HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021)

Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Becky Johnston & Roberto Bentivenga
Based on the Book By: Sara Gay Forden 
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski
Editor: Claire Simpson 

Cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Salma Hayek, Camille Cottin, Reeve Carney 

When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately…murder.


This should be a movie that could almost guarantee an audience. It has a strong true life story of an emotive that is successful and slowly crumbles. The infighting amongst the family for control of this empire. An outsider who comes in and manipulates everyone and then later a true crime aspect. 

For such an established and pedigree cast this film should be much better. It is grand in style though strangely considering the story should feel epic. Never achieves the heights and power that it should. It never feels rich or full-bodied. 

Now, this is Lady Gaga’s first big starring role after A STAR IS BORN. All eyes are on her as she has the showiest role and while she does ok. It might have been much stronger with a more experienced actress. Who could captivate the audience.

Jared Leto acts like he is in a totally different film. His performance comes off as more comedic but will admit he is the most entertaining part of the film. As with him In Scenes. The film either feels uneven or that it is slipping more into camp at times. 

The film at least allows for other cast members to shine but they rarely come close to being as interesting or captivating. Other than gaga Adam driver has the character who shows the most range in terms of emotions and situations. 

The script fails at times also. As gaga’s character at first seems In love and humble and then all of a sudden seems to desire money and success manipulating her husband and the rest of the family. It might have been a little more understandable if the film showed she was a girl who came from much more humble beginnings and once around. Wealth and success she got spoiled and wanted to stay in that environment. Instead of making. It seems like she was a power mad gold digger all of a sudden.

The film feels like it is going through the motions of telling the story rather than being invested in it or the characters. It feels to a matter of fact or more reporting. Even in the good times, you don’t feel heights of joy or happiness. Though Can only go so far as Based ona true story

The film feels like it lacks the glamour and indulgence. It’s pretty much a television movie with a star name cast and more of a budget and even has scenes to help individualize the characters

It might be that wanting to show her more rags to riches we see glimpses  of the power and fortune and are left with more the gaudy and rather basic indulgences and keep i everything smaller with lesser volumes as far as size of story making it feel more personal 

As far as star casting she is in the middle of it all and does fine but needs a bigger star for us to indulge in. Went to tell a mroe realistic story instead of letting it either go to camp or makign it more about the Star than the story ala evita and with lady Gaga can see it as that kind of film where it could be but here the peers that be were more interested in story and details 

Which might disappoint her audience but for fans wanting to learn the story or look for this to be a mroe all around film night prefer it

When dealing with a film about a known empire of fashion. Most expect a film More of style than substance. Maybe the thinking of the filmmakers was to be more restrained as style would be expected. As the story itself was so wild in the first place.

In the end it ends up not only a true crime drama that only showcases that aspect in the last third. As the first third is a romance and rags to riches story and the middle is indulgence but after all is said and done it is ultimately a tragedy. Where the new element brought the house down, but also everyone’s individual greed is their own worst enemies that becomes personified in the end 

The film Works on many different levels for the audience star power as she has a best actress nomination. She has to be jsit as good as her cast memebers making her bring more of an a game as most of these actors are good even on their worst days

Her power of celebrity brings most of they punter audience even if not for die hard fans there is that element for others to see if she is up to par with her co-stars 

It would only be more heightened if she had performed a song for the soundtrack which might have helped the film financially but then would have come over even more as a vanity project 

Having Al Pacino in a movie set in Italy and with a crime drama background already poses sea the stereotype of somehow involving the mob. Luckily when it comes to him and his pedigree he is associated only with illustrious films about the mob that are mroe legendary

The film looks good but never quite as sharp as it should and never achieves the dramatic depth it should. Making it feel like it is constantly missing an ingredient. As it is definitely missing a sense of glamour.

