Two-Fer NEW MOVIE Reviews: something light, something heavy

The Fatman and The Life Ahead are two movies I’ve taken in this week; subversive-lite and poignant-beautiful respectively.
The first, The Fat Man is playing for a few more days at Lakewood Ranch (please support them) and probably longer at CineBistro. The movie stars Mel Gibson as Kris Kringle and if the Nelms brother had veered a little more comedic instead of the weakling sibling of violence, it could have been a winner. Either evil within their own twin beings, or within the Hollywood execs that led led them, the film ends Tarantino-essque. Still, the movie did attempt to make some points about the shallowness of the ultra rich and how karma can come back to bite you in the flannel clad fanny.

The second, The Life Ahead, should be a nominee for film of the year, best actor and best actress. The director, Edoardo Ponti, Sophia Loren’s son, did a great job with the adapted screenplay by Ugo Chiti. The actor who just threw me off my feet (granted I was on a couch watching it streamed on Netflix) is Ibrahima Gueye. He is going places at the young age of, I’m guessing, 14 max (?) as no date is available on the internet. Sophia Loren plays his foster mother and the jist of the film is Loren is a former call girl who now takes in younger call girls’ neglected or abandoned children.
Gorgeously shot in Italy, the movie made me tear up several times. If this isn’t THE film to watch about crossing barriers from race color to we are all of the HUMAN race, I don’t know what is. Essential holiday viewing to mend hearts at the holidays.

The Climb, Placing My Oscar Bet on Zach Kuperstein

Ok, that bet I just posted in my title, I’d like to place it to happen in the next ten years, since the ye olde Academy has enough fish to fry for awhile. But mark my words, they’ll see the genius of Zach Kuperstein (already nominated for a Independent Spirit (the smartest) Awards for The Eyes of My Mother).
In The Climb, you can’t help but notice Kuperstein’s magic in the stripper Thanksgiving scene, the outside the house merry go round shot during the Christmas Scene, the immersion of the ice fishing bachelor party. Visually inspiring, Zach’s got it going on.
Now for the rest of the story…Michael Angelo Covino starred and directed The Climb about a relationship between two male friends, the friend with whom he also wrote The Climb’s screenplay, Kyle Marvin. The story is interestingly told, in chapters with cute title cards, “I’m Sorry”, “let it go”, etc. The premise is also unique in that while I’m sure there’s many co-dependent male friendships, we don’t see friendship looked at with such a magnifying glass often.
The minor characters were well drawn, too, 3 dimensional without over interrupting the through line. I especially liked Gayle Rankin (Glow, Blow the Man Down) Todd Barry and the grooms two sisters (Daniella Covino, Eden Malyn).
A refreshing dark comedy about relationship and family dysfunction playing currently at Burns Court. Please support your independent theaters!

Ammonite, see it and ignore the critics!

I’m a lover, not a fighter and if you still disregard me because I think people can have different opinions without the need for cancellation, so be it. Addio, arriverderci, thank you next.
Same with the critics of Ammonite, who were NOT accurate in these complaints:
“The ocean drowned out the dialogue.” What? Nope!
“It was dark and depressing.” A period piece needs to have reality. A movie needs to take you to a place you’ve never been, nor can ever go…1840’s Dorset Coast, two women in a patriarchal society…there weren’t discos or fashion shows folks.
“The sex was as gratuitous as ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’.” What are you crazy? There were two scenes and only one explicit and not one second was extreme. Classy in execution and anyone who differs is obviously homophobic.
The acting was tremendous. Kate Winslet achieves the perfect tight rope walk of stubborn and vulnerability, and Saoirse does well with wispy loneliness, too. They are Mary and Charlotte, neglected paleontologist and budding geologist. Fiona Shaw, who is new actress to me, was also great as the well to do neighbor of Kate/Mary’s past.
Please support your local movie theaters like Burns Court/Sarasota Film Society. We need communal experiences to keep our humanity intact.
And write to my email with any comments at irun2eatpizza@hotmail.com

What a find! Citizens of the World

Wow, what a refreshingly slow paced film with a mood that transcended it’s 90 plus minutes; “Citizens of the World” written and directed by Gianni Di Gregorio.
The jist is three men in their 70’s (Gregorio being one of the actors as well) decide they are suffering from wanderlust and make a grande` plan to move to a different country. What ensues isn’t hilarity but a beautiful meditation on gratitude for the mundane and routine, something I think anyone in Covid times can fully appreciate.
The other two actors of the trio were Girogio Colangeli and Ennio Fantastichini, who were fantastic in their humanity. Salih Saadin Khalid helped the trio put things in perspective. Bellisimo!

Life Long Learning “The Night Full of Rain”

I thank Jack Guren for filling in this cinematic movie gap, assuming I’d know who Lina Wertmuller was, when I sheepishly replied, ‘never heard of her.’ Call me chagrined. His Wertmuller comment came after a Wertmuller memory was sparked by an aborted attempt at watching the remake of Rebecca, which was such a far cry from Hitchcock’s original that we abandoned ship.
I searched and missed his specific “Swept Away” and “Seven Beauties” (nominated for best foreign film) reference and instead wound up with “The Night Full of Rain” from 1978. Candice Bergen and Giancarlo Giannini star as a battling when opposites attract (and I mean battling, ugh ptsd flashback from my youth)…must be the 70’s was the couples’ conflict decade, “The Way We Were”, “Woman Under the Influence” as further evidence.
Wertmuller definitely has a unique modernist style, in this film, for instance, she employs flashy cinematography, a groovy if not disturbed soundtrack, religious statue allusions, and a modern day Greek chorus who debate what makes love and relationships work. Is it comfortable repetition or passionate fire? Can both possibly co-exist? According to this film, passion is fueled by disagreement which means sex is better with someone with whom you could never cohabitate. And Lina, I have to concur!