Pedro Almodóvar is not adverse to taking his audience to uncomfortable places. Often using comedy and melodrama, or his own unique mixture of the two, as a means in, he is so good at making movies about difficult subjects.
In his latest feature, Pain and Glory, he’s addressing perhaps the most taboo subject in modern film, aging. And this time, his style and storytelling is marked by its gentleness, affection and sincerity.
Guided by its protagonist, filmmaker Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), the film begins with the director sitting motionless in a chair, submerged in a pool. In a moving close up, we see a surgical scar that runs nearly the length of his spine. This is a man suffering, within and without, replacing the hectic and physical work of filmmaking with the search for pain relief, whether in pools or with opioids. It is not, however, a woe-is-me tale of grumpy whining. Mallo hardly ever mentions his pain, but it is manifest in every motion and expression in Banderas’s award-winning performance. That is because his suffering seems to activate the revisiting and revitalization of childhood memories, particularly those involving he and his mother (Penelope Cruz).
For instance, that first image of the pained patient underwater transitions to a memory of his mother and her friends cleaning clothes by the river while he, the bright-eyed child, looks on, delighted by their comradery and singing. It’s a moment of connection.
The fact that this scene is evocative of a similar scene in Fellini’s 8 1/2, another film about a blocked director, points out that Pain and Glory is also a film about filmmaking. In particular, about the ability of art-making, not only to express the deepest and most thoughtful reflections of life, but also to connect — audience to artist, but also artist to himself.
By using frequent collaborators like Banderas (who wears Almodóvar’s clothes in the film) and Cruz, and filming in his own apartment, Almodóvar is opening up this film to an autobiographical reading, but not limiting it to that. Instead, it’s about how the experiences and relationships of one’s life is what shape and define us. This is experience and knowledge earned.
What is most appealing to me about this film — and I must say I found everything about it appealing — is the way it portrays the mature honesty and truth-telling one earns through old age. Not scenes of smacking down the young for their ignorance, or the hypocritical for their self-deceit, but the gentle surrendering to reality, to one’s addictions, to one’s mistakes and follies, to one’s vulnerabilities. And embracing and acting upon one’s strengths and talents.
This is a wise film made by an artist who has earned his wisdom through not only youthful and middle-age abandon, but also a life of reflection and thought. The last shot of Mallo, the boy, and Penelope Cruz, his mother, beautifully illustrates how for Almodóvar the filmmaker and his onscreen double — and for us, his dedicated audience over the years — his art, as well as his life, has led to this moment —- and this film.
This a movie to be, not just enjoyed, but cherished.
Transformers Rise Of The Beast will definitely be a movie I’m going to watch repeatedly.
This was an epic movie overall. What else can I say without giving spoilers? Not a lot else, unfortunately, but I will try. So the start was interesting as it takes place in 1994, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts takes the audience on a globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduces a whole new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – to join them as allies in the existing battle for Earth. There are quite a few hidden gems to look for. The humor in this one was excellent definitely the 90s were everywhere in this movie.
The action was awesome as a Transformers movie should be and it does have a decent storyline. The film also has Great references to the older Transformer properties as well. As a major fan of the beast war series, it was awesome to see that version of the universe brought to the big screen. However, there were some moments of eh, been done many times. But just a couple despite being another Transformers movie. but this one did give more life to the series for me to be intrigued to see where it goes. The movie is a good 2 hours long so it goes at a good pace.
But with that being the only bad thing, in my opinion, it is a great theater movie. I think it added some freshness to the franchise. That with a nice blend of the 90s nostalgia. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This is Chris, an honest review writer until the next movie, see you next time.
Justice League: Warworld Official Trailer
Until now, the Justice League has been a loose association of superpowered individuals. But when they are swept away to War World, a place of unending brutal gladiatorial combat, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the others must somehow unite to form an unbeatable resistance able to lead an entire planet to freedom.
AMC presents Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’: Bloody beautiful, dear heart
Set as a sequel series of sorts to the original film, the vampire Louis du Pointe du Lac approaches reporter Daniel Molloy decades later to do an actual, honest exclusive of his life as a vampire.
