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Quel maledetto treno blindato (The Inglorious Bastards) August 21, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Italian, Movies, Reviews.
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In anticipation for Quentin Tarantino’s latest film (it releases today), a local theater recently arranged a screening of Enzo Castellari’s 1978 film, which is the inspiration for the title and part of the premise. This is a fun film that is filled with action, excitement and humor. It isn’t the most sophisticated piece of filmmaking but a very well-executed one nonetheless.

Think of it as a crass, crazy version of The Dirty Dozen. A group of American soldiers are being shipped off to a military prison when they are attacked by the Germans. In the ensuing melee, they escape. As they try to get to the safety of Switzerland, they are caught up in a mission to steal a warhead from under the Nazis’ noses.

Armed with a promising premise for an entertaining movie, Castellari rarely deviates from the main plot and ensures that the film chugs along at a rapid pace. Even the ridiculous love track is so short and inconspicuous that it doesn’t make much of a difference despite the fact that it is totally unwarranted and is inelegantly crammed into the script. While this isn’t the sort of film where you’d nitpick the flaws, the pace and focus surely make it easier to overlook them.

If you’re really looking forward to QT’s Inglourious Basterds, this one should raise your excitement levels. It certainly whetted my appetite. Even otherwise, this is an amusing adventure that you should enjoy unless you expect your exploitation films to be more refined.

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La Vita e bella (Life is Beautiful) August 18, 2006

Posted by Sai in English, Italian, Movies, Reviews.
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A humorous take on the Holocaust is not something that many would imagine attempting. Roberto Benigni not only imagined it but attempted it and successfully too. To summarize, this movie is about how a father tries to shelter his young boy from the harsh realities of a concentration camp while trying to find a way to help him escape. This film depicts how a positive outlook and imagination can help even in the worst of conditions.

The chaplinesque Benigni is not someone that you imagine seeing in a movie about the Holocaust but here he is as the main protagonist. The early part of the film does provide some scope to display his natural comedic talent while the latter part of the film is a great showcase for his talent behind the screen. Roberto Benigni co-writes (alongwith Vincenzo Cerami) and directs this movie that won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film alongwith the Best Actor for Benigni apart from the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. That speaks voulmes for Benigni and therefore I will not elaborate further. This is a moving and uplifting film that is really about love and positive thinking under damning circumstances more than it is about the Holocaust and everybody should watch it.