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71st Venice International Film Festival

Pierfrancesco Favino - 71st Venice International Film Festival - 'The Humbling' - Premiere - Venice, United Kingdom - Saturday 30th August 2014

Pierfrancesco Favino
Pierfrancesco Favino

Rush Review


Excellent

Exhilarating racing action punctuates this true story, which sharply traces the rivalry between two Formula One champs. It's superbly well-shot and edited, with engaging performances from the entire cast. And with only one moment of calculated sentimentality, it's director Ron Howard's most honest movie in years.

The story begins in the early 1970s, when two rising-star F1 drivers clash over their very different styles. Britain's James Hunt (Hemsworth) is a swaggering womaniser, revelling in the rock-star lifestyle. By contrast, Austria's Niki Lauda (Bruhl) is a fiercely detailed technician who loves pushing barriers. They clearly see things they like in each other, so their different approaches on the track develop into a competitive relationship that spurs them to the front of the pack. Over the years, both meet their wives (Wilde and Lara, respectively) and move from team to team as they rise to the top of their sport. And their rivalry comes to a head at the 1976 German Grand Prix when world champion Lauda is involved in a horrific, fiery accident.

Morgan's script is essentially two biopics cleverly woven together to let us see the push and pull between these two iconic figures. Unexpectedly, Bruhl's Lauda emerges as the stronger character, with his grounded approach and sardonic wit allowing Bruhl to play effectively with submerged emotions. By contrast, Hemsworth's Hunt is little more than a gifted good-time boy who isn't worried about his lack of substance. It's a likeable, loose performance (we barely notice the wobbly British accent). Opposite them Lara and Wilde provide solid, subtle support, as do the fine actors who fill out the pit crews.

Continue reading: Rush Review

Rush Trailer


James Hunt is English Formula 1 champion well-known for his hedonistic life of women, alcohol and parties and who makes for a stark contrast to his number one rival, the Austrian Niki Lauda. It's the 70s, the golden age for racing, and the pair are riled up to outrun each other in the upcoming 1976 German Grand Prix. However, no-one could predict the tragedy that would soon ensue when Lauda's car fails and bursts into flames on the track, causing him severe burns to his face and body. Hunt blames himself for the accident, as he helped encourage the race to go ahead without the suggested safety arrangements. In spite of all this, the pair are determined to become champions, against all odds but as the professional lives interrupts their personal lives, becoming a champion becomes much more complicated than just winning a race.

'Rush' is a sports drama based on the shocking true story of these two real F1 drivers when their lives took a dramatic turn at the height of car racing. It has been directed by Ron Howard ('Willow', 'Apollo 13', 'The Da Vinci Code') and written by Peter Morgan ('The Queen', 'The Other Boleyn Girl', 'The Last King of Scotland'), and it is set for release this autumn on September 13th 2013.

The Unknown Woman Review


Excellent
Most moviegoers know Giuseppe Tornatore as the director of that most kind-hearted of classics, Cinema Paradiso. Prepare yourself then for wading into The Unknown Woman, about as different a movie as could be made. You'll know it right from the beginning: The movie opens with sex and violence as women are trotted naked before a hidden man -- he's obviously selecting among them for some purpose -- before segueing to scenes of sweaty bondage, rape, and abuse.

Things abruptly change -- as we jump to the future, it turns out -- when we follow the aforementioned young and sweaty blond woman to a later point in her life. It's difficult to explain what happens in An Unknown Woman without giving away too much, but in a nutshell we follow the Ukranian Irena (a brilliant and brave Kseniya Rappoport) to Italy. She looks like hell but she's flush with cash. And for some reason she's obsessed with a well-off family who has a young daughter. Irena begins to insinuate into the family's life -- moving in across the street, getting a job as a maid in their building, and -- as things take an even more disturbing turn -- she knocks the family's housekeeper down the stairs, paralyzing her. Irena applies for the now-vacant job, and now she's in their home.

Continue reading: The Unknown Woman Review

Angels & Demons Trailer


Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon in Angels and Demons, this film continues where The Da Vinci Code left off. Having cleared his name and solved Jacques Saunière's mysterious messages, Langdons life returns to normal.

Continue: Angels & Demons Trailer

Saturn In Opposition Review


OK
Italians have the nicest kitchens, and we get to ogle several of them in Saturn in Opposition, a crowded and talky drama centering around the reaction of a large group of friends to the sudden death of the brightest light of the group, the charismatic man who brought them all together in the first place. Come to think of it, what we have here is an upscale and literate Italian Big Chill.

It's 30-year-old Lorenzo (Luca Argentero) and his lover Davide (Pierfrancesco Favino) who attract friends to their dinner parties. Troubled married couple Antonio (Stefano Accorsi) and Angelica (Margherita Buy) are regulars, as are Davide's ex Sergio (Ennio Fantastichini), drug-addled Roberta (Ambra Angiolini), and, most memorably Neval (Serra Yilmaz), a short and fat truth teller who busts through the rest of the group's fibs and vague comments with cutting remarks. She's the one who can be counted on to keep things somewhat lively.

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Miracle At St. Anna Review


Weak
Spike Lee's latest joint disappoints. It opens in the late 1980s with a literal bang, as aging bank teller Hector Negron (Laz Alonso) puts a bullet in the chest of a random customer. The senior police officer on the scene (John Turturro) points a cub reporter (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) toward Negron's Harlem apartment, where clues to the man's identity only deepen the mystery behind the crime.

The murder serves as a gateway for Lee back to World War II, however, where Negron's complicated story establishes a link to his not-so-innocent victim. As a soldier serving in the Army's 92nd Infantry -- nicknamed the Buffalo Soldiers -- Negron and his compatriots Stamps (Derek Luke), Bishop (Michael Ealy), and Train (Omar Benson Miller) end up behind enemy lines in Tuscany, where they evade Nazi troops, protect an Italian village from attack, and babysit a doe-eyed boy (Matteo Sciabordi) who speaks to the dead (and sounds like Roberto Benigni while doing so).

Continue reading: Miracle At St. Anna Review

The Last Kiss (2001) Review


Terrible
Watching The Last Kiss is one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've had in a movie theater since I worked at a multiplex and a girl I had a severe crush in high school saw me in my nerd uniform of a sleeveless sweater and clip-on tie. [Oh Pete, you rake, you! - Ed.]

At least that encounter lasted no more than a minute. For nearly two hours in The Last Kiss, aimless characters bitch, moan, and argue about how their lives stink. Doors are slammed, tears are shed, and immaturity is flaunted about like a homecoming banner. Almost every character deserves to have their head dunked in a bucket of ice water. The number of self-inflected drama fits and crying jags makes this movie feel more like a non-stop cry for attention, than an attempt at any kind of satisfying entertainment.

Continue reading: The Last Kiss (2001) Review

The Last Kiss Review


Terrible
Watching The Last Kiss is one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've had in a movie theater since I worked at a multiplex and a girl I had a severe crush in high school saw me in my nerd uniform of a sleeveless sweater and clip-on tie. [Oh Pete, you rake, you! - Ed.]

At least that encounter lasted no more than a minute. For nearly two hours in The Last Kiss, aimless characters bitch, moan, and argue about how their lives stink. Doors are slammed, tears are shed, and immaturity is flaunted about like a homecoming banner. Almost every character deserves to have their head dunked in a bucket of ice water. The number of self-inflected drama fits and crying jags makes this movie feel more like a non-stop cry for attention, than an attempt at any kind of satisfying entertainment.

Continue reading: The Last Kiss Review

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