February 14, 2016 | Rome, Italy | Partly Cloudy 16°C
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Biopics

The Walk

Director Robert Zemeckis brings 3D to Philippe Petit's remarkable twin towers high-wire walk.

Comedy-Romantic Comedy

Results

Andrew Bujalski pokes gentle fun at fitness culture while doing romantic comedy a favor.

Mistress America

There's an unsavory side to Noah Baumbach's newest Greta Gerwig movie, and it hurts.

Drama

The End of the Tour

James Ponsoldt's dramatization of interview sessions between David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace is a gem.

Truth

A movie that purports to tell the truth about Rathergate can't escape the grinding of its own axe.

Room

Lenny Abrahamson coaxes a superb performance from Brie Larson in a terrifying story of abduction.

Third Person

The quest for deeper meaning leaves Paul Haggis' ambitious drama stewing in its own juice.

Horror

It Follows

There's a Scarlet Letter admonishment built into David Robert Mitchell's mysterious horror tale.

Thrillers

Z for Zachariah

Craig Zobel's dystopian thriller is elevated by the controlled genius of Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Science Fiction

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Disney takes over from George Lucas and makes a capable fantasy mostly bereft of thrills.




Date: 2014
Directed by: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Francesco Carnelutti

Spring

After mild mannered Evan's mother dies and he gets into a workplace tussle, a friend suggests that maybe he "change up his environment." That he does, heading to Rome and southward still. Ah, the Adriatic coast (Polignano a Mare, near Bari), home to pretty landscapes, geckos, worms, spiders and scorpions. Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci), a California sous chef, improbably lands an off-the-books job as a farm worker and even more improbably meets Louisa (German actress Nadia Hilker), a student of evolutionary genetics who's hotter than July and somehow finds herself in town doing research. She "talks" American (but also speaks Greek and Sumerian) and behaves midway between a hooker and a vamp, with the latter becoming rather important as this little non-charmer lurches toward even doses of romance and horror.

Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead glaze their Italian landscapes to slowly push from the idyllic into the macabre, but the problem here isn't the pictures but the words. Can just being "European" make you into a vampire? Who knows, but it's an idea. So is being 2,000-year-old and immortal. Ethan takes his romantic adventure good (ironic) stride, occasionally telling his necrotic girlfriend she could use a shot of animal cells to fill up that gaping hole in her face.

Maybe Benson and Moorhead are onto something, their own genre: the vampire, rabbit sacrifice, and embryonic cell-stealing seaside Italian tourism movie. What do vampires, once discovered, say by way of explanation: "I didn't want to hurt you..." Tell that to the rabbits.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

Everything you need to know about visiting or moving to Tuscany, Italy.