|Index||6 reviews in total|
I saw this movie when it was first released, and then again last week on video. I still think it is one of the most graphic, shocking depictions of the '90 s club scene to be put on screen. If any future sociologist wanted to examine the 90's phenomenon of the drug and sex crazed underworld of a large European metropolis' club scene, MAS QUE AMOR FRENESI would be a perfect document. Madrid indeed offers Europe's most intense nightlife, and it is depicted to the hilt in this wild film. No sterotypical character is left out, from the flashy drag queens to the self absorbed gigolos, from a lesbian madame to a fascist cop, who takes S & M to levels seldom seen on the screen. The sex scenes (of all persuasions) go beyond soft porn. The drug use is so pervasive, it seems sex is not practiced unless one is on Ecstasy or LSD (with side hits of cocaine every few minutes). Otherwise, alcohol and marijuana always accompany the omnipresent cigarette in the scenes not involving sex. All this behavior is played out by an all-star cast of established young actors, three years later already among Spain's most memorable actors of the last 20 years, including Nancho Novo, Ingrid Rubio, Juan Diego Botto, Javier Bardem, and in even Penelope Cruz, in a cameo role. This film is worth seeing for curiosity value alone.
NOT LOVE, JUST FRENZY (Más que Amor Frenesí)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Dolby Digital
Staff and customers of a popular Madrid nightclub - gay, straight and everything in between - are thrown into disarray by the arrival of a stranger (Nancho Novo) whose life is threatened by a corrupt cop (Javier Manrique) seeking to connect him with a brutal murder.
Despite a lack of focus in its early stages and a couple of disappointing plot twists, this outrageous romp plays Almodóvar at his own game and comes up trumps. Co-written and directed by Miguel Bardem and debut filmmakers Alfonso Albarete and David Menkes (I LOVE YOU BABY), the movie features some of Spain's sexiest rising stars - including popular actress/TV presenter Cayetana Guillén Cuervo (STORIES FROM THE KRONEN) as a trampy nightclub owner with the hots for Novo, and Gustavo Salmerón (99.9) as the eternal party-boy who dumps his deceitful boyfriend Javier Albalá (SECOND SKIN) to pursue an impossible infatuation with the unattainable, ultra-beautiful Liberto Rabal (LIVE FLESH) - and includes cameo appearances by Penelope Cruz (blink and you'll miss her), Javier Bardem (ditto) and Almodovar favorite Bibi Andersen as a lesbian pimp (!).
The script combines sure-fire commercial elements (unrequited love, sexual betrayal, nymphomania, etc.) with layers of melodramatic excess (the gigolo who swears he was framed for murder, the psycho cop determined to nail him come what may), and the movie indulges an exhilarating sexual candor, including a heated exchange between Salmerón and Albalá in a shower, Novo and Guillén Cuervo enjoying a wild encounter in front of a bank of video monitors, and - in the film's most romantic episode - Rabal's full-frontal nude scene on a rooftop at midnight. All in all, voyeurs will certainly get their money's worth! About halfway through, however, the movie surrenders its 'gay' credentials and descends into mere 'camp', dropping several interesting plot threads to focus on Manrique's increasingly psychotic behavior as he launches a series of violent assaults on the primary female characters (the final sequence is a jaw-dropping combination of sex, death and bodily fluids!). Still, the movie is well-played by an engaging young cast (watch out for the lovely shot of Guillén Cuervo sweeping down a crowded high street in a billowing Victorian-style party dress!), and most viewers will be impressed by the filmmakers' refusal to compromise their eccentric ideals.
If GO director Doug Liman collaborated with Pedro Almodovar on a remake
of that film, you might just about get something equal to NOT LOVE JUST
FRENZY. Set in the mid-'90's omnisexual club scene in Madrid, there's
plenty of sex, drugs, betrayal, death and dance beats to go around.
Those not used to movies with subtitles probably won't have the
wherewithal to stick with this one, but veteran viewers of such fare as
WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS
BREAKDOWN and AMOR DE HOMBRE know that the eventual rewards are worth
Blond, hedonistic nymphomaniac bartender/actress Monica (Caetana Guillen Cuervo), sweet- natured Yeye (Ingrid Rubio) and vivacious activist Maria (Beatriz Santiago) are three flatmates looking for a fourth to let a spare room at their place, to stretch the rent with some extra dinero. Unfortunately, friendships and romantic entanglements will be the main things stretched past the breaking point, when Monica decides to rent the room to Max (Nancho Novo), Yeye's sexy, shady ex-boyfriend who has a secret he won't let get out, and a certain appendage he can't seem to keep...in his pants.
