I've seen a few recent movies in the last couple of weeks, and I thought I'd give some brief opinions on them.
This is Pedro Almodóvar's latest film, and it stars Penelope Cruz as a woman coping with family ghosts, in a couple of different senses (the title is Spanish for "Returning", as in the returning of the ghosts). The movie's well crafted and clever, and was very enjoyable to watch. But, then, I'm an Almodóvar fan, and expected to like it. It's in Spanish, and I saw it with English subtitles.
Here's another director whose work I'm fond of: Spike Lee. And the film stars Denzel Washington, who's worked with Lee several times before (in “Mo' Better Blues”, “Malcolm X”, and “He Got Game”) and does a wonderful job here. It's also got several other well-known actors, including Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe, Jodie Foster, and Christopher Plummer. This film's about a bank robbery that takes some unexpected and interesting turns, and Denzel is the NYPD hostage negotiator who deals with the robbers.
At one point, Lee uses an interesting device that he used before with Denzel in “Malcolm X”: he puts the actor on a dolly and wheels him through the scene while using a head shot. The effect is of the actor moving in an eerie way, without the normal up-and-down movement of his head while he's walking.
Judi Dench stars as a widow in the 1930s, who buys a theatre in London. She hires an artistic director who brings it to success with risqué shows, taking us to the bombings of London during World War II.
I'm afraid that synopsis was a little thin because the movie is a little thin. It's not a bad movie, and Ms Dench and the others do a fine job with the acting. I just found it not to be a compelling story, and ultimately had little interest n it.