Monday, March 3, 2014

Ladri di biciclette

The Bicycle Thief (1948)

Directed by Vittorio De Sica

Screenplay by Cesare Zavattini & Suso D'Amico & Vittorio De Sica & Oreste Biancoli & Adolfo Franci & Gerardo Guerrieri

Based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini

Currently #87 of the Top 250 Films of All Time on IMDb (as of this posting)

Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda and Vittorio Antonucci

This movie is probably on everybody's top films list of all time. I have heard about it over the past couple of years. Trying to expand my film knowledge, I'm trying to get into classic foreign language films like The Bicycle Thief. The movies sole Oscar nomination was for Best Screenplay. It honored a special with a special award in 1950. With all the praise it has been getting, I came away with it underwhelmed.

Taking placed in post WWII Italy, Antonio Ricci (Maggiorani), a desperate father that is trying to support his wife, Maria (Carell) and young son, Bruno (Staiola). Antonio has a promising job prospect to put up posters around Rome, but he is required to have bicycle in order to perform his new job. Maria has to hock sheets that were part of her dowry to pay for the bicycle. Antonio feels like he could finally be the provider for his family.

On his first day of the job, he was putting up poster of Rita Hayworth when a thief (Antonucci) steals his bike and disappears in the crowded square. Antonio goes to the police to file a report, which is pointless that they cannot help. Antonio takes Bruno on his mission to locate the bicycle.

I know by the title of the movie that the movie was going to about finding the thief in the title. I didn't know it was going to take that whole movie to do that. It seems like a "duh" moment, but when a movie is one note, it can be boring.

People could completely empathize with Antonio's predicament. A down on his luck father that would be anything to support his family. People get that. To me, the movie was too depressing to enjoy it. Besides, Netflix spoiled in the ending of the movie in its description. Maybe that has a sour taste in my mouth. The movie is fine. I guess, I am not into neorealism movies.

Rating: 4/10

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Netflix Binge Watch: DTLA - Season 1

Created by Larry Kennar

Season 1

No. of episodes: 8

Cast: Darryl Stephens, Matthew Stephen Herrick, Ernest Pierce, Marshelle Fair, Hiro Tanaka, Patrick MacDonald and Scott Pretty

After Logo unceremoniously canceled Noah's Arc, they were on my shit list. Still are. Besides the point, Darryl Stephens the star of that show was shopping around this show, DTLA (Downtown LA) to Logo and here! TV which passed. The show originally premiered on OutTv in late 2012. In a surprising move, Logo decided to pick up the series and aired it last year, heavily edited. I saw one and a half episodes on there. Cut to today, I binged on the uncensored version of DTLA. Here are my thoughts:

The series centers around seven friends through their highest of highs and lowest of lows. Darryl plays Len, a lawyer that is reaching the end of the rope with his six year relationship with Bryan (Herrick), who spends more time getting high than getting a job. The lone straight woman, SJ (Fair) is in a bad place with her husband that cheated on her. Stefan (Pierce) is also a lawyer that acts bougie and thumbs his nose at other black people. Kai (Tanaka) pushes SJ to get back with her husband when his personal life clashes with his professional life as a schoolteacher. Matthew (MacDonald) is a struggling actor that get his big break with a raunchy play that he doesn't share with his military boyfriend, Marky (Pretty).

I wanted to see this show, because I saw clips of it online. I wanted to see it uncut. The overall impression of the show is that it seems choppy and some spots. Plot points were introduced and dropped by the next episode. Characters disappears for a long period of time and pop up out of nowhere. Characters are introduced with no subtext. They are just there. I did love the guest stars that were peppered in like Leslie Jordan, Danny Roberts and Sandra Bernhardt. Other than that, the show is disposable.

Rating: 5.5/10