Fernando Bovaira

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Biutiful Review


Good
While this gentle drama about a man trying to prepare his family for his own death is plaintive and hopeful, the road to the end is both too long and too packed with distracting sidestories.

Even before his doctor tells him he has terminal cancer, Uxbal (Bardem) is struggling to manage a team of illegal African immigrants who sell fake designer products made by illegal Chinese immigrants in secret factories. He does this to care for his young children (Bouchaib and Estrella), while his bipolar ex Marambra (Alvarez) works as a prostitute. Meanwhile, Uxbal and his brother Tito (Fernandez) are selling the burial plot of the father they never knew. But this only stirs Uxbal's emotions even further.

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Agora Review


Weak
Ambitious in scope, this film feels over-serious and oddly cold. Fans of historical dramas may love it, but you're in trouble when theories about the sun and earth are more involving than the interpersonal dramas.

In 4th century Alexandria, Hypatia (Weisz) is a noted philosopher who teaches at the famed library. But the world around her is changing, as Greek and Egyptian beliefs conflict with Christians and Jews. And with the Roman Empire gaining power, the Christians have the edge. As Hypatia continues to explore her far-advanced theories about the earth and the universe, she finds herself caught between two men who love her: loyal servant Davus (Minghella) and the civic leader Orestes (Isaac). And the fundamentalist Romans aren't happy with her radical thoughts.

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The Good Boy Review


OK
The Good Boy, a journey into Madrid's lower-class barrios, introduces us to a young boxer named Angel (Álex González), whose optimism battles with his realism, and that fight ends up as a draw. A Rocky wannabe, Alex comes to realize that his route out of the neighborhood will not be through a boxing ring, and he decides to take a very different path.

The kid's got problems. His hand is injured, he's being asked to throw fights, he works three part-time jobs, and his poor widowed mother is about to evicted from her flat and has no money to go anywhere else. At the same time, his vivacious girlfriend Alicia (Eva Marciel) is starting to hunger for the finer things in life.

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The Sea Inside Review


Grim
The Sea Inside has Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar's (Open Your Eyes) auteuristic grip all over it. Besides directing, Amenábar also co-produced, co-wrote (with longtime collaborator, Mateo Gil), scored and edited this saga about a true-life quadriplegic who campaigned for 30 years against Spain's judiciary for the right to end his life. Paralyzed after a diving accident, Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) is reduced to lying supine in a room of his older brother José's farmhouse. Day and night, year after year, Ramón is vigilantly cared for by José (Celso Bugallo), and his small clan. The slow grind of Ramón 's existence, salved only by his family's devotion, eventually wears the patient down to where he feels euthanasia is the only dignified option left.

Ramón's outspokenness wins the interest -- and the affections -- of a pair of women: Julia (Belén Rueda), the terminally ill lawyer who helps Ramón build his case, and Rosa (Lola Dueñas), a single mother drawn to Ramón out of loneliness and her admiration for his strength. But while the sensuous Julia, herself coping with illness, fully sympathizes with Ramón 's cause, the feisty Rosa sulks and frets whenever Ramón so much as breathes a word of his intentions.

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Sex and Lucía Review


OK
Think of it as what might have happened to Luisa after her adventure in Y Tu Mamá También, and in a mildly alternate universe, too.

For Lucía y el sexo -- cleverly twisted around for English-speaking audiences as Sex and Lucía, to put the emphasis on the film's substantial eroticism -- the alternate universe reference is more appropriate than you might think. The story (obviously) centers around Lucía (Paz Vega), a listless waitress who falls in love with a novelist named Lorenzo (Tristán Ulloa), based on the power of his works. She propositions him, soon they're living together and engaging in lots of the titular activity, but then Lorenzo disappears. A cop calls, and Lucía fears Lorenzo is dead.

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Lovers of the Arctic Circle Review


Good
Surprising, haunting, magical, and spiritual -- Lovers of the Arctic Circle presents a strange story of love and bizarre coincidence, a journey across decades that begins when a boy falls in love with a girl at school. When their parents end up getting married, "brother and sister" begin a torrid affair, then eventually split up when, as a young man, the boy leaves to seek his destiny. As adults, the two try to seek each other out again, converging upon a small island in the Arctic Circle.

Reminscent of Map of the Human Heart, the film is slow to get going and a bit gimmicky (telling the story from both points of view, repeating the scenes with a different slant), but it all pays off in the end. Give it a chance; you're sure to fall in love with all three actresses that play the woman throughout her life.

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The Others Review


OK
The Others has a great ending -- one that will be spoofed in Scary Movie 4 and referred to in Entertainment Weekly for years to come. It's the reason why people will rush to the theater this summer, spurred on by the word of mouth from friends and co-workers.

What people will forget to tell you is that there's more than 90 minutes of an OK horror movie to watch before a glorious 10 minutes. Take away the ending--which ties the script's agnostic themes together too perfectly--and you get The Haunting, just with superior acting and production values.

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Open Your Eyes Review


Excellent
If Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch had collaborated on a project, the result might have been something like Open Your Eyes. Kubrick's most common themes -- imaginary worlds, sexual and social obsessions, distrust of emotion, human depravity, and a journey towards freedom and self-knowledge -- present themselves here. Lynch's usual themes -- dreams and illusion vs. reality, persuasion, fear, self-submission, murder, and curiosity -- also sprinkle themselves into this movie's stirring, complex recipe.

From the moment the movie opens, it's unclear of what is real and what is not. We meet a handsome, young, successful businessman named César (Eduardo Noriega), who drives expensive cars, resides in a classy residence, and enjoys an endless supply of beautiful women.

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