Quote of the day (from US Magazine):
"One time, these annoying people came up to me, so I pretended to be on the phone--and then it started ringing! It was more embarrassing for them. It wasn't that embarrassing to me." -Paris Hilton
I had to laugh while reading the Entertainment Weekly's review of Ocean's Twelve when the reviewer described the performances as being smug and "phoned in" and stated that the film gave her the feeling that moviegoers had just sponsored a European vacation for the cast and crew. How deja vu of my previous post about Ocean's Eleven. Either she's cribbing from my blog or I should be writing in a glossy pub, yo, yo.
Speaking of movies, my most recent trip to the cinema was to see Pedro Almodovar's latest offering called "Bad Education." The only thing I knew going in was that its storyline involved child molestation by priests. In a way, I wish I would've known more, so that I could have enjoyed the twists and turns of the story-within-a-story device instead of being somewhat emotionally exhausted by it.
Don't get me wrong. It's a beautiful film. Almodovar is an amazing storyteller with a sharp eye for color and drama. The gifted lead actors, Gael Garcia Bernal and Fele Martinez, are gorgeous to look at, as are the saturated hues of the sexy art direction. The titles alone are gawk-worthy.
As I walked out of the theater feeling somewhat drained and depressed, although visually impressed, I wondered what Almodovar had been trying to say. That childhood love is the only truly innocent and pure love? That otherwise everyone's got an angle and is out to use and abuse? A pretty disheartening theme, although it rings true in many lives.
The writing is clever, as per usual in his work, and the film offers what may be the most naturalistic glimpse into gay life that I've ever seen in a "mainstream" film. And may I say, Gael is even prettier in drag than Johnny Depp. One of three characters he plays in the film is named Zahara, a lip-synching drag queen who is friends with another drag performer played by the terrific and charming Javier Cámara of "Talk to Her." I loved the early segment of the film where their spicy give and take friendship created a high-energy, farcical feel similar to that of Almodovar's first brilliant comedy hit "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown"--one of my all-time favorites.
Perhaps it was the somewhat complicated story-within-a-story gimmick that sucked some of the soul out of this film for me. Or the film noir tribute/experiment that seemed to be taking place (which explains the cynical viewpoint of the film).
I think "Talk to Her" set the standard so high for Almodovar in my mind that it would be almost impossible for him to top its gloriously polished musing on love and obsession. Of course, a filmmaker has to keep trying new things and even Almodovar's weak spots outshine many other overrated films' best moments. I guess I'd call it a "B," if I gave such grades. Top ten list worthy? We shall si. (Get it?)