Posts Tagged ‘Penelope Cruz’

Fist of Film: Matt Damon’s Bottom Five

March 12, 2010

Matt Damon has enjoyed quite a ride. The game-changing Bourne trilogy transformed him from the only Oscar-winning Bruce Weber pin-up into a muscular box office behemoth. The WMD thriller Green Zone reunites Damon with director Paul Greengrass and looks set to reap further millions this weekend. It wasn’t always, thus, however. Here’s a look at the Cambridge-born star’s least profitable earners, written in the hope hidden gems will be uncovered and bitter laughs had. Box office figures are kindly taken from Box Office Mojo.

Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Box office: $18,635,620
A beardless Damon tags along as part of a party led by Robert Duvall, who applies his best grizzle to the role of an Indian hunter. Duvall’s white whale is the legendary Apache renegade Geronimo (Wes Studi). Released after the success of Unforgiven, the film doesn’t so much revise history as honor the facts. For Damon’s teen following, it moved with all the pace of a three-legged horse. Genre expert Walter Hill (The Warriors) directed a script from John Milius (Red Dawn) and Larry Gross.

All the Pretty Horses (2000)
Box office: $15,540,353
Pairing director Billy Bob Thornton with the 1992 National Book Award-winner seemed like a good idea at the time, as the Sling Blade star had yet to go full lunatic. The material is Cormac McCarthy, so there’s the inevitable run by a Texas teen (Damon) ‘cross the border, where he breaks some horses and falls for a simmering Penelope Cruz. It was all too elegiac for the studio, who hacked Thornton’s original three-hour cut and left the film to languish at the box office. What’s left is a great novel with palsy.

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What the Papers Say: Almodovar’s Broken Embraces

March 17, 2009

broken-embracesVariety is one of the first across the bows with a review of Pedro Almodovar‘s newest, Los Abrazos rotos/Broken Embraces, starring Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, and Ruben Ochandiano. In a blizzard of flashbacks and movie references, a blinded writer-director (Homar) is asked to write a script about his late producer by the dead man’s son (Ochandiano). Cruz appears as a prostitute/actress who enchants both men. Says Jonathan Holland:

“Partly a film about films and partly a film about love, Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” can’t quite decide where its allegiances lie. A restless, rangy and frankly enjoyable genre-juggler that combines melodrama, comedy and more noir-hued darkness than ever before, the pic is held together by the extraordinary force of Almodovar’s cinematic personality. But while its four-way in extremis love story dazzles, it never really catches fire. … There’s a sense here that Almodovar, who’s now a stylistic law unto himself, may be more interested in stretching himself technically than in engaging with issues of the wider world.”

Broken Embraces opens in Spain tomorrow, will screen at the Cannes Film Festival and is due to bow in the U.S. sometime in 2009.

Trailerama: Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces)

March 5, 2009

Nobody photographs Penelope Cruz quite like Almodovar. That’s good, because his latest exercise in melodramatic noir involves films within films and competing directors. The trailer hints at the formal complexities and visual pleasures present in this resume of his work so far.