[EXPRESSO] Dante (2022) | Not Produced by EA Games

One of the advantage of being Italy-based is being able to easily see new movies from old italian directors that will never make the jump overseas, even on streaming, like this new romanticized retelling of the life of Dante Alighieri, released in theathers here in late September, simply called “Dante” and directed by Pupi Avati (famous for The House With The Laughing Windows, and also 2019’s Il Signor Diavolo).

Don’t ever say i don’t strive for variety, because i can assure you even here this is a niche release.

Regardless, it’s a period piece set in Reinassance Italy and fittingly follows Giovani Boccaccio’s ( the author of the Decameron and the first biographer of Dante, essential for cementing The Divine Comedy’s influence over time) efforts in redacting a piece about the life of the tuscanian poet, roughly 30 years after Dante’s death in 1321, coming in contact with people that were close to the poet and gathering new insight as he journeys to Ravenna in order to give Dante’s daughter monetary compensation on behalf of the city of Florence.

…it’s actually pretty good, as it goes for a realistic, grounded approach, does not shy away from the many unsavory aspects of the period or Dante’s life as a whole, be it the aftermath of the black plague, the political and religious intrigues in Florence leading to Dante fighting on the field and being exiled by the pope, the later years of extreme poverty, and not just quoting passages from his opus or his love for Beatrice.

All with a great italian cast, good costumes, some weird visuals, making for a good movie with a very niche target audience, even more since it’s definitely not an oversimplified digest of Dante Alighieri’s life and legacy made for audiences not versed in literature.


[EXPRESSO] House Of Gucci (2021) | This Is The Dynasty

House Of Gucci is not “accurate”, let’s make it abundantly clear.

It’s definitely an instance where it’s important to emphatize the “inspired by real events” disclaimer, because this isn’t “All The Money In The World” Ridley Scott, this is him going full soap/telenovelas on the real life Gucci family feud that started in the 70s and culminated in 1995, with Patrizia Reggiani ordering the assassination of Maurizio Gucci, her husband and also the entrepreneur & president of the Gucci fashion firm.

The story here is presented with the focus on Patrizia introducing herself to Maurizio as a way to get into the Gucci family business, then manipulating and orchestrating the Guccis to turn against each other in order to force the hand of Maurizio in taking rein of the company, despite him starting out as totally indifferent to his heritage and without any true ambition to get involved in it.

She basically turn what start out as fairly decent people into monsters for her own ambition and ruthless desire for dominance, and at one point a tarot card reader is involved, etc.

This is a 2 hour soap opera with a huge movie budget, make no mistake about it, that it’s the main tone of House Of Gucci, as a bombast story about the rise and fall of a dynasty (pun not intended but fitting nonetheless), with very little interest in realism, given the odd – and i feel deliberate – direction some of the cast was given, as some actors feel like they’re acting in a completely different movie, like an unrecognizable Jared Leto in overacting overdrive as “Gucci’s Fethry Duck”.

Despite the sometimes inconsistent tone and it being really trashy, there’s a magnetic kitsch charm to it all, great performances, and it’s massively entertaining all the way through.

The Cinema Show Experience Debate Cycle

So, we’re yet again having that conversation on social media, about the sanctity of seeing movies in theathers and how it’s the only true way to see them?

Ok, let’s indulge in some fruitless arguing, as the issues are decades old and the industry won’t actually do anything about fixing them, because they won’t until there’s a distinct financial incentive to provide good movie watching experiences.

And this is just indulging, let’s be honest.

Because most people don’t care, won’t really care, ever.

Continua a leggere “The Cinema Show Experience Debate Cycle”

The Reef (2010) [REVIEW] | Seas For Fears

No, no the kids movie, you silly.

Know what? Let’s talk about a good shark movie, for a change, let’s talk about The Reef, from director-writer Andrew Traucki, here at his second directorial role for a feature lenght film, after debutting with Black Water, another survival horror film, but about a saltwater crocodile (later followed by Black Water Abyss).

This one is often brought up when discussing the best shark movies, and by pure coincidence it’s another Australian production, like Bait 3D, which happens to be one of my favorites and one of the better received shark flick all around. And boy do we need good ones to offset the avalanche of shit shark movies pumped out on yearly basis, we really do need some good one once in a while.

Continua a leggere “The Reef (2010) [REVIEW] | Seas For Fears”

Open Water (2003) [REVIEW] | Fear Of The Shark

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Didn’t plan to review this, but suddendly i saw “this film will be unavailable the 31 of august”. Thanks, Amazon Prime Video, wanna remove first some garbage that probably isn’t even really licensed so much as “uploaded” by random persons? No? Thank you.

So anyway, Open Water, the first one of the not-series, as there are two more, but there’s no story continuity, and the second one often isn’t even titled as a sequel, which is fairly common for these realm of horror thriller about killer animals… or killer anything, to be even more honest, and pretty any distribution company “has” to have it’s own shark series with movies that just add numbers at the end of titles and share the same overall concept or premise.This is Lionsgate’s. Continua a leggere “Open Water (2003) [REVIEW] | Fear Of The Shark”

[EXPRESSO] My Name Is Dolemite (2019) | Rat Soup


Time for me to get some use out my Netflix subscription, and this wasn’t gonna screen in Italy anyway.

Shame, because the idea of a biopic about Rudy Ray Moore, the comedian better known to film buffs as his character Dolemite, starring in the eponymous movie and the sequel The Human Tornado (and many others), is a great idea. Especially the first Dolemite is a legendary and beloved piece of blaxploitation cinema, one of the few films where the boom mic is visibly in the movie more than the villain, and with overall quality rivalled only by stuff like The Guy From Harlem.

