đHwww.oocities.org/es/cifra2es/latest_reviews.htmwww.oocities.org/es/cifra2es/latest_reviews.htm.delayedxľeŐJ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ČŔř†ÍÖOKtext/htmlp1yTáÍÖ˙˙˙˙b‰.HTue, 19 Oct 2004 09:44:15 GMTqMozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *˝eŐJÍÖ LATEST REVIEWS

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Bad Education

(La Mala Educación)

by Pedro Almodóvar

***** / A-

with Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lluis Homar, Francisco Boira and Javier Cámara

  Two years after the huge, unprecedented success of "Talk to Her" internationally (well, OK, "All about my mother" was a clear precedent of Almodovar's status worldwide), Pedro Almodovar has just done it again. And unexpectingly by changing once more the direction of his career without changing it at all.

So, what did everyone expect from "Bad Education"? Probably nobody expected a back to the roots of "Law of Desire", but that's what Pedro has done.

It is difficult to approach such a complex, multilayered movie when trying to review it. Is it a thriller? Is it an attack to the Catholic Church? No. Was is it then? One of Almodovar's dream projects, which actually generated "Law of Desire" back on the eighties... based upon an unpublished short story, "The Visit" which Almodovar wrote before shooting his first feature ("Pepi, Luci, Boom y otras chicas del montón") Almodovar has developed a game of russian dolls, a mirror's game between fiction and reality, but always having above it his own personal remembrances... this movie is somewhat autobiographical, something the final titles might have you in chills, actually. You will want to know more about where does it end fiction and where start the actual facts.

The story looks simple at first glance... two school days friends met years later, one being a famous movie director (Fele Martinez, in a mediocre performance) and the other one an aspiring actor in search of a role and with a small tale written, "The Visit" who is perfectly played by Gael García Bernal in an absolutely amazing performance (for example, he makes disappear his mexican accent). "The Visit", of course, it is based upon their school days, the days they fell in love with each other, and the days of abuse by the Catholic Church. The predictabilty of this first half of the movie is what was suggesting a mistep by Almodovar after "Talk to Her"'s success... however, suddenly everything changes by a couple of twists and the movie developes into a "thriller" - more emotional than criminal - that turns black to white and viceversa. This way, Almodovar surprises once more with another unexpected follow up to a recent success...

On the acting side, top performances by the cast - that's it, but Fele Martinez, whose "Lovers of the Artic Circle" days went long ago - specially by Gael García Bernal and Javier Cámara in a small role as a transvestite, which completely steals the movie the minutes he's in. The rest of the cast (Homar, Cacho and Boira) is also perfectly casted and moving in threedimensional, layered roles. It's kind of surprising that in an Almodovar movie there is no Almodovar girl - save from Leonor Watling's cameo at the end - and it is men-ridden.

As you could expect also from Almodovar, the technical aspects are extremely good, specially José Luis Alcaine's cinematography... If you're wondering how far this movie can go on the Academy Awards, I'd say that it has a great shot at Director, Lead Actor (Bernal), Original Screenplay, Score and Cinematography, and minor shots at Picture, Supporting Actor (Cámara), Film Editing, Art Direction and Costume Design. And of course, Foreign Film, if Spain submits it - which I doubt, given what happened to "Talk to Her" a couple of years ago.

To summarize it in one sentence... Almodovar has three in a row. What's next? "Tarantula"? "La Abuela Fantasma"? Can't wait.


by Miguel Albadalejo

**** / B

with José Luis García Perez, David Castillo, Arno Chevrier, Elvira Lindo, Empar Ferrer and Felix Alvarez




This is a different movie, about a different kind of people that doesn't live in a different world.

Miguel Albadalejo happens to be gay and proud. Actually he belongs to a relatively unknown gay subgroup called "Bears", which are defined by masculine behaviour, looks and attitudes (however you can also find "queenies" among them, stereotypes are never the truth). Albadalejo admitedly inspired himself by the mood of Ralf König's comic books, which are both funny and sad at once, and the movie genuinely could have perfectly been a work by König himself, and obviously also focus on ordinary day gay life, which it is a perfect material for a dramedy.

