From Argentina, this Oscar-nominated collection of six short, sharp stories leaves us gasping for breath due to both riotous black comedy and deeply unnerving plot twists. Each segment is about people who are pushed beyond the tipping point, finding revenge in an unexpected way that feels both deeply horrifying and disturbingly satisfying. And even though it sometimes veers wildly close to being over-the-top, the film is written, directed and played with such brutal honesty that it can't help but rattle us to the core.
The prologue is titled "Pasternak", set on an airplane on which passengers are surprised to find out that they all have a connection to Gabriel Pasternak. But what does he have in store for them all? Next is "The Rats", set in a roadside diner where waitress Moza (Julieta Zylberberg) is unnerved to serve a loan shark (Cesar Bordon) who destroyed her family. The chef (Rita Cortese) thinks she should poison his food. "The Strongest" follows Diego (Leonardo Sbaraglia), a wealthy man driving his shiny car down a highway when he comes up to Mario (Walter Donado) hogging the road with his rattling clunker. Passing him with a volley of obscenities, Diego is then horrified when he has a flat tyre and knows who's coming down the road behind him.
The fourth clip is "Little Bomb", about demolition expert Simon (Ricardo Darin), who engages the city's bureaucrats in a quickly escalating war when his car is erroneously towed for parking illegally. "The Proposal" is the most cerebral segment, centring on a wealthy man (Oscar Martinez) trying to clear his teen son (Alan Daicz), who has just run down a pregnant woman in the street. The idea is to find a scapegoat. And in "Until Death Parts Us", a bride (Erica Rivas) discovers in the middle of their marriage reception that her new husband (Diego Gentile) has been cheating on her. Her reaction is neither calm nor measured.
Continue reading: Wild Tales Review
What a coincidence! Actors Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem have reportedly had a daughter on the same day of Kate Middleton and Prince William's son's birth.
Is it just us or has the world gone completely baby bonkers? Whilst Kate Middleton was giving birth to her son yesterday, Penélope Cruz also pushed out a youngster as the world's gaze was elsewhere. Spanish actress Cruz and her husband actor Javier Bardem welcomed a little girl into the world on Monday 22nd July in Madrid, reports Spanish magazine Hola.
Penélope Cruz Has Apparently Given Birth To A Daughter.
Cruz did look like she was about to pop in photos only days before birth reports began to circulate but a rep speaking to Yahoo! omg! says that no official birth confirmation has been made.
Continue reading: It's A Bardem Baby! Penélope Cruz & Javier Welcome Little Girl
Javier Camara, Pedro Almodovar, Blanca Suarez and Miguel Angel Silvestre - 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival - "I'm So Excited" Opening Night Gala Premiere - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 13th June 2013
Star Trek Into The Darkness draws huge crowds at the premiere, Pedro Almodovar returns to his roots with I'm So Excited & Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reprise their roles in Fast & Furious 6.
The big event this week was the world premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness in London, attended by the entire cast, director J.J. Abrams, the writers, producers and any celebrity in shouting distance of Leicester Square. The film is gaining buzz among critics who have already seen it in advance of its UK release next week. It opens in America on May 17th.
This week's big release in America is Iron Man 3, which has already made more than $300 million worldwide. In the UK, there's an eclectic mix of new releases in cinemas, from the dark action of Dead Man Down, starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, to the wacky comical antics of Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited, which features cameos from his regulars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.
Fans of more recent Almodovar films like The Skin I Live In or Volver should be warned about this one, because it harks back to his much cheesier 1980s films with its broad comedy, lurid production values and camp characters. But even if it looks fluffy and silly, there are some serious things going on under the surface, as Almodovar undermines stereotypes and plays with sexuality issues. Although this means that most of the humour is aimed at a gay audience.
It all takes place on a flight from Spain to Mexico, but shortly after take-off the pilot (de la Torre) announces that a mechanical fault means they need to make an emergency landing. Then the passenger Bruna (Duenas) reveals that she's a virginal psychic who sees death ahead, and everyone starts to panic. The flight crew (Camara, Areces and Arevalo) try to distract the passengers from impending doom by performing a choreographed number to the Pointer Sisters' eponymous hit. And when that doesn't work, they lace everyone's drinks with mescaline.