Telling the story of Rudy Ray Moore, an aspiring 70s Los Angeles comedian that manages to finally find success with his alter-ego/character of Dolemite, a foul mouthed motherfucker in pimp attire, leading to do some comedy records, which brings him some fame and money, all risked to make a movie about the character, in spite of everyone’s advice and good ol’ common sense (like a 70’s black version of Ed Wood, in a way), but Rudy is not gonna have it any other way.

While it’s even better for film buffs that already knew of the story, it’s an amazing portrait of a man struggling to make his name known, to realize it’s dream, and his ambivalent relantioship to the Dolemite persona he doesn’t really identify with after all, but can’t also give up. And isn’t exactly a flattering portrait, but it shouldn’t be, and the script has a perfect balance of goofy and serious, with space for more somber (and not somber) self-reflection, but also to lovingly recreate ridiculous scenes from the first Dolemite movie, with a top notch cast (which includes Snoop Dogg/Lion), especially Eddie Murphy who is killing it as Rudy/Dolemite.

He ain’t lying.


[EXPRESSO] Fighting With My Family (2019) | Wrestle for it!

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Preface: i was not familiar with the real life events this is based upon, or the 2012 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family, about the wrestler Paige.

And one could have made some educated guesses that some of the events didn’t actually happen, i didn’t even know it’s basically a dramatization of a documentary based on a true story. I did know it had Dwayne Johnson, Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn and Florence Pugh (recently seen in Midsommar) in it, and i was already sold on that.

Zak and Saraya Vebis, brother and sister, since the age of 10 are trained by their parent in their work and family tradition: putting up wrestling events and training other kids in their gym in ol’ Norwich, UK. They grow up with the dream of making it big, until Zak and Saraya manage to attend a try-out event, but only Saraya is ultimately accepted, which crushes Zak’s long held dream.

So Saraya moves to Florida to train and try to actually be signed into a league, and Zak stays in Norwich to attend to his newborn son and the family gym.

You’ve heard this story before, you know where it goes, but it’s done without over-romanticizing the sport/craft in question, with believable character arcs, believable characters, a great cast, and it isn’t a glorified ad for the WWE, or its’ public, for that matter. And more importantly, it has a honest, big hearted attitude about the drama, so it never feels too contrivedly syrupy or more dramatic just for the sake of being dramatic, but more grounded in reality.

Not a complain about the movie itself, but there’s a bitter aftertaste to it knowing this year the WWE strikes a 10 million deal with Saudi Arabia for pay-for-view shows, so no women division, because Saudi Arabia.


[EXPRESSO] Stockholm (2018) | Chillin With The Captives

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So, this finally arrived in ol’ Italy a week ago, let’s review it!

Very loosely based on the events of the infamous Stockholm bank robbery of 1973 (and hence on the concept of “Stockhold Syndrome” which spun from it), Robert Budreau’s movie tells the story of the bizzarre bank robbery operated by Lars Nystrom, an eccentric and quirky criminal that occupies the bank, takes some hostages, and negotiates the release of his friend Gunnar, that joins Lars as a mediator.

But as the standoff between the criminals and the police proceeds, the hostages form a bonding relationship with their captors, willing to take their sides over the police’s.

As you may expect, it’s a very romanticized take on the story, with many liberties taken (like the use of Bob Dylan songs instead of Elvis and Roberta Flack’ tracks by the strange criminal), and the oddity of the whole situation lend itself quite nicely to a crime comedy, with some decent drama and interesting execution, and likable characters.

While it’s done fairly well, well casted and acted, the idea of a movie about the Stockolm bank robbery is quite nice, it has some issues, mostly because it never fully commits to it’s stance on the matter of police abuse, despite the script being pretty clear who you’re supposed to symphatize with, but ultimately painting the picture of a complex situation, an absurd but more realistic one, which is fine, but it’s also playing a bit too safe.

For me, at least.

That and the characterization is ultimately uneven, because we get a romance between Lars and Clara, but even Gunnar is just……… kinda there for the most part, like the other hostages. Which is kinda disappointing.

Still, a more than decent movie, could have been better, but not bad at all!



[EXPRESSO] Stan & Ollie (2018) | Friends To The End

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Yes, this arrived just now in my country’ theathers (1st of may, to be precise), and i’ll be blunt, that’s my only gripe with Jon S. Baird biopic about Laurel and Hardy’s beloved comedic personas.

In 1953, after their Hollywood days and a long period apart, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy reunite for a tour in english theathers, in order to rack some needed cash, and also train for their upcoming movie about Robin Hood, pitched to a producer but still in the air. They are warmly welcomed by the public, still enamoured with their antics and affable charm, but it’s not the relatively small packed crows they attract at first, the competition coming from the cinemas (or the home video), not even the rise of new comedic duos like Abbott and Costello the main problem.

It’s their crumbling friendship, with old grudges resurfacing, the constant knowledge of them being a thing of the past, held together by their personas more their actual selves (or so they think), and a conflicting view on many things, all made worse by Oliver’s degrading health. It’s a tale about mending a broken friendship in the world of entertaiment when you’re not top dog(s) anymore, and it’s beatifully executed, even more because you don’t really need to have a lot – if any – familiarity with the duo, or even like the passè style of comedy (i personally think it’s more cute than funny today).

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly do a stunning job portraying the comedy duo, which is shown not as overly-idealized , but as a couple of flawed individuals (the controversy with Hal Roach is portrayed, for example), with a great balance of drama and comedy, that celebrates earnestly friendship and passion for the craft.

Funny and quite touching.