What better Film Festival than Berlin (whose prize is the Golden BEAR) to release the movie and find promotion? First reviews that popped out there where mixed / positive and for a good reason... the movie can't avoid being too sentimental at several points and the acting by some of the supporting characters (specially the child's grandmother) is not on par with the credibility that irradiates from the starring ones (however, the show is stolen by a brief appearence by Fernando Tejero). Frankly, the movie is extremely realistic in its depiction of the bear way of life (promiscuity, lack of commitment) in its biggest stereotype (yet another, because that's NOT the rule) but also makes these guys appear as three-dimensional characters, ones you could care for and that reach your heart in all the anti-heroical dimension. And that's not a little achievement by Albadalejo, hands down one of the most interesting auteurs worldwide.

However, this time Alabadalejo almost sinks his own project with twenty risky yet disappointing final minutes... he can't avoid falling in some common places, too, but trying to offer them with a new perspective - sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he didn't - and in the end what we got is more a cult and necessary movie rather than the classic it could have been. It will end the year in my favorites list, but not in my "best" list, I'm afraid.

Dawn of the Dead

by Zack Snyder

**** 1/2 / B+ (Theatrical version)

(Director's cut ***** A)

with Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Webber and Mekhi Phifer

  The most pleasant surprise that - american - horror movies and remakes has given in years has arrived unexpectedly from an unknown director whose debut is going to be up there with the year's best films.

The key word should be "revisiting" rather than "remaking" George A. Romero's classic, with an adequate budget that allows the movie to be terrifingly credible and at the same time a hard "R" ride. Instead of repiting the original satire about consumism and the message that the enemy is among us, this time the story focus on how the enemy is AROUND us, an unbeatable in number, restless, fast and hungry enemy whose only target is to kill all human beings alive. The satire, however is still there, and it's not hard to find a certain paranoid xenophobic ingredient in that... and given that it is a James - Scooby Doo - Gunn screenplay is quite surprising to find such subtlety in the developement of some characters (one of the film's few flaws is that some characters are actually underwritten and not developed at all), who really evolve credibly - and movingly at some points. Another minor fault is one amazingly stupid decission by some of the characters but that Gunn doesn't really need to explain as any smart viewer knows the emotional state of the character and can "understand" why it was taken, and also is completely forgiven given the thrill ride that it provokes.

This is actually what many people has been asking for... an "R" rated thrill ride that delivers genuine chills and thrills, that is well written, directed and acted (convingcinly commanded by "My Life Without Me"'s Sarah Polley and "Pulp Fiction"'s Ving Rhames in two performances - along with Mekhi Phifer, the best acting in the movie - that you don't usually see in horror movies, controled, subtle when necessary and full of energy in the "rides"). Polley's character evolves from a kind nurse to an "Aliens"' Ripley-like character without any contradictions... she - as most of the characters - are forced to evolve to survivors given the circumstances.

On the film's biggest merits, of course, it should be pointed out the absolutely outstanding pre-credits sequence - even thought that some of the visual effects are quite obvious, that doesn't matter, it's so gripping that you don't care for obvious CGI - which gives away the humankind's last hours and how unnoticed armaggedom was rising among us (when you see it, you'll understand)... by the time Anne wakes up, her ordinary life has been transformed into a survival game without any mercy. It is not only scary because of what happens, but also and even more because WHO'S the enemy, an enemy that doesn't love you anymore but that just want you dead. That's been always one of the most scariest points of zombie movies, the subtle thought of rejection from the loved ones... and probably that's why zombies are so good for satyrical purposes in horror, their versatility as metaphoric components.

On technical issues, the score supports extremely well the thrills and chills, and I would never forget the "Don't worry be happy" song use in this movie... The Visual Effects are just good - at some point, extremely good - but hats off to the Make Up department, who had a big deal with so many - and different - zombie skins and hurts, and with the gory effects (yes there is much gore here, but not as much as in Romero's trilogy who went a bit over the top in that issue). The cinematography, while very good is another minor complaint, because just of the final sequences which I felt broke a bit with the style of the rest of the movie, but of course I smell that it is intended by Snyder to give us a completely "degenaration" of this universe, from the clear beginning to the grainy ending and later - video shot - end credits sequence which may or not put a full stop to the story (I doubt it) but will keep you glued till the very last second of projection. And that's no minor achievement these days. I'll stay tuned for Snyder's next.

