“Pain and Glory” (Spanish: Dolor y gloria) is a Spanish drama directed and written by Pedro Almodóvar. The film narrates a series of reunions of Salvador Mallo, a film director in his decline. Foreign language films are sometimes hard to follow because of the captions but are usually worth the effort. “Pain and Glory” is worth the effort but you will need to read quickly.
Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), is a Spanish film director on a downward spiral. The film is featured through a series of complex reunions. Some of these reunions play out in real-time, while others are recalled through flashbacks such as his life in the 1960s when he moved with his family to the primitive village of Paterna, his schooling, his first love during the 1980s in Madrid, the pain of his breakup, writing used as a therapy to forget, the discovery of cinema and facing the impossibility of continuing filming, to name a few. While in the middle of a creative crisis and afflicted with physical and mental ailments, an earlier film of Salvador’s (Sabor, or Flavor) has been remastered and re-released. Prompted by his assistant Zulema (Cecilia Roth) he calls in on Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), the lead actor from Sabor, with whom he has not spoken for 30 years due to a quarrel over the influence of the actor’s heroin use on his performance. Crespo introduces Salvador to heroin smoking. When taking the drug Salvador revisits some of his experiences: one takes place during his childhood, where he moves into a whitewashed cave house with his father Venancio Mallo (Raúl Arévalo) and mother Jacinta (Penelope Cruz), and a local laborer named Eduardo (César Vicente) who learns to read and write under his tutelage. Crespo brings a monologue of Salvador’s memories from 1980s Madrid to the stage in which Salvador’s lover Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is mentioned.
“Pain and Glory” is not for everyone but it is a good movie. I thought it was a little dry, as there was not much action. I found it a little hard to keep up with the captions but I got enough out of the movie to determine the status of what I saw. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 263 reviews, with an average rating of 8.33/10. “Pain and Glory” was chosen by Time magazine as the best film of 2019. The film drew more than 45,000 moviegoers in Spain on the Friday of release, making it the most-viewed film in the country of that day. Worldwide, Pain and Glory has accrued $36.6 million. Check It Out!
[PAIN AND GLORY is Oscar-nominated for Best Actor and Best International Feature Film — totaling 2 Oscar nominations.]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Agustín Almodóvar, Alberto Crespo, Antonio Banderas as Salvador Mallo, Asier Etxeandia, Asier Flores, Beata, César Vicente, Cecilia Roth, Conchita, Doctor Galindo, Eduardo, Federico Delgado, Jacinta Mallo, José Maria, Julián López, Julieta Serrano, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Luis Calero, mari, Marisol Muriel, Mercedes, Nora Navas, PAIN AND GLORY, Paqui Horcajo, Pedro Casablanc, Penélope Cruz, Raúl Arévalo, Rosalía Rosita, Sara Sierra, Susi Sánchez, the Presenter, Venancio Mallo, Zulema
“What Men Want” is a fantasy comedy directed by Adam Shankman and is loosely based on the 2000 film, “What Women Want” in reverse gender. The plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men’s inner thoughts. While this is not a new concept, the movie is surprisingly funny.
Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is an executive sports agent working for Summit Worldwide Management, which is mostly male-dominated. She’s been over-looked for partner several times but believes today is the day. She and her gay assistant Brandon (Josh Brener), who wants to be a sports rep, are gearing up toward a celebration, believing she is going to make partner. Ali is passed over once again, which makes her fighting mad. Ali’s boss, Nick (Brian Bosworth), acknowledges that Ali is a hard worker but he says she just doesn’t connect well with the other men. Ali announces to everyone in the building that she WILL sign rising basketball superstar Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) and prove to others why she deserves to be partner. Ali goes to meet her co-workers as they try to work out a deal with Jamal and his father, Joe Dolla (Tracy Morgan) but fails.
Ali spends time with her father Skip (Richard Roundtree) at the boxing gym he manages before they go to grab dinner. Skip points out a new bartender named Will (Aldis Hodge), whom Ali finds attractive. She stays there to introduce herself, and Will makes her a special cocktail. They go back to his house where they end up engaging in a wild night of sex. In the morning, Ali is in for a surprise when Will’s six year old son Ben (Auston Moore), appears in the bedroom wearing her panties on his head siting, “Wakonda forever” from the movie, Black Panther. She realizes she is late for work and runs out, showing up to a photo shoot wearing evidence of her wild night.
