Enrique Cerezo

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Nobody's Life Review


Good
Spanish flick Nobody's Life might have been a unique art-house piece were it not for one small detail: A little movie called Time Out, which came from the country next door only a year earlier.

Nobody's Life is so similar to Time Out that a plagiarism charge might well be in order. But seriously, I'm sure it's unintentional, and maybe writers Eduard Cortés and Piti Español never even saw that dark and haunting masterpiece. But here's the same story nonetheless, as ostensibly successful bank executive Emilio (a droll José Coronado) is eventually revealed to be living a lie. He doesn't go to work: He goes to a park bench, where he simply sits, all day long. He's done this for 12 years. For money, the family lives off his wife's income and cash he's managed to swindle from his friends to "invest" for them. (Even this side plot appears in Time Out.) Eventually Emilio is found out and his world crumbles apart.

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Mad Love Review


Weak
For some reason, filmmakers become overly inspired when it comes to helming historical epics. In writer-director Vicente Aranda's interminable, labored, and lumbering celluloid soap opera Mad Love (aka Juana la Loca -- translation, Joan the Mad), he sets out to paint a lavish portrait of passion against the atmospheric Spanish background of late 15th century sensibilities. Although Mad Love boasts a radiant aura of visual sophistication, this 2002 Best Foreign Film nominee is lackluster.

Mad Love tells the sordid tale of Joan/Juana of Castile (Pilar López de Ayala), daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (the married monarchs who financed Christopher Columbus's boat ride to the New World in 1492). Juana ends up in a political marriage to Philip the Handsome (Daniele Liotti), the Archduke of Austria. Despite the arrangement, the couple manages to find a hidden mutual attraction. The result: six children. By this point, Juana is completely head-over-heels in love with Philip to the extent that it's obsessive. But Philip becomes noticeably indifferent toward his wife, dabbling in numerous adulterous affairs. Of course this adds to the increasingly insane jealously of Juana. An apparent emotional wreck, Philip's wife is due for a breakdown, and Philip looks to declare poor Juana legally insane and incarcerate her, thus giving him and his father a shot at the throne. But soon enough, Isabella dies, Philip dies, Ferdinand dies, and Juana gets shipped off to live in isolation before also dying, 40 years later.

Continue reading: Mad Love Review

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Mad Love Movie Review

Mad Love Movie Review

For some reason, filmmakers become overly inspired when it comes to helming historical epics. In...

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