Ready or Not
The film is charismatic and thrilling enough to bypass its shortcomings.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
“All About My Mother” represents a clear apotheosis in Almodóvar’s career.
A look back at the films that complement Bob Dylan's groundbreaking work as a singer and songwriter.
A fourth video dispatch from Cannes 2019.
On two competition films from Cannes 2019.
A preview of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
A video preview of Cannes 2019.
Sarah Knight Adamson reports from Santa Monica, CA on the winners and speeches at last weekend's Critics' Choice Awards.
A complete list of winners from last night's 76th Golden Globe Awards.
A report from this morning's Golden Globes nominations announcement, and a full list of the nominees.
An in-depth look at what's playing this month at the Chicago International Film Festival.
What our TV critic would nominate for Emmys for the 2017-18 season.
A video recap of the first few days of Cannes 2018.
A report from the Cannes Film Festival about Asghar Farhadi's opening night film, "Everybody Knows," and this year's jury.
A preview of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
A video preview of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival!
A review of the latest crime mini-series from Ryan Murphy.
An interview with Patricia Clarkson, star of Learning to Drive.
Hollywood is actually regressing on Latino issues. As the industry continues to make progress in its depiction of black America, what we need now is a Spanish Harlem Renaissance.
Paul Walker, who died yesterday in a car crash at 40, was an action film star known for his Everyman charm and his ability to provide a dependable center for the craziness around him.
Ridley Scott's new film, whose production was interrupted by the suicide of the director's brother Tony, is a weird melding of their styles, concerns and temperaments.
Rumors suggest the next Bond film will put Moneypenny in the field with James. Bond expert Jeffrey Westhoff has some thoughts on that.
Marie writes: Ever intrepid, club member Sandy Kahn has submitted an intriguing quartet of finds involving a series of Hollywood auctions set to begin at the end of July 2013. Sandy has shared similar things in the past and as before, club members are invited to freely explore the wide variety of collectibles & memorabilia being auctioned LIVE by "Profiles in History". Note: founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the nation’s leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO THE EBERT CLUB!
"Woody Allen: A Documentary" airs on PBS stations in two parts, at 9 p. m. Sunday and Monday, Nov. 20 and 21. Check local listings for airtimes. Also available via PBS On Demand.
by Odie Henderson
I took this gig as a challenge. It's not that I hate Woody Allen; I just don't adore him as much as you would like. Plus, I live in the Bizarro World when it comes to his films, enjoying the ones most people hate and vice-versa. For example, I hated "Match Point," disliked "Annie Hall," and could never commit to "Manhattan" despite its astonishing, heartbreaking cinematography. Conversely, I loved "Deconstructing Harry," found "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy" amusing, and I may be the only sane person who liked "Hollywood Ending." These confessions may disturb die-hard fans, but before you vow never to read anything of mine again, you should watch American Masters' "Woody Allen: A Documentary." There you'll discover that Woody Allen dislikes most of his movies, even going so far as to offer to make a different movie for free if United Artists used "Manhattan" for kindling. Compared to that, my "meh" reaction to the gorgeous-looking film is a ringing endorsement. We now know who should be getting your hate mail, don't we?
Not that Allen would care. Robert B. Weide's exceptional documentary makes clear that critical opinion is the farthest thing from its subject's mind. The prolific writer-director has been too busy cranking out a film a year for the past four decades to worry about what anyone thinks of them. You'd have to go back to the studio system's heyday for that kind of output, work that produced eleven solo and three collaborative Oscar nominations for writing. That's two more than my beloved Billy Wilder, who coincidentally never got a solo writing nomination. Add to those fourteen writing nods his six directing nominations, sole acting nod and the resulting three wins, and you have one of the most honored filmmakers in Hollywood history. He can expect a 22nd nomination for "Midnight In Paris," which I cop to liking but not with the slobbering praise afforded it by most critics. (It's like a cross between Cliffs Notes, "The Purple Rose of Cairo" and a Tea Party rally, with all that "it's so much better in the past" nonsense.) The fact that awards mortify Allen makes these numerous acknowledgements the kind of ironic, funny joke one would find in, well, a Woody Allen movie.
This morning, Pedro Almodovar, Spain's biggest big-cheese filmmaker, handed us a limp noodle with "The Skin I Live In," his entry in the Cannes competition. The film stars Antonio Banderas (who began his career in Almodovar's early films) and Elena Anaya, who looks like a cross between Penelope Cruz and Audrey Hepburn. Even a second-best Almodovar film has its delicious moments, but "The Skin I Live In" is flat compared with his best work, including "Broken Embraces," "Volver," and his Oscar winner "All about My Mother."
Typical of Almodovar, the film is a melodramatic farce. Although it's based on the novel "Mygale" ("Tarantula" in English) by Thierry Jonquet, the story is also strongly reminiscent of the 1960 French horror classic "Eyes without a Face" by Georges Franju. In the Franju film, a surgeon kidnaps women in order to graft their faces onto the head of his disfigured daughter. In "The Skin I Live In," a plastic surgeon is engaged in highly experimental work in order to create synthetic skin as a tribute to his dead wife, who was burned to death in a car crash. He subsequently uses the results of his research in service of a unique punishment for his daughter's rapist.
This story has a lot of twists, and the element of surprise is important. I don't want to give away too much, especially since it's due to open in the U.S. in the fall. I haven't read "Mygale," but I understand that the narrative is fragmented into sections that all come together in the end. In this, Almodovar appears to have followed the structure of the book, perhaps too closely. One of the principle weaknesses of "The Skin I Live In" is that the story is scattered in pieces. Characters and subplots are introduced then dropped. They are loosely but not completely tied together in the end.