Pedro Almodovar

New on Video: ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!’

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is an excellent middle period Almodóvar feature, emblematic of so much of what brought him to international prominence: the dark comedy, the campy melodrama, the sexuality, the quirkiness.

Cannes 2014: ‘Force Majeure’ shows maximum control from the powerfully subtle Östlund

Ruben Östlund’s powerful tale of moral expectations begins in a pure-white canvas as a photographer cheekily moves the family through mundane vacation picture poses. The camera, though already framing excellently in 2.35, swerves along with the family of skiers to create a silent, elegant painting of action. Scenes are often shot in long-take, though the conversations they encompass may elevate its transfixing pace. It’s slow, droll, and has the visual competency of an action film which sets it up initially as a natural black comedy. However, an instigating event suddenly transforms relationships within the nuclear family and beyond adding a significant undercurrent of tension that’s been rightly compared to The Loneliest Planet. From a storytelling and tonal perspective, it’s a different kind of beast that relies and succeeds through timing the combinations of drama’s basic components.

‘I’m So Excited!’ is a reminder that tact is required to make vulgarity funny

It seems as though everything that could be said or written in praise of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar has already been expressed. He is, without the shadow of a doubt, not only a critical darling, but has also earned himself a very respectable amount of fans in the movie going public, and, lest it be overlooked, built an impressive career with stories that, either directly or otherwise, spoke about subsections of the human population that only so rarely make important or relevant appearances in film, most notably homosexuals and transvestites.

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‘I’m So Excited’ is both delightful to watch yet deceptively discursive

For three decades, Pedro Almodovar has been the most internationally successful purveyor of queer cinema. His first film, 1980’s Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap, was released just two years before Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s too-soon swan-song, Querelle. Though the directors possess distinctly different approaches to the medium (Almodovar hasn’t yet gone sci-fi ala World on A Wire, for instance), their films were among the first brashly and unapologetically queer films that were both critically accepted and widely seen.

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