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Lawrence Kasdan (USA, 1949), che aveva collaborato con George Lucas alle
sceneggiature delle serie "Star Wars" e "Indiana Jones", debutto` con
Body Heat (1981),
una fantasia sessuale ambientata nel cinema degli anni '40.
L'azione e` contrappuntata dalle icone piu` scontate del cinema (l'incendio
iniziale che preannuncia la passione distruttiva della coppia, la nebbia
che avvolge la campagna quando viene commesso l'omicidio) e gli attori
recitano secondo gli stereotipi piu` abusati (lei e` la tipica femme fatale
tormentata dalla sua insoddisfazione sessuale, lui e` il tipico avventuriero
senza scopo che si lascia trascinare alla deriva).
Un'ondata di caldo avvolge la citta`. Ned, un'avvocato non particolarmente bravo
ma molto intraprendente con le donne incontra una donna attraente, Matty,
e, dopo una schermaglia arrogante e maliziosa (tipica dei vecchi film noir),
si recano nella villa di campagna e fanno l'amore. Ha inizio una torrida
relazione alle spalle del marito, che e` assente. Una sera lui si tradisce
davanti a Mary Ann, la miglior amica di Matty, la quale sembra divertita
nell'apprendere della tresca. Il caldo afoso rende ancor piu` tempestosi
i loro atti sessuali. Quando il marito torna, porta una bambina, che li
sorprende ma non dice nulla. I due amanti decidono di eliminare il marito,
per poter continuare la loro relazione e per poter mettere le mani sulla
sua fortuna. Si fa aiutare da un ex cliente a mettere a punto il congegno
per dar fuoco a una casa. Penetra nottetempo nella villa e, aiutato da Matty,
uccide il marito. Poi trasportano il cadavere nella casa e danno fuoco.
Dopo l'omicidio e l'incendio, un giudice annulla
il testamento fasullo redatto da Ned, e in tal modo Matty diventa l'erede
unica. Il piano e` perfettamente riuscito. Ma proprio un amico di Ned si
insospettisce e comincia a indagare. La bambina testimonia di aver visto
Matty con un altro uomo (ma non ne ha visto la faccia), scoprono indizi
che puntano a un omicidio.
Ned si sente sicuro, perche' ha un alibi incrollabile: quella notte alloggio`
in un hotel. Invece l'amico gli rivela che qualcuno chiamo` ripetutamente
nel mezzo della notte, proprio all'ora dell'omicidio, chiedendo di lui:
il personale dell'hotel sa che lui non era in camera a quell'ora.
Per di piu`
gli occhiali della vittima sono scomparsi, e qualcuno sta cercando di
venderli all'investigatore. Qualcuno, insomma, sta cercando di incastrarlo.
Matty lo chiama e gli dice che ha riscattato gli occhiali e che il ricattatore
dovrebbe averli lasciati alla villa: lo prega di andarli a prendere.
Capisce che si tratta di una trappola, ma aspetta l'oscurita` e poi ci va.
Prima di entrare,
controlla pero` che sia tutto in ordine, e scopre cosi` che all'interno
qualcuno ha allestito un marchingegno per uccidere il primo che aprira`
la porta. E` la prova che e` proprio Matty a volerlo incastrare.
Ned si nasconde e aspetta.
Lei arriva e gli professa il suo amore, pretende
di non sapere nulla della trappola. Intanto arriva l'investigatore. Matty
s'incammina verso la porta e le sue ultime parole sono "I love you". Ned,
sempre scettico, la lascia andare e la casa esplode.
Ned viene arrestato. Sospetta ogni sorta di intrighi. Prima di morire, Matty
ha portato via i soldi e li ha depositati in qualche altra banca.
