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The City of No Limits-Movie Review 11/19/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Movies, Psychological Suspense, Spanish language film.
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The City of No Limits (Spanish) 2002
En la Ciudad Sin Límites

Winner, Best Supporting Actress (Chaplin); Best Adapted Screenplay, Goya Awards
Nominated, Best Film; Best Director, Goya Awards

Directed by Antonio Hernández
Starring Leonardo Sbaraglia, Fernando Fernán-Gómez, and Geraldine Chaplin.

A suspenseful story, with an underlying plot weaving in and out of a family’s day-to-day interactions. Victor (Sbaraglia), the youngest of three sons, returns to visit his dying father (Fernán-Gómez). He finds the family ready to have his father undergo surgery for a brain tumor they insist is causing him to be paranoid and delusional. The father doesn’t want the surgery and asks Victor for help.

Victor is not convinced that the fear his father is trying to communicate isn’t real. He enters into his father’s paranoia and starts to suspect everyone. This turns out to be the right reaction – for the wrong reasons. When Victor, who has some secrets of his own, enters into an agreement with his father to carry out his last wishes, he finds out the truth.

125 min. Not rated. Some sexual content.


The Motorcycle Diaries-Movie Review 07/22/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true story, Biographical, Light Drama, Movies, South American/Spanish language film, Spanish language film.
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The Motorcycle Diaries (South American/Spanish) 2004

Directed by Walter Salles
Starring Gael García Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna

In the early 1950s, an unlikely pair of friends leave Buenos Aires for a trip across the South American continent on a rickety old bike, “two lives running parallel for a while.” One is easygoing Alberto Granado, a biochemist whose only goal is to finish the journey on his 30th birthday. The second is the studious Ernesto (“Che”) Guevera, an asthmatic med student with a special interest in leprosy research. Their itinerary will take them from Buenos Aires to the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela, with a stop at the San Pablo leper colony in the Peruvian Amazon.

With a backdrop of spectacular scenery, the film follows the pair’s many mishaps and adventures, some serious and some amusing, and portrays Guevara’s growing awareness of the plight of the poor on the South American continent, which contributed to his later political choices. Based on the true story, and including entries from Guevara’s diaries. Be sure to watch the Special Features, which includes photos and an interview with Granado.

126 min. Rated R.

The Sea Inside-Movie Review *** 05/28/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on true story, Drama, Emotional Drama, Movies, Spanish language film.
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The Sea Inside (Spanish) 2004

Winner, 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film
Winner, 2004 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar
Starring Javier Bardem as poet Ramón Sampedro

Based on the true story of Ramón Sampedro, a man seriously injured in a diving accident as a teenager. Destined to live his life as a quadriplegic, he refuses to use a wheelchair and fights for the right to legally end his own life. For nearly thirty years, with the beauty of the sea he loves tauntingly out of sight of his window, he remains bedridden. As he tries to find a way to convince someone to help him die, he touches the lives of those around him, whether they agree with his desire to end his life or not.

Sampedro left behind a book of poetry titled Cartas Desde El Infierno (Letters From Hell). The book is in Spanish. If anyone knows of an English translation, please let me know.

If you’re not already a fan of Javier Bardem before seeing this film, I think you will be afterward.

125 min. Rated PG-13.

Pan’s Labyrinth-Movie Review *** 04/11/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Fantasy, Movies, Spanish language film.
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Pan’s Labyrinth (Spanish) 2006

Nominated Best Foreign Film Academy Awards and Golden Globes (among numerous other nominations and wins)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López and Doug Jones

Set in the countryside of Spain following the civil war, Ofelia (Baquero) and her mother Carmen (Gil) move in with her sadistic new stepfather, Captain Vidal (Lopez), a captain in the military. As the young girl copes with the harsh realities of her new life, she spends part of her time in a fantasy world of possibility and danger. A fairy tale but not for children.

This one slipped by my radar until a friend recently recommended it to me (thanks, George!). Now it is on my short list of all-time favorites and one that I plan to watch at least twice a year. Visually beautiful; the soundtrack by Javier Navarrete is also outstanding and might have you humming a lullaby for days afterward.

I’d recommend the version with a very entertaining and informative commentary by the director and other features.

119 min. Rated R.