FlixChatter Review: HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021)

House of Gucci is scandalous family feud set in the world of haute couture… a sensational story ripe for a cinematic adaptation. Apparently Ridley Scott has been wanting to film this since the book of the same name by Sara Gay Forden was released in 2000, which centers on the brutal murder of the heir of the Gucci fortune, Maurizio Gucci, by his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. 

The film opens with a shot of Maurizio (Adam Driver), the heir of the Gucci fortune, looking dapper in a gray wool suit and oversized Aviators sitting at a Roman cafe. He rides a bicycle on cobblestone streets to his office and about to climb up the steps … well, the story then rewinds back as to the pivotal moment where it all began. You could say Maurizio and Patrizia’s romance began with a ‘meet cute’ at a costume party … I really think it wasn’t so much Maurizio’s looks that attracted her, but her eyes lights up when he said his name… ‘it was a name that sounded so sweet…’ indeed, Gucci is synonymous with wealth, style and power. The whirlwind romance doesn’t begin immediately, but after a bit of stalking, even down to the library where Maurizio was doing his research for his law degree, he finally falls for her… hook line and sinker.

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The first act establishes the two contrasting backgrounds of the two doomed lovers. Though not exactly poor (her stepfather actually owns a pretty successful trucking business), Patrizia always dreams of living the high life. Maurizio on the other hand, who’s been a Gucci all his life, seems unfazed by it all and was set on becoming a lawyer. In fact, he’s content with working at Patrizia’s trucking company when his snobbish, former silent-actor father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) cuts him out of the family for wanting to marry someone he deems unworthy and a gold digger. There’s a scene in the car with Patrizia where Maurizio scoffs at his dad for living in the past and that his grandpa Guccio Gucci who first started the company in Florence, started out as a bellhop London’s Savoy Hotel.

It’s Maurizio’s uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) who actually courts Maurizio into the family business, preferring his favorite nephew over his ‘idiot’ son Paolo (Jared Leto) who just never measures up to his father’s standards. The two brothers own half of the Gucci shares each but they clearly have differing visions for the company. In one of the meet ups, Rodolfo insists on quality-over-quantity and adamantly refuses the lucrative globalization approach Aldo is keen on. ‘No malls’ Rodolfo says to Aldo who really just wants to milk the business for all its worth.

Scott captures the lavish lifestyle and glamour of the ultra rich family… the set pieces, clothes, etc. were meticulously designed and they’re fun to watch. At one point, Aldo throws a lavish party on the patio of his 16th Century historical palazzo overlooking Lake Como. It’s enough to get one intoxicated by the glam, glitzy, decadent life of the ultra rich… Patrizia is practically tipsy over being a part of the Gucci family.

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The first act starts out quite well-paced, with a good sense of intrigue and fun. There’s even hilarious moments such as the loud wham-bam, jack-hammer style sex scene in a cramped office… the full-on campiness is quite amusing as it transitions to an elegant wedding in a church set to George Michael’s FAITH. I don’t mind the anachronism style, though those songs got me somewhat nostalgic and took me out of the movie a bit.

The fairy-tale life of being a Gucci queen seems to be within reach for Patrizia, especially after Maurizio inherits his father’s fortune following his death. I think the film would’ve been more effective if it knows just exactly which Gucci tale it wants to tell. Screenwriters Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna starts out as focusing on the Maurizio/Patricia romance and their rise to power, which eventually tears them apart. As the film progresses, it concerns itself too much with the business side of the fashion label.

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It loses its narrative focus about midway through, thanks to its kitchen-sink storytelling approach, trying to cram as many intersecting storylines from how the cheap fake products are devaluing the Gucci brand to Paolo’s grand ambition to start his own label. The film glaringly forgets about Patrizia early in the third act during its repeated narrative detours, as it was too preoccupied with the battle between father-vs-son-vs-cousin subplot in the race to lead the company. ‘It’s time to take out the trash…’ Patrizia says at one point. If only that’d be applied to the film itself, which could use a much tighter editing scissor to trim its fat.

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The performances did keep me engaged though it’s pretty uneven. Even from its trailer, you know it’s Lady Gaga‘s movie. She totally owns it with her undeniable screen presence, there’s a gleam of madness in her eyes right from the moment she meets Maurizio and wants him all to herself. It helps that her character has the strongest arc in the film… she’s a driven woman who knows exactly what she wants and her narcissistic & overbearing personality clearly drives her husband away.

