Morelia 2014 Review: MATRIA, A Documentary That Offers Little Beyond The Anecdote

It's not strange that if a documentary begins as a very personal journey, the audience wonders why they should care for it. I wondered that myself while watching Matria, a doc in which its director Fernando Llanos is trying to... More »
  

Morelia 2014 Review: THE BEGINNING OF TIME (EL COMIENZO DEL TIEMPO), An Overlong Portrait Of Aging

The famous Bette Davis quote "old age ain't no place for sissies" comes to mind when watching Bernardo Arellano's The Beginning of Time (El Comienzo del Tiempo), one of the Mexican titles in competition at this year's Morelia International Film... More »
  

Valdivia 2014 Review: BEAVERLAND Starts A Controversial Discussion

There are documentaries out there made to put forward a choice or a point of view, films made to make a statement on what we do as a society. Some of them even try to do something to change the... More »
  

Valdivia 2014 Review: SANTIAGO VIOLENTA, A Pleasant Surprise And A New Era For Díaz Espinoza

Though there are still three months left in the year and To Kill a Man has already been chosen for the Oscars as the Chilean representative (and rightfully so) I might say that the latest film by action-oriented director Ernesto... More »
  

New York 2014 Review: THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE, Matias Pineiro's Beguiling Riff On Shakespeare

The Princess of France is Argentine director Matías Piñeiro's third entry in his series of Shakespeare-inspired films, which he calls his "Shakespearead." The first two of these were his 43-minute short Rosalinda (2011), inspired by "As You Like It," and... More »
  

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: THE STRANGER Delivers A Mixed Bag

Directed by Guillermo Amoedo and executive produced by Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez (who collaborated on Aftershock, The Green Inferno, and next year's home invasion thriller Knock, Knock with Keanu Reeves), The Stranger is a vampire film that doesn't scream... More »
  

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: HIGH FIVE Revels In Drug-Fueled Mayhem

Manuel Facal's High Five (Relocos y Repasados) is an Uruguayan stoner comedy that belongs in the company of the greats. While drug movies have been around for at least 50 years, it wasn't until the legendary Lou Adler's adaptation of the... More »
  

Macabro 2014 Review: Leopoldo Laborde's PIEL ROTA, No-Budget Horror At Its Best

Leopoldo Laborde is a veteran Mexican guerrilla filmmaker. Piel Rota his 19th production. It world premiered at Macabro 2014 and it is another no budget movie, but one in which you can see the director's experience of 20+ years reflected... More »
  

Review: Great Performances And A Gritty Ending Make THE QUISPE GIRLS A Must See

One of the most anticipated Chilean movies of last year was this particular approach and almost austere way of film-making that was The Quispe Girls, but no film festival in Chile managed to snag it in 2013. Being selected in... More »
  

Review: CANTINFLAS, A Romanticized Biopic

Actor Óscar Jaenada might be Spanish but he was the perfect choice to play the role of Mario Moreno, also known as "Cantinflas," one of Mexico's most beloved and legendary comedians. In Sebastián del Amo's Cantinflas, Jaenada delivers a performance... More »
  

MICGénero 2014 Review: MI VIDA ES UN ALBUR, Or, Being A Tough Woman In Tepito

Mi Vida Es Un Albur is a documentary set in the "barrio bravo" Tepito, one of Mexico's toughest neighborhoods. Located in downtown Mexico City, very near Garibaldi and the Palace of Fine Arts, Tepito is best known for its enormous... More »
  

Review: PERRO GUARDIAN, A Gritty Character Study Based On Reality

The trailers for Perro Guardián, the debut feature from Bacha Caravedo and Daniel Higashionna, were selling it as a gritty action thriller. They got the grit part right, but this is actually a slow-burn psychological study of a difficult character,... More »
  

Review: THE SUMMER OF FLYING FISH Tries To Tackle A Centuries Old Conflict

The year 2013 was a special one for Chilean cinema, I talked about it in my list of the best Chilean movies of 2013 that I posted here on Twitch. One of the main reasons was the amount of films from... More »
  

Review: H2OMX, Or, Mexico City Has A Lack Of Water Problem

José Cohen and Lorenzo Hagerman's H2Omx is in the vein of those documentaries that have raising awareness on a current problem as main objective.Its subject might be a local issue, that affects Mexico City and other nearby places, but the... More »
  

Review: ROOT (RAIZ) Is Somewhat Literal In Its Symbology

The winner of the Chilean Competition in last year's Valdivia Film Festival, Raíz (Root) managed not only to get chosen to participate in many festivals from Latin America and beyond, but also snagged a Chilean distribution deal, something that doesn't... More »
  

Lima 2014 Review: VIEJOS AMIGOS, A Light, Harmless Comedy About Growing Old

The debut film from director Fernando Villarán, Viejos Amigos is one of the most anticipated local films of the year. For some odd reason, its theatrical run has kicked off on the same week it plays at the Lima Film Festival, which just... More »
  

Review: WE ARE MARI PEPA (SOMOS MARI PEPA), An Honest Portrait Of Youth With A Dose Of Punk Rock

Mari Pepa is the name of a punk rock band in We Are Mari Pepa (Somos Mari Pepa), Samuel Isamu Kishi Leopo's extension of his own 18-minute short film Mari Pepa. "Mari" refers to marihuana, while "pepa" is slang for... More »
  

Review: DARKER THAN NIGHT (MÁS NEGRO QUE LA NOCHE), An Embarrassingly Bad 3D Remake

The original Más Negro Que la Noche, or Darker Than Night, was written and directed by the late Carlos Enrique Taboada in 1975. Widely considered as one of the most important Mexican horror films ever made, it is everything this... More »
  

Lima 2014 Review: Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Differently In TO KILL A MAN

Jorge (Daniel Candia) is a meek, introverted park ranger who spends most of his day alone in the forest. On the way home one night, he runs into a group of thugs led by the neighborhood bully, Kalule (Daniel Antivilo),... More »
  

Lima 2014 Review: REFUGIADO, A Truthful Account Of The Impact Of Domestic Abuse

No topic is taboo when it comes to movies, but some of them do require care. If certain subjects are not handled correctly, filmmakers can be accused of being exploitative and/or insensitive. It takes a deft directorial hand successfully work... More »
  
 
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