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Access Denied

"Access Denied" is a soft-core movie about a beautiful computer programmer who is deceived by her husband: he escapes with money stolen with a program made by her and the police detains her (it's not an spoiler, it happens at the beginning of the film).

The plot (as usual in this kind of movies) isn't very understandable, but there are worst. The main scenes are too much short for the genre, but the lead actress, Colleen McDermott, shines over the poor plot; she demonstrates she could play in other kind of movies. This film isn't very entertaining, the only enjoyable is to see Colleen.


Good trial
"Manila" is a thriller with persecutions, money affairs and a love story. To see a Catalan film of this genre isn't usual.

The films directed by Antonio Chavarrías like this are based upon human relations. The protagonist is Àlex Casanovas (a well-known actor in cinema, TV and theater), there's also the lovely Laura Mañà (who has worked as director) and the good Fermí Reixach.

One observes it isn't a big-budget film, and it isn't a very entertaining movie, but it's a good trial.

L'home de neó

Neon man, dark movie
Spoilers herein.

"L'home de neó" (the neon man) is a man who earns a poor pay by installing neon advertisements, one day he is run down by two journalists, then they offer him a strange business: he has to be in a place where he will receive a package for them; he accepts because he needs the money; but, for no reason at all, he will be pursued by a delinquents while he waits the package.

The movie is (unnecessarily) very dark, the rhythm is slow and makes it boring. The neon man is played by the unknown Feodor Atkine, and the journalists are played by the greats Assumpta Serna and Lluís Homar. The hey of the plot isn't bad, but it's very bad developed.

Fools of Fortune

A lonely man
"Fools of Fortune" tells the story of a child whose parents are murdered during in a conflict with the British army in Ireland and his home is inflamed. The movie shows his loneliness and misfortunes while he is growing, but the plot is a little simple, the rhythm is slow and it doesn't get to be entertaining.

In this film we can see the usual characteristics of the movies directed by Pat O'Connor: good cinematography, great landscapes and the plot about feelings; but these were used with more success in "Circle of Friends", "Dancing at Lughnasa" and (in my opinion, his best film) "Inventing the Abbotts".


Interesting independent film
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Martín is a boy who likes to run, but one day, when he returns to home, his mother (who was alcoholic) is found died because she has fallen from a window of fer home. Martín suspects that his father pushed her, so he is guilty of her death. Martín falls in love with a girl called África, and they discover that his father and her mother are lovers; África and Martín don't like it, so he decides to kill his father poisoning him.

The director, Alfonso Ungría, tries to show an own style with his first movie, and he gets it in some scenes. The cast includes the veteran Imanol Arias (the father) and good beginners like Zoe Berriatúa (Martín) and, overcoat, the great Elena Anaya (África). However, the characters change their decisions often, and you can finish to watch the movie without knowing if you liked it.

La caverna

Entertaining but little developed
A man is murdered while his girlfriend is doing a striptease for him through a web cam, she watches the murder but she can't see the face of the murderer, later she will discover that her boyfriend was inside an strange role playing game.

The title of this Catalan TV-movie refers to the 'Myth of the Cavern' by Plato: it tells that a prisoners in a cavern only could see the shadows of the free men who walk and talk behind them, so the prisoners believe that all the reality is made of shadows, but one prisoner gets to escape and discovers how is the world, then he returns and tells the truth to the other prisoners, but they think he's crazy and they finish killing him.

The cast of the film has good young actors: Núria Prims, Sara Loscos, Fermí Casado and Jordi Andújar. The director shows a certain talent, but some scenes are little credible and I don't like the final completely. However, it's entertaining, but the Catalan cinema is reduced again to a TV-movie and doesn't have distribution on theaters.

Rosa rosae

Boring 'new' comedy
Two girls (Rosa and Rosae) had to be left when they were children, they exchanged a diary and a collar and, mysteriously, their personality; one became writer thanks to the diary and the other became a fortune-teller who gives luck to her lovers.

This movie is nearer to the classic 'españolada' than to the new Spanish cinema, there are very few gags which get to make laugh, so it's a boring film; luckily, there aren't cultural jokes (typical of the old Spanish comedies). The lead actresses, the great singer Ana Belén and María Barranco, have done better movies, as well as the director, Fernando Colomo.


Life on the roofs
It's the story of two young lovers who live on the roofs of the houses of the neighborhood of El Raval, in Barcelona. They have an Arab friend, he's an illegal immigrant who hasn't parents either. All of them are poor, but they live thanks to love and illusion.

