Some morning reads:
"Volver" opened in the UK on Friday; reviews were (natch) good, if tending toward reserved. Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian is admittedly rapturous: "The picture’s ingenuities and contrivances just seem to float out of the screen, like psychedelic moodshapes. I found myself floating right along with them." Philip French at the Observer
thinks that the film, "though perhaps not quite as good as All About My Mother and Talk to Her, is masterly…it zips along without a wasted second in its 121 minutes." James Christopher at the London Times writes that "Age has mellowed [Pedro AlmodÃ³var‘s] two-fingered arrogance towards convention. Time has polished the craft." For him, this is a good thing; Sukhdev Sandhu at the Telegraph, however, while also liking the film, cautions that
Volver is enjoyable enough, but it presents us with disquieting evidence of AlmodÃ³var operating well within his comfort zone, too ready to sluice out any hint of the vulgarities, raucousness and formal raggedness that characterised his earlier pictures in order to produce smoother, more emptily elegant fare. The pervasive dissent and the attendant desire to provoke of those early 1980s pictures have disappeared; but here, unlike in All About My Mother and Talk To Her, it has not been replaced with anything that might linger in the imagination.
If he’s not careful, he risks losing his status as one of the most consistently intoxicating European auteurs and becoming little more than a brand-provider, offering "films de AlmodÃ³var", soft-focus retreads of vivid, galloping former glories.
The film finds Kon mining his favorite and most fertile ground, the strange subconscious urges and desires that shape and manipulate our daily lives whether we are consciously aware of them or not. Nobody captures the shifting reality of dream life better than Kon, the peculiar logic that rules there, the unsettling way that dreams can turn from pleasant to terrifying seemingly without warning.
You actually saw your character unfold before you. It felt good – I felt that I had left myself in the hands of a master. One really didn’t have to worry because one knew that Hrishida was going to mould you.
He was a master editor and knew his craft incredibly well – he would shoot a scene and you would know nothing about it till you saw it.
And yet when you saw it finished, it was amazing how well he had actually conceived the thing. He could do the last shot first and could put something in the middle days later and it was just marvelous to see a person so gifted.
I moved back to L.A. three weeks ago. It’s the only place I feel safe. I’ve got a slick pad near my old prowling turf and an arriviste sports car. I want to live here, I want to work here, I want to end my days here. I want the all-new and wholly familiar stimulation that only L.A. provides. I want to reclaim L.A. with a revitalized and mature imagination.
My old neighborhood is now Koreatown. My old market is a Korean church, my old neighborhood bar is a Korean supper club. I drove down Western Avenue this morning. Old buildings bore new facades. The signs were all Korean. I saw Korean folks queued up outside stores I used to loot. I want to know who they are and why they came here. I want them to thrive. I want them to grasp opportunity and render it with love.
For in any form, seen in any direction, in any language, no movie is as
full of perfect Zen emptiness as "M:i:III." It’s the hole in the
doughnut, the shoe that never drops, the sound of one hand clapping,
the moon in reflection in the cold stream. It’s there/not there at
once. It’s so . . . wonderful.
What was that film exactly? Airplane! meets United 93? Not quite. If SoaP were a band (and whoâ€™s to say it wonâ€™t be soon?) and this were a Pitchfork album review, weâ€™d settle on: Soul Plane meets Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal.
+ Volver (Guardian)
+ Volver (Observer)
+ Volver (London Times)
+ Volver (15) (Independent)
+ Volver (Telegraph)
+ Paprika Review (Twitch)
+ ‘We just followed what he said’ (BBC)
+ The Great Right Place: James Ellroy Comes Home (LA Times Magazine)
+ Film Studies: A three-year-old can watch this? (Independent)
+ The Bliss of Watching ‘Mission’: Incomprehensible (Washington Post)
+ Spoiler Alert: Honkies Get Iced in Snakes (NY Observer)