(On other level, I'm in shock by the lack of marketing campaign for such a really good pop-corn movie in Spain. It is going to depend on word of mouth to become a success, but on the two times - something I don't usually do - I've seen it in theaters, it obviously convinced the audience of how good it is...)


Director's cut added comments: Basically the film main problems - specially not showing how they get into the mall - are fixed by the deleted escenes, and also more character developement and even more credibility is added to the movie, making it a completely "must see" and one of the year's best movies.


by Michel Gondry

***** / A

with Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Tom Wilkinson

  This is going to be a short review. Really short.

Michel Gondry's debut, "Human Nature" looked to me just as an expansion and-or repetition of his music videos. Kauffman's writing was already getting me tired since Adaptation, like if he could only write manic stuff, without less sense - that was more obvious in Gondry's "Nature".

So, I had little faith in this movie despite the raves and the great cast. But both filmmakers gave their best here. Gondry has confirmed also as a great actors director, and Jim Carrey's best performance to date is living proof of that.

Eternal Sunshine is a film not to be described, is a film to be lived, to be enjoyed, to analyze and apply its message to our lives. Not perfect - a couple of eccentricities distracted me too much at a couple of moments - the magical moments and the virtuosism of its construction label it as one of the key movies of the 00's so far.

I'm hoping Oscar will notice it. And thinking it will: Carrey, Winslet and Kauffman are due.

Fahrenheit 9/11

by Michael Moore

***** / A

with George W. Bush, Michael Moore, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld (documentary)


  Michael Moore is a genius. Well, he's not. But he's extremely smart, and has an agenda.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is an amazing movie, but a not so good documentary. Why? A documentary - at least theorically - is objective, and Moore's movies aren't. He tries to show us his point of view and make us see reality from his side. Is because of this that he's becoming such a popular and lauded filmmaker... the "Palme d'Or" at Cannes shocked many because almost noone foresaw that Cannes would give it to a Documentary - however, it's not the first that wins, Jacques Cousteu and Louis Malle's Silent World also won the top prize - but Tarantino - president of the Jury - justified it saying that it was simply the best movie around.

Don't know if that's true - haven't seen all Cannes entries - but Fahrenheit 9/11 is a great movie to enter the list of Cannes winners. Moore's greatness comes specially on how he manipulates our emotions. As Tarantino, he loves making us laugh and then catch us off-guard with terrible facts... In one of the most hilarious and at the same time scary sequences ever shown, we assist to George W. Bush's reaction to the September 11th attacks: read a children's book for minutes... This sequence alone justifies the existence of this movie.

The facts Moore brings to discuss are so, so overwhelming that you can't help to admire the filmmaker's control on how and when to expose it. And Moore does it perfectly... he can't be accused in any ways of being Anti-American, he constantly points out how his fight is against a government that actually seems to serve the interests of a corporation, even if that endangers thousands of american - and foreign - lives.

I'm not naive, though. This is Moore's bussiness, this is how Moore becomes a millionaire. But on an artistic point of view, this is great filmmaking, and only one inch below the superb "Bowling for Columbine" which still stands as Moore's best film, and one of the best of the new Millenium.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

by Alfonso Cuarón

**** 1/2 / B +

with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, David Thewliss, Michael Gambon, Emma Thomson and Alan Rickman

  Admiting I didn't see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, because the remembrance of Chris Columbus' first HP movie was scary enough to justify NOT viewing it unless raves appeared - which didn't - it was only Cuarón's name what made me give a chance for "Azkhaban"...

And I did good. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban is a really good movie, much better than the original first chapter in the series. A dark, more mature tale which in the end can serve as a metaphore of the changes boys and girls suffer through their teenage years. Changes and discovery are actually one of the main subjects of the film.

In this one, we assist to Harry's change. He changes his behaviour - he's more rebel - and his way of looking at the world. Nothing is what it seems, and even one of the childish elements in the movie turns out to be a source of evil. Nothing is what it seems this time, as we see our three boys - remember, Harry has two friends - grow up and wake up to "real" life.

