Michael Petroni

Michael Petroni

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The Book Thief Review


Weak

While there's a strong story in here about the power of literature and the fragility of life, this movie takes a far too wistful approach, so it feels like a cheesy bedtime yarn rather than a look at horrors of Nazi Germany. As a result, it's difficult to feel the full force of either the wrenchingly emotional events or the provocative themes.

Set in 1938, the story opens as irreverent 12-year-old Leisel (Nelisse) is taken away from her mother, who is accused of being a communist. She's then adopted by the childless couple Hans and Rosa (Rush and Watson). But while the cheerful artist Hans makes her feel at home, Rosa is relentlessly harsh. Leisel also reluctantly befriends neighbour boy Rolf (Liersch) and embarks on a series of adventures, including stealing books from Nazi book-burning rallies. But the mayor's wife (Auer) doesn't mind Leisel stealing books from her library. And when Hans and Rosa take in a Jewish refugee boy (Schnetzer), he encourages Leisel to start writing her own stories.

Oddly, director Percival softens every dark element in Petroni's screenplay. The Nazis are like school playground bullies, while the Allied bombings leave buildings in rubble but dead bodies bizarrely intact and peaceful. Even the setting looks like a fairy tale, with magical snowdrifts and fanciful spires. And the strangest touch of all is the cheery voiceover narration by Death (Allam), which turns the most horrific atrocities into a kind of wry eventuality. Watching brutal murder presented as a sort of poetic justice is deeply disturbing.

Continue reading: The Book Thief Review

Michael Petroni - Actor Michael Petroni Los Angeles, California - Los Angeles Premiere of Warner Bros' 'The Rite' held at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre Wednesday 26th January 2011

Michael Petroni

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Review


Very Good
This third instalment in the Narnia series changes the director and studio, as well as the setting (from the land to the sea). The result is a rousing adventure that's enjoyable even if it still feels rather sanitised.As war rages in Britain, Lucy and Edmund (Henley and Keynes) have left London to live with their obnoxious cousin Eustace (Poulter). One day when he's taunting them about tales that they were royalty in Narnia, a painting comes to life and pulls all three of them into its watery depths. Rescued by now-King Caspian (Barnes) and his first-mate mouse Reepicheep (voiced by Pegg), they embark on an epic voyage in the ship Dawn Treader, sailing off the edge of the map on a quest to restore balance to the kingdom.The story is much more cinematic than other Narnia chapters, and director Apted makes the most of both the ship and the islands they visit along the way, adding a sense of scale and scope. Clever camerawork makes the digital creatures feel more matter-of-fact (to everyone except the horrified Eustace), and only a few dodgy effects (mainly the mermaids and a dragon) let things down on the technical side.In addition, the actors are more relaxed this time, giving more confident, natural performances. Franchise newcomer Poulter is especially good, walking the fine line between being a loathsome jerk and a needy young boy. So it's a shame that the plot feels so simplistic, composed of a series of set pieces as the ship stops at various ports of call and our heroes encounter seemingly random inhabitants who helpfully give them information to continue their journey.

Continue reading: The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Review

The Queen Of The Damned Review


Good
Most horror movies are all flash, action, and plenty of screaming. The Queen of the Damned is no exception to the rule, despite attempts to become something more, but it still manages to deliver a fair bit of vampire fun.

The Queen of the Damned stars Stuart Townsend as the vampire Lestat, a character first made popular in film by Tom Cruise in the engaging Interview With the Vampire. This time around, Lestat has risen from his slumber again, intent on making his mark. Tired of hiding in shadows, he starts a career as a rock star, much to the ire of his maker Marius (Vincent Perez). But the anger of the world's vampire covens is the least of his problems when his music awakens the mother of all Vampires, the all-powerful Queen Akasha (Aaliyah).

Continue reading: The Queen Of The Damned Review

Till Human Voices Wake Us Review


Weak
I feel sorry for Till Human Voices Wake Us, the new supernatural romance starring Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter. Not because it's a good movie that won't get the respect it deserves - it is, in fact, a quite slow and heavy-handed film - but because it has the bad luck to open only one week before David Cronenberg's masterpiece Spider, a far better film that shares many of the same themes and devices. If timing is everything, Till Human Voices Wake Us has very little going for it.

Michael Petroni, the film's writer/first-time director, wrote the screenplay for Till Human Voices Wake Us while still attending LA's American Film Institute and, according to my press notes, won a couple of awards for this story, which concerns an Australian psychologist forced to confront his past demons after meeting a mysterious young woman while at his family's summer house to bury his father. Like Cronenberg's infinitely superior examination of the mind's destructive capacity for denial, the film exists on two planes: the present, which finds Dr. Sam Frank (Pearce) trying to figure out who Ruby (Carter) is and why she's in the small Aussie town of Genoa; and the past, in which we learn about Sam's childhood summer romance with a young beauty named Sylvia.

Continue reading: Till Human Voices Wake Us Review

Michael Petroni

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Michael Petroni Movies

The Book Thief Movie Review

The Book Thief Movie Review

While there's a strong story in here about the power of literature and the fragility...

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Review

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Review

This third instalment in the Narnia series changes the director and studio, as well as...

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The Queen of the Damned Movie Review

The Queen of the Damned Movie Review

Most horror movies are all flash, action, and plenty of screaming. The Queen of...

Till Human Voices Wake Us Movie Review

Till Human Voices Wake Us Movie Review

I feel sorry for Till Human Voices Wake Us, the new supernatural romance starring Guy...

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