Paolo Bonacelli

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The American Review


Very Good
Like its central character, this film is almost painstakingly meticulous in the way it sets up each scene. And while it feels like nothing much is happening, there's a lot going on under the surface, and a real sense of growing suspense.

No one really knows Jack (Clooney). Or maybe his name is Edward. Some call him Butterfly, and he's clearly a ruthlessly efficient man who leaves little to chance. An expert in customised guns and ammunition, he's hiding in an Italian village from some nasty Swedes. There he's making a rifle for Mathilde (Reuten) while befriending a priest (Bonacelli) and starting a tentative relationship with local prostitute Carla (Placido). But he doesn't trust anyone, and starts to worry whether he'll survive this job.

Continue reading: The American Review

The American Trailer


Jack is an an assassin, his job sends him all over the world. Deciding to take some time out, he retreats to a lake in Sweden but given the nature of his job Jack always seems to have a target painted on his back and once again a sniper attempts to kill him.

Continue: The American Trailer

Night On Earth Review


Very Good
Riding around five shaded cityscapes in four different countries, Jim Jarmusch's nocturnal delight Night on Earth has the esteem of being the auteur's most accessible exercise to date while also being his least seen. After its premiere at the 29th New York Film Festival, this set of through-the-windshield vignettes was picked up for a short theatrical run in May of 1992 before it was released on VHS and only released on DVD in foreign markets (Australia put out two separate editions). That was until those noblest practitioners of cinephilia over at Criterion took a special interest in Jarmusch, releasing both Earth and his 1984 opus Stranger Than Paradise, which also includes the director's fascinating debut feature Permanent Vacation.

Throughout the course of one night, we are driven around in five separate taxi cabs that range from familiar ports of L.A. and New York City to the echoing streets of Paris and Rome to the final ride through the frozen-over metropolis of Helsinki, right as the sun is rising. In Los Angeles, a big-time agent (Gena Rowlands) tries to seduce her rough-and-tumble cab driver (an insolent Winona Ryder) into becoming an actress. While in New York, a jerky Brooklynite (the superb Giancarlo Esposito) teaches his German cab driver (Armin Mueller-Stahl) how to drive, talk, and jive correctly while also trying to escort his sister-in-law (Rosie Perez) home.

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Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom Review


Weak
Fashioning a defence for Salo is a bit like representing Manson at an appeals hearing, and many who try are hard-pressed to come up with explanations why this -- perhaps the most notorious piece of cinema ever produced -- is an important piece of work. The story, if you can call it that, is based on the Marquis de Sade's most famous work: 16 young boys and girls are rounded up in Nazi Italy and led off to a palace in the country, where they are subjected to orgies of infinite varieties, an extended series of experiements regarding human feces, and finally, put to death en masse. Sure, it's easy to read this as an indictment of the Nazi regime -- but shit eating is pushing things a bit. Rather, the more compelling argument is that Pasolini simply gives up: Humanity is lost, depraved, sick, and worthless.

Whether you agree or not, you'll have a very tough time stomaching this movie (if you can find it at all). Pasolini's message isn't just distasteful, it isn't delivered very well either: The film is rough, the sound is erratic, the pace is jerky. In all honesty it's a terrible, terrible experience -- but give the guy credit: It's certainly unique.

Continue reading: Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom Review

Midnight Express Review


Excellent
"Oh, Billy!"

Alan Parker's greatest achievement is probably this harrowing -- and infamous -- account of an American who foolishly tries to smuggle back drugs from his visit to Turkey. He's quickly made an example of and tossed into a revolting prison cell. After his 3 1/2-year sentence is nearly up, it's extended for 20 years. You can imagine how he feels, and are faced with the horrors of seeing it all on the screen. Based on Billy Hayes' book and a script from Oliver Stone, Midnight Express has earned a (rightful) reputation as one of the most distrubing films about third-world prisons... or any other prison, for that matter. All modern-day jail flicks owe it a debt.

The Mystery Of Oberwald Review


Weak
A minor work of Michelangelo Antonioni, The Mystery of Oberwald is not something many outside the Antonioni-obsessed will care to seek out. Shot on videotape in 1980, the movie once stood as a daring experiment in feature filmmaking by using the nascent format of tape. Today, it looks cheesy and cheap, akin to a low-budget soap opera shot in a hurry.

And soap opera isn't far from the mark. Oberwald's story, based on Jean Cocteau's play L'Aigle a Deux Tetes, involves a mourning queen (Antonioni regular Monica Vitti) whose husband has recently been killed. An assassin is on her tail as well, but when the two finally meet, she sees he has been injured, and owing in part to his resemblance to her late husband, the two fall in love, Romeo & Juliet style. Like I said, a soap opera.

Continue reading: The Mystery Of Oberwald Review

Paolo Bonacelli

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Steve McQueen Becomes Youngest Recipient Of BFI Fellowship

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'Mulholland Drive' Named By Critics As Greatest Movie Of The 21st Century

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Green Man 2016 - Live Review

Green Man 2016 - Live Review

Green Man has become a festival season highlight.

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Paolo Bonacelli Movies

The American Movie Review

The American Movie Review

Like its central character, this film is almost painstakingly meticulous in the way it sets...

The American Trailer

The American Trailer

Jack is an an assassin, his job sends him all over the world. Deciding to...

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