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Adam Driver is mesmerizing as Maurizio, displaying a disquieting restlessness in a subtle yet effective performance. Despite Maurizio being underwritten, Driver manages to elevate the character and makes him more than one-dimensional. Plus he looks like a bazillion dollars in those sharp suits and the way he carries himself. There’s a hint of ruthless ambition seething underneath his calm demeanor, but there’s almost no transition from the mild-mannered, passive guy to a callous, spendthrift, power-hungry douchebag. Even the romance between him and his mistress Paola Franchi (Camille Cottin) has zero sparks and seems inconsequential despite its actual impact in the real story. Having seen how fiery Cottin is in the Call My Agent! series, this role is such a waste of her talents.

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I was hoping for something indelible when Patrizia, in a blood-red ski outfit, sits down next to Paola and delivers threatening lines like ‘I subscribe to unconventional punishment.’ Disappointingly, the whole thing goes down in an unremarkable way. Same with the ‘Father, Son and House of Gucci’ scene when Paolo asks Patrizia if she can keep a secret… it looks so deliriously juicy in the trailer, but it doesn’t have the same impact in the film.

Speaking of which, Jared Leto in a fat suit and prosthetic makeup is too busy chewing the scenery to portray someone resembling a real person. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s done a good job here portraying the much-maligned Paolo who never gets to spread his creative wings. I just think he veers way over the top in his boorish performance that the character becomes a complete caricature. I suppose Leto often goes well above and beyond the call of duty whenever he portrays a real person, though I wonder if he does it for the attention more so than a dedication to his craft.

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Interestingly enough, Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino seem to have similar approaches as the actors playing their respective sons… Irons is all sinister sneering with simmering rage like Driver, while Pacino hams it up with exaggerated hand gestures that reminds me a bit of his performance in Scent Of A Woman. Salma Hayek looks like she’s having more fun here than in Eternals in a small role as a a high-society psychic who becomes close friends with Patrizia. It’s quite ironic to see her as the least wealthy character given that Hayek’s husband actually owns the Gucci brand now.

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As for the accents–everyone adopts a quasi Italian accent to varying degrees. I guess it’s to be expected as Scott never really concerns himself with getting the accents right for his characters. I mean, Russell Crowe’s Maximus is supposed to be a Spaniard in Gladiator but he speaks with more of a British accent, same with all the characters in The Last Duel who’re all supposed to be French.

In terms of direction, I have to admit that House of Gucci doesn’t feel like a Ridley Scott movie compared to his last film released this year, The Last of Duel. I’ve mentioned the script’s lack of focus, which leads to scenes feeling disjointed as some scenes get cut short as another 90s song starts again. Despite the fabulous European locations, the cinematography by Dariusz Wolski isn’t all that remarkable… I can’t even name a single one perfect shot from this movie. Neither is the music by Harry Gregson-Williams, all I remember are the 90s songs, I bet much of the large budget goes towards song licensing.

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The style MVP is definitely costume designer Janty Yates in creating the 90s looks befitting of the fashion-centric movie. I enjoy seeing the various suits and outfits worn by the cast, especially Driver who undergoes quite a style transformation from the dweeby sweaters in his college years to the sharp bespoke suits as Maurizio gains more power and drowns in debt.

It’s a testament to this outlandish tale that I still find the movie quite immersive despite its flaws. I was absorbed in the wild, crazy ride throughout its 2 hours 37 min running time. It actually took me a few days to ‘recover’ from this story, as I watched all kinds of YouTube videos about the Gucci family following the film. It is so tragic that the once-unrivaled fashion empire that’s been created three quarter of a century ago ends up being destroyed by its own family rivalry. Truth really is stranger than fiction!

Given how sensational this story is, you’d think the film would’ve been more impactful and indelible. If it were a meticulously-tailored bespoke suit, House of Gucci seems to have all the right material to put it together. Alas, the execution (no pun intended) doesn’t quite measure up.

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Have you seen HOUSE OF GUCCI? Well, what did YOU think?

FlixChatter Review: ETERNALS (2021)

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I wasn’t all that familiar with Eternals as I never read the comics, but I was excited as soon as I heard that Chloe Zhao was announced as director and the casting news starting to pour in. I started reading a bit more about just what/who these super-beings actually are in preparation for the movie. The Eternals are powerful cosmic beings and they as well as their nemesis the Deviants are cosmic race that were created by Celestial Hosts. As far as the timeline within the MCU, the events in Eternals is set following the Blip, that is when half of earth population returns after Thanos wiped them out.

