ACTOR - Javier Bardem
We actors always say how difficult and physically demanding a role was. But give me a break, it's only a movie.
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|SirPant's Rating||My Rating|
Ages of Lulu 1990, Unrated)
This film was labelled 'Typically Erotic' in the same breath as its director Bigas Luna. It's not erotic though, people get naked, have sex etc but it is pretty far from erotic. I was willing to forgive the unnecessary and tasteless opening scene but as the film descended into puerile filth I've decided not to. I think Lunas saw the error of his ways later on, as rude as his later films are, they still have a lot of charm about them, something that The ages of Lulu severely lack. That said, it is about 10 minutes worth of footage that spoil an otherwise pleasant film. This film is potent, sickening and just a little tiresome. One for the dirty old men I'm afraid - 2 stars purely for the good direction and the few moments of humour and tenderness.
Tacones Lejanos (High Heels) 1991, R)
Jamón Jamón 1992, R)
I preferred Jamon Jamon to most of Lunas's films because it is erotic and sexy without the tastelessness he can be often guilty of (Ages of Lulu). First off, this film made me want to go to Spain, in really is quite seductive. It's also quite funny. Nude bullfighting anyone? That said, it's not an Almodovar film. I know that may seem like an obvious and even lazy comparison but it is hard not to compare the two. The acting is spot on, I didn't care for the story at times and I have to say I did have issues with the possibility of animal cruelty here (I hope I'm wrong). It was funny but not laugh out loud funny. The conclusion was a little too predictable and a little farcical for my liking but still, not bad. As my mother would say, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem had to have got married after that!
The Bilingual Lover (El Amante Bilingüe) 1993, Unrated)
Huevos de oro (Golden Balls) 1993, Unrated)
Golden Balls is pure 80's. Not made in the 80's, set in the 80's, capturing the obsession of wealth, greed, power and manipulation brilliantly. It's also very erotic (Bigas Luna is a very naughty boy), very funny and well acted. Javier Bardem is under-appreciated in his role here, I think he does an amazing job. It was also well written. The characters never descended into drug or drink fuelled madness, their comeuppance was purely thanks to their own doing - A welcome change to a road well trodden, and one that certainly makes this a stand out film.
La Teta i la lluna (The Tit and the Moon) 1994, Unrated)
A child's take on life can be funny, in The Tit and the Moon, Bigas Luna reminisces about his own childhood thoughts and remembers what he thought was true about woman's breast milk, how it gets there and what it's for. Now, there is nothing wrong with reminiscing about Child like things, it is funny, we all laugh, but watching a ten year old boy drinking from the breasts of many naked adult woman doesn't sit so well, I mean, what if it were the other way round and the main character was a little girl, there would be outrage, and rightly so. Still, it's Catalonia man, I love Catalonia and the crazy Catalonia people. I also like breasts and there are many to see here, so all in all, a good film, just prepare to feel a little uncomfortable in places.
Días Contados (Numbered Days) (Running Out of Time) 1994, Unrated)
El Detective y la muerte (The Detective and Death) 1994, Unrated)
Mouth to Mouth (Boca a Boca) 1995, R)
Éxtasis (Ecstasy) 1996, Unrated)
Not Love Just Frenzy 1996, Unrated)
Airbag 1997, Unrated)
Live Flesh (Carne trémula) 1997, R)
Torrente: The Dumb Arm of the Law 1998, Unrated)
Entre las piernas (Between Your Legs) 1998, Unrated)
Segunda Piel (Second Skin) 2000, R)
Before Night Falls 2001, R)
The Dancer Upstairs 2002, R)
Collateral 2004, R)
The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro) (The Sea Within) 2004, PG-13)
Euthanasia is a tricky subject, not one you can go into lightly. Alejandro Amenábar was a brave man to tackle the story of Ramon Sampedro but I thought he did it respectfully and honestly. I'm yet to see a bad Javier Bardem performance either, he's rapidly becoming one of my all time favourite actors. Agree or disagree with Euthanasia, you can't deny this film raises quite a few important questions - thought provoking and beautiful, a masterful piece of cinema.
Goya's Ghosts 2006, R)
Invisibles 2007, Unrated)
No Country for Old Men 2007, R)
Love in the Time of Cholera 2007, R)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona 2008, PG-13)
Not one of Woody Allen's best but certainly not his worst! Actually, I quite liked it. He picket a great cast (well half a great cast) and kept it simple and beautiful. The main annoyance I have with this film is the voice over/narration. Its lazy and unnecessary but the pretentious over 60's in the audience loved it!
