Posts tagged with “Oscar race”
BROKEN EMBRACES (2009/IN THEATERS) It’s great that Penélope Cruz is once again nominated for an Oscar…but isn’t it for the wrong movie? Her performance in Nine is fine, but she is so incredible and shows so much range in Broken Embraces, her fourth collaboration with Pedro Almódovar. Only four? Seems like they have been making films together for years—bringing out the best in each other. This movie meaningfully focuses on a filmmaker (Harry Caine, aka Mateo Blanco, played by Lluís Homar, a dead ringer for Patrick Swayze!) and his muse—Cruz as Lena, his lead actress and lover. The film is so multi-layered, it’s difficult to sum up in a few short words. If you’ve read the reviews, you’ll know that there are many flash-backs and much to be revealed. Harry, when the movie opens, is blind and working under his pseudonym. As the story develops, we learn more…and more, not just about Lena, but others as well. The supporting players in this complex and dark story are equally marvelous. José Luis Gómez plays Ernesto Martel, the film’s bad guy—the rich man who “owns” Lena and bankrolls Mateo’s movie, only to seek ultimate revenge when the filmmaker and actress consummate their love. Blanca Portillo (Agustina in Volver) plays Judit, Harry’s production manager and friend, a seemingly straight forward relationship–but just wait for the many twists. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly has recommended seeing this film twice to catch all the twists and turns. I have yet to make it for my second viewing, but I’m definitely planning one.
Grade: A For Almódovar fans ONLY.
P.S. Did I mention that Penélope Cruz is absolutely mesmerizing? You can’t take your eyes off her. A.O.Scott (NYT) calls her “haunted and haunting.” High praise.
P.P.S. Most fun of all: the movie they’re making in the film, entitled “Girls and Suitcases,” when we finally get to see it, is a take for take remake of the hilarious last scenes in “Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”—the first Almódovar movie I ever saw in 1988. Wonderful….
THE HURT LOCKER (2008/DVD) Let me start by saying that I don’t like war movies. World wars, Civil wars, Vietnam, no thank you. I see enough of that on the news. What drew me to The Hurt Locker was its director. Much has been made about this tough movie being directed by a woman, and it is notable that there isn’t a single second of this movie that could be described as feminine. I already assumed that Kathryn Bigelow must be pretty damn ballsy (and possibly have some judgement issues?) because she was married for a time to Oscar competition and noted flaming A-hole James Cameron. (She also directed guiltiest of guilty pleasures, Point Break, which forever secures her a slot on my All Awesome team.) And in a year where I keep hearing about how Nancy Meyers makes “movies for women” it is extremely satisfying to watch Bigelow do basically the exact opposite. Read more »