Susan Granger at the movies
December 6, 2021 | by Susan Granger
Ridley Scott’s extravagant melodrama “House of Gucci” takes a look at what led to the 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci, a descendant of the Milan-based fashion family.
This sordid saga of love, beatings in the back and betrayal begins when Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an accountant in her father’s trucking company, sets her sights on Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) in glasses, whom she meets at a disco party. Despite being smitten, her suave and snobbish father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) sees her as a rude and social gold digger.
Defying Rodolfo, the ephemeral Maurizio marries the ambitious Patrizia. Meanwhile, in New York City, Rodolfo’s gregarious brother Aldo (Al Pacino) takes care of his incompetent son Paolo (Jared Leto) – which leads Aldo to offer Maurizio a managerial position there.
That Maurizio has a wandering eye is set in a skiing scene from St. Moritz, infuriating Patrizia by flirting with aristocratic Paola Franchi (Camille Cottin).
Over the years, the scheming Patrizia grew resentful towards distracted Maurizio and his lack of status within the Gucci family. Desperate, she seeks advice / consolation from television medium Pina Auriemma (Salma Hayek), through which she hires two hired killers.
Based on Sara Gay Forden’s “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Tale of Murder, Madness, Glamor and Greed”, Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna’s slow script is chock-full of awkward dialogue and alien characters. Oddly enough, Lady Gaga’s line – âFather, Son and the Gucci Houseâ – was improvised.
After being dazzling in “A Star is Born”, Lady Gaga again marks the alluring Patrizia, while Adam Driver is reluctant as Mercuriel Murizio. But Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, and Jared Leto do so much that their scenes get laughable. Photographed by Dariusz Wolski, the design of Arthur Max’s production is stunning, as are the costumes by Janty Yates.
Cameos: Jack Huston as formidable lawyer for Gucci Domenico De Sole, Reeve Carney as Texas designer Tom Ford, Catherine Walker as fashionista Anna Wintour. And Salma Hayek is married to FranÃ§ois-Henri Pinault, whose firm now owns the global brand Gucci.
With a duration of 2 hours 40 minutes, on the Granger gauge from 1 to 10, “House of Gucci” is a flamboyant 5. It is currently in theaters but will soon be broadcast in streaming.
At the top of my list of the best international (foreign) films of 2021 is âLambâ from Iceland. a contemporary folk tale from Norse mythology.
Living on a secluded sheep farm, located between a snow-capped mountain and a windswept river, the melancholy Maria (Noomi Rapace) and the taciturn Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason) look after their calving sheep during the season of lambing.
When a gravid sheep inexplicably gives birth to a strange lamb / human hybrid, astonished Maria eagerly swaddles the mysterious creature and Ingvar builds a cradle so that she can sleep in their room. Lovingly bottle-fed, his name is Ada. As Ada grows up, they treat her protectively like the sweet child they never had.
Then Ingvar’s malicious brother, Petur (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) unexpectedly arrives from Reykjavik. He is horrified when he finds out what Ada is, but he too comes to accept her as part of the family. Inevitably, of course, there is a price to be paid for defying the will of nature.
Winner of the Originality Award at the Cannes Film Festival, it is written by renowned Icelandic poet / novelist Sjon and visual effects artist Valdimar Johannson, who is making auspicious directorial debut, slowly creating a subtle but yet haunting quiet terror – leading to a breathtaking reward.
It is the highest-grossing film in Icelandic cinema history, earning over a million dollars in its first weekend alone, even in the face of Daniel Craig’s latest James Bond adventure.
If Noomi Rapace sounds familiar to you, she’s a Swedish actress best known as Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. Since spending her childhood in Iceland, she is fluent in Icelandic.
And the plaintively bleating sheep that gave birth to Ada is labeled with the number 3115, which corresponds to Jeremiah 31:15: âA voice is heard in Ramah, lamentations and bitter weeping. Rachel mourns her children; she refuses to console herself for her children, because they are no more.
In Icelandic with English subtitles, on the Granger Gauge, âLambâ is an intriguing and enigmatic 8 – aired on Prime Video, Apple TV and Vudu.
Don’t make mistakes. “Mass” is a difficult psychological drama to watch, As a first-time writer / director, Fran Kranz delves into the grief of two couples of parents whose children were involved in a high school shooting. How do people experience this kind of tragedy? And how do they ever get ahead?
Six years later, Jay (Jason Isaacs) and Gail (Martha Plimpton), whose son Evan was killed, came to talk – face to face – with Richard (Reed Birney) and Linda (Ann Dowd), who not only lost their son Hayden, but have been blamed over the years by many families for those he slaughtered.
Wisely, Fran Kranz filmed their emotional encounter in chronological order, as the four sit awkwardly around a small table in the claustrophobic basement of an episcopal church. There are no flashbacks or cutaways on the event being discussed.
During the uninterrupted conversation questions abound as resentment leads to understanding. Ultimately, each character experiences a personal revelation as they try to make sense of a senseless tragedy.
In this showcase of actors, Ann Dowd, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of the dreaded Aunt Lydia in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is particularly exciting. Linda does not apologize or defend her son, confessing that although he was loved: âI raised a murderer.
After the shooting, Linda and Richard were alerted that something terrible had happened, but were separated during police questioning. They are now divorced; Hayden’s actions destroyed their marriage. While the guilt-ridden Linda is outspoken and honest, Richard is more aloof and almost defiant.
As Jay, Jason Isaacs admits that he wants Linda and Richard to feel “regret” or “pain”. Yet knowing it, even if they do, does not give him or Gail any relief. Perpetuating hate only poisons, so it seems the acceptance and power of forgiveness are the lessons here.
Unsurprisingly, the catalyst for actor-turned-filmmaker Kranz’s grim storyline was the school shoot in Parkland, Florida.
On the Granger Gauge, âMassâ is a poignant and subtle 7, evoking a real catharsis.
Susan granger is a Hollywood product. His natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at MGM and Columbia Pictures. Her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced films at MGM
As a child, Susan appeared in films with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O’Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studied journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with the highest honors in journalism.
During her adult life, Susan was on radio and television as a presenter and critic of film and theater, distributing her reviews and articles around the world, most notably as a video librarian. She has appeared in American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies. In 2017, his book 150 timeless films was published by Hannacroix Creek Books.
Its website is www.susangranger.com. Follow her on Twitter @susangranger.