June 23, 2024

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Rushing “Rivals” is a game set and matches Zendaya and Luca Guantanamo

Rushing “Rivals” is a game set and matches Zendaya and Luca Guantanamo

The April meltdown continues, and there's no let up at the box office with ticket totals now reaching pandemic levels, with titles not half as exciting for audiences, and many “also on” movies still burying a few great ones from (like “Chimera”). It received unanimous praise abroad during this same period, where it received a score of 90 on Metacritic).

No recent premiere has come close, with “Civil War” topping the new movie charts with 7,200 tickets from 85 theaters (just behind “Abigail” with 5,700 tickets), but “Kung Fu Panda 4” continues to lead unopposed. In first place. , now in its fifth week, achieving 20% ​​of gross receipts (!). Children's movies in general dominate the box office at the moment, but the teen cutie “Spark at Sea” didn't benefit from that, taking in 19 (!!) tickets.

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Maybe it's slowing down a bit this week, both with the release of Unboxholics' honest-to-goodness horror thriller Don't Open the Door, and perhaps with the exciting, hilarious, sexy rivals with Zendaya in a love triangle.

Movies of the week:


(“The Challengers”, Luca Guantannino, 2:11 minutes)


Two tennis players face each other in the final of a small tournament. But for them, this game is much bigger than it appears on paper. Between them is a spectator, a woman looking at each other. What is at stake in this particular match will only be realized after a long dive into the past. We begin 13 years ago, when current rivals, then fraternal friends, and great American tennis hopes meet, fall in love and claim the same girl.

Luca Guantanino (Call Me By Your Name, Bones and All) is a director who has clearly found his calling in portraying youthful desire in its various forms, sometimes as self-discovery, sometimes as a sad search for our place in the world of cinema. The world then – that is, now – as a pulsing dynamic, as a relationship between forces and desires that define who we are and what we demand of our partners, of ourselves, and, ultimately, of the world as we mature. Rivals, as the quintessential love triangle story, fully embraces this last element, perfectly connecting the outlines of the three central characters, and what they ultimately want out of the life(s), with what they desire in the person they have against them.

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Art (Mike Fest, charismatic in Spielberg's West Side Story) and Patrick (Josh O'Connor, on the other side of where we saw him in the nostalgic Chimera a month ago) know Tashi (Zendaya, finally in a constant position of interpretive difference that highlights On the strength of her star) on the same night, at the same time. Guantanaino's camera does not allow them to separate from the frame, constantly monitoring not only their different reactions taking shape and which character of theirs (one will always want to assess the situation, while the other rushes to seize the opportunity), but also what, after all. , is what each of them sees in Tashi. It's the same woman, but she looks different.

Through successive flashbacks, a dense story is shaped, full of emotions, friendships, loves, betrayals, breakups, disappointments, and triumphs, that explores this trio of heroes, their contradictions, and how they can change on the surface but in the background only reveal more than they always were. And what they always wanted. Many of the anthology's exciting or disturbing scenes are presented in a stylized montage with the fighting taking place in the present: as the final ending unfolds, we learn more about what brought us here and what's at stake – but until the final minute there are hidden points, And secrets, but also of course the question of how the fight will end, and what it will mean for the three people involved.

The screenplay by Justin Kuretskis (Celine Song's husband from “Past Lives”) opens up the trio and explores them gradually, making each point in the present matter, and meaning something more and more different — but with a common thread that we always want, and what it means to Lose it, or lie to yourself. Guantanino along with Marco Costa (his frequent editing partner on his most recent projects) embrace this structure and end up placing past and present suffering in a parallel montage as if it were a continuous timeline, while the stunning score by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor (“The Social Network”). It makes every look and every step seem like the most shocking event in the world, giving the film an almost uncontrollable momentum (at points, Guantanaino seems borderline embarrassed by the momentum itself and the power of his film's music).

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Meanwhile, the Italian director very cleverly shares sexual tension and passion in a perhaps unexpected way: the love scenes themselves function like foreplay, as if they are constantly preparing us for something they are not offering us – sex, tennis itself. The action scenes on the field are shot with almost cartoonish frenzy, with the camera doing acrobatic movements, zooming in, zooming out, flying, getting into the shoes of the ball, the bat, and the heroes. Guantanino makes extensive use of dramatic slow motion, placing great emphasis on every backhand, every serve, every ace or every foul. It's like watching a live-action version of an anime series that never existed. Everything here is tense – the constantly dripping sweat, the rollercoaster of emotions, the dramatic monologues about what each hero wants out of his life, the tennis as an illustration of the dramatic shifts in each person's relationships and self-awareness, and the reckless ending.

Although there is perhaps something still a little unexplored regarding the perspective of the central heroine herself (which is covered artfully with a combination of acting, direction, and collective energy), the film manages to present a worldview without conveying it as a sermon, with wonderful triplets of The heroes, with Guantannino experiencing something new and exciting, something pulsating, something constant – perhaps the only way to portray the role of desire in a relationship, in life. For the United, life means movement and desire.

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Don't open the door

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(Sakis Karpas, Alexandros Karpas, 1 hour and 27 minutes)


In a secluded house in the woods, a woman knocks on the door fearfully in the middle of the night. The lone resident opens the door for her, not knowing that something evil is unwittingly entering his home. Together with the woman, the door opens to the guilt of the past, but also to a terrifying threat.

Sakis and Alexandros Karpas, of the popular YouTube channel Unboxholics, experiment with narrative fiction for the first time in a completely independent production and Lofi takes the constraints and uses them as part of the film's identity. A dark horror story of two people and one place – very effectively and comprehensively plotted, without leaving any part of it unexploited.

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As an attempt at horror cinema, it feels more like the modern horror tropes of Ari Aster or “The Babadook,” linking the eerie atmosphere with some deep psychological trauma that gradually unravels. As such, the result is pretty much quite repetitive with the idea spreading across the screen without much filler – this is a wider problem in the world of modern horror and not just in Unboxholics.

But what they do very well is achieve an effective atmosphere of horror that raises your hair and makes you uncomfortable at several points. Even without relying on constant vibration or other tricks. It is a film so honest and sincere in its intentions and style, which, without completely concealing its craftsmanship and originality, does not for a moment appear poorly made or amateurish. It respects the viewer and gives them what they've gone for – we'll be waiting with interest for any possible next step from the team, despite the fact that the current film as an overall experience, is ultimately a bit on the backburner.

It is still in circulation

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Living soul: Every summer, little Salome returns to the family's mountain village. When her beloved grandmother dies and the adults begin to argue about the funeral, the woman's spirit begins to haunt her. The locals considered her a witch.

The last hero: A man tries to prevent a German company from building a supermarket on the site of his father's statue. But this battle will have unexpected effects on his daughter's life. Starring Angeliki Papulia.

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Super Maggi: In a city completely rid of crime, a new virtual threat comes to shake things up. Cartoon movie for super kids.

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Professional sleepwalker: A failed poet discovers that his mother has marketed him as a local “pythia,” bringing in customers at night to hear him recite. After his initial anger, he decided to take the “business” into his own hands, completely derailing the situation.

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