It was nominated for the Goya (the Spanish Academy Awards) to the best short and has won several prizes. It has a very good cinematography, good setting and a pretty style that makes the short very enjoyable.

Mujeres en un tren (Women in a Train)

There are just women in the train
Two women are alone in a compartment of a train, then a man comes in; they start a conversation: the youngest woman is going to search a man whom she doesn't know his name but she loves him, the other woman has a similar relationship with a man.

The director of this short is Spanish, but it has been shot in USA with American actors. It has a mysterious atmosphere that makes it entertaining, worth seeing.

Dama de Porto Pim

A little boring
"Dama de Porto Pim" tells the story of a rich woman who arrives at a little Portuguese island while her husband is in the II World War; there, a humble fisherman, promised to marry a girl of the town, falls in love with her, and she will also fall in love with him, but his husband could come back.

The lead actress, the lovely Emma Suárez, does a good performance, but the lead actor, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, isn't equal to his partner of cast. The movie isn't long, but sometimes it's a little boring; the only thing you can save is the beauty of Emma.

Un asunto pendiente

It's a Galician short that tells a little story: a truck driver uses to go to the bar of the market of his town, he's in love with the florist of the market, but she doesn't pay attention to him; the bar's owner is friend of the truck driver. One day, the truck driver discovers a hole in the slot machine of the bar, he puts a finger in the hole and all the coins starts to come out, then the florist discovers him and they agree to take the half of the money each one. Once they are away, the truck driver feels remorse by taking the money of his friend.

The short is entertaining, the truck driver is played by the well-known Luis Tosar and the florist is played by the very-lovely beginner Cristina Espinosa. The setting is very natural because it was shot in the market of El Ferrol with the real people who were there.

Temps afegit

The life of Santiago Rusiñol after his dead
This TV-movie tells an invented continuation of the life of Santiago Rusiñol, a Catalan famous modernist painter and writer who abandoned his wife and sons to go to France and have a Bohemian life; he was 70 years old when he died in 1931.

In the movie, after his dead, Rusiñol spends other 70 years without nothing to do at the limbo as a punishment; then, he asks to come back to Earth in the present, even though times has changed.

Rusiñol is played by Juli Mira, a popular Catalan actor of theater; he is supported by Boris Ruiz, possibly the best actor of theater in Spain (famous for his brilliant performance as Clarín in "La vida es sueño"). The movie is entertaining, but it had to wake up a little more of interest, since the Catalan cinema is limited to this TV-movies and there aren't Catalan films on theaters.

¿Tú qué harías por amor?

A story at the outskirts of Madrid
"¿Y tú qué harías por amor?" is a beautiful and dramatic story of two brothers who live at the outskirts of Madrid: the older works with two great friends for a drug dealer, and the tragedy begins when one of the friends dies in one of their drug affairs, then the other friend gets hooked on drugs and the girlfriend of the older brother forsakes him; the younger likes to do graffiti against the war with his best friend, a black boy.

The performances are very good: the entablished Fele Martínez plays the older brother, the great Paco Rabal plays the drug dealer and the new discovery is Alberto Escobar, who plays the younger brother; I hope to see him in other movies. The director is Carlos Saura Medrano (son of the well-known director Carlos Saura), who encloses the film with good music like Tonino Carotone and Dusminguet.

Pídele cuentas al rey

The hard life of miners
"Pídele cuentas al rey" tells the story of an Asturian miner who decides to walk from Asturias to Madrid for being received by the king of Spain, and then ask him for the right of all the workers to have a worthy job.

The director, José Antonio Quirós, has a lot of experience making documentaries, in this movie there are some real scenes which show the hard life of the Asturian miners, who have to work in dangerous conditions. During the long walk, we can see other unlucky characters like wanderers and illegal immigrants.

Antonio Resines plays the lead role with his habitual naturalness; the movie sometimes is a bit too much long, but it's entertaining.

El viaje a ninguna parte

Maybe the best Spanish movie of the 80's
"El viaje a ninguna parte" ("Voyage to Nowhere") tells the story of a comic actors group: they have to travel on foot from village to village searching bars or cafés where they could act. The movie combines perfectly the comic situations with the dramatic stories of the actors; it's a good portrait of the Spanish poverty during the Franco period, and it's also a good portrait of the hard life of the actors who have to act as extras in some many scenes as they could. This film is directed by Fernando Fernan-Gómez, who also plays a little role; possibly he is the best Spanish actor of his age. It won the Goya (the Spanish Academy Awards) for the best movie on the first show in which this prizes were granted.