The movie begins on earth, in London specifically, where one of the Eternals Sersi (Gemma Chan) is on her way to an Oxford university lecture. She is running late and on her way up the stairs, she makes a quip to a Charles Darwin statue and calling him ‘Charlie.’ It’s a pretty casual and whimsical way to explain that these Eternal beings have lived for centuries, having survived multiple destructions and renewal of various planets in the multiverse. From 5000 BC Mesopotamia, moments after the atomic bomb went off in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to modern day London, the film jumped around multiple timelines to show how the Eternals are practically immortals and each has its own unique superpowers.

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It doesn’t take long before the threats that Eternals have feared for thousands of years finally show up on earth. First there’s an earthquake where Sersi used her powers that enables her to turn matters into another form, in order to save one of the students from having a huge rock-wall fall on them. That same night, Sersi, her young compatriot Sprite (Lia McHugh) and earthly-boyfriend Dane (Kit Harrington) encounter a Deviant monster, a tall, weird-looking creature that look like they escape from a BODY WORLDS exhibit. After they survive that ordeal, Dane asks Sersi the pivotal question of WHY they never helped humans when bad things happen throughout history. Well apparently they were specifically instructed by their boss Arishem the Judge not to interfere with human conflicts unless Deviants are involved.

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As if encountering Deviants weren’t weird enough, poor Sersi also has to deal with the appearance of a very-hot-looking ex-boyfriend who can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes like Superman. After a few millennia of being apart, the one who got away, aka Ikaris (Richard Madden) has also been living in England. The whole encounter between Dane and Ikaris is especially surreal given both actors were in Game of Thrones. Apparently Ikaris has been connecting with the leader of the group Ajak (Salma Hayek) and is aware the Deviants are coming, hence they need to get the old gang back together.

Most of the first act is basically just regathering of the Eternals gang… from the UK to the US to track down the super-smart Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), the super-fast Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) and the one with hypnotic powers, Druig (Barry Keoghan). Then they travel then India to find Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) who can shoot lightning bolts out of his hands. In their journey, they also find out that Thena (Angelina Jolie), who can conjure up glowing, transparent sword at will, has some mental issues. She suffers some kind of a Bipolar disorder after centuries of having her memories/identity wiped out and restored over and over, and she’s been living on an island with Gilgamesh (Don Lee) who serves as her butler/protector. Soon we learn that Thena is the key as to the Deviants’ attacks on earth and a fight ensues between the Deviants and Eternals on the island.

One thing for sure, Eternals looks and feels different from the rest of the MCU… for better for worse. Let me start with the good: the visuals are gorgeous to look at, filled with stunning landscapes shot during magic-hour (Zhao’s trademark). DP Ben Davis definitely shares her visual sensibilities and the production design team all create some mystical and ethereal look that sets itself apart.

Much has been said about the diverse cast which is the most inclusive so far from both Marvel and Disney… including a gay character in a happy marriage (complete with the first gay kiss), the first deaf superhero portrayed by a deaf actress, as well as multiple superheroes of Asian origins. In fact, there’s even an extended Bollywood song and dance scene that introduces us to the scene-stealing performance of Harish Patel as Karun, Kingo’s assistant/manager who ends up accompanying his boss as Kingo wants to make a documentary of the whole Eternals reunion. Who knew that my favorite character ends up being the one with no superpowers, but Patel is so adorable and endearing as he becomes the comic relief of the group. I suppose that’s not a good sign when a tertiary character ends up being far more memorable than the leads, which brings me to…

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The not-so-good … well, I find the whole Eternals journey to be pretty devoid of thrills and suspense. Plagued with too many flashbacks that makes for a stagnant pacing that never finds its rhythm. Even when the biggest twist is revealed in the third act, it didn’t have as big an impact as I expected. The entire celestial beings seem really concerned with humanity, especially Sersi who has maintained connections with humans for centuries while living on earth. The thing is, I just don’t feel their love as the film shows them constantly bicker and fight amongst each other whenever they’re not fighting the Deviants. The humans are barely featured in the movie and when they are, it’s treated almost like an afterthought, or in the case of Dane, it’s only a ‘teaser’ to what’s to come with his character who’s described as the Black Knight in the comics.

