The Queen of Spain (La reina de España) (2016)

FERNANDO TRUEBA Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.  Spain, 2016.  Atresmedia Cine, Atresmedia, Crea SGR, Fernando Trueba Producciones Cinematográficas, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Movistar+, The Queen Picture.  Screenplay by Fernando Trueba.  Cinematography by José Luis Alcaine.  Produced by Anne Deluz, Mercedes Gamero, Cristina Huete, Mikel Lejarza.  Music by Zbigniew Preisner.  Production Design by Juan Pedro de Gaspar. …

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The Artist And The Model (El Artista Y La Modelo)

BB.5 (out of 5) A Spanish girl emerges from the bushes on the French side of the border in 1943 and happens upon the country home of an aging sculptor (Jean Rochefort) and his former model wife (Claudia Cardinale).  She needs money and a place to stay, so she begins to pose for the artist,…

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Shanghai Spell (El Embrujo De Shanghai)

BB.5 (out of 5) A young boy in Franco’s Spain spends his days as companion to the batty old Captain who wanders about town spewing his nutty opinions to anyone who will listen. The rest of the time the boy keeps company with the local beauty’s daughter, a young woman who is afflicted with tuberculosis….

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Two Much

BB.5 (out of 5) Antonio Banderas plays an art gallery owner who needs to work up the odd scam to keep paintings moving out of his store: he attends funerals and pretends that the dearly departed recently purchased a painting before passing off, and would the survivors now like to pay for it? On one of…

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Belle Epoque

BBB (out of 5) An army deserter happens upon a farm that houses a man and his four daughters. Immediately offering him shelter, the old man has no idea what trouble he is inviting by introducing this young buck to four girls who have too little exposure to the male element. One by one the…

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God Loves Caviar

B (out of 5) A biopic about eighteenth century pirate-turned-business mogul Ioannis Varvakis sounds like a terrific idea, but this one falls flat almost from the very beginning. Director Yannis Smaragdis films the project in English, presumably because it got him a better budget for the plush trappings and also to increase its viability on…

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El Greco

BBB (out of 5) The life of Domenicos Theotokopoulos, the sixteenth century painter better known as El Greco, is examined in this wholly respectful but often clunky biopic.  Nick Ashdon stars as the 16th century artist who began his career in Venetian-ruled Crete, went to Venice to study under Titian then later found himself hailed as…

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My Life In Ruins

BB.5 (out of 5) Seven years after her big, fat Greek wedding changed the face of ethnic comedies forever, Nia Vardalos is back and this time, she’s heading for the homeland. She plays a professor who was recently downsized at the University Of Athens and is now acting as tour guide for a rickety organization…

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Talk Of Angels

BB.5 (out of 5) Lush-looking Miramax cheese about an Irish lass (Polly Walker) who is sent to live as a governess in war-torn Spain and ends up charming her employer (Franco Nero) and his politically rebellious son (Vincent Perez). Along the way she experiences the Spanish Civil War first-hand, makes friends with a compatriot governess…

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Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto Del Fauno) (2006)

GUILLERMO DEL TORO Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  Spain/Mexico/USA, 2006.  Estudios Picasso, Tequila Gang, Esperanto Filmoj, Sententia Entertainment, Telecinco.  Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro.  Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro.  Produced by Alvaro Augustin, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Bertha Navarro, Frida Torresblanco.  Music by Javier Navarrete.  Production Design by Eugenio Caballero.  Costume Design by Lala Huete.  Film Editing by Bernat Vilaplana.  Academy Awards 2006.  Cannes Film Festival…

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