8 posts categorized "PEDRO ALMODOVAR"
Looking back over my blog's first five years, I realized—I need to invest my time more wisely! My longest favorite posts were worth every hour spent, while some of my lengthy explorations of movies and shows and current affairs that nobody cares about anymore and that I wasn't invited to cover just look like a lot of wasted energy in retrospect. This applies to my first topic in this post, the disappointing musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, based on the classic film by Pedro Almodovar, though not to my second topic in this post, the slight but endearing movie Violet Tendencies.
I wasn't invited to see and review Women on the Verge and it's not a show that invites deep analysis so much as faint praise—it's not terrible, it's not hard to sit through, but it's not good and it's not Almodovar.
Already suffering stormy reviews (it's getting raped like Kika), Women on the Verge deserves them for the most part—it's a mess. The direction by Bartlett Sher (who's done universally admired work on The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific and Joe Turner's Come and Gone) is inexplicably amateurish and scattered and the look of the musical is at times embarrassingly silly. Sher's going for whimsical and chaotic, hoping to take us back to Almodovar's Madrid of the '80s, but this is not accomplished by lame taxi cabs "driving" around onstage with ridiculous video-game projections behind them.
I went back and forth with my feelings about Sherie Rene Scott as Pepa, physically reminiscent Carmen Maura from the original film; her sweet voice was pure and helped give her character heart, but I think it made me disbelieve the edge she should also have. Justin Guarini as horny Carlos was competent and charming but in no way brought to his role what Antonio Banderas did all those years ago. Laura Benanti has a classic song called "Model Behavior" in which her airheaded Candela leaves a series of phone messages for Pepa, but her performance of the character sinks in the second act to Chrissy Snow territory minus the snorting. Brian Stokes Mitchell is just phoning it in, albeit handsomely.
The one reason to see the show (as opposed to buying the cast recording, which will be filled with highly listenable tunes) is Patti LuPone, who completely connects with loony, deranged Lucia and whose performance of "Invisible" (similar to Chicago's "Mister Cellophane") fleshes out her character even better than Almodovar's film did originally.
But still, even with those highlights, the show is marred by a persistent feeling of pointlessness, by the mismatching accents (Scott's is almost nonexistent, others Charo it up hammily) and by the sense that while the songs have a great Latin cadence, the actors are incapable of channeling it. It's ultimately just Almodovar drag, and the fact that it doesn't work better is a drag, too.
So that is my short review.
From that to the movies, back over to the Quad for the New York premiere of the Casper Andreas-directed film Violet Tendencies, in which he's got his best title and best concept—The Facts of Life's Mindy Cohn as 40-year-old fag hag Violet, a girl who just wants to find a man who loves all of her, even her pussy.
With the announcement that Antonio Banderas plans to reteam with Pedro Almodovar for The Skin I Live In (finally...!), Nathaniel over at Film Experience Blog offers a fond remembrance of the days when Antonio was an exotic import as opposed to a sassy cat cartoon, focusing in particular on those memorable Truth or Dare sequences that made all the coooolest fans wonder if Ant had been in bed with Madonna.
The Golden Globes are always fun as quasi-Oscar predictors, and because the Hollywood Foreign Press is unabashedly pro-star. They love giving nominations (and even awards) to big names not known for their acting chops, especially when those big names stretch ever so slightly. (Case in point: Madonna was nominated for and won a Globe, though went on not to even get an Oscar nomination.)
This is why someone like Julia Roberts gets nominated for something like Duplicity (um, exactly!) and why they adore giving wins to newcomers whose shows have made a big splash (remembering Keri Russell winning for Felicity, America Ferrera, etc.)
The year's biggest shock for me was the failure of Mariah Carey to get a nomination. She was never, ever Oscar-nomination-bound, not really, but the Globes seemed a possibility for her. Guess her international profile isn't as big as her profile. (This is a breast joke, not a fat joke, and as such is an expression of my civility toward a figure—in both senses—I dislike but whom did well in a movie that was my first or second fave of 2009.)
The complete list of Golden Globes nominations—my comments, if any, follow each category...
Madonna looked like her old young self at a Paper dinner honoring Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz. Now that she's back in NYC, she is out and about. I heard, but can't confirm, she and Lola were at Kylie's show last night and that she smiled at Kylie's "Vogue" hat tip.
Pedro Almodovar's film noir homage Broken Embraces, which has gotten raves in most quarters except his native Spain, has been left off the short list for Oscar consideration. Spain chose The Dancer and the Thief, Map of the Sounds of Tokyo and Fatties instead, passing over its most famous filmmaker.
Outrate has a slew of images from Pedro Almodovar's newest, Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces). Judging from the trailer (after the jump), it's got to be a Hitchcock pastiche or at the very least heavily inspired by Mr. Psycho...