Sophia Loren short-shrifted in NINE!
To pen a proper review of the movie "NINE" - currently in wide release at the Grove (Fairfax District) and elsewhere - would be a strenuous exercise.
Some critics loved the big budget feature; others, hated it.
When it gets down to brass tacks, the filmmaking experience is all in the eye of the beholder.
With this in mind, I'll focus on a few highlights, and a couple of the depths the boutique film free-falls to at the drop of a clown hat.
The portrayal of a brooding (slightly eccentric) womanizing Italian film director - by Daniel Day Lewis - is mesmerizing.
On occasion - Lewis hams it up in a melodramtic moment or two (must be the violins in the mid-heavens egging him on) - but for the most part the seasoned pro turns in a stellar even performance.
Unfortunately, Sopia Loren got saddled in a role that was a total waste of her God-given gifts.
When the producer rang her up with the offer, her immediate response should have been:
During one scene in particular, I winced at the ghastly disaster unfolding on the silver screen, in the near-to-capacity house of sophisticated ticket-holders.
The thousand points of light that winked in the backgronund - when Loren's character led her young son across a terrace as she warbled a Disney-style tune (!) - couldn't illuminate why the legendary screen siren bothered to sign on the dotted line.
That Weinstein dude must be a pretty persuasive snake-oil salesman, alright!
That tacky musical interlude deserves an honorary spot in filmdom's anals of shame right alongside the stinker - "Myra Breckenridge" - and - "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" - no kidding!
When the camera focused on Kate Hudson's character in a close-up, I sat bolt upright in my plush seat; after all, a double-chin was staring me in the face.
The shot was so unflattering, I was forced to seriously consider that the perky blond was on the outs with either the director - or the cinematographer - at least!
Maybe, no one gave a hoot!
If you like show-stopping musical numbers, there are a couple of dazzlers in NINE, which I soon found myself tapping my foot to.
A bevy of the talented dancers (both male and female) weren' too shabby to gaze upon, either.
Sorry to say, a Nicole Kidman solo underscored the lack of range in her sweet (wavering) voice.
I laughed out loud when the director complained to a friend about the conduct of passers-by in the street (at a turning point in the mostly-entertaining movie).
"They point at me and stare," he accused with a tinge of annoyance in his voice.
My own dilemma these days, as I shy away from prying eyes, that seem to follow me wherever I go.
Yeah, it's tough being famous.
In the final analysis, the moral of the story rings out crystal clear.
Just get your bearings, and the reality of the meaning of life, will jump up and bite you on the nose one fine day.
Everything else is just a lot of mystical hokus-pokus, conjured up by the Gods, to tempt a fall from Grace.
Trials & Tribulations of fame!