Pedro Almodóvar Assembles Excellent Cast For The Brief Lovers

Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas, Raúl Arévalo, José María Yazpik and Javier Cámara are set to star in The Brief Lovers, an all-out comedy from Spanish filmmaker extraordinaire Pedro Almodóvar.

Roth, Dueñas and Cámara have all worked with Almodóvar before on previous projects (All About My Mother, Volver and Talk To Her, respectively), while Arévalo and Yazpik are newcomers to the writer and directors trademark Continue reading “Pedro Almodóvar Assembles Excellent Cast For The Brief Lovers”

London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2012: Winners

Actors, actresses, critics and industry types gathered at the BFI Southbank, London earlier this evening to reveal the 32nd annual London Critics’ Circle Film Award winners.

Emerging on top were The Artist, which scooped three awards; A Separation, which won two prizes; and We Need To Talk About Kevin, which – deservedly so – won British Film Of Year .

Anna Paquin (!!!) tied with Meryl Streep for Actress Of The Year, while Olivia Continue reading “London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2012: Winners”

BAFTA Film Awards 2012: Nominations

The nominations for the 2012 Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA’s) were revealed earlier this morning by Daniel Radcliffe and Holliday Grainger.

The Artist lead the way with a whopping twelve nominations, with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy following closely behind with a still impressive ten.

Meanwhile, The Descendants, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Hugo and The Help all picked up several nominations in key categories, while Paddy Considine, Continue reading “BAFTA Film Awards 2012: Nominations”

Golden Globes 2012: Winners

At a glitzy awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, California, the winners of the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced, with The Descendants, The Artist and Martin Scorsese winning the night’s top prizes.

In terms of acting, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin and Michelle Williams walked away winners for their performances in The Descendants, The Iron Lady, The Artist and My Week With Marilyn, respectively.

The full list of winners: Continue reading “Golden Globes 2012: Winners”

DVD Releases: December 26, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens

Director: Jon Favreau

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde Continue reading “DVD Releases: December 26, 2011”

Best Ten Films Of 2011

While 2011 hasn’t exactly been a year of record-breaking box office success, it has been a fantastic one for British cinema, emerging talent and unique independent features which found themselves surpassing the popularity of many much bigger movies.

The films I’ve chosen – and believe me when I say it wasn’t an easy process – are what I think represent the pinnacle of the cinema I Continue reading “Best Ten Films Of 2011”

BIFA Awards 2011: Nominations

Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Steve McQueen’s Shame and Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy lead the nominations for the 14th annual Moët British Independent Film Awards (BIFA’s), which were announced at a ceremony in London earlier today.

Other nominees include Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, Richard Ayoade’s Subarmine, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard. 

The BIFA’s, an awards ceremony aimed squarely at acknowledging the Continue reading “BIFA Awards 2011: Nominations”

Review: The Skin I Live In (2011)

Pedro Almodóvar is a world-renowned cinematic master at interlacing a multitude of plot threads and themes into a discernable and absorbing piece of filmmaking with a seemingly blasé attitude. His latest film, The Skin I Live In, personifies that applaudable ability further.

The Skin I Live In is a gloriously twisted and inherently psychological take on Thierry Jonquet’s short story Mygale: an almost Frankensteinian-esque fable centering on one’s ability to harbour wicked control through science. It tells the story of Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas, who was always Almodóvar’s first choice), a highly successful plastic surgeon who, after a Continue reading “Review: The Skin I Live In (2011)”

Cinema Releases: August 26, 2011

Final Destination 5

Director: Steven Quale

Starring: Nicholas D’Agosto, Emma Bell and Arlen Escarpeta Continue reading “Cinema Releases: August 26, 2011”

Almodóvar Retrospective #3 – Dark Habits

To mark the release of Pedro Almodóvar’s eighteenth feature film The Skin I Live In on August 26, I’ll be watching and reviewing one of his films per week in the hope of examining the acclaimed Spanish filmmakers extraordinary vision and knack for storytelling through his resonant filmography.

This week: Dark Habits

Dark Habits was Almodóvar’s third feature feature-length film, and the first to be made readily available on DVD in the US. The film revolves around nightclub singer Yolanda Bel (Cristina Sánchez Pascual), who seeks asylum in a Madrid convent after delivering strychnine-laced heroin to her boyfriend and fleeing the police.

With the plot synopsis you’d be prone to think that Dark Habits was a madcap affair. However, the result is more nuanced than you’d expect, with Almodóvar more considerate and respectful of his characters this time around. He lets them come into their own and replaces many of the melodramatic plot scenarios seen in Pepi, Luci, Bom And Other Girls Like Mom and Labyrinth Of Passion with more involved artifices. This growth in storytelling sees the characters’ individual arcs tied together into a much more satisfying whole, delivering a more rounded and sophisticated experience when compared to the clunky nature of his first two films. It’s clear he’s becoming less obsessed with melodrama and more interested in the dramatic.

Almodóvar’s direction reflects the laid-back and curious sentiment he holds for the characters and their respective plot-threads. In turn, he opts for long takes and observing camera angles, rather than the imposing and busy style we’ve become accustomed to. Dark Habits still emphasises Almodóvar’s reliance and fixation on bold colours, bizarre costume, and spunky decor, but they aren’t as in-your-face or obtrusive, which clearly shows that not only is Almodóvar evolving as a storyteller, but also as a director.

The performances within Dark Habits are subdued in a way that doesn’t always reflect the wacky makeup of the collection of characters on display: from drug addicted murderesses to berserk prostitutes. None of the characters engage in the way so many from Almodóvar’s future projects do, and they often remain as restrained as the uncharacteristically muted colour palate of the set design. Even though this can be chalked down to lack of experience, when you see how human and sympathetic Almodóvar makes certain characters in his latter films, you’d be excused for feeling a little disappointed at his lack of adventurousness here.

Dark Habits may be, at times, be clunky, flat and too restrained for its own good, but it does demonstrate Almodóvar’s growth, his developing interest in deeper, more affecting subject matter and his overall desire to strike the right balance between melodrama and straightforward drama. It’s an uneven piece of filmmaking, but perhaps the most reflective of Almodóvar’s true intention as a filmmaker to date.

Next week: What Have I Done To Deserve This?