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Despite the amazingly-diverse cast, I’m really underwhelmed by most of them. Richard Madden in particular, is devoid of charm as the Superman-like Ikaris (there are even DC references that would likely amuse or irritate comic-book fans). I’ve enjoyed Madden’s work in other projects, but here he is as wooden as a marble statue of Michelangelo’s David, which makes it impossible for me to care about Ikaris’ journey nor his centuries-spanning romance with Sersi. The first ‘love scene’ in the MCU sadly lacks any real heat that it makes the chaste kiss between Captain America and Peggy looks scorching. It’s just so awkwardly-staged and the cheesy dialog between them makes it even worse.

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Gemma Chan wowed me in Crazy Rich Asians, but despite some heartfelt moments, she didn’t fare that much better compared to Madden. Brian Tyree Henry is a reliable actor and as the first LGBTQ character in the MCU, he’s got a few memorable moments, but it’s not exactly his best work. Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani is inspired casting as a Bollywood star and he got super jacked to portray the first South Asian superhero. I think his physique got way more attention even though he didn’t get to do much acting-wise in the movie other than delivering a few amusing one-liners. 

I think out of the entire Eternals, Lauren Ridloff is the one who appeals to me the most, so I’m glad she got quite a bit to do in the movie. The two more veteran actors, Jolie and Hayek, don’t really get much screen time and their characters just aren’t that interesting. In fact, I find Jolie’s Thena quite aggravating and I remember just spacing out during all her fight scenes with both the Eternals and Deviants.

At the end of the day, I just wasn’t as engaged as I simply didn’t care for any of these characters. Despite being portrayed as saviors of humanity who care about us mere mortals, the filmmakers seem to forget to give us a reason to care for any of them. I mean, it’s not the first time Marvel gave us a film filled with a bunch of superheroes. After watching this, I gained even more appreciation for the Russo brothers for their astounding work in The Avengers movies, especially Endgame which takes a large group of seemingly-unrelatable super beings and make me care for their journey. But to be fair, many of the Avengers had the benefit of being introduced separately in their own films. Perhaps is we were suddenly watching The Avengers before we see the standalone Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk and Thor movies, the movie might not be as effective.

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As with any heroic tale, it also helps to have a formidable villain and the Deviants just didn’t seem all that menacing despite their grotesque appearance. Arishem, who actually decides whether a planet’s civilization should live or die, is supposed to be this ominous, powerful being, but it’s hard to take him seriously when he looks like a child’s toy made of of LEGOs. For the most part, what we get to see are equally-powerful creatures fight each other in low-stakes battles that feel overblown and pointless. The philosophical themes it grapples with, particularly its ‘woke’ message of challenging the status quo and one’s purpose in life, seem timely for today’s audience. That is when it isn’t buried under its overlong CGI-laden action scenes. The score by Ramin Djawadi was good when I listened to it before I saw the film, but now I can’t even tell you what it sounds like in the movie.

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I know there’ll be endless articles in the coming weeks dissecting just what could possibly go wrong with Eternals when you’ve got an Oscar-winning directo who also had a hand in writing the script along with Patrick Burleigh and Ryan Firpo. I remember reading how her pitch was apparently the best Kevin Feige has ever heard, and the Marvel Studios honcho has always got good instinct since he first oversaw MCU franchise in 2007. He has trusted filmmakers with less-than stellar experience handling films with such a sprawling, ambitious scope, but that just goes to show that what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate to the final product, which applies to directors as well as stars. It also means that good representation alone does not automatically begets a good movie

Now, I wouldn’t say Eternals is a bad movie per-se, it’s just an immensely underwhelming one. I suppose after 25 films, the MCU is allowed to have one bad apple. I never thought it would be THIS one however, but I’m curious where Phase Four will go from here. I can’t help wondering if Eternals might have worked better as a Disney+ series given the complexity of the multiverse and the world of Celestials, but as it stands now, it’s far from being marvelous.

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So, what do you think of ETERNALS’ final trailer? 

Marvel’s ETERNALS – final trailer!

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Wow, can’t believe it’s been three months since Marvel released the first ETERNALS trailer. Well, since Shang-Chi‘s first critical reactions have been mostly positive, I guess the studio did not want to lose momentum for Phase 4. So behold ETERNALS’ final trailer!

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

Well, in my last post about the first trailer, I pointed out how Disney did not mention the fact that Chloe Zhao is an Oscar-winner, well they finally highlighted that this time around, woot!! 

