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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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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Barcelona, A Map (Barcelona, Un Mapa)

BB (out of 5) An elderly couple live in their sprawling Barcelona apartment with three boarders, all of whom they’ve asked to leave; the husband of the pair is dying of cancer and wishes to spend his remaining time alone with his wife. Throughout this sometimes evocative but mostly tedious film by Ventura Pons, one…

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Beloved/Friend (Amic/Amat)

BBBB (out of 5) Ventura Pons once again presents an assortment of characters and gives them the chance to find their own happiness despite the dire circumstances they subject themselves to. A professor is in love with his student, the student hustles for money, the student gets his girlfriend pregnant, the girlfriend’s father is a…

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Caresses (Caricies)

BBBB (out of 5) Excellent human drama from Spanish director Ventura Pons has a Ronde-like plot that only helps make the drama richer. The film is a circular collection of two-character scenes, where the player from the previous scene moves on to interact with a new figure in the next scene, then that new person…

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Anita Takes A Chance (Anita No Perd El Tren)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Breezy, enjoyable little tale about a fifty-something widow (Rosa Maria Sardà) who is abruptly laid off from her job as a cinema box-office clerk, after decades on the job and a life devoted to the passion of movies. Unable to tear herself away from her accustomed habit, she becomes a fixture…

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No Shame (Sin Verguenza)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Frothy but inventive Spanish comedy about the petty jealousies, tragedies and triumphs that befall a troupe of acting students when a famous director announces that he will be sitting in on their scene studies before casting his next film. The twist is that the script he is preparing to film is…

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Boystown (Chuecatown)

BBB (out of 5) Silly romp in which a loving couple is rendered asunder by jealousy, an interfering mother-in-law, and that most inconvenient of relationship killers, a psychopathic murderer who targets old ladies. The trendy district of Chueca is Madrid’s gay hub, inhabited by dwellers of all ages and economic backgrounds, now under threat by…

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All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre)

BBBBB (out of 5) Pedro Almodovar offers us his best work yet with this touching and emotionally lyrical film about a nurse (Cecilia Roth in a world class performance) who leaves Madrid for Barcelona following a personal tragedy, looking to find the man with whom she has a story with loose ends.  Instead of finding him, however,…

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