Capsule reviews [002.021.347]

Movie capsule reviews

The life ahead

A movie with Sophia Loren based on a novel by Emile Ajar about a young troubled Nigerian boy taken in by a retired prostitute who survived the nazi dead camps. The original story was set in Paris, but for the purpose of this movie they moved it to the city of Bari in Italy. The director is the son of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti Sr. The same story was also adapted by Moshé Mizrahi in a 1977 movie titled Madame Rosa and starring Simone Signoret. It is a beautiful but slow movie (like most European film). It is amazing that Loren can still perform so well in her eighties!

TheLifeAhead-posterThe Life Ahead (La vita davanti a sé): Italy, 2020, 95 min.; Dir.: Edoardo Ponti; Scr.: Edoardo Ponti & Ugo Chiti (baed on the novel La vie devant soi  by Emile Ajar (Romain Gary); Phot.: Angus Hudson; Ed.: Jacopo Quadri; Music: Gabriel Yared; Cast: Sophia Loren (Madame Rosa), Ibrahima Gueye (Momo), Abril Zamora (Lola), Renato Carpentieri (Dr. Coen), Babak Karimi (Hamil), Massimiliano Rossi (drug dealer); Rated PG. It has received a score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (76% from the audience), 66% on Metacritic and 6.8/10 on IMDb. stars-3-0

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The Dig

This movie gives us a romantic adaptation of the true story of the discovery of what would become the king tut of Britain… In 1939, as WW2 looms, a Suffolk landowner hires a local amateur archaeologist to investigate a series of tumuli that reveal to be an Anglo-Saxon ship burial dating from the 6th or 7th century, belonging possibly to King Rædwald of East Anglia. It is now known as the ship burial of Sutton Hoo and constitute what is probably the greatest treasure ever discovered in the United Kingdom. The story is interesting because it shows that countryside archaeology is nothing simple or glamorous as it reveals all the gritty details of the endeavour. The movie is not entirely accurate as it has diminished the importance of Peggy Piggott (played by Lily James), changed the age of some characters and eliminated the people (Mercie Lack, Barbara Wagstaff and O.G.S. Crawford) who documented the dig with photography to replace them by one single fictional character, Rory Lomax, in order to simplify the story and add a romantic interest for the main character. It remains entertaining and quite educational as it teach viewers about an important discovery.

TheDig-posterThe Dig : UK / USA, 2021, 112 min.; Dir.: Simon Stone; Scr.: Moira Buffini (based on the novel by John Preston); Phot.: Mike Eley; Ed.: Jon Harris; Music: Stefan Gregory; Cast: Carey Mulligan (Edith Pretty), Ralph Fiennes (Basil Brown), Lily James (Peggy Piggott), Johnny Flynn (Rory Lomax), Ben Chaplin, Ken Stott, Archie Barnes, and Monica Dolan.; Rated PG-13. It has received a score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes (78% from the audience), 73% on Metacritic and 7.1/10 on IMDb. stars-3-0

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Once upon a time… in Hollywood

Another very good Tarantino movie, full of stars, drama, suspense and, of course, violence. We follow an has-been western actor (Rick Dalton played by DiCaprio) and his buddy stunt-double (Cliff Booth played by Pitt) as they keep criss-closing path with their neighbours, the Polanski/Tate couple, and a group of hippies. The fateful night when they all meet is approaching… Tarantino uses a couple of fictional characters to weave a complex storyline that skillfully mixes comedy with drama and tell the nostalgic story of a film industry that is about to move from its fading Golden age to a new era. It is a compelling movie that is both entertaining and edifying as it is full of interesting cultural references. And I never saw the twist of the end coming !

OnceUponATimeInHollywoodOnce upon a time in Hollywood : USA / UK / China, 2019, 161 min.; Dir./Scr.: Quentin Tarantino; Phot.: Robert Richardson; Ed.: Fred Raskin; Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio (Dalton), Brad Pitt (Booth), Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate), Rafał Zawierucha (Roman Polanski), Damon Herriman (Manson), Mike Moh (Bruce Lee), Damian Lewis (Steve McQueen); Rated 14A. It has received a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes (70% from the audience), 83% on Metacritic and 7.6/10 on IMDb. stars-3-5

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