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She’s also credited as one of the screenwriters here, which shows just what a multi-faceted talent she truly is.

Now, before I get to the entire trailer, can I just say… Richard Madden!!! 😍 Has he ever looked more beautiful than in this trailer?! Even his name IKARIS is super cool! Woo wee… I’m glad I saw this trailer sitting down … [fan-self] 

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Sorry, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, ehm … the visuals are simply astounding!! I love the grand, majestic, mystical, ethereal [insert your own adjective here] of this movie!! Shot by DP Ben Davis, I’m already waiting w/ bated breath about seeing this in as big a screen as possible! Wish we still have an IMAX theater here in the Twin Cities.

I also love the choice of um, ethereal music here as opposed to the ‘The End Of The World‘ they used in the first one. I don’t know if this is Ramin Djawadi‘s score or not, but in any case I’m excited he’s scoring this!

Story-wise, given these are largely battles involving Celestial beings, it’s good that the humans don’t get lost in the shuffle… Kit Harrington seems to be one of the faces of the human race here as Dane Whitman and he asked the questions on everyone’s mind to Gemma Chan‘s Sersi…

Dane: “Why didn’t you guys help fight Thanos?
Or any war and all the terrible things throughout history.”

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Sersi: “We’re told not to interfere with human conflicts unless the Deviants are involved.”

Dane: “By who?”

Then Sersi looked up with kind of a worried/horrified look on her face and we see THIS creature… I’m not sure what that thing is exactly (sorry I haven’t actually read ETERNALS comics), but I’m curious to find out!

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So who are the Deviants?

Well, thanks to Games Radar, here’s some info about the Eternals’ arch enemies:

The Deviants’ history dates back as far as the Eternals’ and, strangely, humanity itself. Their existence is down to the Celestials, a group of extremely powerful cosmic beings who possess the ability to create and destroy life. The Celestials visited Earth millions of years ago when humanity’s ancestors roamed the globe. Ziran the Tester, the Celestials’ geneticist, experimented on a group of primates and created the Deviant subspecies.

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Unlike the Eternals (who are attractive, immortal beings) or ordinary humans (who are genetically balanced), the Deviants are abnormal. They’re often referred to as “the changing people” due to mutations in their DNA – mutations them leave the Deviants with odd coloured skin and other deformations. No two Deviants are alike, and those considered too mutated, or not mutated enough, are exiled or killed. The Deviants’ jealousy over the Eternals’ physical beauty and defined superpowers has locked the two species in a never-ending war – a millennia-long battle that is certain to form the plot of the MCU movie.


In the first trailer, they also left the funny bit to the end and kept the most part serious, even solemn… we’re talking about an ominous apocalyptic threat after all. Despite the Eternals being Celestial beings, they seem to be living like regular humans… going to a laundromat, playing board games, etc. I LOVE seeing Brian Tyree Henry here, I’ve always been impressed with him no matter what movie (even Godzilla vs. Kong!) Poor IKEA won’t be happy with that final trailer scene, ahah… but really, even a relatively fit human can easily break an IKEA table like that 😀

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I think this trailer answers a bit more questions compared to this first trailer, but not bog us down with too much info. Surely it does a great job making me even more excited to see this come NOVEMBER 5!


So, what do you think of ETERNALS’ final trailer? 

This Just In! Ridley Scott’s HOUSE OF GUCCI trailer

Dayum, Sir Ridley Scott is one busy filmmaker!! I feel like I’ve been posting his film just the other day, The Last Duel, and I’m feeling de-ja-vu as we’ve got Adam Driver in the lead role once again. Eccellente! I think Adam should be in EVERY MOVIE, ehm. 

Full synopsis:

Spanning three decades of love, betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately murder, we see what a name means, what it’s worth, and how far a family will go for control.

Woo wee!! That’s one heck of a stylish trailer, it even starts out like a flashy Gucci commercial. I love Blondie’s Heart Of Glass song and now it’s stuck in my brain all over again. These fashion houses sure have real-life drama as intricate and juicy as their haute couture creations. The story is based on a book of the same name by Sara Gay Forden, she has covered the Italian fashion industry from Milan for more than 15 years. Her book centers on the brutal 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci (Driver), the grandson of the Gucci company founder, by his ex-wife.