As we all know, Rice’s original movie Interview with the Vampire is a classic and features some of the most gorgeous male performances around. Brad Pitt as Louis, Tom Cruise as a flippant blonde-haired Lestat, Antonio Banderas as the ravishing Armand, Christian Slater as the reporter, and even a quite young Kirsten Dunst as the tiny terror Claudia. Rice has a whole world of her making about vampires, witches, mummies, and other world-ending supernatural creatures, and they are all achingly beautiful, and usually quite melancholy about their beleaguered existence.
Before her passing, Anne Rice was directly involved with the new show, wrote the updated scripts herself, and was often on hand for consulting during filming. A whole bunch of revamps (sorry) were made to the original story, including but not limited to – Louis du Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) is now a black man in early 20th century New Orleans, no longer a slave plantation man but now the proud owner of several brothels on a certain street, with a very much still-alive family who presents Louis with lots of troubles, and oh yeah, he’s in the closet too.
At this point, I want to note something important about the gay elements of the show. Rice originally published her novel Interview way back in 1976, and every single last gay tendency, male or non-binary or whatever, got her a good deal of flack. Rice has long been known for characters, vampire or other, who transcend the notion of physical sexuality into more of a divine lust of the spirit. Sure, there are plenty of physical love scenes still, but homosexuality was never something Rice just threw in to be provocative, she made no defining lines on the way her supernatural creatures could love each other, and personally I think that’s stellar.
So all of Louis’ own issues aside, things are about to get remarkably more troubling, with the advent of a blonde-haired Adonis with ice-blue eyes and a razor-sharp jawline, and an even sharper set of fangs, Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid). Initially, Lestat professes to admire Louis and his capability in running his various enterprises, seemingly satisfied with going along on brothel adventures (Lestat has long been known to bang anything that’ll hold still long enough) and verbally poking Louis to see where his “do not cross” lines are.
Not a single person who knows Anne Rice and her original novel, or even the first film, can deny the insane connection Louis and Lestat happen to have. Love and lust and envy and hatred are all tangled up in the relationship of these two vampires, made more complicated by the fact that Lestat is Louis’ Sire, or Maker if you prefer. This particular portrayal of the love story between two compelling characters, one inherently kind and desirous to do good (or at least not be bad) in an unfeeling world, the other an arrogant prince of the immortal kind with seemingly little regard for the pain he causes others (other than in an amusement capacity), how they push and pull at each other and cause each-other so much damage but simply find themselves both unable to give up the other entirely, can be an allegory for all the bad-for-you relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. And things are made so much more wretched when a third vampire is introduced to their little damned family.
The portrayal of Claudia (Bailey Bass) in this version of the story, a teenage black female with a sickeningly sweet Southern accent, has some rather different origin scenes too. Most of Claudia’s arc, while moving the story right along at a healthy clip, is full of complaints at the odd restraints of her existence – Louis cautions for temperance, while Lestat gives that wicked grin and encourages Claudia to revel in her bloody existence as a vampire. Jealousy rears its inevitable head, whether its Lestat’s envy of the brother-sister father-daughter relationship Louis has with Claudia, or Claudia’s own jealousy of the rather obvious romantic relationship between Louis and Lestat, or even the jealousy of seasoned vampires watching a fledgling getting to experience many supernatural firsts – vampires are immortal and unchanging, after all, so anything new and surprising is zealously sought after and treasured almost as much as blood. So when Claudia inevitably starts acting out, things are made so much worse with the realization that she’s actually far more terrible than Lestat when it comes to restraint, as in, she has none.
Then there’s what’s happening with the present – a ridiculously expensive high-rise and high-res environmentally-controlled apartment in Dubai, an accent-less and increasingly begrudging Louis, insistent on following a proper timeline to his stories but still attempting to conceal things from Molloy, even after he swore he wouldn’t, his assistant Rashid (Assad Zaman) is also getting more and more protective of his Master, and Molloy himself, who never had a bullsh*t tolerance in the first place, getting more strident as the interview rages on in his search for the raw, honest truth. Because redemption can come from honesty in this interview, even for the reporter conducting it, if only Molloy would allow it.
Full of gorgeous scenery, familial ties that bind and gag, revelations about the nature of love and how it can twist when used as a weapon, and absolutely stellar performances from every single actor involved, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire can be devoured on AMC now!