Ali is scheduled to attend a bachelorette party that evening for Mari, (Tamala Jones) one of her three best girlfriends, which also includes Ciarra, (Phoebe Robinson) and Olivia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), who employed the services of a psychic named Sister (Erikah Badu). Ali is first to get a reading by Sister and is given tea made of weed, Peyote and Cocaine. While dancing, Ali is hit by a questionable object that causes her to fall, hit her head and pass out. She wakes up in a hospital where she discovers she is able to hear her male doctor’s thoughts. Ali is so freaked out by her new found power, she runs all the way to her company building able to hear the thoughts of all males around her. Upset, she tracks down the psychic for help. Sister advices her to use this gift to get what she wants at work. Agreeing, Ali goes back to her job and starts listening to the mind of her colleagues.
I was truly surprised at how funny “What Men Want” is. The original with Mel Gibson was nowhere near as funny. The story is full of scenes that are both hilarious and entertaining. Keep in mind, “What Men Want” is a fantasy comedy and consider my above lead-in to be short and sweet because there is so much more to come in the actual film. The acting is absolutely brilliant as is the plot. Viewers rated “What Men Want” five out of five stars, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. Rotten Tomatoes was just that, a rotten rating of only 43%. I have no clue why they rated the movie so low but I really enjoyed it. Check It Out, you won’t be sorry.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged aldis hodge, alison "ali" davis, auston jon moore, ben, brandon, brian bosworth, captain fucktastic, chris witaske, ciarra, danny, eddie, erykah badu, ethan, grant hill, jamal barry, jason jones, joe "dolla" barry, josh brener, karl-anthony towns, kellan lutz, Kevin, mari, mark cuban, max greenfield, nick, olivia, pete davidson, phoebe robinson, richard roundtree, shane paul mcghie, shaquille o'neal, sister, skip davis, tamala jones, taraji p henson, tracy morgan, wendi mclendon-covey, what men want, will
Kubo and the two strings is a beautifully animated fantasy movie that takes place in ancient Japan. Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a one-eyed young boy who lives with his ailing mother, Sariatu (Charlize Theron), in a cave atop a mountain, which is next to a village. Every day Kubo goes into the village and interacts with the locals, who love him like family. Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Kameyo (Brenda Vaccaro) are some of the villagers who are part of Kubo’s sort of extended family who live in the village. They encourage him to tell his magical stories that appear to have him manipulating origami, which moves under music played from Kubo’s shamisen. He tells the tale of a samurai warrior named Hanzo, who is Kubo’s missing father. When the town bell chimes, signaling sunset, Kubo returns to his mother, as she explicitly warns him not to stay outside after dark or her Sisters Karasu and Yukami (Rooney Mara) and his grandfather, the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) will come to take his remaining eye, as they are responsible for taking his missing eye when he was a baby in the first place.
One day, Kubo learns of an Obon festival that has a ceremony where family members communicate with deceased loved ones. Desperate to speak to his father, Kubo arrives at a cemetery and tries to speak to Hanzo, but leaves in anger when his father doesn’t respond. Kubo realizes the sun is setting and he is far from home, so he begins to run but Sariatu’s Sisters, Karasu and Yukami find him and attack. Kubo’s mother arrives to fend them off. She sends Kubo away using her magic, telling him to find his father’s magic armor. He takes a lock of his mother’s hair before she charges at her Sisters. Kubo wakes up and meets Monkey (Charlize Theron), his little wooden snow monkey charm that was brought to life by his mother’s magic. She informs him that his mother is dead, his village is destroyed, and they must move on to survive. The next morning Monkey wakes Kubo and points out “Little Hanzo”–one of Kubo’s origami designed to look like his father–who folded himself and came to life at night. Little Hanzo shows Kubo and Monkey the way to pieces of a magic armor, where they are greeted by Beetle/Hanzo (Matthew McConaughey), an amnesiac samurai who was cursed to take the form of a beetle and claims to have been Hanzo’s apprentice. He joins them on their quest when he finds out that Kubo is Hanzo’s son. The Sisters discover Kubo is looking for his father’s armor and split up to find him.
See the movie to find out what happens next, as usual I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. While I’m not into cartoons or animated films, I really enjoyed Kubo and the Two Strings. It is a wonderful story with a wonderful message for all. Kubo is now on DVD/Blu-Ray and is an interesting choice for the entire family to adventure into.
[Kubo and the Two Strings is nominated for Best Animated Film and Visual Effects]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged art parkinson, beetle, brenda vaccaro, cary-hiroyuki tagawa, charlize theron, george takei, hanzo, hashi, hosato, japanese snow monkey, kameyo, karasu, kubo and the two strings, mari, matthew mcconaughey, meyrick murphy, minae, minae noji, monkey, raiden the moon king, ralph fiennes, rooney mara, sariatu, villager, yukami