Review: Lady Gaga stands out in over-the-top ‘House of Gucci’ and ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ debuts

Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, Lady Gaga, and Adam Driver in House of Gucci / MGM

House of Gucci

Wow! “House of Gucci” is a sprawling, over-the-top epic of greed, lust, and power that’s a little bit stomach churning, but also impossible to resist.

The film, directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna, is gloriously excessive in almost every way in detailing how an outsider infiltrated the powerful fashion-label clan by marrying into the family only to turn the business and the family on its head, with murder being the ultimate result.

Watching this operatic movie is like opening up one of those three-flavor cans of popcorn that are so popular around the holidays and gorging yourself on those irresistible kernels.

After a handful or two, it’s kind of gross, but it’s still too hard to deny yourself of the decadence and the pleasure of continuing. By the time you reach the bottom of the can, you’re stuffed and ashamed of yourself, but still not totally regretting the experience.

The film features a powerhouse performance by Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani at the center of a flamboyant ensemble that’s eminently entertaining watch. Gaga might garner another Oscar nomination for her entrancing portrayal.

Adam Driver under plays his part as her lover and eventual husband Maurizio Gucci — an astute businessman but family outcast — while Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci and Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci duel each other to see who can take the biggest bite out of the scenery. And it’s a struggle worth watching in and of itself.

Jeremy Irons as Rodolf Gucci and Salma Hayek as Guiseppina Auriemma only add to the star power of a movie that thrills you with its displays of decadence and chills you with how Patrizia toys with the family members to at first uplift her position and then tear nearly everything apart.

The movie ran a bit long for my taste, but I was more stunned by the excessive nature of the story than bored.

Again, like stuffing myself with popcorn, the movie left me full, but I’m not exactly proud that I mostly enjoyed such an outlandish experience.

(R) 2 hr. 37 min.
Grade: B-

The Beatles: Get Back

The Beatles in The Beatles: Get Back / Walt Disney Pictures

Just as a reminder, “The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” debuted on Disney Plus on Thanksgiving Day.

Culled from over 60 hours of footage that has been archived since director Michael Lindsay-Hogg cut and released his own documentary “Let It Be” in 1970, Jackson, a noted Beatle fan and collector, offers a less acrimonious take on the bands’ final months together when they crafted 14 songs in a three-week period before their final 40-minute rooftop concert in London atop Apple Records Savile Row office building. It will be the first time the entire concert has ever been shown to the public in its entirety.

The movie was to originally debut in theaters at the end of August before a deal was made to cut the film into a three-part series to play on Disney Plus. The good thing is more of the footage will be used than could have comfortably been squeezed into a theatrical cut of the documentary.

While there is little doubt that the Beatles — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — had grown weary of working together, footage from the trailer as well as other shots shows that there was some joy and happiness in their final work amid all the acrimony.

This was my most anticipated movie of year. I was a bit sad when I learned it would be playing on Disney Plus rather than the big screen. The consolation is that it will likely include more footage as a three-part series, and I’ll be able to rewatch it as often as I like.

  New in Local Theaters

House of Gucci (watch trailer) / (R) 2 hr. 37 min. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne, Skylight

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon (watch trailer) / (R) 1 hr. 47 min. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne

Encanto (watch trailer) / (PG) 1 hr. 49 min. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne, Skylight

Julia (watch trailer) / (PG-13) 1 hr. 35 min. / AMC Fiesta Square

Belfast (watch trailer) / (PG-13) 1 hr. 38 min. / Malco Razorback, Malco Towne

Classic Corner – You’ve Got Mail

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail / Warner Bros.

There have been some great on-film couples in the history of Hollywood, but I’d suggest that it would be hard to find a more adorable and appealing pair than Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The duo starred in three films — “Joe Verses the Volcano” in 1990, “Sleepless in Seattle” in 1993, and “You’ve Got Mail” in 1998. While all three movies have their degrees of enjoyability, “You’ve Got Mail” is the best of the duo’s bunch for my money. I know that opinion is probably lost on fans of “Sleepless in Seattle,” but that movie is a bit weepy for me.

I have to admit part of “You’ve Got Mail’s” charm for me is that it is a modernized reimagining of the classic 1940 Ernst Lubitsch film “Shop Around the Corner,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, which is a Christmas-flavored classic that is also worth checking out if you’ve never seen it.

The crux of the movie is the rivalry between Ryan’s Kathleen, the owner of a smallish book boutique “The Shop Around the Corner,” and Hanks’s Joe, whose family runs a big-box bookstore that not only want to sell a ton of books but also put its competitors out of business in the process.

Though Kathleen and Joe mix like oil and water in person because of their professional ambitions, they develop a cozy and comfortable on-line relationship in which they allow their true feelings to flow because they have not knowingly met each other in person.

Just before the two meet for a date, Joe learns that his on-line friend just happens to be his off-line rival and comedy ensues.

The script by Nora and Delia Ephron is cute and funny if a bit outdated. Still, it pushes all the right buttons for a fine romantic comedy, and Nora, who also wrote the script for “When Harry Met Sally” shows off her skill behind the camera, too, with deft direction that keeps this comedy of errors afloat amid a somewhat convoluted plot.

While the movie is essentially a remake, Ephron’s attention to more modern details both in everyday life and the way male-female relationships had evolved since the 1940s makes this film — that’s now 23 years old — viable on its own.

Hanks and Ryan are stars apart, but their chemistry and charm together is undeniable. They complement each other so well. The two are just so likable and comforting.

Their appeal is that each of us can recognize a little bit of ourselves or at least an idealized version of ourselves in their portrayals of these characters. It’s a quality that makes the movie a pleasure to enjoy.

“You’ve Got Mail” is available on HBO Max and Peacock streaming channels, while “The Shop Around the Corner” is available on HBO Max and plays at 12:30 p.m. Friday on Turner Classic Movies.