Biutiful 2010, R)
It's fair to say that I've been quite a harsh critic of Alejandro González Iñárritu's films, I'm far from being his biggest fan so I wasn't really interested in watching another but my other half is a big Javier Bardem fan, so we sat down to watch Biutiful. It turned out to be a very aptly named film and one of the best I've seen in recent years. I can't quite believe it myself but all the things that have bugged me about his films over the years have all been replaced with pure brilliant film making. Gone has the dodgy editing, contrived story and unconvincing performances but probably more importantly, so has Guillermo Arriaga. Don't get me wrong, I like his work but Alejandro González Iñárritu never quite managed to do his stories justice. It turns out that Alejandro González Iñárritu is just as good a writer anyway, so it's nice that the first of his films that I really enjoyed was written by him. The acting is brilliant, Javier Bardem is always good and this must be a contender as being one of his greatest performances. The story is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, there's no schmaltz here though, the film feels very real, very brutal but all the better for it. I was captivated from the start to be honest, the film really hits it's peak two thirds in but was consistently entertaining. I think it deserves masterpiece status to be honest, as I haven't been this captivated since Breaking the Waves and that is in my top 5 favourite films of all time. Highly recommended!
Eat Pray Love 2010, PG-13)
Either Elizabeth Gilbert didn't actually go to Italy/Bali/India or she's been a little 'creative' with the truth. It's fair to say she's not exactly your archetype backpacker. She probably did go to these countries but had a crap time so made up the rest, she obviously as rich as she is vacuous, egotistical and thoroughly unlikable - Julia Roberts being well cast then! Boring, stupid, horrible. Who is this crap for, bored housewives? Do me a favour, intelligent thinking my arse!
To The Wonder 2013, R)
The Tree of Life was dreamlike, To the Wonder is just sleep-inducive. Is legendary director Terrance Malick going for existential? Is the film supposed to be melancholic? If so he really should watch more French films and have a word with Lars von Trier because he needs to up his game. Is the cinematography a ghostly vision of reality? A dreamlike representation of the human soul perhaps? Or is it just more swoopy wobbly camera action because Mr Malick can't do anything else. The story is a shambles. It's easy, lazy even. The illusion of depth. To the Wonder by Calvin Klein.
Skyfall 2012, PG-13)
Not at all what I expected, although with Sam Mendes at the helm it does make sense. It's the re-invention of re-inventions, God knows Bond has been through a few in recent years. I think this time though they got it right and it was a long time coming. Casino Royal was a misfired attempt at an idea that Quentin Tarantino touted and quite frankly, they should have let him have a go. Instead they played it safe and it was boring. Same goes for Quantum of Solace which was even more boring, I can't even remember what happened it was that forgettable. Skyfall has re-invented the idea of Bond, what is his point in this day and age you ask, well Skyfall tells you, it makes him relevant again. It also touches on him as a character as well, I'm not sure he really needed a back story, although Flemming does touch on it in his books. He's quite a dark character when you look at his history, they wisely avoid this though in Skyfall. Bond has shown his venerability before but never so much so as he does here, frankly I didn't like it but they just about get away with the cliche of the washout returns to form. The real re-invention here though is actually (and quite unashamedly) a return to what Bond always was. (Doh!). I've heard people say that it was the only thing they could do to avoid spending a massive budget, indeed this did feel like credit-crunch Bond but again I'm not sure past Bond budgets have been justifiable. *Spoilers* Basically, Bond isn't redundant in the modern technologically dependent world because computers etc can be manipulated, you need a man on the ground, you need the man in the shadows, the ruthless killer and ladies man of the Flemming novels. Q is back, toned down a bit but still he's back, as is Miss Money Penny (brilliantly reintroduced). Then we have M. No more being bossed around by a Women eh! Not very PC but in their defence Money Penny is now Black! *Sarcastic wink*. Also, and this really did surprise me (although it was probably common knowledge by now) M is a man again! Break out the cigars and Brandy, he's even got a leather door! Bond, very much back then. A brave move, even though it felt like they had to do it to save the franchise, either way, good move. Maybe now we can start to forget all about that invisible car...
Alacrán Enamorado 2013, Unrated)
The Counselor 2013, R)
Prone Gunman 2014, Unrated)