Dino Risi – In nome del popolo italiano AKA In the Name of the Italian People (1971)

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Synopsis:
Set in Rome and its surroundings, the film tells in a frighteningly realistic, ruthless and grotesque the evil of two powerful men of Italy in the seventies: a Director of illegal buildings (Vittorio Gassman), extremist fascist, and an upright judge, cynical looking in part to the Italian law (Ugo Tognazzi). Both can not stand each other, given the contrasts between the two men in any social, political and philosophical. Everyone hates each other and would like to delete it, but just because of the bad example that the two men give power to the people, many Italians are adversely affected because of cheating and rudeness of the fascist manufacturer and the communist magistrate. The director Dino Risi underlines the misdeeds and the weakness of the Italian people to react accordingly, by focusing on the story of these two men who are each other’s opposite of the net. Continue reading

Yorgos Lanthimos – The Lobster (2015) (HD)

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In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the rules of The City, are taken to The Hotel, a restrictive regime where they are obliged to find a matching mate in forty-five days. If an occupant manages to find a partner among others, the new couple is given a month to try to live together in a special section of the facility, after which they are freed; failing results in being killed and reincarnated in an animal of one’s own choice, and sent off into The Woods surrounding the structure. Continue reading

Billy Wilder – The Fortune Cookie (1966)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The British title of Billy Wilder’s classic comedy was Meet Whiplash Willie — for, despite Jack Lemmon’s star billing, the movie’s driving force is Oscar-winning Walter Matthau as gloriously underhanded lawyer “Whiplash” Willie Gingrich. CBS cameraman Harry Hinkle (Lemmon) is injured when he is accidentally bulldozed by football player Luther “Boom Boom” Jackson (Ron Rich) during a Cleveland Browns game. Willie, Harry’s brother-in-law, foresees an insurance-settlement bonanza, and he convinces Harry to pretend to be incapacitated by the accident. To insure his client’s cooperation, Willie arranges for Harry’s covetous ex-wife Sandy (Judi West) to feign a rekindling of their romance. Harry’s conscience is plagued by the solicitous behavior of Boom Boom, who is so devastated at causing Harry’s injury that he insists on waiting on the “cripple” hand and foot. Meanwhile, dishevelled private eye Purkey (Cliff Osmond) keeps Harry under constant surveillance, hoping to catch him moving around so the insurance company can avoid shelling out a fortune. Wilder and usual co-writer I.A.L. Diamond were at their most jaundiced and cynical here, even if, after a sardonic semiclimax, the last ten minutes succumb to the sentimentality that often marred Wilder’s later movies. Continue reading

Paolo Sorrentino – This Must Be the Place (2011)

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Plot / Synopsis
50 year old, retired goth rocker Cheyenne travels from London to New York to visit his dying father, and journeys across the United States on a mission to seek revenge against the elusive, ex-Nazi war criminal who persecuted him in Auschwitz. Despondent after two of his young fans commit suicide, Cheyenne retreats to his Dublin mansion and begins living off of his royalties alongside his down-to-earth wife Jane. Later, Cheyenne receives word that his father is dying in New York City. Though they haven’t spoken in 30 years, Cheyenne boards the first available flight to bid his father farewell. Unfortunately, Cheyenne is too late. Upon reconnecting with his cousin Richard, however, the morose musician learns that his father, a Holocaust survivor, had been tracking Auschwitz guard Aloise Lange (Heinz Lieven) around America for decades. Now filled with ennui yet determined not to let Lange escape unpunished, Cheyenne vows to pick up the mission where his father left off.
~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Continue reading

Frank Capra – You Can’t Take It With You (1938)

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From “filmschoolrejects”

You Can’t Take It with You is a classic case of good old-fashioned American optimism, a celebration of family and small-town values courtesy of Frank Capra, who made a distinguished career out of such things. By the time of its release in 1938 films like It Happened One Night and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town had already made Capra a household name, a premiere chronicler of the Depression era national mood and a primary spokesman for cinema’s ability to serve as a tonic, spreading good cheer among audiences that had experienced too little of it.

That history looms over every frame of what is one of the original quirky family dramedies, a direct ancestor of the entire genre of independent filmmaking devoted to such ventures today. It instills even the more banal, dated moments with particular resonance. One can sense in Capra’s joyful indulgence of the sheer chaotic nature of the life of the Sycamore family a fervent quest to entertain by outdoing even the most outlandish antics displayed in the film’s contemporaries, which remain some of the most memorable screwball comedies ever made. Continue reading

Norman Z. McLeod – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson

James Thurber wasn’t too happy with the Sam Goldwyn film adaptation of his 1939 short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but the Technicolor musical comedy proved to be a cash cow at the box office. Danny Kaye stars as Walter, a milquetoast proofreader for a magazine publishing firm. Walter is constitutionally incapable of standing up for himself, which is why his mother (Fay Bainter) has been able to arrange a frightful marriage between her son and the beautiful but overbearing Gertrude Griswold (Ann Rutherford). As he muses over the lurid covers of the magazines put out by his firm, Walter retreats into his fantasy world, where he is heroic, poised, self-assured, and the master of his fate. Glancing at the cover of a western periodical, Walter fancies himself the two-gun “Perth Amboy Kid”; a war magazine prompts Walter to envision himself as a fearless RAF pilot; and so on. Continue reading