Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Movie Review

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a 1963 Italian anthology comedy film directed by Vittorio de Sica and starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. It is an okay, but undistinguished work.

The film is an anthology work that consists of three stories about couples in different parts of Italy. It stars Sophia Loren and Marcelo Mastroianni in all of these stories and that choice I disliked and I just think it would have been better had they chosen different actors for each individual story.

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The people of Forcella are out of this world.

They’ve risen up in a gesture of solidarity!

I must say, it almost makes you forget how filthy and ignorant they are.

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

But she is good in this movie and likable. As for Mastroianni, he is here actually the best and most sympathetic of all of his roles which are usually annoying. The two have some great scenes and interact well together.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is an okay, but weak anthology with all of the stories being just passable and nothing remarkable. The first one was the weakest and most forgettable whereas the second story is way too short and somewhat pointless. I mean, it has a point as it shows a man reevaluating his partner, but it should have been done better and this way it was way too short and inconsequential.

As for the third story, it is the best one without a doubt. It has some interesting interactions between both of the characters plus it was a somewhat interesting plot with her going out with a priest whose mother is appalled by that idea. It isn’t great, but it is the most entertaining and memorable story here.

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is very weakly constructed as these three stories are weakly put together and some last much longer than the others and vice versa. Plus I failed to see the connection between them thematically speaking and the film was also emotionally shallow and cold. The characters are mostly typical and the stories are familiar. It also has that annoying tendency to portray sexualized female characters which is so frustrating and typical about Italian cinema. It got an Oscar for foreign movie and it didn’t deserve it at all. It isn’t bad, but there isn’t anything here that is particularly inspired.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is an okay movie with solid performances and a solid third story, but the second story is too short and the first one is forgettable. As an anthology movie, it doesn’t work as it isn’t thematically connected and not one of these stories is particularly interesting or meaningful.

My Rating – 3

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8 1/2 (1963)

8 1/2 Movie Review…………………………………………………………

8 1/2 (1963) Movie Review

8 1/2 is a 1963 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and it one of the most famous and critically acclaimed movies ever to come from Italy.

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My Dears…

Happiness consists of being able to tell the truth without hurting anyone.

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8 1/2 Movie Review…………………………………………………………

It follows a man who has a writer’s block and the film uses the dramatic structure interrupted casually by fantastical sequences. It is an awfully boring story that supposedly has multiple clever themes and ideas, but I failed to recognize any of them how badly they were executed or how non-existent they were. Not to mention that the film lasts for more than two hours due to bloated running time and is, to make matters worse, tedious and annoying from start to finish like all of his films. I am not a fan of Fellini honestly and I could never get why his films grew reputation because to me they are so boring, annoying and literally repulsive at times. This is not as bad as ‘La Dolce Vita’ but it still comes close to that travesty of a picture. His earlier films from the fifties were infinitely better as both ‘La Strada’ and ‘Nights of Cabiria’ are masterpieces in comparison to this one.

It is, like the aforementioned film, similar in structure in that it is very full of itself but in reality not clever or interesting at all and literally contains sequences that make no sense whatsoever and that are useless in its actions entirely and a total waste of time.

The character development is awful with each and every character being immensely annoying and despicable. The protagonist is once again played by Marcello Matroianni and is once again repulsive, annoying, weakly developed and all around awful to follow. And all the other characters and their actions are the same story.

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8 1/2 Movie Review…………………………………………………………

As for the acting, it is nothing to write home about as well. The directing is of course the worst because Fellini is the one responsible for all of this with no professionalism or skill whatsoever. There are maybe some good technical aspects regarding the cinematography and the costumes, but that is about all there is to it. It is once again an excuse to venture into bad habits, bad people and excessive hedonism instead of a good story and quality filmmaking with good ideas it was supposed to have.

With awfully unlikable characters, uninspired acting, bad directing and boring and incredibly frustrating story, 8 1/2 is another Fellini’s frustrating movie with repulsive people, bad approach and no story, themes or points present whatsoever. It is a bad film by all means, an excuse to venture into bad habits and hedonism, a boring snoozefest and one of the most overrated films made by the most overrated film director ever.

