Search - Viva Pedro - The Almodovar Collection (Talk to Her/ Bad Education/ All about My Mother/ Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown/ Live Flesh/ Flower of My Secret / Matador / Law of Desire) on DVD
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Pedro Almodovar broke into the art-house mainstream with this wild, manic comedy about a gaggle of women and their various problems with men, be they married lovers, cheating husb... more »ands, fiancés, or terrorists. Almodovar's long-time leading lady, Carmen Maura, stars as an actress (famed for her laundry detergent commercial as the mother of a sloppy serial killer) who's just been dumped by her married lover. In the midst of trying to track him down for a face-to-face confrontation, she crosses paths with her lover's son (Antonio Banderas), his unbalanced wife (Julieta Serrano), and his new girlfriend (Kiti Manver). Adding more fuel to the fire is the hapless friend (Maria Barranco) who got involved with a Shiite terrorist and is now being hunted by the police. Almodovar, a master of farcical screwball comedy, manages to keep all these balls in the air in dizzy, hilarious style without once losing his momentum. Chock full of the director's over-the-top stylization, in terms of both story and sets, the film is a hilarious yet heartfelt marriage of kitsch and drama, verging on parody but never going entirely over the top. Maura is absolutely breathtaking as the unhinged lover, dispensing wise advice to others while trying to keep a semblance of sanity, and the supporting cast is quintessential Almodovar, including a brief but memorable turn by Banderas in what could have been a bland, go-nowhere role. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1989. --Mark Englehart« less
8 Great Films, 1 Great Filmmaker-- "Viva Pedro" Is A Must-Ow
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Certainly one of the most lauded of international filmmakers, Pedro Almodovar's films can be notoriously hard to come by on the US market. Generally after an initial release, they have gone out of print and have disappeared from mainstream buying outlets. It seems strange, Almodovar is easily one of the best known and most acclaimed Spanish filmmakers in history. Having been recognized worldwide, been honored by the Oscars, and having worked with stars that have crossed into the English language film world such as Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz--you would think that his films would be more readily available. So, it is with delight that I welcome "Viva Pedro"--a collection of 8 films that show the colorful and dynamic world that is Pedro Almodovar. And while not a complete showcase of his larger work--I lament the exclusion of "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down"--there is much to rejoice. This set is great for lovers of Almodovar, and priced right for new viewers who wish to get some very significant films at a reasonable cost.
Starting with films from the late 80s, Almodovar uses colorful imagery and melodramatic acting to create some very personal films about love, desire and sex. Often done in an over-the-top, almost soap opera style, these films are instantly recognizable due to Almodovar's distinctive visual flair. All three films from the 80s showcase a young Banderas. "Matador" is a sly black comedy featuring an ex-bullfighter who ties death and killing with sexual excitement. "Law of Desire" is a seriocomic look at sexual desire and obsession that crosses various gender lines. And "Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown" was Almodovar's international breakthrough (and Oscar nominee for Foreign Film) that manages to be a madcap and outrageous comedy and an insightful character study.
The middle films include "The Flower of my Secret"--perhaps my least favorite in the set--about a novelist who wishes to change her life at any cost. "Live Flesh" features Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz in a complex story of how violence and sacrifice can link people together. Both films are interesting, if not altogether successful.
And the last three films of the set showcase a more mature side of Almodovar. The Oscar winning "All About My Mother" starts with a son's tragic death, and takes the wonderful Cecilia Roth on a spiritual journey that redefines life and her place in it. "Talk To Her" tells the story of two men who bond while their girlfriends lie in comas--this won Almodovar an Academy Award for Screenwriting and a Directing nod, as well. And "Bad Education," with Gael Garcia Bernal, is an homage to Hitchcock examining the results of religious upbringing and sexual abuse.
Of course, anyone who knows Almodovar knows that these brief descriptions do nothing to highlight the complexity of these films. All of the films develop interesting characterizations and the way the various characters interact, combat, and collide is a showcase for the genius that is Almodovar's writing. Wildly funny, wickedly tragic, confrontationally sexual--Almodovar is an adult filmmaker working at the top of his game. Please treat yourself. Not every film is perfect, but this set in an excellent primer to the important work of a major writer and director. It's not to be missed. KGHarris, 01/07."
