Petra Martinez

Petra Martinez

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Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Review


Excellent

Even though the central character is somewhat undefined, this film is a thorough creep-out, playing on our vulnerabilities while making the villain the most sympathetic person on-screen. Balaguero is one of the directors behind the [Rec] series, and knows how to unsettle his audience with atmospheric, skin-crawling sequences that are made especially visceral due to the realistic acting.

An impressive presence in the prison thriller Cell 211, the Bolivian political drama Even the Rain and as a drug kingpin in the Miami Vice movie, Spanish actor Tosar stars as Cesar, the likeable doorman at a creaky Madrid apartment block. But he secretly despises the residents, and is quietly destroying their lives, tormenting an elderly woman (Martinez) and her two beloved dogs, brutally threatening a young girl (Almeida Molina), and casting suspicion on mother-and-son cleaners (Fernandez and Morilla). But his biggest plan is for Clara (Etura), the sexy young woman in flat 5B. And while her boyfriend (San Juan) is away on business, he lurks in the shadows of her apartment plotting something unspeakable.

Director Balaguero keeps the film on low boil, refusing to explain everything in the plot while quietly twisting the moody tone. Every scene is a bundle of insinuation that suggests something truly nasty, and it's refreshing that Tosar never tries to make us understand what Cesar is up to: we see why everyone likes him, and also why they should be terrified of him. We only ever get a vague idea of his overall plan, but the things he does along the way are sinister enough to keep us nervous. As are hints that he may have done this before.

Continue reading: Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Review

Bad Education Review


Extraordinary
Pedro Almodóvar's films have always oozed adoration for tawdry movie melodrama, from the Telemundo-on-cocaine gaudiness of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to the sweet, sentimental "women's picture" romance of The Flower of My Secret. And the auteur's latest, Bad Education, may be his defining statement on the fundamental relationship between ordinary life and the illusions projected large in dark, mysterious movie houses. A fantasia of Almodóvar's trademark hang-ups that nonetheless surpasses his previous outings in scope, structure, and heart, the movie is a marvelous, noir-inspired meditation on love, sex, and identity that pulses with florid passion. It may be the best film of the year.

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

Bad Education Review


Extraordinary
Pedro Almodóvar's films have always oozed adoration for tawdry movie melodrama, from the Telemundo-on-cocaine gaudiness of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to the sweet, sentimental "women's picture" romance of The Flower of My Secret. And the auteur's latest, Bad Education, may be his defining statement on the fundamental relationship between ordinary life and the illusions projected large in dark, mysterious movie houses. A fantasia of Almodóvar's trademark hang-ups that nonetheless surpasses his previous outings in scope, structure, and heart, the movie is a marvelous, noir-inspired meditation on love, sex, and identity that pulses with florid passion. It may be the best film of the year.

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

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