Despite a somewhat weak ending which risks maybe too much being a mindf*ck - but looked to me great in its concept, HP stands one inch close to becoming a classic, but it makes some marketing concessions - it doesn't forget at all that it's all bussiness in the series, above the obvious interesting elements that the books have. Anyways, this time the movie is in good hands and Cuarón doesn't disappoint.


by Zhang Yimou

***** / A+

with Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi

  Regretfully, this masterpiece - one of the most beautiful films ever shot - has the shadow of the impact of a much lesser - and overrated - film hanging on it: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's success was a shock for everybody, showing that the limits for foreign language movies in the USA wasn't THAT low. The fact that the movie has opened directly to #1 of US box-office is somewhat a triumph of quality and marketing over prejudices.

This complex feature that features a very tricky message - ambiguous is the best word to describe it - about sacrifice and choosing the "lesser" bad, and the unexpected ways to find heroism in the lest likely of the persons - this time an expert assasin (marvelously portrayed by Jet Li, in probably his best performance to date). Zhang Yimou has always been one of the world's true masters - and at the same time, innovators of the cinematic language, like he proved in the magnificent "Keep Cool", that shocked many western audiences with the portrayal of a extremely modern Shanghai - high above the mediocrity of many so-called hopes of the new cinema - excuse me, I simply can't buy Steve Soderbergh.

Through this story of different points of views and retelling of the same story, which could have developed in a repetitive and boring narrrative structure, Yimou actually delivers an eye-poping and poinangt spectacle that gets instant admiration and a slot on the best films ever made, because in these years of vacuum beneath beauty, this is art that actually makes us think twice about the relativity of good and evil.

And that's no minor achievement, actually.

Karate a muerte en Torremolinos

by Pedro Temboury

* - *** 1/2  / F - C+

with (among others) Julio San Juan, Juanma Lara, Jess Franco, Pedro Temboury and Jordi Costa

  When the target is to make an outrageously bad film and the result is "Karate a Muerte in Torremolinos", you're tempted to label this movie as a masterpiece.


I happen to be friend of Pedro Temboury, you know... well, it's been one year since we last met and haven't seen his first feature till now that it is published on DVD, but I obviously know him - and his work - well enough to judge this movie in perspective - and trying to be objective.

Pedro Temboury is a trash culture lover. His education was basically made of two things: Jesús Franco's movies and Ramones-like punk rock. The trashier, the better, seems to be his motto, and in some ways I can't help recalling him as a new Ed Wood, an extraordinarily talented director for producing trashy entertainment, the one that most people like to see stoned.

So this movie just mixes up a group of catholic surfers, a villain with his little squad of ninja-zombies, the compulsory teenage virgins, the american karate hero and an hilarious spoof of "Karate Kid"'s Miyagi played by no more and no less than Temboury's hero, Jesus Franco (a.k.a. Jess Franco) the king of Spain's trash movies.

The plot doesn't matter. The acting doesn't matter. The motto of the movie is simply to have fun and laugh at it (and with it!). So, if you ever find this one, it's at your own risk. You may hate it, or you may enjoy it a lot (as I did).

Don't you love risk?

Kill Bill vol. 2

by Quentin Tarantino

***** / A+

with Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah

  After some time, the Bride's back. Finally.

And with a really unexpected change of direction, but keeping the same spirit than in Volume I. Can't wait to see the more than probable director's cut with both movies - and surely deleted scenes - fixed into one huge, big double dvd (can I dream of a re-release of the whole "flick"?).

Tarantino is an unique case on the history of movie making. Each one of his movies can be labeled as a masterpiece (well, Terrence Mallick is another case, I know, but Tarantino has made 4 movies in 13 years while Mallick is now shooting his fourth picture) and one can't seriously complain about the fact we wished he showed his genius with more frequency.

So, the full Kill Bill movie is a mixture of the whole Tarantinoverse's influences. Eastern Asia cinema, Superheroes, noir, badass women... all mixed up with exquisite elegance and served by an in "state of grace" cast. As it is usual in Tarantino, of course. 

The Passion of the Christ

by Mel Gibson

**** / B

with Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern and Monica Bellucci

  Piece of art or work or faith? In the end, it's all up to you to decide if Mel Gibson's third directing effort (after the moving "The Man without a Face" and the Oscar crowned "Braveheart", both enough credit of Gibson's sensibility and talent as a film director) is an disgusting manipulative piece of art or the definitive movie against torture and death penalty.

