Vincent Schiavelli

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Golden Door Review


OK
The immigrant experience in the United States is typically viewed through two particularly rosy set of historical glasses. The first version pits strong-willed foreigners against the elements to hear freedom's sweet, sweet ring. The other offers gritty, no-nonsense realism highlighting the mighty struggles (both personal and logistical) of picking up ancestral stakes and starting a new life elsewhere. Somewhere in the middle of these competing conceits is Nuovomondo (translation: "New World," but now known as Golden Door), a fascinating if ultimately flawed film by Italian director Emanuele Crialese. By combining a dour portrait of migrant misadventures with flights of slightly surrealistic fantasy, we are supposed to see both sides of the issue. Instead, the battling approaches cancel each other out, resulting in an effort that fails to resonate emotionally.

When we first meet the Mancuso boys -- oldest son Salvatore (Vincenzo Amato) and the younger Angelo -- they are climbing up the side of a Sicilian peak, their mouths laden with rocks. As part of some arcane, unexplained ritual, the brothers are seeking a sign as to whether to travel to America. When Salvatore's deaf mute son Pietro shows up, photos of the new world in hand, the images of gigantic produce and money-stocked trees settle the debate. Grabbing his resistant mother and a pair of promised brides, they make their way from the country to the sea, where they must endure the elaborate (and corrupt) process of finding passage. During their trials, Salvatore meets a proper English woman named Lucy (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Rumored to be anything from royalty to a prostitute, one thing is certain: The lady needs a husband to help her gain access at Ellis Island. After refusing the advances of a marriage broker (the late Vincent Schiavelli), she sets her sights on Salvatore.

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Tomorrow Never Dies Review


Bad
The arguable nadir of the Bond series, Tomorrow Never Dies finds a weary Brosnan battling, ahem, a Rupert Murdoch-like media mogul who uses mercenaries to start wars just so he can write about them in his newspapers first. Oh, the humanity. While there's a glimmer of sincerity in Tomorrow's notion of current events as media spectacle, the movie gets just about everything dead wrong, from its bad guy (Jonathan Pryce, who I love, is possible the worst villain ever) to its Bond girl (Michelle Yeoh). Even the evil henchman is badly picked: Ricky Jay is a lovable magician, not a hard-nosed killer. Need I mention director Roger Spottiswoode previously helmed Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! Maybe Bond could have taken her out too.

Continue reading: Tomorrow Never Dies Review

Fast Times At Ridgemont High Review


Excellent
What, you ask, is this movie of movies? This one which you've heard about? It's an eighties thing, with not much appeal for the modern troupe because its slower paced, less funny, than what you might see today. But, like a lot of eighties movies, it holds its own merit. This adaptation of the book by Cameron Crowe (don't know who he is? I'll give you a hint. He wrote and directed the famous line "Did you know the human brain weighs eight pounds?" That's right, the maker of Jerry Maguire and Singles) is a coming-of-age drama about a young girl making the choice all of us make, sex or a relationship.Sure, we tell ourselves that both can exist, and they can, but there is the line that she draws: if she wants to sleep around or if she wants to have something to hold onto. And the movie, in a nutshell, is about that. It follows her and her friends during their last year in High School in the small town of Ridgemont. Where each one of them ends up with their troubles, ranging from no girlfriend to an abortion to adultery. It sounds serious, right?That's not quite on target.The movie has its serious moments, but it has its funny moments too: from two girls practicing blow jobs on a carat at a lunch table to a guy cruising for chicks dressed in a pirate cap. The movie is sublimely funny. And interesting. It's very sad, in my mind, that those things are so rarely seen in the 90s.
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