“House of Gucci” was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Lady Gaga & Adam Driver as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci. Based on a true story, the film follows Patrizia’s manipulation of her husband Maurizio to take over the Gucci empire.
This film shares quite a few similarities to HBO’s “Succession” and “The Godfather.” Like “Succession,” the movie follows a dysfunctional wealthy family who scheme for power. Like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” Maurizio Gucci becomes corrupted by greed over time, transitioning from the protagonist to the antagonist. While “House of Gucci” obviously isn’t as good as the movies and shows it’s inspired by, it does take some of the interesting qualities from them to craft a compelling narrative. Despite its nearly 160 minute runtime, the film generally maintains a brisk pace due to the twists, turns, and great character arcs.
The cast of “House of Gucci” was largely spectacular. Lady Gaga and Adam Driver are magnificent in their roles. They had chemistry onscreen and transformed into the people they were portraying. Al Pacino was another scene-stealer; he brought a ton of charisma to his character and made all of his scenes more entertaining. Jared Leto was another scene-stealer, but not in a good way. Leto was utterly abysmal as his character. In his aggressive effort to stand out among the cast, he wrecked every single scene he was in. Between his exaggerated Italian accent that sounded more like Super Mario than an actual Italian person and his exaggerated hand movements that made him look more like Fat Tony from “The Simpsons” than an actual Italian person, Leto made it difficult for me to not cringe when he was on screen.
“House of Gucci” is an interesting study of how lust for power can destroy a family that’s enhanced by stellar performances from Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and Al Pacino. Although Jared Leto’s cartoonish presence was insufferable and the film could have been a little shorter, I found “House of Gucci” to be a really fun ride worth recommending.
“King Richard” was directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and stars Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father of the famous tennis players Venus & Serena Williams. The film follows Richard and his plan to write Venus & Serena Williams into history as the best tennis players of all time.
Will Smith carries this entire movie. He was a completely different person. From his mannerisms to his voice to his body movements, Smith captured every single trait of the real-life Richard Williams. Will Smith is one of those actors, like Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has such an immense star power that they can’t help but overshadow the character they’re portraying. The best thing I can say about Smith’s performance in “King Richard” was that it overpowered his star power. Smith’s performance didn’t take too much attention away from the other performances of the film, however. Aunjanue Ellis was terrific as Richard’s wife Brandy and Jon Bernthal was also great as coach Rick Macci, a character who’s the polar opposite of Frank Castle from
I appreciated how the filmmakers didn’t shy away from showing the flaws of Richard. With Venus & Serena Williams as executive producers, this film could easily have become a puff piece for him, but it instead showed all sides of Richard. He’s a loving, caring father who wants his kids to live better lives than he did, but he’s also a little egotistical, and he thinks he knows better than everyone else. We see how his plan and hard work pay off, as well as how his stubbornness and ego hold his family back.
In contrast, however, Venus & Serena were treated as if they were perfect people. Neither of them have a single flaw or make a single mistake, making them harder to relate to. For cynics like myself, it also doesn’t help knowing that Serena, in particular, isn’t such a great person in real life, as she’s acted like a selfish, angry bully toward her peers on several occasions. That’s where the executive producer control was, or at least in my opinion. Also, the film should have been 5 minutes shorter; at nearly 2-and-a-half hours, its pacing suffers.
“King Richard” is a beautiful story with a strong lead character made even stronger by Will Smith’s masterful performance. While it arguably was a mistake to have Venus and Serena Williams be executive producers on the film, this is a heartwarming movie which I strongly recommend.