Indaga pertanto dal carcere e scopre che i suoi sospetti sono giusti: Matty
e` Mary Ann, e Mary Ann e` Matty. Il cadavere che hanno trovato nella casa
esplosa e` quello della vera Matty. La falsa Matty, la donna che l'ha sedotto,
aveva organizzato tutto per eliminare nell'esplosione le uniche due persone
che conoscevano la verita`, lui e la sua amica. E infatti lei si sta godendo
il sole sulla spiaggia con un nuovo compagno.
The Big Chill (1983) is an ensemble film.
A middle-class couple, Harold and Sarah, receive a phone call that their
friend Alex has committed suicide.
The funeral service is held in the church of the countryside town where the
Michael, a journalist, is asked to sit next to Chloe, Alex's pretty girlfriend,
who is the one who found the body.
Nick, a Vietnam veteran, is the last one to arrive at the church, and sits next
to Sam, who lives in Hollywood and is a TV celebrity. Sam winks at
Karen, who is now married to a businessman and lives a happy suburban life.
Meg, still single, sits next to her best friend Sarah.
After the funeral, Harold and Sarah invite the others to stay for the weekend,
since that is their vacation home, set in a quiet countryside.
Sarah is the most hurt by Alex's suicide.
Before going to sleep,
Meg aggressively visits Nick but Nick cannot have sex anymore, and
in any case they are interrupted by a bat.
Sam and Nick share their past crush for Karen.
They chat with her husband Richard, who shares his view of life: one has to give
up a lot in order to provide for one's family, but that's what life is like.
Richard clearly looks down on Alex, who took his life instead of accepting
Harold feels sorry for Nick, who has no money and can't have sex anymore,
so he tells him that very soon his small company will be acquired by a bigger
one and anyone owning shares in the small company will get rich; but Nick
is not interested in the tip, even if Harold risked jail by telling him that
because it's against the law.
Harold also tells Nick that Sarah slept with Alex years before getting married.
Richard, who is a stranger anyway in that group, decides to drive back home, leaving Karen at the house with her friends.
Meg tells her best friend Sarah that she wants to have a child, and she plans
to ask Sam to be the father, given that her first choice, Nick, can't have sex anymore.
Michael, who used to be a leftist idealist, is another loser like Nick.
He now plans to buy a nightclub and tells Sam that he is looking for
Chloe befriends Nick, but Nick is cold with everybody.
Meg asks Sam to be the father of her baby, but he is not interested.
Sarah tells Karen about her love story with Alex.
Michael knows that Meg is looking for a man to give her a child and
volunteers, given that they were lovers in college,
but she thinks he has weak genes.
Nick goes out for a drive while the others watch sports on tv, and comes back
followed by the local cop who caught him running a red traffic light.
The cop is a friend and is mainly hurt that Nick insulted him, but then
he recognizes Sam as the famous actor and only asks that Sam performs his
famous stunt act, except that Sam gets hurt doing it.
Karen, alone with Sam, who had a crush on her in the old days, tells him that,
bored of her housewife life, she wants to leave her husband and tries to
seduce him. Sam, however, is divorced himself and advises her against leaving
her husband. Karen, rejected, is furious.
Sam funnily tells Harold that it's weird that women keep asking him to have sex
Sarah knows how desperate Meg is to have a baby and comes up with a simple plan:
have her own husband Harold impregnate her. Meg doesn't seem to believe that
Sarah is serious about this.
Karen finally succeeds in seducing Sam. Harold accepts to sleep with Meg.
Chloe and Nick make out even if Nick told her that he cannot have sex.
The following morning, it is not clear if Sam really wants Karen to move in
with him. Harold invites Nick and Chloe to stay and gives them a chore.
The others prepare to return to their homes.
Silverado (1985) is a rather superficial hodgepodge of western cliches,
and a parade of equally superficial and stereotyped characters (a very large
Needless to say, all the bad guys die and none of the good guys die.
Emmett, who has just survived a shootout, meets a man in the desert, wearing
only his underwear and left for dead. Emmett saves his life. Paden tells him
that bandits stole his clothes, his hat and his horse.
They are both heading for Silverado and stop in the next pioneer town.
