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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 18, 2005
Thirty-two-year-old Alejandro Amenabar, who made the Spanish hit thriller Open Your Eyes (1997) and the international hit thriller The Others (2001), has always been a precocious and brilliant director. With The Sea Inside he becomes a great one. The way Amenabar tells it, the story of Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem), a quadriplegic who fought for the right to die, illuminates and enriches a viewer's experience of life at all levels - physical, emotional, intellectual and imaginative. There were many good to excellent movies last year, but this and A Very Long Engagement are the only ones I would call masterpieces.
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By CHRIS KALTENBACH | January 27, 2009
Starring Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz. Written and directed by Woody Allen. Released by the Weinstein Co. $28.95 (Blu-ray $34.95) *** 1/2 Who would have thought Woody Allen would find a new muse in Spain? With Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Allen, that most American of filmmakers, the man who never seemed comfortable setting foot outside New York City, has made his friskiest, most delightful movie in more than a decade. Not that any new territory is trod. Allen still is a chronicler of relationships that result in little genuine happiness; the human heart, he continues to insist, is the most vexing, inexplicable, insatiable of creatures, one humans trust (or even listen to)
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FEATURES
February 25, 2008
BEST ACTOR Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood BEST ACTRESS Marion Cotillard La Vie en Rose SUPPORTING ACTOR Javier Bardem No Country for Old Men SUPPORTING ACTRESS Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton
NEWS
By Michael Sragow | October 3, 2008
Vicky Cristina Barcelona: **** ( 4 STARS) The summer's best (and maybe only) adult comedy was also its biggest surprise: Woody Allen's most entertaining film in a decade. You can't call it a return to form because it's unlike anything else Allen has ever done. It follows the amorous fluctuations of a man (Javier Bardem) and three women (Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz) with an affection and explosiveness that conjure old romantic melodramas, except Allen plays everything for rueful humor.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | September 7, 2007
The creative team behind the movie version of Amadeus, director Milos Forman and producer Saul Zaentz, return to themes from their biggest success with Goya's Ghosts - and emerge spattered in blood, not glory. They trace the survival skills and elusive morality of Spanish artist Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) through his relationships with influential subjects: Queen Maria Luisa (Blanco Portillo) and King Carlos IV (Randy Quaid - yes, Randy Quaid); Father Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), an invented leader of the Spanish Inquisition; and Ines Bilbatua (Natalie Portman)
NEWS
By CHRIS KALTENBACH | January 27, 2009
Starring Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz. Written and directed by Woody Allen. Released by the Weinstein Co. $28.95 (Blu-ray $34.95) *** 1/2 Who would have thought Woody Allen would find a new muse in Spain? With Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Allen, that most American of filmmakers, the man who never seemed comfortable setting foot outside New York City, has made his friskiest, most delightful movie in more than a decade. Not that any new territory is trod. Allen still is a chronicler of relationships that result in little genuine happiness; the human heart, he continues to insist, is the most vexing, inexplicable, insatiable of creatures, one humans trust (or even listen to)
NEWS
February 24, 2008
Steve Yeager, 58, is a professional filmmaker who won the Filmmakers Trophy for Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival for Divine Trash, his feature on Baltimore director John Waters. Best Picture --No Country For Old Men. This tour-de-force is a faithful adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy's novel. ... Has there ever been a more fiendish assassin than Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh? ... Roger Deakins' cinematography beautifully conveys the isolation and barrenness of the Texas border town in 1980.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow | October 3, 2008
Vicky Cristina Barcelona: **** ( 4 STARS) The summer's best (and maybe only) adult comedy was also its biggest surprise: Woody Allen's most entertaining film in a decade. You can't call it a return to form because it's unlike anything else Allen has ever done. It follows the amorous fluctuations of a man (Javier Bardem) and three women (Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz) with an affection and explosiveness that conjure old romantic melodramas, except Allen plays everything for rueful humor.
FEATURES
By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 23, 2001
Reinaldo Arenas' life was marked by a series of bitter letdowns, first by his parents, then by his government and finally by his own body. Thankfully, that's a pattern not followed by "Before Night Falls," a thoughtful, bittersweet film biography of the Cuban writer that captures both his irrepressible spirit and his sometimes overwhelming melancholy. A writer of great beauty and passion, Arenas' books were suppressed by Castro's government, which appreciated neither his homosexuality nor his anti-authoritarian politics.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ron Dicker and Ron Dicker,Special to the Sun | January 20, 2002
PARK CITY, Utah -- Wait till next year for the Sundance Film Festival to capture the post-Sept. 11 zeitgeist. By then, filmmakers will have had time to create with the attack in their rearview mirror. Consider this year's festival, which concludes today, a timepiece. Take the robust crop of good films, a lock of hair from the busiest actor, Christina Ricci, and a leaf of spinach nibbled on by festival darling Jennifer Aniston, and pack them all into a capsule to be buried in the local Wasatch Mountains.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,michael.sragow@baltsun.com | August 29, 2008
Stars like Will Smith may shine in hot-weather action comedies, cruising to box-office victory in souped-up vehicles with the top down. But the autumn movie season has always relied more on teamwork than on personal bests. The fall is when the major studios roll out multicharacter literary adaptations and entertainment that relies more on fresh observation and risky subject matter, less on formula and shtick. These movies require solid acting companies to put them over. On paper, the troupes assembled this autumn dwarf ensembles past in their quality and diversity.
