Marcello Mastroianni

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La Dolce Vita Review


Essential
Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Antonioni's L'Avventura were the dawn of the Italian New Wave in 1960, movies about the decadence, glamour and emptiness of middle class life. Placed side by side, they're a portrayal of Rome after the post-World War II economic boom, which led to a new distribution of leisure time for the privileged.

Antonioni's world is stark, cold, confounding, and filled with dead end corners. Fellini's world is more like a circus -- and while his characters are no less doomed than Antonioni's, coming face to face with a great emptiness underneath the glamour, they'll drown with pasted smiles on their faces, dancing the conga.

Continue reading: La Dolce Vita Review

Divorce - Italian Style Review


Excellent
What do Freud, Last Year at Marienbad, Through a Glass Darkly, and That Touch of Mink have in common? No, they're not all films you've never seen, they all lost the Best Original Screenplay Oscar to Divorce - Italian Style in 1963.

The story is classic black comedy, as Marcello Mastroianni's Ferninando shuffles through his marriage to the loving -- but smothering (not to mention homely) -- Rosalia (Daniela Rocca). Ferdinando's wandering eye catches sight of Angela, his teenage cousin, whom he desperately desires... but as divorce is forbidden in 1960s Italy, what's he to do? Murder is the obvious answer.

Continue reading: Divorce - Italian Style Review

A Very Private Affair Review


Weak
In A Very Private Affair, Brigitte Bardot gets to basically play herself, an overacting, overstacked blonde goddess who just can't take it any more when the pressures of celebrity get to her. Her performance is just short of a tragedy, and the plot is saccharine, asking us to feel sorry for the plight of her movie starlet when the paparazzi flock to her country place after word surfaces about her "very private" affair with an older man. When press light a bonfire in your yard to keep warm and helicopters hover right over your roof, sure, you should get upset. But in that case reality will have dissolved completely, so why worry?

Continue reading: A Very Private Affair Review

Massacre In Rome Review


Very Good
The late director George P. Cosmatos had an interesting career in Hollywood. While his films were always slick affairs, full of rich atmosphere and well directed action, they weren't critically acclaimed. Films like Rambo: First Blood Part II, Cobra, and Leviathan did fairly well at the box-office and achieved notable legions of well-meaning fans, but Cosmatos' real skills were evidenced long before these big-budget pec-flexers.

Cosmatos began his career as an assistant director, cutting his teeth on classic pictures like Exodus, Zobra the Greek, and The Day the Fish Came Out. His first film was 1970's interesting, thought hardly stirring, The Beloved (released in the UK as Restless). Massacre in Rome was his second feature film and one that combines his earlier, moodier work with an action-film sensibility.

Continue reading: Massacre In Rome Review

Beyond The Clouds Review


Good
Michelangelo Antonioni obsesses on the naked bodies of a good half-dozen Euro-stars in this wandering tour of western European sexual relations in various combinations. Based on a collection of his own short stories, Antonioni connects four such tales (infidelity, happenstance, old-fashioned horniness, etc.) with the narrative of a film director (John Malkovich) who's looking for a story to base his next movie on. We find we're lucky enough if we can just get one story out of this two-hour ordeal, which wanders aimlessly in art-house hell as often as it enchants.

Continue reading: Beyond The Clouds Review

La Dolce Vita Review


Essential
Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Antonioni's L'Avventura were the dawn of the Italian New Wave in 1960, movies about the decadence, glamour and emptiness of middle class life. Placed side by side, they're a portrayal of Rome after the post-World War II economic boom, which led to a new distribution of leisure time for the privileged.

Antonioni's world is stark, cold, confounding, and filled with dead end corners. Fellini's world is more like a circus -- and while his characters are no less doomed than Antonioni's, coming face to face with a great emptiness underneath the glamour, they'll drown with pasted smiles on their faces, dancing the conga.

Continue reading: La Dolce Vita Review

Un, Deux, Trois, Soleil Review


Good
What's real in Un, deux, trois, soleil is the teeming multiracial housing project in the slums of Marseilles where Victorine (Anouk Grinberg) struggles through her childhood and early adulthood. What's not real in this feverish dreamscape of a film is just about everything else. The story seems to unwind -- and then tangle -- inside Victorine's troubled mind as she seeks the affection her parents can't provide in the back seats of the cars of teenage Moroccan gangs and in the arms of a petty thief.

And mon dieu, what parents she has! Victorine's mother (Myriam Boyer) is quite insane, and her father (Marcello Mastroianni) is a raging alcoholic who spends most of the movie hunched over a bar drinking pastis. They torment Victorine at every stage of her young life, and we see every stage, with Grinberg acting 12, 16, 20, or 25 as the scene demands. With just the change of an outfit and some altered body language, we get Victorine as a middle schooler in love with her daddy, as a married woman with several children (it's hard to tell how many), as a tough teenager looking for trouble, and as a preteen willing to give up her virginity to anyone who'll be nice to her. Linear chronology flies out the window, and you're never quite sure what you're seeing, especially when dead characters reappear to chat with Victorine or address the audience. It's a tour de force for Grinberg, although some of its power dissipates in the overall confusion of the storytelling.

Continue reading: Un, Deux, Trois, Soleil Review

La Notte Review


Very Good
Antonioni's La Notte tells the story of a couple (Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau) who essentially agree they no longer care for each other. Before the titular notte is up, those feelings will change, brought out during an all-night cocktail party and a sudden rainstorm. La Notte is a slow and methodical film, like all of Antonioni's work, but La Notte's wandering first act makes it hard to embrace all-out. A dead-on Mastroianni steals the show from Moreau and Monica Vitti, who catfight for his affections and come off as little more than ambivalent twins.

Intervista Review


Bad
It is movies like this that give Fellini -- and foreign films altogether -- a bad name. A compilation of nonsense and leftovers from dozens of years in the moviemaking biz, Intervista is self-described as a celebration of Fellini's love affair with the movies.

Au contraire. Intervista is little more than a celebration of Fellini's love affair with himself.

Continue reading: Intervista Review

Divorce - Italian Style Review


Excellent
What do Freud, Last Year at Marienbad, Through a Glass Darkly, and That Touch of Mink have in common? No, they're not all films you've never seen, they all lost the Best Original Screenplay Oscar to Divorce - Italian Style in 1963.

The story is classic black comedy, as Marcello Mastroianni's Ferninando shuffles through his marriage to the loving -- but smothering (not to mention homely) -- Rosalia (Daniela Rocca). Ferdinando's wandering eye catches sight of Angela, his teenage cousin, whom he desperately desires... but as divorce is forbidden in 1960s Italy, what's he to do? Murder is the obvious answer.

Continue reading: Divorce - Italian Style Review

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Un, deux, trois, soleil Movie Review

Un, deux, trois, soleil Movie Review

What's real in Un, deux, trois, soleil is the teeming multiracial housing project in the...

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