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Pedro Almodovar (#110 of 28)

The Films of Pedro Almodóvar Ranked

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The Films of Pedro Almodóvar Ranked
The Films of Pedro Almodóvar Ranked

Finding the crux of a Pedro Almodóvar film is not unlike asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. In each case, the supposed science of the issue at hand is often short-circuited by impatience. Lest the comparison seem too glib, Almodóvar’s entire filmography is, to varying degrees, about the performance of taste, where characters often relate to one another not through their minds, but through their fingers, eyes, and teeth. Sweet tooths are more than a matter of dental hygiene; they’re a means of defining personal placement within the broader spectrum of vivid characters and self-serving interests. The bright color scheme of Almodóvar’s mise-en-scène redoubles these matters by problematizing realism as a dissenting faction amid otherwise psychologically defined characters, whose motivations are typically for sustenance of a rather short-order sort. On that note, Almodóvar’s oeuvre, and the characters that comprise it, can perhaps be best summarized by Carmen Maura’s character in Matador, who says near the film’s end: “Some things are beyond reason. This is one of them.”

Jerusalem Film Festival 2016 Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

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Jerusalem Film Festival 2016: Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

Inosan Productions

Jerusalem Film Festival 2016: Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

“Sababa!” Thus did Quentin Tarantino, in the only Hebrew slang every tourist learns, anoint his lifetime achievement award with the most appropriate endearment of the Tarantino ethos: “Cool!” Hoisting aloft a trophy that, from the evening distance, resembled a universal remote control made of coffee-colored glass, there could be no question that the Django Unchained auteur was the photographic and celebrity main attraction of the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival’s opening night. After a brisk acceptance speech punctuated by a nod to the recently departed Michael Cimino, who was absent from the evening’s montage dedicated to recently departed notables from the world of film, he resumed his front row seat; a glut of photographers pursued him as iron filings collect around a magnet. Despite his predilection for speaking his mind, and the ongoing unrest in the United States, Tarantino put on his best diplomatic face and kept his opinions to himself.

Cannes Film Review: Personal Shopper and Julieta

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Cannes Film Review: Personal Shopper and Julieta

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Review: Personal Shopper and Julieta

This year’s Cannes Film Festival could use more women directors, as there are only three among the official competition lineup of 20. What the festival’s program isn’t hurting for, however, are films centered around a distinctly female experience. Andrea Arnold, with American Honey, attempted a reimagining of Jack Kerouac’s masculine Beat Generation manifesto On the Road as a modern expression of a woman’s sex-rebel freedom; with The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook adapted Sarah Waters’s novel Fingersmith by upping the agency of its femme fatales; and while Maren Adé’s Toni Erdmann may be named after its male protagonist, it’s much more about the effect he has on his daughter, an independent businesswoman.

Cannes Film Festival 2014: Winter Sleep, Wild Tales, and Amour Fou Reviews

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Cannes Film Festival 2014: <em>Winter Sleep</em>, <em>Wild Tales</em>, and <em>Amour Fou</em> Reviews
Cannes Film Festival 2014: <em>Winter Sleep</em>, <em>Wild Tales</em>, and <em>Amour Fou</em> Reviews

With his latest, Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s characteristic obsession with his country’s variegated topography takes him to Cappadocia, a remote stretch of the Anatolian countryside whose strange mound-like formations provide the backdrop for an intimate tale of marital take-and-no-give that’s been stretched (for no apparent reason other than indulgence) to over three hours. Much like the lead character, a charismatic former actor who now runs the Hotel Othello, Ceylan’s film doesn’t know when to let an argument rest. The obvious analogue here would be Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage; the key difference lies in Winter Sleep’s absolute refusal to let anything be at emotional stake. The husband expounds, his wife or sister rebuts, and then he uses his considerable rhetorical acumen to put them in their place. A subplot dealing with a dispute between the hotelier and his tenant farmers seems left over from an earlier film. And in case there were any doubt as to the fatuousness of Ceylan’s approach here, look no further than an excruciatingly protracted scene involving an envelope stuffed with money and a crackling fireplace telegraphs its inevitable conclusion from the start. Perhaps such inexorability is Ceylan’s true theme. If so, he still has to answer for taking nearly forever to get there.

15 Famous Airplane Movies

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15 Famous Airplane Movies
15 Famous Airplane Movies

Pedro Almodóvar is back this week with I’m So Excited, a high-flying lark about sex, drugs, and past and present Spanish politics, all set on a commercial jet that can’t find a decent place to land. The cast of characters, played by Almodóvar alums like Javier Cámara and Cecilia Roth, and international breakouts like Raúl Arévalo, do whatever they can to distract themselves from potential doom, while the aircraft flies in limbo-like circles. The randy comedy got us thinking of other films that take to the skies, from sci-fi nightmares and fact-based dramas to war flicks and ensemble classics. Read on to see which movies made it on board.

15 Famous Movie Apparitions

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15 Famous Movie Apparitions
15 Famous Movie Apparitions

This weekend, your antidote to R-Pattz/K-Stew gossip is the sure-to-be throwaway ghost flick The Apparition, starring the crumbling couple’s Twilight co-star, Ashley Greene. Serving as Greene’s first star vehicle, the new thriller tells of a haunting presence derived from a shady parapsychology experiment, and sees a young woman (Greene) and her hunk husband (Sebastian Stan) scream their guts out before, naturally, calling in an expert (played by Lucius Malfoy himself, Tom Felton). There are plenty of memorable movie specters who’ve preceded Greene’s floorboard-creaking houseguest, and they’ll still be planted in viewers’ minds long after The Apparition dissolves into oblivion. Who to expect on this week’s list? Let’s just say that Carmen Maura, Jennifer Jones, and Bill Cosby have more in common than you might have thought.

If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot R. Kurt Osenlund’s Top 10 Films of All Time

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If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot: R. Kurt Osenlund’s Top 10 Films of All Time
If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot: R. Kurt Osenlund’s Top 10 Films of All Time

The highly subjective task of compiling a list of the 10 best films of all time is nearly as daunting as the thought that plagues every film completist: How on earth will I ever catch up with more than a century’s worth of cinema? The answer, of course, is that nobody really can, and in a sense, surrendering to that truth offers a kind of liberation. We all want to devour as many great movies as possible, but there comes a time when we have to accept a certain morsel of defeat. Which is basically my disclaiming way of saying that I came at this project with a highly personal and minimally authoritative approach, selecting a group of favorites instead of stamping my feet and declaring history’s 10 best films. Contributors were encouraged to tackle their lists however they saw fit, and some have certainly delivered what they regard as the definitive cream of the crop. More power to those folks, and to those whose picks are far less populist and more Sight & Sound-friendly than mine. Ultimately, while I gave much consideration to artistic influence and chronological diversity (and winced at the snubbing of films like The Red Shoes, Pulp Fiction, My Own Private Idaho, and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul), there were really only 10 titles I ever could have chosen. Quite simply, these movies changed my life.