Grade: C+

THE LITTLE THINGS (2021)

Written & Directed By: John Lee Hancock Cinematography: John Schwartzman  Editor: Robert Frazen 

Cast: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Terry Kinney, Chris Bauer, Natalie Morales, Judith Scott, Michael Hyatt, Isabel Arraiza, Jason James Richter, Frederick Koehler, Maya Kazan

Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. Leading the hunt, L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter, impressed with Deke’s cop instincts, unofficially engages his help. But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

The film’s main selling point seems to be its bleakness throughout. It stays dark NOT visually exciting SEVEN dark but it makes you think and pay attention. Almost like you are a detective with these characters. As the film ends up being more a character study dressed up In neo-noir

The film is set in 1990, that is also when the screenplay was written and it feels like an old screenplay dusted off and by luck given major talent. It also gives an excuse for a film and story devoid of losers technology that would have cut short the film and it’s lingering questions or would have had to be updated and rewritten.

The film has a padded cast for what ends up being dull, subpar material. So that it comes almost like a marvel movie where you feel the cast is better than the material. At least in name.

Denzel Washington is the major attraction for the movie and at times he seems bored but his stardom and personality fill out the role and film.

Jared Leto is actually the most entertaining piece of the whole movie. As he is the only one who brings some joy and playfulness to his role. Even if again in the process of method action or the characterization he is made to look guilty and like one would imagine a serial killer to look like. 

Rami Malek comes off as heroic but ultimately comes across as weak in his performance. As he seems off as the film goes along. Especially when his character shouldn’t be at that point.

As the film seems to be all about the looks also. As the film continues we are made to question things we have seen. Details form scenes that have been played before. 

The only real action or excitement comes In The opening scene where a young girl is attacked by an unseen assailant. Other than that there is a scene late where Denzel must escape from an apartment he’s not to be at. 

Throughout we get to know the past of Denzel’s character little by little until it all makes sense as to why he is the way he is. He also sees a kinship with the other detective played by Rami Malek and sees why a lot of his old colleagues are shocked to see him again and mostly don’t want to see him. 

It takes its time while it fills in the past of characters. Taking it’s time to get to even know the protagonist.

Makes the film feel more old school and dramatic. As again it feels like a Film from the time it takes place In and was written for at the time. 

The film is different whereas it doesn’t try to play like a typical thriller. It tries to focus more on the detectives not the kills and less on the criminals or the actual crimes in action.

It still feels a bit routine and tries to build interest in the tiniest details and ideas. 

The film goes about keeping you guessing. Especially with Its ambiguous ending leaving the audience to come away with their own judgments and interpretations.

Even though a smaller story this feels like a movie that needs a director who will pay particular attention to it and try to decipher and communicate the films vision and themes. That are dark but also make you think. This film need an auteur who can leave a somewhat Personal style on the film. As much as the killer in this film dies with his victims

In the end, while the film seems to want to play games with the audience and relies heavily on Christian themes and symbolism throughout. This almost feels like a waste. As it feels like much ado about nothing. 

Grade: C-

PANIC ROOM (2005)

panicroom

Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: David Koep
Cinematography: Conrad W. Hall & Darius Khondji
Editor: James Haygood & Angus Wall 


Cast: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam, Patrick Bauchau, Ann Magnuson, Paul Schulze, Mel Rodriguez, Ian Buchanan 


Recently divorced Meg Altman and her daughter Sarah have bought a new home in New York. On their tour around the mansion, they come across the panic room. A room so secure, that no one can get in. When three burglars break in, Meg makes a move to the panic room. But all her troubles don’t stop there. The criminals know where she is, and what they require the most in the house is in that very room.

Continue reading “PANIC ROOM (2005)”

URBAN LEGEND (1998)

urban-legend-backseat

Directed By: Jamie Blanks
Written By: Silvio Horta
Cinematography: James Chressanthis
Editor: Jay Cassidy 


Cast: Alicia Witt, Tara Reid, Rebecca Gayheart, Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, John Neville, Robert Englund, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Danny Comden 


 A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.

Continue reading “URBAN LEGEND (1998)”