How much does Pedro Almodóvar love Penélope Cruz? To infinity and beyond in Broken Embraces, a tribute to the actress' beauty and brio. The film exists for Almodóvar and his fans to worship at the shrine of Santa Cruz, cast here as a secretary who climbs the social ladder to become an industrialist's mistress and, ultimately, a director's muse.
Visual Acoustics is a captivating portrait of Julius Shulman, the venerable architectural photographer who died in July at age 98. You might not recognize his name, but almost certainly you've gasped at his iconic images of modernist buildings. Shulman photographed buildings as if they were movie stars: He found their best angles and immortalized them.
The old-school Disney princess - we're talking Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty here - sweeps the hearth, does the dishes, and waits around, warbling "Some day my prince will come." The new-school Disney princess - think Mulan and Tiana of The Princess and the Frog - pursues her dream (saving her nation, the family's bacon) and in so doing discovers a prince pursuing her.
Seeking shelter from a driving rain, a priest and a peasant huddle under Kyoto's dilapidated Rashomon Gate. They shake their heads in bewilderment at a mystery that cannot easily be solved in 11th century Japan, where feudal wars have left Kyoto - and the truth - in ruins. A woodcutter, who claims to have witnessed a rape and a murder in the woods, joins the pair to talk about what occurred.
Raquel has served the Valdes family, an upper-middle-class Chilean clan, for 23 years. From washing the laundry to preparing meals to dressing the kids and getting them out the door, Raquel is the oil that keeps this domestic engine running. Lately, that engine has been sputtering.
Based on the improbable-but-true saga of Sandra Laing, the dark-complected daughter of light-complected Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era, Skin is a surreal melodrama of arbitrary racial labeling that estranged a woman from herself, her family of origin, and the father of her children.
Carrie Rickey was born in L.A. around the time the Jennifer Jones/Laurence Olivier movie Carrie hit screens. Hence her name. Since then she's seen more than 12,000 films without losing her love of movies -- or wordplay. But don't envy her job too much. She has to sit through the likes of Battlefield Earth just so she can warn you not to.