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La mala educación (2004)
Another Gael performance worth it's weight in gold
The surprising thing about this film is the sex scenes. I've seen previous films by Almodovar and he has never been as explicit as this.
I find it very exciting that Gael chose to do this movie but it seems obvious to me that Almodovar recognises his beauty. The camera caresses his body and his face and Gael gives an amazing performance as each of the three characters he portrays - Ignacio/Angel/Juan. For each one he subtly changes the way his whole body and face works and I found this to be a cunning and subtle performance overall.
The film is also a very sexy experience and another surprise is that there are almost no female characters in the whole film - another thing Almodovar does not normally do.
The plot sustains the level of mystery and the changing of actors throughout adds to the suspense as well as being an original way of telling a story.
The costumes, designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, are superb down to the sunglasses and paisley shirts and I love the way Almodovar's films are always colourful. This makes for an aesthetically pleasing experience and one I would definitely recommend anyone to see.
I love Kate Winslet EVEN MORE after this film. The first hour is a mind-boggling, yet exhilarating experience. Winslet's diversity is on show in every scene she is in and she deserves every award going.
Kaufman and Carrey have progressed their talents with this - for Kaufman it feels like a necessary extension to Adaptation and Carrey fulfils the potential he hinted at in The Truman Show.
My favourite scene takes place in the kitchen of Carrey's childhood. Winslet and Carrey deliver furiously energetic performances. Both using their bodies perfectly. The interplay is out of this world.
On a smaller scale the effects are surprising and in the scenes when Carrey goes back to his childhood they're spectacular.
Enduring Love (2004)
More of this please...
This is a lush meditation on love, without being a drooling love story (very English too). The exasperating opening sequence lives up to its counterpart in McEwan's novel - which has turned into a masterclass on how to open a novel and everyone I know who has studied English Literature at A-Level standard has a discussion about it at some point - building up pace with furious camera shots. There are lots of funky techniques employed but the central story is fascinating enough in itself. Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans are absolutely divine in their main roles - Daniel Craig is pretty good too - and out of the smaller parts Helen McCrory's brilliantly rounded character gives her the scope to steal a couple of little scenes.
The film does become slow in the middle but the characters and the shocking denouement - which comes out of nowhere - are enough to make this a challenging and fulfilling experience.