FEATURES
February 25, 2008
BEST ACTOR Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood BEST ACTRESS Marion Cotillard La Vie en Rose SUPPORTING ACTOR Javier Bardem No Country for Old Men SUPPORTING ACTRESS Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton
NEWS
February 24, 2008
Steve Yeager, 58, is a professional filmmaker who won the Filmmakers Trophy for Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival for Divine Trash, his feature on Baltimore director John Waters. Best Picture --No Country For Old Men. This tour-de-force is a faithful adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy's novel. ... Has there ever been a more fiendish assassin than Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh? ... Roger Deakins' cinematography beautifully conveys the isolation and barrenness of the Texas border town in 1980.
FEATURES
By Agustin Gurza and Agustin Gurza,LOS ANGELES TIMES | November 22, 2007
Shakira was sick of being a celebrity. Colombia's sensationally successful singer-songwriter had just come off her Oral Fixation tour this year, taking her to 140 cities on five continents to perform for 2.5 million fans. But even stardom can be a drag. So she put away her revealing sequined gowns and hip-hugging pants, donned jeans and sneakers, tucked her famous shock of dyed hair under a cap and went undercover as a summer student at University of California, Los Angeles. She enrolled in a history of Western civilization course under her middle and last names, Isabel Mebarak, telling clueless classmates she was visiting from Colombia.
FEATURES
By Chris Lee | November 2, 2007
You can forgive Josh Brolin for coming off like some adjunct professor from the school of hard knocks when he's discussing the life lessons that have shaped his outlook - essential truths that accompany watching his stock rise and fall and rise again. After all, the journeyman actor has faced both feast and famine in Hollywood. Over a two-decade-plus career, he has been pigeonholed variously as a jock (in his debut kid flick, 1985's The Goonies), a cocky young leading man (in his Old West TV series The Young Riders)
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | September 7, 2007
The creative team behind the movie version of Amadeus, director Milos Forman and producer Saul Zaentz, return to themes from their biggest success with Goya's Ghosts - and emerge spattered in blood, not glory. They trace the survival skills and elusive morality of Spanish artist Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) through his relationships with influential subjects: Queen Maria Luisa (Blanco Portillo) and King Carlos IV (Randy Quaid - yes, Randy Quaid); Father Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), an invented leader of the Spanish Inquisition; and Ines Bilbatua (Natalie Portman)
FEATURES
By Agustin Gurza and Agustin Gurza,LOS ANGELES TIMES | November 22, 2007
Shakira was sick of being a celebrity. Colombia's sensationally successful singer-songwriter had just come off her Oral Fixation tour this year, taking her to 140 cities on five continents to perform for 2.5 million fans. But even stardom can be a drag. So she put away her revealing sequined gowns and hip-hugging pants, donned jeans and sneakers, tucked her famous shock of dyed hair under a cap and went undercover as a summer student at University of California, Los Angeles. She enrolled in a history of Western civilization course under her middle and last names, Isabel Mebarak, telling clueless classmates she was visiting from Colombia.
FEATURES
By Chris Lee | November 2, 2007
You can forgive Josh Brolin for coming off like some adjunct professor from the school of hard knocks when he's discussing the life lessons that have shaped his outlook - essential truths that accompany watching his stock rise and fall and rise again. After all, the journeyman actor has faced both feast and famine in Hollywood. Over a two-decade-plus career, he has been pigeonholed variously as a jock (in his debut kid flick, 1985's The Goonies), a cocky young leading man (in his Old West TV series The Young Riders)
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | February 18, 2005
Thirty-two-year-old Alejandro Amenabar, who made the Spanish hit thriller Open Your Eyes (1997) and the international hit thriller The Others (2001), has always been a precocious and brilliant director. With The Sea Inside he becomes a great one. The way Amenabar tells it, the story of Ramon Sampedro (Javier Bardem), a quadriplegic who fought for the right to die, illuminates and enriches a viewer's experience of life at all levels - physical, emotional, intellectual and imaginative. There were many good to excellent movies last year, but this and A Very Long Engagement are the only ones I would call masterpieces.
NEWS
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 26, 2005
At the Oscars next month, an unprecedented contest will unfold. Jamie Foxx, nominated in the best actor category for his role as Ray Charles in Ray, will be up against the highly regarded Don Cheadle from Hotel Rwanda. And for best supporting actor, Foxx, as the righteous cabbie in Collateral, will go head to head with beloved veteran Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby. Their nominations - and those of Anglo-African Sophie Okonedo as best supporting actress for Hotel Rwanda and Colombian Catalina Sandino Moreno as best actress for Maria Full of Grace - offer the first chance for actors of color to sweep the performing categories of the Academy Awards.
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