Friday, February 25, 2000
The Italians must be grateful, indeed, to have been given such magnificent directors as Roberto Benigni and Giuseppe Piccioni. In 1998, Benigni's sense of comical genius and heartfelt sensitivity influenced his making "Life Is Beautiful," a story about a father who pretends that the holocaust is a game to protect the innocence of his confused child. Piccioni is a similar director, but one that has, unfortunately, gone unrecognized by the mainstream moviegoers. Whereas Benigni has never really done much else other than his sleeper hit two years ago, this man has been making passionate dramas for close to 15 years: stories that reflect the human spirit and devotion to life without all of the traditional Hollywood melodrama circumstances interfering.
Monday, February 21, 2000
Thursday, February 17, 2000
Monday, February 14, 2000
Whereas 1998 was a year of familiarity and less risk-taking (the Best Picture candidates were dominated by Elizabethan England and World War II), 1999 was something else entirely--a year that innovation took center stage and exploded with intense but rewarding results. From the eruption came some of the most unique ideas ever seen at the movies, including stories of technological takeover (“The Matrix”), cussing cardboard cutouts (“South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut”), dysfunctional families (“American Beauty”), mind unraveling (“Being John Malkovich”), journalistic integrity (“The Insider”) and even new takes on old favorites (“An Ideal Husband,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”). The year also saw the arrival of highly anticipated events, such as the new “Star Wars” film “The Phantom Menace,” and Stanley Kubrick’s unforgettable final feature, “Eyes Wide Shut.” But especially wonderful was the continuity of the success at cinemas; many of the year’s best were not dumped out in theaters around fall, but were spaced apart for a good duration of the year.