Sergio Donati

Sergio Donati

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Man on Fire (1987) Review


Grim
Fairly awful, this star-studded revenge flick gives us a freaked-out Scott Glenn getting vengeance on the kidnappers who got his charge, a young Italian girl. The film begins with Glenn getting zipped up into a body bag, so we know things aren't going to go all that well. But don't mess with him: He's a man on fire! He'll get his due before he meets his end (or did he -- gasp! -- fake his death?)... and you'll get little more than a dull headache.

Orca Review


Grim
Jaws may have had a profound effect at the beaches, sending vacationers out of the water in fear of their lives... but it had the opposite effect for the hack filmmakers of the world, sending them in to the water to make cheap knockoffs.

In addition to the Jaws sequels, Orca stands at the very nadir of these "nature's killers from the sea." In its opening scenes, Orca tries to tell us that Jaws was a wuss: A killer whale smashes into a great white shark, sending him shooting 20 feet into the sky and devouring him in a foaming mess of blood. Ooh, that killer whale's one to be reckoned with, ain't he?

Continue reading: Orca Review

Once Upon a Time in the West Review


Good
Long on looks and short on sense, Sergio Leone's celebrated spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West is a remarkable achievement of cinematography but comes across today as a more muddled story than ever.

Conceived and roughed together by Italian directors Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Leone, the guts of West are some of the least likely of his films. The story concerns a woman (Claudia Cardinale, who spends the entire movie clenching her teeth) whose husband and family are murdered, leaving her with a valuable plot of land. This land has the eye of one Frank (Henry Fonda in his biggest villain role ever), and he's determined to be rid of the woman in order to get it. A half-Mexican named Cheyenne (Jason Robards) ends up accused of the murders, and a nameless bounty hunter (sound familiar?) who's known due to his harmonica playing by the name Harmonica (Charles Bronson) inserts himself into the mix. The film culminates with Harmonica turning in Cheyenne for the reward money, then using that money to outbid Frank at the public auction of the land... and then of course there's a showdown to be had.

Continue reading: Once Upon a Time in the West Review

Sergio Donati

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