For me, it stands somewhere in between both points: Gibson's religious vision blinds him and prevents any kind of objective view on the issue - well, art is subjective, let's point out - going too over the top on some sequences - the crow attacking the bad thief's eye, just to name one, but the most itching for me was Satan's last shot in Hell, which almost threw me out of the movie - but in the end the movie is technically perfect and certainly moving regardless if you think that the guy being tortured and killed is the son of God or not (don't look at me, I'm agnostic). Anyways, it should be noted that the movie really loses some steam in its final 30 minutes, which suppossedly are the climax of the story.

Jim Caviezel's performance is memorable. If it was only for his suffering when tortured it wouldn't have been... it's on the "quiet" sequences when his acting ability succeeds the most, perfectly capturing the inner fear but infinite compassion that Jesus has always been associated with. It's hands down the best Jesus performance I've ever seen. The rest of the cast is splendid, as well, specially Morgenstern and Bellucci as both Marys...

Everything in this movie seems Oscar calibre... the score, the cinematography, the art direction and costume design - as realistic as the make up itself that should be already locked for an Oscar win - however, Gibson's excesses on the marketing campaign, will result in his movie becoming a longshot at award season. They won't look at the movie's merits - quite a few - but on Gibson's behaviour. That, and that Gibson already won two Oscars with Braveheart, which was even better. So, in the end, a very good movie that I won't specially miss at Oscar night if not nominated.

Shrek 2


**** 1/2 / B +

with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Díaz, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Julie Andrews and Rupert Everett.


Review to come

Spiderman 2

by Sam Raimi

**** 1/2 / B +

with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina, James Franco and Rosemary Harris


  What a year for sequels and remakes!

Seriously, I'm quite surprised that the level of creativity and quality of films like Shrek 2, Dawn of the Dead, Harry Potter and now this Spiderman 2...

The first installment of the series - beware, Raimi, Dunst and Maguire have all signed only for the first three movies - came out as a good popcorn movie that fell short in the end of character developement and went too over the top in some cheeseness at certain points of the movie. Fortunately the guys noticed what went wrong and fixed it - for the most part - in this sequel.

Or is it not a sequel? OK, I'll explain myself. This is more a continuation of the series - as, Shrek 2 or Terminator 3, for example - rather than just a "let's do the time warp again"... Here, the starting point of the characters is the point where we left them at the ending of the original "Spiderman". Peter Parker is beginning to question his superheroic alter ego due to the consecuences - and some unexpected problems -, Aunt May is facing the lack of her husband in a logical way, Mary Jane has found a sudden success, and Harry Osborn is obsessed with Spiderman believing he killed his father - the Green Goblin.

All of this mixed up with the appearance of some new characters that bring chills for any Spiderman fan: basically we get introduced to two guys who are destined to be The Lizzard and The Werewolf, and probably one of the most engaging villians in Marvel's Universe: Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina).

Despite sharing a really similar dramatic structure and twist plots as "Superman II", it's the quality of the dialogue and the situations what elevates this one above the average superhero movie, and probably fighting with "X2: X-Men United" for the top spot of the list of the best Superhero movies ever made. It's Sam Raimi's fault of course... his unique and speedical way of directing impregnates everyone of the frames, creating memorable action sequences, but also poignant dramatic moments as the conversations between Peter Parker and Aunt May, which if the movie wasn't named "Spiderman" would easily put Maguire and Harris in the Oscar race.

That's the quality of the performances of the movie. Maguire and Harris are the best here, Molina going just a bit over the top (the character demands it, though) and Dunst giving an OK performance for her role - not one of her best. Simmons is another time a scene-stealer with his hysterically funny J. J. Jameson character and James Franco promises great things for a possible return in "Spiderman 3".

Technically the movie is almost perfect. However, truth is that this one may go unrewarded and forgotten in Award season. Why? Because "it's just pop corn".


The Sea Within

(Mar Adentro)

by Alejandro Amenábar

***** / A+

with Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda


  That Javier Bardem is an acting God is something many people already noticed. With "Mar Adentro", almost no-one in the movie industry will have any doubts about it.

Alejandro Amenábar's 4th film (after his thrilling debut with "Thesis", the extremely overrated and irritating "Open your eyes" and the classicism of "The Others") is basically a film to treasure. If it was only for Javier Bardem's performance my review wouldn't be as enthusiastic as it is. This is the first film that made me cry like a baby in years, with genuine feeling, making me think - and remember - at the same time. The technical - and narrative - virtuosism of Amenábar shines and literally FLIES so high that the memorable ending of "The Others" is easily surpassed in emotional effect on the Audience.

