thriller "Charade," he's practically asking for it.

What the films have in common is a plot centering on a beautiful young woman named Regina (Audrey Hepburn then, Thandie Newton now) who returns to Paris from vacation to discover her husband has stripped their stylish apartment bare, disappeared with a fortune she didn't know he had, and subsequently turned up dead. With the money still missing, dangerous strangers start coming out of the woodwork, convinced she knows where it is.

In "Charade," Hepburn's sprightly Regina meets the suave and cunning -- perhaps a little too cunning -- Peter Joshua, played by Cary Grant, and falls for him as he tries to keep her safe and help her solve the mystery of the absconded riches. In "Charlie," Newton's clever but ingenuous Regina meets gym-buffed paramour Joshua Peters, played by Mark Wahlberg, who may look classy in a '60s-homage pokepie hat, but as a character he's dry, dry, dry.

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