SRP $28.95 2.35:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 SONY

 Pedro Almodovar’s earlier films, “WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, “TIE ME UP, TIE ME DOWN,”etc, were arguably great films, however their intentionally provocative subject matter disinterested the masses. His latest, “VOLVER,” is his most accessible and certainly one of his best. Penelope Cruz stars as Raimunda, a strong, beautiful and kind woman, juggling one responsibility after another, who is also regularly visited by her dead mother. It’s due to Almodovar’s excellence as a writer/director that the story is never pigeonholed into the cliché’s of mainstream trappings, while dealing with various complex characters. “VOLVER” blends humor, heavy drama, a ghost story(of sorts) and the call for human decency into a powerful “must-see” film.  Almodovar has high hopes for the women in his film and the viewer feels an investment in their plight.  Those who’ve doubted Cruz’s abilities before should be won over by her performance here, and she can even sing! But, ultimately, it’s Carmen Maura whom steals the film. She’s much like a latin Meryl Streep!

SONY provided the correct 2.351 aspect ratio for “VOLVER”, with 16:9 enhancement.  It’s a great looking image from start to finish. Almodovar gives as much attention and love to each frame as he does his actors, and “VOLVER” is a beautiful looking film. While there is some grain creeping into darker scenes, the detail is impressive throughout and colors are rich without any oversaturation.  Can’t wait to see what the upcoming Blu-ray looks like!

SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. While not an aggressive mix, ambient sounds come in to the rear on occasion and the front soundstage features numerous separation effects Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

SONY has included a terrific insightful "and" entertaining running commentary with the director and an interview with Cruz and Maura.