Entries tagged with “James Gandolfini”.


What is surprising for this two and a half hours film depicting the search after Bin Laden, the planning and the execution of the action that killed him is how superficial it is in its approach. It may be that the level of expectations was set too high by the previous film by Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar decorated The Hurt Locker one of the best if not the best film made up to now about the war in Iraq, about the men in uniform involved in it, about the moral and human impact of the war on the people who carry it. Zero Dark Thirty is a very well made film which also proves that making very well a film is not enough for the result to be a piece of great cinema.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/

 

The film follows a decade of mostly covered activity carried by the CIA in tracing Bin Laden and punishing him. The film tells the story of the searches, with the ups and down, the false tracks, the mistakes, the labyrinths of lies and the misunderstandings caused by the cultural differences. Good action, well told, well filmed. It is just that we are expecting to see something else – because it is a film by Bigelow, because in a film about tracing and punishing Bin Laden we should learn something that we do not know from the stories in the press about tracing and punishing Bin Laden.

 

(video source SonyPictures)

 

It may be that the intention of the director was to provide the human interest by pointing to the character of the principal hero – the determined and fearless CIA agent played by Jessica Chastain. Too little, too schematic, I am afraid. Who is agent Maya? What makes her so obsessed with her mission? Where did she learn to fight and win her way in a world and a profession of males? There are a few moments where we are hinted to moral questions about the methods of interrogation, or when the agent mask trembles for a moment leaving room to human feelings, but none of these elements of ‘softness’ are pursued. All we are left is a character that despite spending two and a half hours on the big screen in front of us and despite good acting does not let us know more about her soul than a routine TV detective hero. Oh, yes – and the memory of a scene of confrontation with James Gandolfini (in the role of the Director of the CIA) little time before the great good-bye of the actor.

Much less than expected.

Here is one action movie that succeeds in a very original manner to say more about the America of today (or of a few years ago) than many other ‘serious’, ‘social’, ‘politically-engaged’ film. It does it so in a very Tarantinesque manner, but it’s Tarantino violent and milieu films with a twist. Or more than a twist.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764234/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764234/

 

Apparently director Andrew Dominik made just another gangster story. We can locate exactly when it takes place, as the soundtrack mixes music with speeches from the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign. A couple of low level losers gangsters rob an illegal poker house, which is owned by the mob. The reprisals will not be late into showing up because crime is a business and there are several levels this business is operated. One of the greatest qualities of this film is to catch the characters that populate the different layers of the crime industry and bring them to screen (with the help of a well selected and directed cast) in a very credible manner – from the drug-addicted burglars in rags to the smooth business-like manipulators at the higher levels who do not look too different from the corporate America managers, certainly not when they sip their Martinis.

 

(video source joblomovienetwork)

 

This is maybe the last great role of James Gandolfini (I did not see yet ‘Zero Dark Thirty’) and he has a couple of poignant scenes with Brad Pitt, fighting overweight, bad health and a feeling of mid-life lack of achievement which may stay as one of the last memories we are left from him. We will also be left with the memory of the final replica which puts the story in the context of a country which is run as a violent and uncompromising business. Certainly just one of the meanings of America today.

 

 

I believe that there is such a genre called ‘the Tarantino movies’. They have a story which is usually a gangster story, but not necessarily. Men in the story are teenagers or they all have teenagers minds, they are addicted to comics and pulp fiction, they love cinema if cinema was invented when the action takes place, there must be a scene in a cinema theater or at least in front of a TV set in these films. Girls are gorgeous and hookers. Morality plays an important role, but is of a special kind. There is a lot of violence in this films, so well filmed that viewers know it’s not true and they have fun watching it. Martial arts are the real art.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0108399/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0108399/

 

Some of the Tarantino films are made by Quentin Tarantino. Some other not. ‘True Romance’ is not, but it’s written by Tarantino, it was made 20 years ago but looks as fresh as if it was made yesterday, which shows that the genre beyond other qualities also has the one of aging nicely. It’s a gangster story, it’s a love story, it’s a crime comedy about a young couple semi-willingly becoming murderers and unwillingly becoming drug dealers, it’s a road movie, it’s a movie about Hollywood. And it’s fun to watch.

 

(video source C64b)

 

There are so many good things in this film that I have a hard time picking which one to list. Dialogs and the musical score (Hans Zimmer – see the list of the films he composed for at IMDb and you will understand why you loved even more some of the best films in Hollywood in the last 30 years) are exquisite. Acting is stellar with the lead exception of Christian Slater which I simply cannot force myself to like. Lucky me, he is paired in the film with Patricia Arquette, and then we have Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman … wow … each of them in supporting roles hard to forget.

The director of this film is Tony Scott, who died last year. He was among these directors who would never get an Oscar because he just made the films that pleased the crowds. ‘True Romance’ is however much more than a crowd-pleaser, it may be T.Scott’s best and one of the best Tarantino films ever made.