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Truth is stranger than fiction. I was actually just reading about what happened to Maurizio Gucci not too long ago, and his former wife Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) who served in jail for 18 years for hiring the hitman to kill him. Can’t say I have much sympathy for Maurizio though, as reportedly he left Patricia for a much younger woman, Paola Franchi (Camille Cottin) and lied that he was going on a business trip. Interesting to see Driver being cast as a narcissistic, cheating husband once again as he seems like a real nice bloke in real life. Clearly acting as someone opposite from you is far more fun.

I’ve been doing an Adam Driver marathon lately (which I’ll blog about in a couple of days!) so I’m super excited to see more of him in two highly-anticipated movies later this year! I love how he continually switch things up, this role can’t be more different from the one he’s doing in The Last Duel.

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I almost didn’t recognize Jared Leto and Jeremy Irons if it weren’t for the character posters, wow! Gaga is chewing the scenery as Patrizia, that last part of the trailer… ‘Father, Son and House of Gucci’ is a hoot! Per IMDb trivia, a slew of actresses the likes of Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Margot Robbie and Natalie Portman were considered for the role before Gaga was cast. I was really impressed with her in A Star Is Born, and this looks like a role she’s born to play. 

The star-studded cast also includes Al Pacino as the patriarch of the fashion empire, as well as Salma Hayek as Pina Auriemma, the clairvoyant friend of Patrizia who helped organized the hit on Maurizio. It’s inspired casting given Hayek is the wife of François-Henri Pinault, the billionaire Kering CEO who now owns the the Gucci brand.

I think since the on-set photos were circulating on social media back in Spring, practically everyone just became obsessed w/ this movie. I tried not to look at too many set photos and keep my enthusiasm in check until we actually see a trailer. Well now I am officially intrigued, I’ve seen this trailer a bazillion times in under two hours, ahah! 

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But apparently not everyone is enthused about this movie, according to AP News, the Gucci family isn’t keen on the movie, one of Maurizio’s cousins was quoted as saying that it was “… stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system.” It’s always tricky to portray such a larger-than-life story based on a real family, though given the notoriety surrounding Maurizio’s murder, this is certainly the kind of twisted, glittering tale made for Tinseltown. Surely we can expect glamorous European locations, glitzy parties, fabulous fashion in this movie to go along with the wild and dark side of life in excess.

House of Gucci will be released on November 24.


What do you think of the trailer? 

FlixChatter Review: The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard (2021)

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It hasn’t been that long ago that The Hitman’s Bodyguard was released in 2017, and I remember it being quite a pleasant surprise despite its inherent silliness. It’s a spoof of the buddy cop action comedy but with two bodyguards forming an unlikely bond of friendship between Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). While it was enjoyable, I hardly think it’s a story worth revisiting but whaddayaknow, we end up getting a sequel/spinoff no one asks for, this time centering on Kincaid’s wife Sonia.

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Despite having a ludicrous plot involving an Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman), the amusing hilarity of the Reynolds-Jackson pairing were enough to keep me engaged with the first movie. Well, the sequel makes the first one seems much more sensible as director Patrick Hughes dials up the screwball comedy factor so far it’s off the chart. The tone is far more slapstick this time around with full on action from start to finish.

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At the start of the movie, we see Bryce trying desperately to keep his bodyguard career behind him. His therapist urges him to be on a ‘violence diet’ which includes the no-gun rule, but of course, as soon as he goes on vacation, his past soon catches up with him, literally. The action is always loud, frenetic and violent, and you can practically describe Sonia (Salma Hayek) the same way. She suddenly shows up right in the middle of Bryce’s Greek holiday asking him to help her free Darius who’s taken up by mobsters. The hapless Bryce immediately gets dragged on by the persistent Sonia who does not take no for an answer. On their journey, they end up teaming up with Interpol (Frank Grillo, in his usual intense/angry mode) to help locate a megalomaniac Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas). Papadopoulos is a caricature of a Bond villain meets Onassis meets Liberace who’s hellbent on destroying Europe to avenge Greece for being imposed more sanctions. 

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Reynolds’s self-deprecating humor can be charming and he seems to relish being a suffering fool. He’s tossed around so much like a rag doll by his two co-stars it’s cartoonish. I read on IMDb that Hughes deliberately wants to put him through the wringer which explains the amount of suffering he’s put through here. But of course, much like most fantastical heroes like James Bond, John Wick, etc. Bryce seems to be indestructible as well as he survives multiple car crashes (and worse) and come out virtually unscathed.