Through the actual story of Ramón Sampedro, the first spanish man who fought for his right to die, Amenábar articulates a despiction of this man's life imprisoned in his own body and how his journey from the accident to his final act resulted in a great strenght of spirit, while at the same time in a really bitter character. After reading one review that basically claimed this film eliminated the sharp elements of Sampedro's personality, I instantly was recalled of the claims "A beautiful mind" suffered three years ago, and that resulted in the victory of that mediocre movie at Oscar night. This time, there's no reason to make such claims. Ramón Sampedro's bittersweet personality is well described here and at some points of the movie basically attack those who care for him... we see the vulnerability of his personality, and the contradictions he carried... how he loved life but wanted to die.

Amenábar fortunately avoids making this another "court room movie" and also avoids falling into the "pro-euthanasia" panflet... he cleverly focus in the man's life, showing us his light and shadows, making us relate to him and those who loved and surrounded him (what a credible cast!). I must warn that I saw this one with a friend and while I felt seriously affected by what I was seeing, he was bored and hating the film already half through the movie... why? Basically it was depressing him. This movie has serious risk of finding this audience's reaction as well, but at the same time it is a good sign of how powerful it is.

In terms of Oscar chances, the question is not if it will be present at Oscar night, but how BIG will it be at Oscar night. It has serious, serious chances of winning Best Lead Actor (Javier Bardem), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Score and Best Make Up... AT LEAST. Add to this Best Foreign Film if submited by the Spanish Academy. However, it could go beyond that and I think it will be on the edge of finding its way into the Best Picture quintet and depending on how good the year of American movies is, who knows? I can even smell a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Belén Rueda - who debuts in this film - who has another Oscar candy role - and performance.

Mar Adentro, in the end is not only one of the great films of the year, but also of the decade. Despite my initial fears, it completely won me.

  Tuna and Chocolate

(Atún y Chocolate)

by Pablo Carbonell

*** / C

with Pablo Carbonell, Maria Barranco, Pedro Reyes and Antonio Dechent

  One of Spain's top showmen, Pablo Carbonell - singer, composer, actor, comedian - has always been one of my favorite artists since his first appearances on the 80's TV show "La Bola de Cristal" and his records with his band "Los Toreros Muertos" - probably the most underrated group in the History of Spanish rock music.

Owner of a impressive imagination and talent and in the line of the best surrealists, Carbonell's comedy has been always wild and tender, satyrical yet innocent at the same time, and it's no wonder that his directing debut continues his carrer in this line... as David Byrne, Carbonell is an unique character in the media world. Inscribed in the social realism, but full of surrealism, "Atún y Chocolate" reflects the hard and depressive southern Spain reality with hope and irony, probably having Ken Loach's work - specially "Riff Raff" - as reference of the film it intends to be, which almost succeeds.

And I say almost because it is obviously a directing debut. Carbonell abuses of shot economy too much, even thought that benefits the naturalism of his work - based in a good screenplay full of realistic dialogue - but in the end gives the impression of poor planification. Maybe it's only the impression, though, with Carbonell everything is possible, even that he looked for this "feeling" too.

But the movie is somewhat heartstealing. It catches you off-guard too many times to overlook this sensation.


by Takeshi Kitano

***** / A-

with "Beat" Takeshi, among others.

Ooops, he did it again!

Japan's Eastwood, as he's been called several times, Takeshi Kitano ("Beat" Takeshi when he acts) is one of the true masters of modern moviemaking. He simply couldn't resist remaking a series of legendary japanese movies about the hero named Zatoichi, a blind samurai.

And with the hot buzz of audiences love, this movie has actually become one of my most anticipated of the year. And it doesn't in any ways fail to impress me.

The mixture of comedy, music and violence, the continuous game of backwards and forwards in the story, the change of point of view (that also guarantees surprise when some character you thought was more important dies) makes this work a truly modern yet classical one. In the end, Kitano is having fun - and well, what a performance! - and wants us to enjoy with him the movie.

His inventive use of cgi gore - yet, you read it right - is unrealistic, in order to help us swallow the violence while still kicking ass, in the best use of the term.

