Tag Archives: Óscar Jaenada

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) Blu-Ray Review By D.M. Anderson

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote ReviewThe tumultuous production was even the subject of a feature-length documentary…in 2002.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Starring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro, Olga Kurylenjo, Stellan Skarsgard, Jordi Molia, Oscar Jaenada

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was finally released in 2018, a minor miracle unto itself. Director Terry Gilliam had been trying to get the damn thing made for 25 years, only to be continually thwarted by development hell, false starts, budget problems, legal issues, natural disasters, cast changes and no-small-amount of his own obsessiveness. The tumultuous production was even the subject of a feature-length documentary…in 2002.

Though he kept busy making many films in the interim, Gilliam is probably glad to finally scratch this particular itch…if nothing else, just to spite everyone who turned his labor of love into a decades-long debacle. Some of you reading this might be asking if it was worth the all the trouble, which isn’t really a fair question. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will probably never fully escape the shadow of its production history, and that’s a shame because – baggage notwithstanding – this is ultimately a very good film. Even great in parts.

It helps, of course, if the viewer is already in tune with Gilliam’s quirkier tendencies, since this modern day variation of Cervantes’ novel is a strange, surreal and often funny journey. Anyone familiar with the director is also aware he can be pretty self-indulgent, unconcerned whether or not others are on-board. Because of their unique aesthetic, narrative approach and abundance of dark humor, Terry Gilliam films could be considered their own little genre. Viewed in that context, this is his best work since 12 Monkeys.

That’s not to say The Man Who Killed Don Quixote isn’t without its issues, the main one being that it’s overlong. The story also gets off to a shaky start, with commercial director Tobi Grisoni (Adam Driver) embodying just about every burned-out-genius cliché we’ve ever seen. In fact, these early scenes don’t even feel like they belong in a Gilliam film. However, once Tobi visits the village where he once made a student film about Don Quixote, the film really takes off, both visually and narratively. He’s reacquainted with the elderly cobbler he cast in the lead (Jonathan Price), who has since become convinced he is Quixote and thinks Tobi is Sancho Panza. Several amusing circumstances have the two of them ending up on an episodic series of bizarre adventures, which eventually includes trying to rescue the young girl he once cast in the same film, Angelica (Joana Jaenada), now working as an escort working for a vicious Russian magnate.

That’s the nuts & bolts plot, but what makes it memorable is Gilliam’s penchant for blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Lavishly-produced, the film is alternately dark and whimsical, bolstered by interesting characters and some wonderful moments that unexpectedly transition into the surreal. Most importantly, the journey ends up being lot of fun, something this writer hasn’t been able to say about a Terry Gilliam film in a long time.

Ironically, for a movie with such a torrid past, this Blu-ray features no substantial bonus features covering its history. Perhaps that’s intentional, since enough has already been written and said about it. Besides, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits. It may not rank among Terry Gilliam’s best work, but it’s a fine reminder that he’s got some juice left in the tank.

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The Shallows (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

The Shallows Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Stars: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo

Plot:  A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 78%    Audiences 54%

Why I Watched It: I almost didn’t, was dragging my feet cause for the most part shark movies are cliched and same old same old, plus the shadow of Jaws is very large.

Random Thoughts:  I will say I’m coming around on Blake Lively, I wasn’t much of a fan, she’s fine but not my favourite, and she’s one of the reason it took me awhile to watch this cause it’s like mostly her and a shark for the run time of this movie.  Seeing the adds for this movie I was like this is an excuse to see Lively in a bikini for 90 minutes, but I saw All I See Is You, which I didn’t really care for but did like her performance and that kind of swung me around to watch the film, that and it was a killer shark movie.

What I Liked: This one was a very pleasant surprise for me, I not only enjoyed it but was a little shocked I did.  This is a very small film scale wise, heck all the danger is like 200 yards away from land and no danger but once the action starts this is a very well done little thriller/horror movie they played it small and intense and made it about survival.  It’s one of the rare cases where having a shark act like a serial killer worked in a movie.

The film works cause it’s not man versus nature it’s Blake Lively’s character versus this shark, the shark knows she’s there and wants to eat her, she knows the shark is there and doesn’t want to be eaten.  I give the film a ton of credit for keeping this intense and for the most part grounded, they didn’t go over the top and they stayed clear of going campy and silly.  Lively does a good job of making us care if she survives, she’s tough smart and scared, and it works so much cause she doesn’t play it like a macho action star, she wants off the rock, she doesn’t need to kill the shark she just wants to get to land, and we also have the ticking clock cause the tide is coming and she’s injured so she has to be proactive she can’t just wait to be rescued.

The film is very well directed and shot, not easy to make a film in water, go ask Kevin Costner, but they kept the film tight and for the most part they kept the tension and the horror retched up.  The story is tricky, a women gets attacked by shark and now she has to get to shore, that’s maybe a 30 minute story there, but the filmmakers used the passing of time well, every minute of screen time that is being used up we know Lively’s character is closer to death one way or another.

The action stuff is very well done it’s been awhile since a shark movie got to me and this did, the ending is very well shot and it built up really well.

What I Didn’t Like: I know it’s hard to call an 86 minute movie long but it is, the beginning is slow and really they had to pad the run time but still it felt the need to had melodrama to a shark movie, did we care that this character left medical school, that her father was upset about it, we don’t need a soap opera sub-plot to make us care about her.

Other than that, not much to complain about, it’s not perfect but it’s a shark movie.

Final Thoughts: A solid horror/thriller that is much better than I thought it was going to be and yes I almost like Blake Lively, by the way she was very good here the biggest thing was making sure we cared she lived and she did that.

Rating: 7/10