My Rating – 2

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L’Inferno (1911)

L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

L’Inferno Movie Review

L’Inferno is a 1911 Italian silent fantasy drama film directed by Francesco Bertolini. It is pretty stupendous as one of the oldest surviving feature length films.

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The Poets climb down the shaggy sides of the monster, Lucifer,

to reach the subtler-ranean way

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L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

It is an adaptation of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. The story itself is of course powerful and I really liked it here. It is pretty well adapted for film and it succeeds as a solid adaptation. It is detailed in descriptions, it is visually arresting and it is overall pretty engaging and interesting.

However, L’Inferno has one big problem that really hurt the movie and that is its use of intertitles that is not only overabundant, but at times even unnecessary. Also, the length/running time of the intertitles is too prolonged and thus you end up with a movie that is almost half of the running time in intertitles. That was troublesome as, no matter how interesting those descriptive passages were, they were still too descriptive. A movie shouldn’t be that descriptive and a movie should show more than tell and this is a classic example of a film that mostly tells its plot, rather than show it.

And that was a huge shame as, when shown, the film is actually pretty good. The effects here are so phenomenal and absolutely astounding and groundbreaking for its time that it really bothered me that they decided to cut back on that as they clearly could have made more use of its visuals which are awesome.

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L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

The second half is better in that regard as you have many intriguing visuals and imagery. Really, the imagery in L’Inferno is so powerful and instantly recognizable and a groundbreaking achievement in cinema. The apparitions are so well executed, the nudity is well handled, the various fantastical creatures are so well imagined and depicted and the film most of all succeeds as a good early fantasy flick.

But it doesn’t particularly succeed as a drama unfortunately. Whereas its fantasy elements are fascinating, its dramatic elements aren’t which is why the second half is so much more entertaining than the first one. The second one is more show than tell whereas the first one is the opposite.

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L'Inferno Movie Review…………………………………………………………………

L’Inferno is the oldest feature film that I’ve seen up to this point and I have to say that I really respect it. It isn’t great or even very good, but it is pretty solid with the level of greatness achieved in more than a couple of sequences. The score in the version I’ve seen is too modern and annoying, but the directing is solid, the pacing is mostly good and the running time is quite short, but rewarding in terms of storytelling as a lot happens during its seventy minutes. The film should have had a more emotional tone to it and it feels rather cold at times. The same can be said for the characterization as the characters are forgettable. The script is good, but as I said, the dialogue and the explanations are overly abundant and even unnecessary. Thanks to all of those reasons, it is a deeply flawed movie, but because the visual effects are so great, its adapted screenplay is quite solid and the imagery is powerful, it is still pretty solid and memorable.

L’Inferno is such a solid and at times respectable, but also deeply flawed movie. It has astounding visual effects for its time, the imagery is so striking and powerful, it is solidly adapted and it is mostly quite good, but the intertitles are overly abundant and at times too descriptive, too long and frankly unnecessary and seriously affecting the movie that should have shown more than just told its story. But for being one of the first surviving feature length films, it is quite solid and even stupendous.

My Rating – 3.5

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La Strada (1954)

La Strada Movie Review

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La Strada Movie Review

La Strada is a 1954 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano. It is an overrated, but still solid film.

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What a funny face!

Are you a woman, really? Or an artichoke?

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La Strada Movie Review

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It is about a brutish strongman and the naive young woman who he takes on the road with. And it all ends with a tragedy as this is basically a melodrama. Now, I am not a fan of Fellini’s works at all, but I have to say that this film is the only one I’ve liked from him thus far. It is nothing great, but is pretty solid with its strengths. The plot itself is okay, but I’ve seen this story before and I’ve seen these characters before. It is sad and ends powerfully, but everything that came before it (the first half in particular) is a typical and predictable stuff and the movie isn’t particularly inspired.

