Monday, February 28, 2022

Two Paragraph Review: Parallel Mothers (2021)

Pedro Almodóvar has this uncanny ability to turn mundane into something extraordinary and also to make it appealing in a very ordinary, straightforward way. Parallel Mothers is another example of that mastery in action, as it brings about a story of two mothers with two babies, having their lives intertwined together after spending time in the delivery ward. At the same time, in the past and the brutal Spanish Civil war, lives cut short by falangist death squads also lie intertwined as well, but as skeletons in mass graves.

Through a tale of the present and the past, Almodóvar makes a very heartfelt movie that is very modest and self-contained in its delivery. But, through the characters, especially the two main female leads, that modest tale becomes very impactful not just when it comes to being a mother, but also when it comes to being a decent human being. We expected nothing short of that from the great and magnificent Almodóvar!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Two Paragraph Review: Red Rocket (2021)


It would be easy to label Red Rocket as the spiritual successor of Boogie Nights, but one that takes place in the 2020s. However, this movie is much more than that, as it offers a look into the dark heart of an ordinary guy with some gleaming ambitions and a very empty soul. The story follows the tale of Mikey Saber, a former porn star who comes back to his Texas hometown completely broke and clueless about what to do. There, in the house of his estranged wife and her mom, he is willing to do anything to call himself a success once again.

Sean Baker is a director who is strongly rooted in realism and here as well, he delivers the same, but with such a mesmerizing combination of empathy, comedy, and dark drama that it is hard to look away. The same goes for Simon Rex, who delivers the role of his career so far, blending a goofiness and American street entrepreneurial spirit with a total lack of care for anyone but himself. This combination, along with a super-strong supporting cast of Bree Elrod and Suzanna Son, provides a powerful film that is unimposing and free of judgment. Instead, it is a fantastic testament of a time and a mindset that we will collectively be very much ashamed of in several decades - or at least I hope we will.