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Grand Piano | Review

Player Piano: Interesting Ideas Churn Into Nonsensical Slog in Mira’s Third Outing

Back with his first film since the 2010 potboiler, Agnosia, Spanish director Eugenio Mira returns to filming in English with Grand Piano, an ambitiously designed film that desperately tries to work around a central gimmick. Featuring inspired use of several musical selections and slick editing, which seem designed to pick up the slack for the lack of dramatic tension in a laughable narrative that only becomes more ludicrous as more details become revealed, its initial set-up is quite certainly engaging in that it creates a curiosity to want to know more. That’s saying a lot considering there are several obnoxious supporting characters and wooden performances that muddle the mood early on.

Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) is known as the most talented pianist of his generation, but he hasn’t performed in public for five years due to
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Review: Grand Piano

Feeling very much like a long lost episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Eugenio Mira’s Grand Piano is a stylish and taut thriller that wastes no time on spectacle, instead choosing to meticulously focus on story, characters, atmosphere and building tension throughout.

In Grand Piano, Elijah Wood portrays piano virtuoso Tom Selznick, who has fallen from the limelight after his last performance was a total disaster, leaving him as the laughing stock of the pianist world. Primed to make his comeback while playing his mentor’s piano at a special concert put together by his loving wife Emma (Kerry Bishe), Tom does his best to feign confidence as he first sits down to perform for an eager audience.

That façade of confidence is quickly shaken when he realizes there’s a maniacal sniper in the building (John Cusack) who has a gun aimed at his head. If Tom plays even
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Review: Elijah Wood plays rough in the fiendishly fun thriller 'Grand Piano'

  • Hitfix
Review: Elijah Wood plays rough in the fiendishly fun thriller 'Grand Piano'
If you saw Eugenio Mira's earlier film "Agnosia," then you may have already noticed his fondness for Brian De Palma. Anyone making thrillers who holds De Palma as part of the pantheon is already on my short list of people I like, but when you see how well Mira pulls it all together for "Grand Piano," it's obvious that he's graduated to a different level with this film. I think it's very fair to compare this to "Non-Stop," which I reviewed earlier today, since both of them are thrillers that take place over a compressed period of time in a fairly restrictive setting with a ticking clock. For both filmmakers, the exercise is the same. Can you keep the film somewhat plausible while ratcheting up the tension and convincing us that things could unfold like this? In the case of "Grand Piano," the answer is a resounding yes, and
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No Rest For The Wicked, The Artist: Goya Winners

Elena Anaya, Antonio Banderas, The Skin I Live In No Rest For The Wicked Tops, Pedro Almodóvar Empty-Handed: Goyas 2012 Winners Best Film La Piel que habito / The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar * No habrá paz para los malvados / No Rest for the Wicked, Enrique Urbizu La Voz dormida / The Sleeping Voice, Benito Zambrano Blackthorn. Sin destino / Blackthorn, Mateo Gil Best Foreign Film in the Spanish Language Boleto al paraíso (Cuba), Gerardo Chijona Miss Bala (Mexico), Gerardo Naranjo * Un cuento chino / Chinese Take-Away (Argentina), Sebastián Borensztein Violeta se fue a los cielos (Chile), Andrés Wood Best European Film Jane Eyre (United Kingdom), Cary Fukunaga Melancholia (Germany / Denmark / France), Lars von Trier * The Artist (France), Michel Hazanavicius Carnage (France), Roman Polanski Best Director Pedro Almodóvar, The Skin I Live In Benito Zambrano, The Sleeping Voice * Enrique Urbizu, No Rest for the Wicked Mateo Gil, Blackthorn Best New Director Paula Ortiz, De tu ventana a la mía
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Goya Awards (Premios Goyas) 2012: Nominations: The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito) and the other nominations for the 2012 Goya Awards (Premios Goyas) have been announced. The 26th Annual Goya Awards (Premios Goyas), presented by the Academia de las Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas de España (Spanish Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences), is “Spain’s main national film awards, considered by many in Spain, and internationally, to be the Spanish equivalent of the American Academy Awards.” The awards will be handed out on February 19, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.

The full listing of the 2012 Goya Awards (Premios Goyas) nominations is below.

Film

La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In), Pedro Almodovar

No habrá paz para los malvados (No Rest for the Wicked), Enrique Urbizu

La voz dormida (The Sleeping Voice), Benito Zambrano

Blackthorn. Sin destino (Blackthorn), Mateo Gil

Director

Pedro Almodovar, La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In)

Benito Zambrano, La voz dormida
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