Podcast: Parallel Mothers & The 94th Oscar Nominations

Parallel Mothers & The Oscars

Greetings program, and welcome to another Awesome Friday! This week is a little different; we’re covering the latest film from Pedro Amaldóvar, Parallel Mothers, which, as it turns out, is an excellent segue into our second topic: the recently announced nominations for the 94th Academy Awards. This episode runs a little longer than our average, but we think it’s worth it!

Continue reading “Podcast: Parallel Mothers & The 94th Oscar Nominations”

VIFF ’21 Review: ‘Official Competition’ is a savvy, hilarious satire

Official Competition

The best comedies are the ones with depth. The ones that layer together stories and satire and lay bare what the filmmakers feel about whatever subject they are tackling. Official Competition is one of these films.

The film opens in the wake of a billionaire’s birthday party, a man looking back on his 80 years and wondering about his legacy. What can he do to ensure he’s remembered? An idea comes to him: a film; A great film. A film directed by and starring the greatest talent available and drawing on a beloved novel as its source. Or maybe a bridge. A bridge would be good. But no, a film is the way to go, and he impulsively buys the rights to a noble prize-winning book, hires an award-winning art-house director, and the two greatest actors of this generation. Of course, when I say he does it impulsively, I mean he has his assistant do it.

Continue reading “VIFF ’21 Review: ‘Official Competition’ is a savvy, hilarious satire”

‘The 355’ trailer: five badass women, one world to save

A stellar cast of amazing actors? Check. A plot to destroy the world? Check. An American agent forming a deniable team of badasses to take on the threat? Check. Each badass has a distinct speciality? Check. Said American agent having a badass nickname? Check.

The 355 hits all the checkboxes that an action movie should but with one difference: the team is all women. I, for one, think this looks awesome. It looks dumb as a bag of hammers and exactly up my alley. Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “‘The 355’ trailer: five badass women, one world to save”

VIFF Review: ‘Pain and Glory’ is Amaldóvar’s most deeply personal film

Pain & Glory / VIFF 2019

Antonio Banderas and Pedro Amaldóvar are two of Spain’s biggest film exports and have worked together numerous times. It fits then that in Pain & Glory, the story of an ageing filmmaker in a creative rut who needs to address some unresolved issues from his past, Banderas is basically playing Amaldóvar.

He’s not, of course. Not exactly. Banderas is Salvador Mallo, a respected director who was a maverick in his youth and who has settled into more soulful work in his later years who is suffering from debilitating pain and illness. So he’s basically Amaldóvar in this semi-autobiographical film. He’s also transcendently good in the role.

Continue reading “VIFF Review: ‘Pain and Glory’ is Amaldóvar’s most deeply personal film”

VIFF Review: Penelope Cruz can’t save ‘The Queen of Spain’

I really like movies about making movies. I think they’re a fun way to explore and poke fun at the filmmaking business. I also like period set comedies, in particular those set in the late 40s and 50s. I like the design sensibilities, and I feel like the feel-good image of that era that still lingers today is one ripe for subversion. Also also, I really like Penelope Cruz. I think she’s a dynamic and interesting screen presence.

_The Queen of Spain_ then is a movie that should be right up my alley: it’s a period set comedy about making a movie starring Penelope Cruz. It turns out it’s not, though.

Continue reading “VIFF Review: Penelope Cruz can’t save ‘The Queen of Spain’”

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Trailer + Poster: Gaze upon Poirot’s glorious moustache

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is one of the most famous murder mystery stories ever so I’m actually kind of shocked that they haven’t remade it sooner. It’s here now though, with a cast of thousands of famous faces and a really terrible song choice. Let’s watch!

Continue reading “‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Trailer + Poster: Gaze upon Poirot’s glorious moustache”

Review: The Counselor

The Counselor

When I first heard about _The Counselor_ I was intrigued. Ridley Scott directing and a screenplay by Cormac McCarthy? Sounds good to me! Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Penelope Cruz starring? Sounds great!

Then [there was a trailer](https://awesomefriday.ca/2013/07/the-counselor-trailer-you-dont-have-any-friends/) and I became ever more excited for what sounded, and now looked, like a great movie.

Turns out I was wrong. _The Counselor_ is a bit of a mess.

Continue reading “Review: The Counselor”