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I’m So Excited 2013: Flamboyant Pedro Almodóvar + Robert De Niro Awakenings

I'm So Excited Miguel Ángel Silvestre Pedro Almodovar
I’m So Excited 2013 with Miguel Ángel Silvestre.

I’m So Excited: Flamboyant Pedro Almodóvar trailer just can’t hide it

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Pedro Almodóvar’s upcoming movie, I’m So Excited / Los amantes pasajeros (literally, “passing lovers” and/or “passenger lovers”) has a new and full trailer. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news (for non-Spanish speakers): it’s in Spanish, without subtitles. (Please scroll down to check out the I’m So Excited trailer.)

But don’t feel bad if you don’t speak Spanish. After all, even Spanish speakers will likely have to pay close attention to the one-gazillion-words-a-minute dialogue – which would put James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Una Merkel, et al. to shame.

‘I’m So Excited’ plot

I’m So Excited is set on an airplane flying from Spain to Mexico City. If the trailer is any indication, the plane in question has many more staff members than passengers. Perhaps not such a bad thing, considering that all aboard may be in mortal danger.

Trying to keep everyone cool, Bad Education‘s Javier Cámara acts as the leader of the ultra-fey, show-biz-inclined male flight attendants (the other two are Raúl Arévalo and Carlos Areces), who at one point dance to the tune of The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.” And in case you were wondering, that explains the film’s English-language title.

Funny? Well, let’s just say I’m So Excited certainly looks lighter on its feet than Pedro Almodóvar’s most recent effort, The Skin I Live In. In fact, it’s reminiscent of his early, broad comedies like Dark Habits and What Have I Done to Deserve This?. Subversive? Well, effeminate male flight attendants are nothing new, but Lola Dueñas grabbing the crotch of two pilots – at the same time – might be considered a tad risqué in some quarters.

And here’s wondering if there’ll be any kind of on-screen homage to William A. Wellman’s The High and Mighty, or to Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker’s Airplane!. Of course, it could be that such homages are reserved only to Duel in the Sun, All About Eve, and Sara Montiel and Anna Magnani movies.

Having said that, I must admit that I chuckled imagining a version of The High and the Mighty directed by Pedro Almodóvar, with John Wayne, Robert Stack, and Robert Newton as the three singing-and-dancing flight attendants.

Pedro Almodóvar: I’m So Excited is ‘crazy, wild, and lively’

Pedro Almodóvar, for his part, called I’m So Excited “a crazy, wild, and fun comedy.” The Academy Award-winning director-screenwriter (Talk to Her) added that I’m So Excited cast members “loudly enjoyed it. I can thus say that I’m So Excited has already achieved its first success.” And finally, Almodóvar claimed that Volver‘s Lola Dueñas’ work in I’m So Excited will be “a revelation.”

I’m So Excited all-star cast

Besides Javier Cámara, Lola Dueñas, Raúl Arévalo, Carlos Areces, the all-star I’m So Excited cast includes All About My Mother‘s Cecilia Roth, Volver‘s Blanca Suárez, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Laya Martí, José M. Yazpik, Pepa Charro, and Guillermo Toledo, the star of Alex de la Iglesia’s pitch-black comedy Perfect Crime.

Additionally, I’m So Excited boasts cameos by Pedro Almodóvar muses Antonio Banderas (Law of Desire, Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, The Skin I Live In) and Penélope Cruz (All About My Mother, Broken Embraces, Volver), plus Paz Vega, Carmen Machi and Susi Sánchez.

Frequent Pedro Almodóvar collaborators Alberto Iglesias (music) and José Luis Alcaine (cinematography) are also back. I’m So Excited opens in Spain on March 8.

I’m So Excited trailer and Pedro Almodóvar quotes via RTVE.

Updated: English-subtitled trailer below.

Miguel Ángel Silvestre in Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited photo: Sony Pictures Classics.

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise
Awakenings  Robert De Niro Movie Robin Williams
Awakenings with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

‘Awakenings’ & ‘Cape Fear’ + ‘Taxi Driver’ & ‘Mean Streets’: American Cinematheque’s Robert De Niro Tribute

A Robert De Niro Tribute is being held this week at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. In the next two days, four Robert De Niro movies will be presented as two double bills: Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Mean Streets on Feb. 5, and Penny Marshall’s Awakenings and Scorsese’s Cape Fear on Feb. 6. Both double-feature programs start at 7:30 p.m.

De Niro himself was on hand at the Aero on Monday afternoon to chat about David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, a comedy-drama starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, and which earned De Niro his seventh Academy Award nomination. Note: De Niro is not expected to attend either of the two double-feature screenings.

Taxi Driver: Mad cabbie turned vigilante hero

Although the Martin Scorsese / Robert De Niro collaboration Raging Bull (1980) is considered by some to be the best (American?) movie of the 1980s, Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) remains De Niro’s most iconic movie and performance. Inspired by the real-life story of Samuel Byck (more directly played by Sean Penn in Niels Mueller’s The Assassination of Richard Nixon), Taxi Driver follows the transformation of an unbalanced New York City cabbie into a deadly vigilante. Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd co-star.

Mean Streets: God and hoodlums

In the less well-remembered Scorsese movie Mean Streets (1973), which turns 40 this year, the lead character is played by Harvey Keitel, a devout Catholic whose life is at odds with his religious convictions. Robert De Niro plays his problematic cousin. Curiously, as per the American Cinematheque’s press release, the New York-set Mean Streets was mostly shot in Los Angeles.

Awakenings: Sentimental drama with surprisingly subdued De Niro

In Penny Marshall’s Best Picture Oscar nominee Awakenings (1990), Robert De Niro shares the screen with Robin Williams – with whom reportedly there was conflict on the set. If so, the highly sentimental final result doesn’t provide any evidence of acrimony between the two stars: Williams overacts as a kind-hearted, dedicated neurologist, but shockingly, De Niro – hardly the most subtle of actors – is a model of understatement in a role reminiscent of Cliff Robertson’s in Charly (1968).

‘Cape Fear’: Violent remake

And finally, Cape Fear (1991) – another Martin Scorsese / Robert De Niro collaboration – is a no-holds-barred thriller with De Niro as a psycho ex-con out to avenge himself against public defender Nick Nolte and his family, which includes wife Jessica Lange and seductive daughter Juliette Lewis. Cape Fear earned De Niro his last Oscar nod – that is, until Silver Linings Playbook 21 years later.

By the way, Scorsese’s thriller is a remake of J. Lee Thompson’s 1962 movie starring Gregory Peck, Polly Bergen, and Robert Mitchum as the persistent psycho. Both Peck and Mitchum are featured in the remake.

Robert De Niro: Oscar 2013 top contender

And remember: Silver Linings Playbook was released by The Weinstein Company in North America. That’s the same movie company that brought you the last two Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director Academy Award winners: Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth, and Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist, starring Jean Dujardin. It’s Oscar 2013 campaign time, and Robert De Niro, even if only for sentimental reasons (and for the Weinstein push), is a top contender for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

For the record, Robert De Niro’s previous Oscar nominations were for the following movies: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), Awakenings (1990), and Cape Fear (1991). De Niro won for both The Godfather: Part II (as Best Supporting Actor) and for Raging Bull.

For more information on the Robert De Niro Tribute, visit the American Cinematheque website.

Robert De Niro movie Awakenings, with Robin Williams photo: Columbia Pictures.

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