[Almodóvar. Pedro Almodóvar.]

Volver was probably my most-anticipated film of the year, so of course I went to see it the day it came out, despite being dead sleepy from an oddly brutal short week. It was worth it, too. Gorgeous, moving, funny, colorful, and totally Almodóvar. He and Penélope Cruz have a little mutual admiration society happening, and much deserved for both of them. He’s right — Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with her, which is fine by me if it means she’ll spend more time working with him. Also, it was lovely to see Carmen Maura working with him again.

Now, a mental 180 for Casino Royale, which was frickin’ awesome. A complex Bond! Who doesn’t rely on cheesy gadgets! I can’t wait for more. I -knew- it would be great, through all the damned nay-sayers since Craig was cast. Please to be allowing me a victory lap. Thank you.

[Bad Education]

I totally failed at Almodóvar last week, but two of the three I had seen on the big screen before, so I suppose I can forgive myself. Last night I took myself up the hill to catch Bad Education on its last showing, because I hadn’t seen it before and because Gael García Bernal is pretty. I didn’t really know much about the movie itself, and once it started I understood why: it’s twisty and meta and layered and complex, and if you know anything about it you probably know too much.

It is, I think, an atypical Almodóvar film in that it is all about men, but resolutely Almodóvar in color and melodrama and queerness. Bless him for that. Also, Bernal’s performance is just -brilliant-.

(It was particularly nice after the previous day’s Confetti experience to see a film with people who didn’t feel compelled to laugh at gay content. This theater’s only about a 20 minute walk away from the other. Oh, Seattle.)

[Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown]

In theaters this fall they’re doing a really cool series of Pedro Almodóvar films. Last week they ran Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown & I caught it on Thurday night. He’s a remarkable director (well, of course, or they wouldn’t do this sort of a series for him). I haven’t seen all of his films, but I’ve loved the several I’ve seen because they are all about women, they’re all clever, and they’re all messy and real in spite of featuring characters that could easily be cartoonish. Women is funny and colorful and touching. And has the original Mambo Cab. Take that, 200 Cigarettes.

This week they’re running three more. I’m planning to make it to two. Talk to Her is only playing when I’m still at work. Woe! Though I’ve seen it on the big screen already, when it first came out.