Talented Mr. RipleyYour Two Minute Movie Review this month almost satisfies our thwarted-by-the-pandemic travel bug. Take a spectacular tour of Italy while taking in the psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley.

By his own account, Tom Ripley, played by a young Matt Damon, is talented at forging signatures, telling lies, and impersonating pretty much anyone. But it only took a borrowed jacket and a little white lie to whisk him into an expenses-paid tour of Italy and an up-close and too-tantalizing taste of the lives of the über rich. 

How will the secretive and sly interloper secure his place in a life not his own?  

Maybe he’ll befriend Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) who is heir to the fortunes of his father’s shipping conglomerate, looking as good as any self-centered cad ever has. Or, our Mr. Ripley could ingratiate himself with Dickie’s girlfriend, played charmingly by Gwyneth Paltrow, whose gentle vulnerability wins all hearts.

But before anything else, he must outmaneuver his foil, the astute Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who sniffs out our anti-hero in an instant. Complications multiply as Tom Ripley tags along with the stunningly wealthy trio, covering fabrication with lie on top of falsehood.  

Meanwhile, we get a window seat with fabulous views of the seaside village of Corricella – dubbed “Mongibello” in the movie – Naples, Rome, Venice, and San Remo. So much majesty!  So much mendacity.

Directed by Anthony Minghella (The English Patient, Cold Mountain), 1999, Nominated for five Oscars. 2 hours 19 min, Rated R

9 out of 10 Whiskers www.cinemacat-tdp.blogspot.com


Vintecellos dishesAll the Italian mystery and intrigue from The Talented Mr. Ripley, makes me hungry!

Try the lovely Venticello’s Ristorante Italiano, a mainstay for great Italian food since 2004.

First up, try the superb antipasto eggplant. Stuffed with three cheeses, served with hearty marinara sauce. A great way to get your daily vegetable! Ha. Or, the Calamari Fra Diavolo: calamari steak with a spicy marinara sauce is a very special treat. 

Can you say Gorgonzola? Gracie gives a gourmet rating for the yummy Gorgonzola Chicken with fresh spinach, onions and tomatoes in a light, creamy marinara Gorgonzola sauce, tossed with rigatoni. Topped with more Gorgonzola! The popular Chicken Dill with peas and capers in a creamy dill sauce with bow tie pasta is also a favorite.

All entrees come with the soup of the day or house salad. Whole wheat and gluten free pasta are also available. Lots of vegetarian options.  

While we’re in Venice with Matt Damon. Sigh. Let’s talk about those desserts…

Cannolis! Chocolate covered pastry filled with ricotta and chocolate chips, covered in whipped cream with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato.  

Afogato! Vanilla bean gelato, espresso and whipped cream.  

Buon Appetito!

Enjoy the friendly outdoor service, and the comfort of lovingly prepared food. Thoughtfully packaged takeout available. COVID recommendations followed. Call to inquire about dessert and wine specials and for limited outdoor seating.

911 First Street, Benicia 

www.venticellos.com  707.747.5263 or 707.747.6724.