Appearances in the Basque Country
The movie is based on a real story that happened just before the beginning of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939): a children of an small town of the Basque Country saw appearances of the Virgin and a priest tried to film it. It's a well-made movie, the setting is very good and the director, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, has a lot of experience. Besides, the cast has some of the best Spanish actors: Eduardo Noriega, Íngrid Rubio, Karra Elejalde and Fernando Fernan-Gómez.

Rota de Colisão

Nice Brazilian short
"Rota de colisão" is a Brazilian short in black and white. It hasn't dialogues, but it has frantic action developed at the outside of a Brazilian city. There are two crossed stories: a jewels dealer persecuted by the police and a boy who plays with marbles. It's an entertaining short with a good final.

La mujer más fea del mundo

Nice movie
It's an original movie, possibly the best of Miguel Bardem: Lola is a girl who was abandoned in a convent because she was "the ugliest woman in the world"; eighteen years later, a professor of university tries an experiment with her, she becomes "the most beautiful woman in the world" and she starts to kill all the Miss Spain, angry with the beauty.

The story happens into a future republican Spain (republican Spain? Really future!), the policemen are stupid (in future, too?) and the movie doesn't lose a little sense of humor, it has a moral and a nice final like a fairy tale.

The lead actress, Elia Galera, maybe needs a little more of experience in acting, but her beauty and style are appropiate for her character.

A Drogaria

Entertaining Portuguese Short
"A drogaria" is an original short made in Portugal. The protagonist is an old man who works in a hardware store with a young man. The hardware store is very untidy, but the old man is comfortable this way; the young man starts to put the hardware store in order, then the old man doesn't find the objects and he feels useless, so he invents a plan to ruin the business.

La ciudad de los prodigios

Great portrait
A man, Onofre Bouvila, arrives in Barcelona searching job in 1888, the city is ready to organize the Universal Exposition; but the working class is unemployed and they are very poor. A girl convinces Onofre to spread the anarchist ideals between the working class, but the police repression makes it impossible. The only way to have money is the delinquency. "La ciutat dels prodigis" is based on the great novel by Eduardo Mendoza. The film is very well made and the setting is perfect; Mario Camus has made a great portrait of Barcelona in 1888.

El héroe

Beautiful short
This film of five minutes won the Best Short Award of the Cannes Festival 1994. It's a Mexican short that uses an original animation style, the characters have big eyes which give them a beautiful appearance. The protagonist is a girl who wants to commit suicide at the railroad, I won't tell the final, but this movie explains that life isn't beautiful as it seems.


Dramatic war, dramatic movie
This movie tells the story of a little republican resistance during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). It's a dramatic story (like the Civil War was) and there are popular Spanish actors like Sancho Gracia, "Tito" Valverde or the great Javier Bardem; but the movie isn't much known: I saw it on TV late at night, but I found it interesting.

Treasure Island

It's not a bad adaptation
It's a well done adaptation of the famous novel by Robert Louis Stevenson (although the final is different). The actors have made a good job of work, overcoat Kevin Zegers (Jim Hawkins); and there are beautiful images from the Isle of Man. Unlike other adaptations, it doesn't fall into infantilisms that only make laugh the children; however, I think it's a good movie to watch with all the family.

El crimen del cine Oriente

Entertaining original movie
"El crimen del Cine Oriente" is an original movie between the drama and the comedy. María is expelled from the home of her parents, Salvador, the manager of the Oriente Cinema, accommodates her and soon they become lovers; but Salvador uses to drink and violates her, and she's always writing letters telling she's very happy to her daughter (who mysteriously never appears), but María never sends the letters, she only writes them.

The music combines perfectly with some scenes and the lead actors have made a good job: Pepe Rubianes (great humorist in Catalonia) plays Salvador and he reflects a cruel person with a little touch of humor, and Anabel Alonso (María) reflects eroticism and drama.

15 días

Original false documentary
"15 días" (15 days) is a short about a man who uses all the promotions to buy things but the last day of promotion he returns all the objects without having to pay for them. It won a deserved second prize of the jury of an Spanish TV program; this film has the original format of a documentary (but the story is fictitious) about the greatest opportunist of the History. I give it a 6/10.

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