6 out of 8 ain't bad
Nathaniel M. Thompson | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Obviously anyone with more than a passing interest in Almodovar will want this set, which averages out to a pretty decent price considering what you get. Good news first: Matador and Law of Desire, the two new-to-DVD titles, look excellent (especially the latter), and are practically worth picking up the set for by themselves. (Too bad Sony couldn't have released 'em separately; oh well.) Bad Education, Flower of My Secret, Live Flesh and Talk to Her are identical to the previous releases. The back of the box touts new digital remastering for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother, but both of those are botched pretty badly. Women frankly looks terrible, especially compared to the previous MGM release; it's severely overcropped on all four sides (good luck trying to read the credits) and way too bright, with artificial sharpness and serious desaturation on the colors. All About My Mother does look a bit cleaner and crisper than the previous release, but it's bare bones; hold on to the older Sony release for all the extra goodies. The box is very attractive and comes with postcard replicas of the theatrical posters -- a nice touch. The bonus disc features some decent featurettes with various actors talking about working with Pedro; unfortunately, only the trailer for Volver is included as an additional bonus."
Viva Pedro indeed!
the buddhadharma | Ohio | 01/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This box-set has been too long in coming. I'm most excited about this set due to the inclusion of 'Law of Desire', which I have never seen and have not been able to find a copy of locally. Pedro's films are beautiful, messy, sad, hilarious and just about any other adjective you can think of. Those who have seen his films will no doubt add this to their collection and understand my love of anything Pedro. Those movie lovers who have not seen some or all of his work, will most definately want to add this set to their collection and I hope that they will introduce new fans to Pedro Almodovar's brilliant work! peace :o)"
OK COLLECTION....JUST NOT PERFECT....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 02/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After having waited a long time to get "Law of Desire" and "Matador" on DVD, I was delighted to find them included here. They're two of Almodovar's best films. And they look great. However, the others, with the exception of "Live Flesh" and "Bad Education", don't look as good. Particularly "Women on the Verge". As one reviewer said, it's botched pretty badly. The packaging is beautiful with nice xtras, but you have to be careful as the discs are stacked and could scratch easily. I wish they had been packaged separately. Also, "Kika" should have been included in this set (as it's out of release) to really round out the Almodovar experience. Well, just having "Matador" and "Law of Desire" makes it worth it for me. But Almodovar fans may be disappointed at the imperfections here. I was."
Color and controversy
Flipper Campbell | Miami Florida | 02/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine set, with handsome but awkward packaging (watch the spindles) and decent extras. These are the same films that made the art-house circuit before the release of "Volver." Almodovar's earlier films aren't easily found in the U.S. -- at least at your local Blockbuster -- and so we welcome "Live Flesh," "Matador" and "Law of Desire." The thriller "Matador" was last seen on laser and VHS two decades ago. It's terrific here, awash in color and black comedy, although the shock value has lost some of its power over the unruly decades.
The remastered version of "Women on the Verge" doesn't feel like a big upgrade. "All My Mother's" makeover is more elegant, with fine flesh tones. "Talk to Her," "Bad Education," and "Flower" appear to be straight port-overs from the single discs already available here. In general, audio is uneven but good. Subtitles take some liberties. Unfortunately, the early '90s films "Tie Me Up!" and "Kika" aren't part of the deal. Antonio Banderas shows up in three films; Penelope Cruz is in two, but only at length in "All About My Mother." Watching these films more or less back to back is quite the rewarding experience -- you'll laugh, cry and spend a lot of time trying to figure out if you're watching a man or woman. Viva Pedro! indeed.
Your mileage may vary, but I rank these films like this:
1. All About My Mother 2. Women on the Verge 3. Matador 4. Talk to Her 5. Law of Desire 6. Bad Education 7. Flower of My Secret 8. Live Flesh"