Natalia Verbeke

Natalia Verbeke

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Spanish actress Natalia Verbeke presents the new 'PinkCow' soft drink

Spanish actress Natalia Verbeke was photographed as she presented the new 'PinkCow' soft drink in Madrid, Spain - Wednesday 15th October 2014

Natalia Verbeke
Natalia Verbeke
Natalia Verbeke
Natalia Verbeke
Natalia Verbeke

The Women on the 6th Floor Review


Good
Spiky dialog and terrific characters make this French class comedy thoroughly enjoyable, even if there's not much to it. An especially strong cast and energetic direction add a zing if personality to both characters and settings.

In 1962 Paris, wealthy broker Jean-Louis (Luchini) and his wife Suzanne (Kiberlain) live in his family flat, oblivious to the Spanish maids who occupy tiny rooms on the top floor and gather in the park to gossip about their bosses. It's not until Jean-Louis and Suzanne hire new arrival Maria (Verbeke) to work for them that they discover this world of labourers. And Jean-Louis embraces it, finding new satisfaction in helping to make their lives better while flirting quietly with Maria. But Suzanne suspects something else entirely.

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The Method Review


Good
The reality television metaphors come flying at you fast and thick in Spanish filmmaker Marcelo Piñeyro's The Method, which provides for a lot of easy audience identification -- hey, I've seen Survivor -- but makes it just a bit too recognizable for comfort, at least until the end, when its existential modus operandi becomes terrifyingly clear. There are plenty of other comparisons to be drawn from this exercise in business-world gamesmanship, from Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross to LaBute's In the Company of Men, though Piñeyro's has a more gender-neutral agenda: in short, women are just as exceptional bastards as men.

Set almost entirely in a nicely-appointed conference room in a Madrid office building, The Method begins with a very telling split-screen montage: As we watch the characters go about their morning routines, traffic is piling up and the streets thickening with protestors. The IMF-World Bank conference is in town and the anti-globalization forces are marshalling for a Seattle-esque day of angry confrontation. But this is of little concern to the seven, who have taken advantage of the protests (many offices have shut down for the day) to go to a group interview for an executive job at Dexia Corporation. Of course, we are never privy to knowing what it is that Dexia does, but such specifics are entirely beside the point.

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Dot The I Review


OK
Lips. The one thing I kept thinking about while watching Mathew Parkhill's debut comedy-cum-thriller Dot the I, was lips. The reasons were quite obvious. The stars of the film, Gael García Bernal (Bad Education) and sultry Natalia Verbeke (Life: A User's Manual), both have extraordinary ones. Bernal in particular has lips that can only be described as Kinski-ian in their curl. And that's fitting because he has mentioned in interviews that the oft times rabidly deranged Klaus Kinski, who's autobiography I Need Love was an outrageously raw memoir of out-and-out insanity, as an inspiration. Verbeke's lips aren't as weirdly fascinating as Bernal's, though they are sexy, out J. Lo-ing J. Lo.

My focus on the lips wasn't by chance, Parkhill actually opens and practically closes the film with zoomed shots of the lead's puckers. In Dot the I, the camera follows lips and eyes almost reverentially. It's as though Parkhill believes he can capture the soul of his actors in close-up shots of their faces. It's telling because despite the pretension of depth, the film is quite superficial, with an odd, almost off, affectation. Parkhill wants to tell us an engaging, deliriously snappy story but he loses us with half-baked dialogue and patchwork style.

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The Other Side of the Bed Review


Grim
Terribly ill-advised, this film combins a sex romp with a musical -- and neither side works very well. A sextet (or so) of Spaniards couple in various combinations. After they've got their rocks off, they espouse absurd theories about JFK, Marilyn Monroe, and the modern world. Then it moves on to song and dance numbers (with some truly awful singing and questionable dancing). This is all meant to be whimsical and not-serious, but it comes off as pathetic and sad. Basically, they forget that in a good sex comedy, the emphasis is on comedy.

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Son of the Bride Review


Excellent
It's comforting to know that hard-working people everywhere suffer from stress just as we Americans do. Rafael Belvedere, the good-looking, divorced, 42-year old restaurateur in Juan José Campanella's Son of the Bride is proof. At the center of this Argentine/Spanish production (a 2002 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film), he is a foul-mouthed slave driver in the workplace, a forgetful Dad, an unfeeling son, and oh, he's about to have a heart attack. The health setback causes Rafael to rethink his path, and head for personal salvation; at the same time, Campanella redirects his own cinematic journey, turning a saccharine, overplayed concept into a smartly-written, touching family diary, full of drama and wit.

Just as the pre-cardiac arrest Rafa is vapid and unhappy, so is Campanella's film before the incident. Ricardo Darín, in the lead role, is a standout, sputtering dialogue like an angry boxer throwing jabs, but we've seen most of this before. He ignores the situations around him, works his fingers to the bone, and doesn't appreciate life. The prospects for an original, honest movie get worse when Rafa's aging father (Héctor Alterio) reveals his wish to renew his vows with Rafa's stunning mother (Norma Aleandro), regardless of her losing battle with Alzheimer's. Alterio's gushy proclamation is too sticky-sweet, and the film seems headed for soap opera territory.

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Dot The I Review


Grim

"Dot the I" begins with a beautiful, willfulbut vulnerable Spanish immigrant to London accepting the proposal of hersweet, adoring and doting English boyfriend -- then being knocked for aloop by a kiss from a stranger at her bachelorette party.

This kiss has lyrical cinematic brilliance as it lingers-- the outside world shut out for a spellbinding moment -- until a suddensound snaps the startled smoochers back to reality. It's a kiss that changesthe lives of Carmen (Natalia Verbeke) and Kit (Gael Garcia Bernal), himselfan immigrant from Brazil who represents a passion lacking from the girl'srelationship with Barnaby (James D'Arcy). But the relationship with herfiance makes her feel safe in the wake a violently abusive past that sneaksup on her psyche from time to time.

The emotional complications of this love triangle are engrossingand deeply heartfelt, and Carmen's character is vividly drawn, with Verbekeinfusing her with a style that makes army pants seem incredibly sexy andan irresistible spirit of newfound empowerment, albeit tinged with stormymelancholy of growing inner turmoil. Writer-director Matthew Parkhill creativelymixes film and low-end digital video (impoverished aspiring-filmmaker Kithas a habit of keeping a video diary) to provide a first-person immediacythat is at once sweetly romantic and a little creepy. And even though themagic between Verbeke ("The Other Side of the Bed") and Bernal("BadEducation") is slightly undermined by bothactors' awkwardness with English, their attraction is downright addicting.

Continue reading: Dot The I Review

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