Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, thus opening up Spanish cinema to a new generation of filmmakers. Particularly notable is Pedro Almodovar, whose outrageous style and subject matter could never have flourished under Fascist censorship. Internationally, Almodovar became that country's most famous director, starting with his 1988 comedy “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”
In one of the extras on this new video release of his most recent film, “I'm So Excited,” he describes the movie as his “return to comedy” — odd, since he never really left it. His melodramas (including “Talk to Her” and “Volver”) always balance right on the edge of comedy; and his comedies always have elements of melodrama. “I'm So Excited” is essentially “Airport” filtered through his unique point of view: A plane loses one of its landing gears and hopes to find an airstrip equipped to handle a crash landing. Meanwhile, each of the passengers and crew members have to confront some sort of personal issue, though, very much unlike “Airport,” some of these concern sexual orientation.
Since the film isn't visually or aurally fancy, the new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack has a faithful if unexciting transfer. Extras are sparse but adequate: a half-hour of Q & A material, from Almodovar's guest appearances at early screenings; and “Making I'm So Excited,” which is simply six minutes of narrationless clips showing the director working with the actors, followed by the resulting shots. Still, this is wholly worthwhile for Almodovar fans and funny enough to serve as an introduction to others.
"I'm So Excited" (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Blu-ray/DVD combo, $40.99)
ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).