The First Wave (N/A) ****
Gucci House, Ridley Scott’s second major film in as many months, sees the no-frills director tackle the irresistibly juicy saga behind the 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci, grandson of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci and latest member of the family. to lead the legendary Italian fashion house. It’s a soapy tale of thwarted ambition, family betrayal, sexy clothes, Sicilian hitmen and money-hungry psychics, all held together by a sensational Lady Gaga turn as Maurizio’s despised ex. , Patrizia Reggiano, the woman who made him and killed him.
Looking like she just stepped out of a vintage poster for a Gina Lollobridgia movie, Gaga’s Patrizia is a super-powered siren who first meets Maurizio (paid for by Adam Driver with giant glasses and meticulous tailoring) at a a party while he’s still a law student with no interest in the family business and she’s a secretary with no interest spending the rest of her life working for her father’s trucking company. From the moment she writes his number on the windshield of her Vespa in lipstick, it’s pretty much putty in her hands and soon marries her, driving a wedge between him and her father, Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons ), who thinks she’s a gold digger.
For a while, they live on the blissful vapors of pure love, but when Patrizia meets the other half of the Gucci clan, led by fashion house president Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) and his dimwitted son Paulo (Jared Leto, unrecognizable under mountains of prosthetics), the film shifts to a campy riff on The Godfather as the hitherto mild-mannered Maurizio makes a series of ruthless plays to cement the family’s dominance in the fashion world. with the sneakiest Patrizia pulling the strings.
Shot with amped-up opulence, the film depicts Scott at his most brilliant and, arguably, shallowest side, though in many ways it’s an extension of All the Money in the World, his 2017 film about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III – another Italian – set a crime story about the cruelty of the One Percent. The facts of this case, however, are sometimes so absurd that they make it a much wilder ride, in which the accentuated excesses of the performances only add to the entertaining mood, with Gaga at the center, vamping it all up. at eleven.
Another week, another Lin-Manuel Miranda musical hits theaters, this time via new Disney animation Encantoa sometimes sympathetic, sometimes authoritative adventure about a magical kingdom threatened by a mysterious force that threatens to destroy it.
Set in a fantasy version of Colombia, its heroine is Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz), the only member of a magical family who has not been gifted with magical powers. Indeed, her apparent lack of magic is something of a sticking point with her grandmother (María Cecilia Botero), whose desperation to maintain the integrity of her family’s benevolent powers at all costs is tied to her own past. tragedy and his desire never again to let darkness fall on his family or his city.
But when helpless Mirabel’s relentless attempts to make herself useful begin to coincide with her gifted parents suddenly discovering that their own powers are waning, she goes in search of her uncle Bruno (John Leguizamo), a prophet who foresaw a terrible calamity. – and the centrality of Mirabel. Like an inverted Harry Potter, Mirabel must draw strength from her own humble routine if she is to save her family, though thanks to the film’s elaborate and confusing world, it’s never quite clear if the magic in the hands of a few is ultimately a good thing. or not.
Miranda’s show tunes, meanwhile, are the usual cheerful songs about self-realization that have become her stock in trade. They’re fine, but don’t always feel needed and the film, which is Disney’s 60th animated effort, seems caught between wanting to be a throwback to the animated musicals of yore (or at least the musicals animated films that fueled the studio’s comeback with The Little Mermaid) and the more Pixar-inspired outing from co-directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush’s previous hit Zootropolis.
Presenting an on-the-ground view of the Covid crisis as New York entered lockdown in March 2020, The first wave should be a wake-up call for the vaccine and covid complacency. Set in one of the city’s thinnest hospitals, it’s a grueling and remarkable portrait of healthcare workers under extreme stress and patients with a debilitating disease for which no one was sufficiently prepared.
Directed by Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land), the film functions as a helpful 76-day companion to Hao Wu in Wuhan, showing how quickly the spread of the disease has brought New York to its knees, killing far more of its citizens than 9/ 11 in just a few weeks. Unlike that film, however, it expands out of the chaotic emergency unit, giving us a portrait of some of the patients’ families, as well as the doctors and nurses as they attempt to process the unprecedented trauma facing they have to face it. on an hourly basis. And then the murder of George Floyd sparks Black Lives Matter protests across the city and Heineman is there too, capturing how this movement – with his eerily relevant ‘I can’t breathe’ dissent howl – is crashing into the Covid crisis, further highlighting all the disproportionate and heartbreaking ways it has affected black and Hispanic communities.
House of Gucci is in theaters from November 26; Encanto is in cinemas from November 24; The First Wave is available in selected version and streaming on demand from November 26
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