Keeping the pot at a roiling boil are subplots including Alberto (Gustavo Salmeron), Yeye's gay "play husband" who is having an affair with a married bisexual, Alex (Javier Albala) and a mad infatuation with straight physique model, David (Liberto Rabal); Luis (Javier Manrique), a psychotic cop masquerading as a secret admirer of Maria's who has his own agenda involving Max, and Maria's own secret crush, Carlos (Juan Diego Botto), her cute student pal who lives right next door, and confides in her about his latest romantic involvements, clueless to how she really feels about him.
Just for spice, add a lesbian madam named Cristina (Bibi Andersen) who also has Max's number; a coterie of drag queens so over-the-top they make the girls from PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT seem downright genteel; sex that just avoids becoming triple X-rated porn, prodigious drug use, more sex and a murder investigation that will turn everyone's lives even more topsy-turvy...if that's possible.
This arch spoof of all the sex-drug-and-drama gay genre films seems at times like a mess, but the writing is tight enough that you can follow all the plot twists, without getting as lost as some of the characters seem to be in their own little worlds. And though the DVD box trumpets the presence of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, you better not blink if you don't want to miss them. Not that it matters - the cast is engaging throughout, and in the midst of all the "Frenzy" of the title are some gorgeous and striking scenes, such as Monica flouncing down a busy city street in French Renaissance attire and sunglasses, and David in a nude rooftop scene (don't ask - just watch for it.)
Overall, one of the better non-Almodovar entries to the canon of gay-themed foreign films from the last decade.
I caught this film while in Australia on their excellent SBS channel (which provides its own subtitles and pre-screening warnings). I was impressed with the pacing, content, and general freeness of the notions expressed, all while playing the universal theme of people wanting to be loved. The gay blond (Alberto) is needful and trying too hard and getting connected with all the WRONG men, YeYe is wildly in love with a gigolo, Maria is a mad-cap redhead (out of a bottle that is WAY over on the left side of the shelf) with a heart of gold and her own secret crush on a neighbor boy who (of course) insists on telling her all his sexual conquests (naive though they are) with other women. Add to this a murder investigation, a bit of underworld sexual business (as lesbian madam who uses the gigolo character to 'train' her 'staff'), and three totally over-the-top drag queens (and some of the tightest, rapid-fire writing of that genre) and you have a totally fun film. Yes, it is challenging and drug-filled (and therefore, probably not for the kiddies) but it is also a slice of life and masterful film-making. Invest the time if you are in the mood for a comedy. Invest the time if you are in the mood for a 'comedy /drama / thriller' (not many of those). You won't be disappointed.
Yeye, Monica and Maria are three roomates looking for a fourth. Yeye's cute friend Alberto has just met a new man Alex. Hunky Alex has a secret. Yeye is mending from a broken heart. Her lamented Max is on his way back to her, but first he needs to collect money from his pimp, Chrisina. Before Max can find Yeye he encounters Monica at club Frenzy. Monica with an agenda of her own, seduces Max and videotapes their lovemaking. Meanwhile, a Barcelona, policeman, Luis who suspects Max of murder, follows him and meets Maria... Confused? That's part of the fun of this colorful romp through the streets of Madrid that has a little something for everyone -- steamy sex, drugs, murder, and drag queens.
This movie is terribly bad. I don't know how this ¿script? passed any
kind of selection. I must say that it is under the level of the actors
in the movie, and, believe me, that's not easy. It's really sad to see
that not one, but ¡three! directors, with all their talent together,
are unable to overcome the level of shame.
In the beginning, Nancho Novo's faces, remembering some sexual-criminal scene, already promises the absurd and bad-done development of the rest of the movie. The mixture of Madrid's "movida" and the deep feelings and the thriller atmosphere is really pathetic. The personal stories of the characters have been seen thousand times before, although the directors show them as very interesting and full of deep passion. The violent ending adds more absurd stupidity to the plot.
Anyway, it's not a surprise to see how bad this film is. It is part of a sort of genre of Spanish bad movies, trying to imitate Almodovar's model, believing that filming sex, gay ambient, drugs and frenetic passions makes a movie a good movie. Unfortunately for these three directors, if you have a stupid story nothing works. And I guess that's what they will always have in their (I hope short) careers.
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