Paden, still in his underwear, sees his horse, walks into a store, buys
the cheapest gun and coldly shoots the thief.
He is now in trouble with the justice, but is rescued by his old friend Cobb,
who lends him some money and tries in vain to hire him, claiming he is now
running a legitimate business.
The leader of a caravan thinks that Paden and Emmett are the men he hired to
escort him to Silverado, but the real men show up, and Paden and Emmett can
see the box full of money loaded on one of the wagons of the caravan.
They head for the restaurant/hotel and are eating their lunch when a black
walks in and orders a drink. The owner asks him to leave because he doesn't
server niggers. A fight ensues, the sheriff walks in and tells the black
to leave town immediately.
Then the sheriff asks the two strangers what their business is in town. Emmett
is looking for his brother: it turns out he is in the sheriff's jail, to be
hanged the following morning for killing a citizen (the kid claims it was
There is nothing they can do to save him, so the two decide to have a last
drink together. In the saloon, Paden confronts a man wearing his hat.
The man tries to shoot him and Paden kills him. The sheriff throws him in
jail too. While Emmett burns the gallows, Paden and the kid, Jake, escape from
prison. The three lose the sheriff's posse thanks to the black man, Mal,
who almost kills the sheriff shooting from the top of a rocky hill.
The four men now ride together and meet the caravan. The emigrants have been
robbed by their guides. The four men offer to rescue the loot, and do so.
They are honest and return the box with the money to the caravan. Then they
accompany the emigrants for a while towards Silverado. Mal leaves the caravan
to go find his father,
whose land has been taken illegally by arrogant cattlers,
When Emmett and Jake also part ways, Paden decides to
continue along with the emigrants, mainly because of a young beautiful widow.
Emmett goes home to his wife and children.
When he reaches Silverado, another typical pioneer town,
Paden is surprised to find out that the saloon is run by his old friend Cobb,
who has also managed to become its ruthless sheriff. And who hires him as
the saloon's gambler.
Mal's father is killed by the cattlers, and Mal swears to avenge his death
and brings the bad news to his sister, who is now a prostitute and resents
that he, Mal, was never around when his parents needed him.
The cattlers attack the good people of the caravan, who are throwing a party,
to discourage them from settling in this land. Jake and Emmett kill a few of
them and the rest flees.
The boss of the cattlers tells Cobb that he needs to get rid of Emmett.
Cobb's men ambush Emmett, and this time it is Mal to save Emmett's life.
Mal makes the mistake of going to town, looking for the men who killed his
father. Instead, the sheriff's men find him, and beat him to find out where
Emmett is hiding. Mal doesn't talk, and so the sheriff sentenced him to
hanging. Paden wants to stay out of the battle. But Paden realizes that
the cattler's men are now after Emmett's brother, Jake, but arrives too late
at his place: the men have burned it and kidnapped Emmett's child.
The whole town runs to put off the fire. Paden is so disgusted that he decides
to leave Cobb. Mal's sister takes advantage of the commotion to help
Mal escape, but is almost killed.
Emmett and Mal regroup and decide to attack the cattler's farm. Along the way,
Paden joins them. The three are formidable gunslingers and don't forgive.
Emmett rescues his boy. Jake has been playing dead but he is alive and well
and joins the rampage.
Now the four men (Emmett, Jake, Paden and Mal) are ready to attack Silverado
and get rid of the corrupt sheriff. The big shootout climaxes with a duel
between Cobb and his old buddy Paden in the deserted main street.
Paden becomes the new sheriff and marries the cute widow.
The Accidental Tourist (1988), an adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel,
I Love You To Death (1990), the first film he directed from someone else's script,
Grand Canyon (1991),
the western Wyatt Earp (1994),
French Kiss (1995),
Mumford (1999), possibly the best of the 1990s,
the horror movie Dreamcatcher (2003), an adaptation of Stephen King's novel,
Darling Companion (2012), from Richard Russo's novel "The Risk Pool".
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