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La reina de España (2016)
I was looking forward to seeing The Queen of Spain. I loved the first film and this was very promising, with the same cast and most of the crew. Five minutes after it started, I just wanted to leave the theatre. The main problem is, I believe, the script, which is just very, very poor. The Girl of Your Dreams was pure bliss, and here they try to use the same structure and some of the gags are very similar, but it just does not work. The acting is also quite bad, which is surprising, for the actors are all very good. I did like the settings, even though they could have made more of them. They try to show the bleak Spain of the Franco regime, but this idea is not explored in depth. An unfortunate film.
The Crown (2016)
A genuine achievement
I have just finished this series and I am so impressed that I really have no words. To be perfectly honest, I was not exactly looking forward to watching it, thinking it would be one more BBC-type period drama. The main character was not the most attractive person for a series, I thought. Wrong! You really just need five minutes to fall in love with all the performers. The cinematography is something I had never seen before: the use of CG is perfect and takes the spectators to places we had never seen before from those perspectives, including Buckingham Palace and many other places we think we know but here present new readings. My favourite episodes are 1x07 and 1x09. All the scenes between the queen and her sister are just jaw-dropping.
Bunuel's finest masterpiece.
Bunuel is, for me, the most original and creative filmmaker from Spain. I love all his films, including those from his Mexican phase which are meant to be poorer but are not. Viridiana is a beautiful transition between his Mexican films and his European period (in fact, Viridiana is a co-production and the actress is a Mexican star). The film is extremely beautiful, and this is just magic, for Viridiana is about the darkest aspects of human behaviour. Poverty, selfishness, the impossibility to change things to make the world a better place... all this and much more too is found in this film. And, yet, you love all the shots, beautifully arranged. The endings is intriguing and invites you to see Viridiana many more times.
SMS, sin miedo a soñar (2006)
Ups and downs of teeangers in Spain.
I have seen some episodes of this series as part of my research on the representation of teenagers in Spanish media and I have to say I am very surprised at the quality of it. I had read some pretty bad reviews about it, re: acting and poor dialogues. But, as a matter of fact, the series is very contemporary, even if it is now a few years old. The main characters are charismatic, and the actors are rather good (granted, maybe not all of them...). The plot lines might not be the most original and include some relatively stereotypical motifs, but I guess this is what you expect when you approach these dramas. I wonder why it was not successful when aired on television, but I read that the schedule was changed a lot.
Cuenta atrás (2007)
Spanish cop series, top quality
This is one Spanish TV that should be shown abroad. Visually, it is as exciting as can be, and it works on all levels: the actors are good, and the story lines are first rate. The main character is played by a national rock star and at first I thought this could lead to some complicated situations, as I do not favour singers who become actors, but then I learnt that Dani Martin had actually been an actor before becoming a singer, and it certainly shows. The pilot is spectacular, and the series manages to keep up in all episodes. There is some nudity which might not be welcome in international televisions, but it is very mild and never gratuitous.
El diario de Carlota (2010)
Awful, so bad it's embarrassing
I saw this film because I was looking for representations of teenagers in Spanish cinema. The storyline sounds promising but unfortunately the main character is so rude (imagine Annie after taking drugs!) that after a few minutes you don't care what's going to happen to her. This film is so boring I had to force myself to finish it. I have seen many Spanish movies but I didn't know any of these actors, I wonder if they are professional or amateurs. The acting is ridiculous, the dialogues don't make sense and the shots are awful and completely atrocious. Waste of time. It is not a good example of contemporary Spanish cinema. I have recently seen some films (mainly comedies) of this period and genre, and this is the worst of them all.