Though the first one has some slapstick comedy elements, the sequel is pretty much all slapstick screwball stuff that rivals the Hot Shots or Naked Gun franchise. It’s as if the direction for the lead actors are to be as hammy and over the top as possible. It’s pretty typical to see characters insult each other in these types of comedies, but here Jackson and Hayek are downright mean-spirited at times, mostly directed at Reynolds. Just like the first one, wer’re bombarded by a deluge of F-bombs and bullets + explosions. 

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They also poke fun at themselves in egregious manner, which can be amusing and off-putting at the same time. Hayek’s obviously proud of her large boobs which are played for laugh so much here, as well as her heavy Mexican accent. She certainly looks amazing and looks to be enjoying herself playing the batshit crazy title character. Fans of Desperado would likely enjoy seeing her reunion with Banderas, though the plot is pretty predictable and farcical.

I think the one truly hilarious bit that actually got the entire theater laughing, which involves Morgan Freeman’s character. To say more about his character will be a major spoiler, but let’s just say he plays an important figure in Bryce’s life. During that scene, I thought how fun would it be to see Kevin Costner’s cameo, as the first movie used that Whitney Houston’s famous ballad I Will Always Love You from the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. Speaking of the cast, there are a bunch of good British actors like Richard E. Grant and Caroline Goodall who are thoroughly wasted which are par the course in a bombastic, big-budget action flick like this one.

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The one major highlight for me is the beautiful locations: London, Italy, Croatia… clearly it’s like a free vacation for the cast. I was drooling over the Amalfi Coast scenery… so there’s that escapism factor. Overall though, this movie is pretty much a rehash of the first one, only much dumber with even more senseless violence + raunchy humor. In a way, Bryce’s extremely exasperated reaction to Darius + Sonia’s vulgarity is exactly how I feel about this clichéd + verbose movie. It’s not a long movie but by the end of it, I felt tired from both the non-stop action and the banal plot, which is made worse by a promise of yet another potential sequel [cue eye roll].

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Have you seen The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard? I’d love to hear what you think!

THIS JUST IN! Marvel’s ETERNALS first trailer

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Boy, Marvel sure takes their time in releasing the trailer! It’s nearly a month ago today that Chloe Zhao won two Oscars for directing and producing NOMADLAND, finally we got the first trailer!

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

Ok, so no mention of the fact that the director is now an Oscar winner, but then again Marvel hasn’t been the kind of studio that touts the filmmakers’ cred like placing ‘From the director …’ on the posters. I suppose they’ve always relied on the project’s IP and the movie itself, which have consistently been first rate.

I have to admit the use of ‘The End Of The World‘ threw me off a bit, it just feels a bit melodramatic but then again, perhaps the movie will be more dramatic (even romantic in nature) than the usual action-packed superhero film. Naturally we an expect a ton of lush pastoral landscapes set during Zhao’s favorite magic hour. The DP is Ben Davis (Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange). Though we haven’t heard the music yet, I’m excited to hear Ramin Djawadi‘s score, glad to see him back in the MCU after the first Iron Man movie!

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So details are scarce from this trailer, as it focuses more on the high-level concept of just who these beings are and why they are here on earth. Based on what I’ve read, the ETERNALS focus on these god-like ancient alien beings known as Celestials, who lived on earth and shaped its history and civilizations. They’ve provided tools to build things, water for life, etc. though they don’t seem to actually interact with humanity, more observant in nature. 

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What’s interesting is, given the story spanned thousands of years, ETERNALS will be set far back in ancient times. Someone on Reddit posted that photo of the Babylonian monument Ishtar Gate (constructed in 575 BC) in Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq.


“We have watched and guided. We have helped them progress and seen them accomplish wonders.Throughout the years we have never interfered, until now.”

Salma Hayek’s Ajak narrates the trailer. That ‘until now’ part seems to refer to the time earthlings are being attacked by evil monsters known as Deviants, which happens after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Of course there are a bunch of questions in that regard:

Where were the Celestials when Thanos was wrecking havoc and obliterating half of humanity??!

If they’d been around for centuries and walked amongst us, were some of these Celestials affected by the snap?

And just who are the Deviants? Are they even bigger threats than Thanos to warrant the Celestials reuniting to protect us??

Perhaps they’re reveal more in trailer 2 for those non-comic-book readers.

