lunedì 24 marzo 2014

City of Thieves or a buddy comedy in wartime

                            City of Thieves by David Benioff
                                              A buddy comedy in wartime

WWII. During the nazi's siege of Leningrad, the young Lev Beniov is arrested for looting a corpse of a frozen german soldier and put in a cell with Kolya, A handsome deserter and oddly obsessed with literature. It's certain death for both of them in front of the rifle of the red army but suddenly they have an opportunity to save their lives: they'll be to set free if can find a dozen eggs for thewedding cake of a powerful Soviet Colonel’s daughter. For Lev it's the beginning of the more dangerous and interesting days of his life: travelling under the guidance of Kolya, Lev will discover much about life and about himself.
David Benioff is well known for his book "The 25th Hour" on which Spike Lee based the movie with the same name; Benioff is also known for his work on the HBO show, "Games of Thrones".
In City of Thieves Benioff takes the memory told to him by his grandfather and makes a weird version of the World War II: usually in stories based on the WWII the tone is serious, pompous and rhetoric and self celebrative (the last one is mainly an attribute of the american Blockbuster) but Benioff introduces something different, irony.
George R.R. Martin and David Benioff 
His characters are brilliant and the dialogues have a really good rhythm and are punctuated with humourous jokes. The tone isn't always light and the change in relation with the situation: Benioff is not a stupid and knows about what he can makes joke about and what he cannot.
The tone of the book is a weird mix of the strange character Pynchon's Style and of the adorable losers of Graham Greene: there's no place for A hero here, just for stupid, presuntuos, greedy, needy, beautiful human beings.

In conclusion "City of Thieves" is a really good book if you are sick of all the blockbusters about WWII, and you're looking for something different, something with less heroism and more humanity in it!

lunedì 17 marzo 2014

The Royal Tenenbaums or 8 Characters in search of a proper way to express their emotions

                          8 Characters  in search of a proper way to express their emotions
                                                   a Review by Davide Schiano di Coscia
Tune your Ipod to These Days of Nico and let's have a look at the Story Line.
We have a family composed of very talented and oddly disturbed people: there is Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hachman in one of his best roles in the past twenty years),  A former sucsessful Lawyer, selfish childish and rejected by his wife because  of his continued unfaithfulness; His former wife Etheline, played by Anjelica Houston, then there are theirchildren, Richie, A former tennis player, portrayed by an implausible and emotional Luke Wilson, who  is in love with his stepsister Margot, an imperturbable Gwyneth Paltrow,  A former acclaimed author of plays, who is married to a famous psychiatrist Raileigh Sinclair (an unusual sober Bill Murray). The last of the Tenenbaum is Chas Tenenbaum (with this character Ben Stiller gives his best performance ever),  A former financial genius obsessed with  the safety of his family, father of two children, Uzi and Ari. To complete the picture there are two more characters: Eli Cash (Owen Wilson),  A successfull writer of western tales and the best friend of Richie and the secret lover of Margot, Herny Sherman (Danny Glover), who is about to get married to Etheline. Royal cannot stand at this marriage and comes up with a plan to regain his family's love. This plot will reunite all the Tenenbaums under the same roof and the consequencies will be really unpredictable. As the reader can see the most important word in the plot is "former": almost every character  is a former something or someone, this characteristic is underlined by their clothes because they wear the same clothes they were wearing when they were children.
At first glance this can seem a mere curiosity but if you watch more closely, you will understand this is an important aspect of the psychology of the characters. All the characters are Emotionally frozen: they can seemimpassible and cold but they are all driven by their emotions which haven't changed since they were children. This block is the reason why they are all former somethings: they are all living live as prisoners of their past ,they're all prisoners of  their past emotions, of their past obsessions. 
In the hand of another director these ingredients may well become an unbearable Over sweet mess but Wes Anderson transforms all these repressed feelings, all these disturbed characters into an astonishing masterpiece, Anderson does with this movie something unseen before: using a really accurate and colourful settings, a superb soundtrackwhich mixes classical music and music of the 60s and the 70s, a bunch of the best actors of their generations and an incredible cutting the director tells the story of these  peopleas if it's a storybook.
In conclusion The Royal Tenenbaums is an amazing movie from which a new definition of cinema was created. If you  haven't seen it yet, stop everything you're doing and go to watch it! And i mean you have to watch it now!