Zampano is such a clich├ęd character of the time as is Gelsomina, but the two have their moments and, although familiar, their story and relationship is still moving. Il Matto is a much better and much more memorable character than the main ones and a couple of scenes with him and Gelsomina are really good and filled with some great dialogue with some fine lines.

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La Strada Movie Review

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The acting is pretty good and although I wasn’t such a big fan of Masina’s performance, both Flaiano and Pinelli did a pretty good job in their respective roles. As for Federico Fellini himself, his direction here is surprisingly great and the film is not only well crafted, but also really well made and photographed with some shots being absolutely magnificent. That ending is gorgeous and there were many really memorable sequences here in terms of the visuals.

La Strada has a big problem in terms of its pacing. It is so badly edited with those scenes with Zampano’s performance being way too prolonged. This movie would have benefited from a much shorter running time and an emphasis on more dialogue and character-driven storyline instead of just relying on the visuals which are great, but not enough here.

But the overall story in La Strada isn’t that interesting and, although it does have its emotional moments, the film is mostly cold and never as heartbreaking as its tragic story demanded, at least it wasn’t to me. The movie is undone by its pacing issues and its structure so much that the entire end product seems choppy and underutilized.

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La Strada Movie Review

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As for its Oscar, yes, La Strada won the first ever Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and I have to say that it is underserved. I have yet to see the other nominees, but I am sure that this wasn’t the best of the bunch. However, it is still not a terrible choice as it does have its evident qualities. And that is my opinion of this film – it has its strengths, it is a solid drama film and it is the only Fellini film that I’ve liked so far, but that still doesn’t change the fact that there is nothing here that screams great and it really is an overrated movie.

La Strada has its strengths mainly the visuals which are great, the directing and acting along with some moving moments and a couple of quite memorable sequences, but the story here is typical and not particularly inspired as are its characters and the film is badly paced and never as emotional or as dramatic as it should have been. It is quite a solid film for sure, but it is also far from a great one as it is so familiar and slight for the most part.

My Rating – 3.5

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Nights of Cabiria (1957)

Nights of Cabiria Movie Review

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Nights of Cabiria Movie Review

Nights of Cabiria is a 1957 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Giulietta Masina. It is such a good film that is easily the director’s best work.

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Guess there’s some justice in the world.

You suffer, you go through hell.

Then happiness comes along for everyone

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It is about a prostitute in Rome who searches for true love in vain. I found its plot to be mostly really good. It had pathos in it and it was overall well crafted, not to mention entertaining and very involving to watch. What I did not like here is that the first half is inferior and much less interesting than the second one and the ending bothered me frankly. It was essential for the story, but it was just too theatrical and way too similar to the opening scene.

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Nights of Cabiria Movie Review

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The characters are quite good. Cabiria is a strong protagonist and I liked her. Yes, she could be annoying at times and she is nowhere nearly as likable as the film demanded her to be, but she is still a very well developed, complex character and her plot and interactions with others are satisfying. Oscar is okay and Alberto’s role is somewhat unnecessary in my opinion. But Wanda I really liked and the friendship between her and Cabiria is heartwarming.

The acting is mostly good, but with a few reservations. Both Francois Perier and Franca Marzi gave quite good performances, but Masina’s performance is troublesome. Yes, she is mostly excellent, but sometimes she overacted quite bit and that annoyed me, especially in that ending. If she was less theatrical, both her performance and the entire movie would have been much better.

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Nights of Cabiria Movie Review

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Nights of Cabiria is very well directed by Fellini and this is by far his finest work I’ve seen so far, so much better than his other so-called masterpieces. The film has a big heart and I felt emotion more than a couple of times. The tone is well handled as the comedic and dramatic elements are both given enough screen time and the movie was also quite romantic and charming at times too.