I for one am curious to see the journey of Gemma Chan‘s character Sersi, who Marvel president Kevin Feigi himself has reportedly say as the actual lead of the ensemble. Interesting how her name is similar to Cersei Lannister of Game of Thrones, and her character is shown to be with two actors from GoT, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington. I like Gemma and was disappointed in her tiny role in Captain Marvel, so I’m glad they finally give this talented Brit a meatier role.

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For the most part, the trailer is pretty majestic and stately looking, but the tone switches to something more comedic after the title reveal. It reminds me of the post-credit scene in the first Avengers where the superheroes are eating shawarma together, albeit here the setting looks more like a Thanksgiving feast.

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Who’s Who in the ETERNALS

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I LOVE just how diverse this cast is in terms of gender and race! It’s really about time and I hope that diversity and inclusivity in casting will eventually be the new normal. Thanks to this article, here are a quick cheat sheet as to what characters the actors are playing:

  • Angelina Jolie as “fierce warrior” Thena.
  • Richard Madden as  “all-powerful” Ikaris.
  • Kit Harington as Dane Whitman (who is human).
  • Barry Keoghan as “aloof loner” Druig.
  • Gemma Chan as “humankind-loving” Sersi.
  • Kumail Nanjiani as “cosmic-powered” Kingo.
  • Salma Hayek as “wise and spiritual leader” Ajak.
  • Lauren Ridloff as “super-fast” Makkari.
  • Brian Tyree Henry as “intelligent inventor” Phastos.
  • Lia McHugh as “eternally young, old-soul” Sprite.
  • Don Lee as “powerful” Gilgamesh.

So based on what I’m seeing so far, I’m even more excited to see this movie! ETERNALS is released in the US on November 5th, 2021. Can’t wait!!


So, what do you think of ETERNALS’ first trailer? 

FlixChatter Review: Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

Happy Eclipse Day folks! Did you get outside and view it? It’s only partial eclipse where I live, but still pretty cool. Well, at least there’s something fun to do on a Monday. Well, as Summer season is almost coming to a close, I have to say it has been kind of a ho-hum Summer at the movies. There’s nothing that truly wowed me… even Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk which I was impressed with, didn’t really linger in my memory that much after all.

Well, this past week was unusual because I actually saw two new releases that were pretty similar, as in both are action comedies targeted to a similar audience. Well, here’s my quick thoughts on one of them…

I gotta say that in when the trailer of this came on w/ the famous Whitney Houston’s song spoofing The Bodyguard movie, I knew I had to see this. I knew it’ll probably be silly but I also couldn’t resist the pairing of Samuel L. Jackson (Kincaid) with post-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds (Bryce). So Reynolds plays the world’s top bodyguard who reluctantly takes a new client, a hit man (Jackson) who must testify at the International Court of Justice. So in the spirit of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and other countless road comedies genre, they must put their differences aside and work together to make it to their destination on time.

Despite the rather simple and yes, unoriginal premise, the movie did make me laugh… a lot. I always prefer Reynolds in comedies anyway and he’s pretty hilarious here against the more gregarious Jackson as they constantly hurl insults at each other. The pair have a good chemistry together and look like they had a blast making this. It’s not exactly a fresh buddy cop flick, but it’s got enough humor and fun action scenes for an entertaining escape at the movies. Salma Hayek though, is quite the scene-stealer as Jackson’s sexy-but-deadly wife Sonia.

The journey from London to Hague is marred with shenanigans as a bunch of cops and bad guys are hot on their trail. I thought director Patrick Hughes is pretty decent in filming the action scenes and car chases all over Europe. I especially enjoyed the Amsterdam car/boat/motorcycle chase that’s slightly reminiscent of a Bond/Bourne flick. Sadly, veteran actors in supporting roles (such as Gary Oldman and Richard E. Grant) are always criminally wasted in a film like this. Boy, Oldman’s been cashing out a lot lately, eh?

Given the R-rating, this film is quite violent and foul mouthed. There’s practically F-bombs in every dialog, which is excessive in my book. The plot is familiar but not completely silly. There is an amusing twist as to what happened to Bryce’s high-flying client, as well some philosophical themes to ponder, as Kincaid asked Bryce who’s more evil “…he who kills evil motherf******, or he who protects them?” Obviously each think one is more righteous than the other. I’d say this movie is still pretty fun to watch despite the usual clichés and inherent silliness, but not exactly one to rush to the theater to see.


Have you seen Hitman’s Bodyguard? Well, what did you think?