Each person in the first class cabin (economy is sound asleep) has his or her own crisis, including a notorious dominatrix (Roth), a businessman (Torrijo) on a quest, a shady hitman (Yazpik), a just-married groom (Silvestre) who prefers his wife to be asleep, and a man (Toledo) running from his suicidal girlfriend (Vega). And the pilots and flight attendants are also romantically entangled. All of this swirls together like a nutty 1970s Mexican soap, complete with flimsy-looking sets and a sparky mariachi score.
Continue reading: I'm So Excited! [Los Amantes Pasajeros] Review
Robert (Banderas) is a skin-transplant specialist who goes against bioethics rules to experiment on a new kind of skin for Vera (Anaya), a young woman he keeps trapped in his home and cares for with the help of his childhood nanny Marilia (Paredes). But everyone has a secret, and Robert's relates to a young man (Cornet) he kidnapped six years earlier following an incident that drove his teen daughter (Suarez) to suicide. Actually, all of this started much earlier when Robert's wife was horribly burned in a car accident.
Continue reading: The Skin I Live In Review
When Veronica (Onetto), a respected wife and mother, hits something with her car, she starts to become disconnected from the bustling, well-heeled European society she lives in, haunted by the indigenous people living around the edges of her life. This is clearly caused by guilt, but is that due to her affair with an in-law (Genoud) or the fact that she may have killed someone. As her mental confusion grows, her husband (Bordon) and lover seem to close ranks around her to make everything right again.
Continue reading: The Headless Woman [La Mujer Sin Cabeza] Review
Mateo (Homar) is a filmmaker who, after going blind, has locked himself in his Madrid flat writing scripts with Diego (Novas), son of his loyal agent (Portillo). Then he hears of the death of wealthy financier Ernesto (Gomez), who 14 years earlier had bankrolled a film project starring his trophy mistress Lena (Cruz), who was desperate to get out of the relationship. Back then, as Lena and Mateo started spending rather too much time together, Ernesto sent his teen son (Ochandiano) to follow them, ostensibly to film a making-of doc.
Continue reading: Broken Embraces [los Abrazos Rotos] Review
Almodóvar's narrative is a marvel of temporal-shifting beauty, seamlessly moving back and forth between the film's "present" of 1988, the immediate past, and a short story written by Angel (Gael García Bernal) which segues among 1988, 1977, and the 1960s while featuring its own story-within-a-story. While such convoluted chronological fracturing is initially confusing, the ultimate effect of the director's time-hopping plot construction - especially considering that Bernal tackles multiple, intimately related roles - is that one quickly finds the boundaries between reality and fiction melting away. Life and art symbiotically imitate each other in Almodóvar's colorful, hot-blooded world, with no discussion of the one complete without mention of the other. And with the story of Angel and Enrique, boyhood friends at Catholic school who are reunited years later and become involved in a semi-autobiographical movie about their youth, the relationship between fiction and reality becomes so blurred that, by film's end, there's no way to distinguish between the two.
Continue reading: Bad Education Review
Films like Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason strike me as cinematic equivalents to crack pipe hits for girls. They are down and dirty, pass the goods, quick fixes. Most chick flicks aren't even romantic, unless your idea of romance is watching two people kiss, fight, and babble like infants. They hardly qualify as comedies, either; most are middling, sentimental and absurd. (Before the hate mail pours in, "guy" flicks are just as mindless: monotonous action, deus ex machina, T&A, and unremitting explosions. Neither is the victor in a contest for taste.) Good comedic romances, true romantic comedies, are very hard to come by. The Flower of My Secret is one of those rare romantic comedies that is both very romantic and quite funny.
Continue reading: The Flower of My Secret Review
Indeed, Manuela is always moving. With the untimely death of her son, Estoban, she moves to Barcelona to embark upon a search for Estoban's father. In Barcelona, she is constantly moving from one place to another, doing something or another for someone. Save a transsexual prostitute (Antonio San Juan) here, help a pregnant nun (Penelope Cruz) there. Help smooth out the turbulent lesbian relationship between two actresses (Marisa Paredes and Candela Pena) here, usher an older woman (Rosa Maria Sarda) into a great understanding of life there. She never stops.
Continue reading: All About My Mother Review