Category Archives: Spanish Movies

Pedro Almodovar: A Retrospective

Hello, all. Today, I have a guest contribution from a very talented writer- Zack Mandell of www.movieroomreviews.com. Zack takes a deeper look at the work of Pedro Almodovar. Enjoy, and thank you to Zack for the contribution! 

For a better part of the 1950s until the 1970s, there was a triumvirate of foreign filmmakers who made a significant splash in American cinema. Those men were Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Italian director Federico Fellini and Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Certainly there were other reputable foreign directors of the era; my personal favorites include French New Wave pioneers Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut. The aforementioned three were the titans of their day however. American audiences regularly turned out to see the latest masterworks, such as Persona, 8 ½, and Rashomon. In today’s cinematic world, there really is no such equivalent trifecta, which isn’t to say that American art houses are lacking for sensational foreign films. Just in the last five years cinephiles have been treated to such fare as A Separation and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. But there are no foreign directors in the modern era that have a reputation tantamount to, say, Fellini’s… save one. He’s from Spain, and his name is Pedro Almodovar. Continue reading

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Explaining Earth to Extraterrestrials Using Five Films

Wunderkind film writer Sam Fragoso from Duke & the Movies has cooked up a doozie of a blogathon this week. This is the task at hand:

Extraterrestrial forces land on Earth. Unknowing of our planet and society, you can pick five films from the history of cinema that represent humanity. What titles would you choose and why?

It’s a really unique concept. At its heart, the blogathon is about boiling down all of humanity and civilized history into five films. As a human, I feel that I’m uniquely qualified to select five films of my own, each for specific reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, Ingmar Bergman, Movies, Spanish Movies, Swedish Film

Iron Director: Louis, Luis (Malle v. Buñuel)

It’s time for the third entry in the Iron Director series. In the first edition, the theme was “Directors I became obsessed with in 2010”- Francois Truffaut and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, with Truffaut emerging victorious. In the second edition, I pitted two people that I consider to be the two greatest living American directors, Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers. Scorsese just barely earned the win. For this entry, we’ll be taking a look at two guys with the same name, albeit different spellings- Louis Malle and Luis Buñuel. To set the mood, I highly recommend watching this clip of The Kingsmen singing Louie, Louie. These two have always been linked in my head for a handful of reasons. I have an ongoing internal conversation about which of the two is my 2nd favorite director of all-time. I’ve mentioned both of them as my 2nd favorite on multiple occasions. Depending on the week, you’re liable to get a different answer. I’m a great admirer of both of their filmographies. Both have worked, and excelled, in several countries. There aren’t a lot of similarities on the surface, but going a little deeper shows that they’re not wildly different. Let’s dig in: Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, Movies, Silent Movies, Spanish Movies

I Love You, Movies

With Valentine’s Day coming up very soon, I thought I’d give a special gift to movies- a love note, as it were, to some of my favorites. Here are 100 movies that I love- the kinds of movies that I can watch again and again. These are the films that blow me away with their genius. Or they’re the films that make me laugh every time. They’re the movies that have turned me into a movie nerd. These are 100 movies that I love, presented only in alphabetical order. In fairness, I love countless movies- hundreds and hundreds more than 100. So consider this my attempt at (for the most part) keeping it a little light-hearted and staying mostly away from the heavier drama. Beyond that, there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason here. Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, Louis Malle, Movies, Silent Movies, Spanish Movies, Swedish Film

Opening Pandora’s Box: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Not too long ago, I found out about a book called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Per Wikipedia:

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (ISBN 9780764161513) is a film reference book compiled by various critics worldwide and edited by Steven Jay Schneider. It is a part of a series from Quintessence Editions Ltd. Each title is accompanied by a brief synopsis and critique, some with pictures. Presented chronologically, the current edition begins with Georges Méliès‘ A Trip to the Moon in 1902 and currently concludes with Quentin Tarantino‘s 2009 film Inglourious Basterds.

As you may recall from the Don’t Watch It, John series, I am not one to back down from a challenge. I think you see where this is going. Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, German Films, Movies, Silent Movies, Spanish Movies, Swedish Film

Let My Movies Go: Five Films That Need Wider Releases

For many reasons, some films are in peril of being lost to time. For instance, Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana was perceived as so blasphemous that Franco and his censors ordered that all copies be destroyed. On the Criterion Collection release, the film’s star- Silvia Pinal- says that two copies of it were buried, waiting to see the light of day only after better times had come. It took some 16 years before Viridiana gained traction. Here’s a list of five films that need a wider release and deserve to be more readily available to people.

Los Olvidados (1950)

Speaking of Buñuel, one of his best films is virtually impossible to find. The best luck I’ve had finding Los Olvidados is with out of print VHS tapes that have very poor subtitling. Everything about the film screams “Buñuel”- it hums with the skewering of class structures, total institutions, and an eerie, experimental dream sequence that’s one of the best I’ve ever seen put to film. It deserves to be seen. Continue reading

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Five Must-See Scenes and Films from Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel was a genius, the master of the absurd. If John Cassavetes is the Godfather of Independent Cinema, then Buñuel is the Godfather of Surrealist Cinema, starting with his landmark collaboration with Salvador Dali in 1929, Un Chien Andalou. His career was spent laying social conventions to waste. Sometimes he nailed sexual conventions. Sometimes it was class structure. Sometimes it was religion. If there’s a social institution or convention out there, he found a way to poke fun at it. Here are five must-see scenes/films from Buñuel. Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, Spanish Movies