I don’t know how realistic this movie is, but it looks like it. The dialogue is very good and is one of the strongest assets of the entire picture. But what bothered me is the constant yelling from its characters which really got on my nerves. It was often too loud and annoying. But Nights of Cabiria is mostly well paced. I would have liked to have seen some more dramatic and meaningful sequences in that first half as it was lacking in comparison to the second one, but it was still good and the entire movie is for the most part really engaging and interesting.

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Nights of Cabiria Movie Review

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I liked the score here and I liked its cinematography quite a bit as some scenes were really charming and wonderful to watch. The film has such a strong visual style to it that was very pleasant and its tone is also quite effervescent. The film received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and I cannot say if it deserved it as I have yet to see the other nominees, but it is most certainly the most deserved Oscar that Fellini got, that’s for sure. And it is so frustrating that it isn’t regarded as his finest film.

Nights of Cabiria has its problems mainly the problematic ending and Masina’s frequent overacting, but this is mostly an engaging and well crafted work filled with such a nice tone to it, fine cinematography, mostly good acting, evident heart and some really powerful, moving sequences. It is a flawed, but still quite a good movie that is easily the director’s finest work.

My Rating – 4

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Umberto D. (1952)

Umberto D. Movie Review

Umberto D. Movie Review

Umberto D. is a 1952 Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio de Sica and starring Carlo Battisti. It is a slightly disappointing, but still a very good movie.

First, I will talk about the flaws. I expected some great things from this picture and because its first half is so dull and lacking, I was disappointed in it. Yes, it fixes all of those mistakes later on, but the first half still remains troublesome. It follows an old man who can’t pay his rent and his landlady is threatening to kick him out if he doesn’t pay the full sum. Just in that premise lies the problem I’ve had with the film. The landlady is awfully vilified to the point of being a cartoon character and that I highly disliked. I get what the director was going for here, he wanted to show how people lack empathy towards others, but this was no way to do it as the woman was still horrendous to him even after he became ill. That was unrealistic and too cartoony in my opinion.

Also, the film is very dull, especially in its first act. Instead of introducing us properly to the characters, we are left with some boring overly prolonged shots and some very simplistic dialogue. That was certainly disappointing. However, Umberto D. becomes so much better later on and it ended up being pretty good in the end despite its weak start. The whole dog subplot helps the movie a lot as it brings the much needed heart and pathos to it. I really liked those sequences with Flike and the relationship between the two is really heartwarming.

The whole third act is spectacular and the ending is just fantastic. It is one of the best endings I’ve seen in a long time, there is no doubt about it. Umberto attempts suicide, but changes his mind and starts playing with his dog while walking in the park. That moment before the film closes is the highlight as it ends on such a wonderfully ambiguous, realistic note. His life is doomed and even though his faith and his future seems very bleak, he at least has his dog by his side and he starts to appreciate that and living as a whole. I loved that scene and it really sticked with me. It is such a perfect example of how just one scene (especially a closing one) can lift a movie to greater heights.

I found Umberto to be very sympathetic, but still underdeveloped. The dog is great and the housemaid is okay, but fairly underused. As for the acting, it is pretty good and Carlo Battisti is really likable in the title role. The directing from Vittorio de Sica is typically strong, but I still find his ‘Bicycle Thieves’ to be a much better movie. The cinematography is gorgeous in Umberto D, especially during the park sequences and the film moves at a solid pace later on, but is, as I said, dull and slow initially. The tone is deft and the film is not only very relatable, but also heartwarming and very realistic for the most part. The dialogue is okay, but could have been better. And the score I have to say that I really loved as it is quite moving and memorable. And the film has such a big heart. It is in the end a good Italian neorealist drama that is flawed, but still so moving and so relatable that it is definitely worth seeing.

Umberto D. is a flawed, but still a good movie. I found its first half to be incredibly slow and even dull and some aspects are exaggerated, but the film becomes so much better later on with such a fantastic second half with the finale in particular being great – moving, memorable and one of the best endings I’ve seen recently. The film is problematic at first, but becomes very relatable and heartwarming in the end with some excellent score, great cinematography and a big heart at its core.

My Rating – 4

 

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