It has been a rather good year for the gorgeous Penelope Cruz. She won an Oscar last Feb. for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and then followed that up with two more big awards movies (not to mention voicing a hamster in G-Force). Undoubtedly the better of this year’s two films is Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces. As evidenced by Volver, Almodovar loves to celebrate both Penelope’s beauty and talent. But while I found Volver quite pretty, I was ultimately let down by the rambling story. He is far more focused in Embraces‘ story of a blind filmmaker (played wonderfully by Lluís Homar) and his forbidden love. I consider this film on par with Almodovar’s excellent Bad Education, except instead of staring at a half naked Gael, you get to stare at a half naked Penelope.
Staring at half naked women is really about all that Rob Marshall’s Nine has going for it. But it does have a lot of that. Nine is also about a filmmaker, played here by a disappointing Daniel Day-Lewis. Sure Day-Lewis is great in everything he does, but what is up with that horrible accent? It is way more comrade than compagno. There are a few fun moments in this film – but inevitably the moment is ruined when it transitions into a song and dance number, some of which are downright horrid. Penelope is great and she manages to do about as much with her character as possible (her song and dance is pretty, hmm, suggestive). But the real shining star for me was Marion Cotillard. I gotta give Marshall credit – he was able to cast the one person out there that is maybe even more fun to look at than Penelope Cruz.