But he still takes his time to even find ways of homaging von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, and ends the movie with an excellent and heartwarming musical act, that confirms Kitano and the movie itself as something truly special.

Short Notes on...

The Day After Tomorrow 1/2 * / F

    The worst big budget production in years? Probably. Boring, stupid and treating the audience as idiots. What is more, copying "Deep Impact", "Independence Day", "Twister" and of all the disaster movies, the worst... "Meteor". Ugh.

Secret Window *** / C-

    David Koepp's first mediocre movie comes from a not-so-interesting Stephen King's short story. Depp is OK, Turturro overacts a bit and Maria Bello is beautiful and given too little to do. Worth watching once but nothing else. Just interesting.

Van Helsing ** 1/2 / D+

    Stephen Sommers' first movie that I give a BAD rating. I miss Brendan Fraser. Seriously. Horrendous overacting by all the vampyres, but it's not their fault, they're doing what they're told. Thank God, it doesn't request to be taken seriously at any time.

Catwoman * E

    A suicidal project that is barely bearable. And Berry is giving up her "Storm" character in the X-Men franchise for THIS??? Talk about suicidal moves in a career. Pitof looks exactly as a hack, another Michael Bay, and why some Spanish reviewers are labelling this movie as "funny" is beyond my understanding. So far, the worst movie - along with Garfield - that I've seen this year.

Garfield * E

    Basically, a rape of the comic strip, a comedy that made me laugh twice and was a sucession of sugared situations. Forgettable.

Goodbye Lenin   **** B

    The shadow of Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet and Roberto Begnini's Life is Beautiful is too long and eclipses most of the merit of this movie (it's actually the SAME formula) which it doesn't reach in any moment groundbreaking level. Highly enjoyable, this one it's a HUGE crowdpleaser, but I still find it a bit overrated, despite some really extraordinary moments (the mother - Lenin's confrontation).


The Stepford Wives *** / C-

    The less satisfactory movie by Frank Oz to date, despite being written by the wild genius of Paul Ruddnick and having a dream cast with Nicole Kidman, Matthew Brodderick, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close and Bette Midler. It's difficult to explain why the movie stays somewhere in between the memorable satire and the complete failure, probably because the source material shouldn't have ever been transformed into clear comedy, in the first place. However, good laughs guaranteed and a deliciously over-the-top Glenn Close who's clearly award worthy.

I, Robot *** 1/2 / C+

    It's not Will Smith nor Alex Proyas' direction what prevents this movie of becoming more than it is, but the marketing obsession - Audi, Converse - that impregnates part of this interesting project that in the end is half of the way of becoming a memorable fable about slavery, prejudices and other subjects but gets drown in the blockbuster mayhem (an exciting one, I should add). Between you and me, I expected so much LESS from this movie...

The Ladykillers *** C

    The Coens can do much better than this. The movie is fun, but not devilish fun as they can do - Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy - standing at a middle point between the gentle charm of the Ealing factory and the Coen's dark sense of humour. Basically it stands on the cast, but shockingly is Tom Hanks the weakest link there, while the supporting actors are superb - specially Irma P. Hall and Marlon Wayans, such an underrated actor which proves again - remember Requiem for a Dream? - his ability. A small decemption, and an increasing fear coming... have the Coens lost it?

Starsky & Hutch ** 1/2 / D

    Fun but forgettable translation of the mythic TV series full of gay subtext for general public appeal. Stiller and Wilson obviously have chemistry, but some of the references - the Easy Rider one, for example - seem too forced. And who thought Snoop Dog IS funny? Terribly miscast.


***** MUST SEE
A on the edge of being a masterpiece
A- extremely good movie with really minor flaws
****1/2 SHOULD SEE + B+ not only is very good, but some elemments make it an almost "must see"
B very good, strongly recommended
B- very good, some important flaws
***1/2 GOOD + C+ good movie, with special highlights
*** GOOD
C good movie
C- good, but...
**1/2 WATCHABLE + D+ almost good or with points of interest
D fair, for a bored afternoon
D- watchable despite its great flaws
* 1/2 BAD, BUT... E on the edge of actually being bearable
* BAD E without important redeeming cualities
1/2 AVOID BY ALL MEANS F atrocious
0 A NIGHTMARE F specially hateable