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DVD Review: Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection

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Our friends out at Lions Gate sent over a big shot of what will likely prove to be classic film in the form of the Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection, and this one’s got a lot going for it, both in the expected and in the unexpected.

The Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection features three titles–as you’d likely expect from the title–and there’s the full range of genres represented here. First is “Biutiful,” which brings us Bardem as Uxbal, a family man who’s out to put bread on the table for his small children in the midst of Barcelona. Uxbal’s life is a difficult one, and he regularly finds himself running afoul of the law in his pursuits.

Next, “No Country for Old Men” takes us to the oil fields of Texas, where a man finds a truck with three things along with it: a blood-drenched crime scene, a large quantity of heroin, and two million dollars in cash. He takes the money, and in the process launches a string of violent events that may well end in his death. Finally, there’s “Mondays in the Sun,” where Bardem, along with four others, play a group of unemployed ship builders in–you guessed it–Spain. The group has seen better days, but this bundle of hard-working guys temporarily out of work will do their level best to support each other as they hunt for new jobs, and hopefully, find them.

Basically, there’s a little something for everybody–or at least just about everybody–here, as long as they don’t mind a whole lot of Javier Bardem. “Biutiful” is a little heavy on the crime drama, a shot of something along the lines of Snatch only nowhere near as funny, with a little bit of horror involved, oddly enough. “No Country for Old Men” is a little more on the suspense side of things, and this one is downright famous for Bardem’s portrayal of Anton Chigurh as well as the fact that the Coen Brothers handled the direction duties on this one. “Mondays In The Sun” is a little more dramatically-inclined, with just a dollop of laughs tossed in to cut the schmaltz. It will also be surprisingly relaxing, though some may not care for the slow pacing or the huge focus on unemployment.

Fair warning, however: both “Mondays in the Sun” and “Biutiful” will be in Spanish, though both will offer English subtitles. Admittedly, the whole thing is going to be skewed a bit toward the dramatic–that’s a hefty chunk of Bardem’s oeuvre, after all–but there will be some nice instances of subgenres showing up that will be quite welcome. Drama buffs are sure to be in hog heaven with this package, and Javier Bardem fans, well, it’s clear they’re in for a treat. The Spanish fare, though, has a tendency to ramble, but “No Country for Old Men” will do a lot better on that front.

The Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection is going to be a celebration of Bardem, but just how much you’ll get out of that celebration depends largely on your fondness for Bardem and his work.

 

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