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7 items from 2008

Nothing Like the Holidays

12 December 2008 11:00 AM, PST | Pastemagazine.com | See recent PasteMagazine news »

Release date: Dec. 12

Director: Alfredo De Villa

Writers: Alison Swan, Rick Najera, Robert Teitel, Rene M. Rigal

Cinematographer: Scott Kevan

Starring: Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Peña, Freddy Rodríguez, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez, John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Vanessa Ferlito, Melonie Diaz

Studio/Run Time: Overture Films, 99 mins.

Serviceable holiday romp thrives on cast

Is it really a cynical gesture to cast Hispanics in the reunion holiday-comedy staple and call it new? It doesn’t have to be, and it isn’t really in Nothing Like the Holidays, the cheerfully broad new comedy about a Puerto Rican family whose grown children return to Chicago for Christmas. The conventions of these films have become so streamlined that each new title is clearly an attempt to cash in on the goodwill of the season, and this risk-free, harmless movie’s rewrite of the usual formula is no more dishonorable than any of the annual offenders. »

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Nothing Like The Holidays

11 December 2008 1:02 PM, PST | avclub.com | See recent The AV Club news »

There's no shortage of warmth in Nothing Like The Holidays, a rambunctious Christmas comedy-drama featuring a who's-who of Latino talent, including Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Peña, Freddy Rodríguez, John Leguizamo, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez, Melonie Diaz, Vanessa Ferlito, and Debra Messing. (Okay, strike that last one.) It also features no shortage of clichés. Everyone in the cast looks like they're having the time of their lives, and the Humboldt Park, Chicago setting has a specificity and flavor that carries through everything from the storefronts to the food. Yet they're constantly at war with the damning conventions of the holiday-movie subgenre, which turn what might have been a 90-minute party into a loud, hoary, melodramatic calamity. Why does Christmas have to be so shouty? As a boisterous family packs into their modest two-story for the holidays, they bring enough baggage to sabotage a decade's worth of seasonal get-togethers. Everyone gets a »

- Scott Tobias

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Opening This Week: Soderbergh's four-hour biopic, Eastwood's other movie

8 December 2008 7:51 AM, PST | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

By Neil Pedley

Things really shift into high gear this week when a bumper crop of award season heavy-hitters and indies stream into theaters, as well as a cadre of movie stars doing what they do best - whether that's Keanu Reeves acting alien, Clint Eastwood brandishing his trademark scowl, or Benicio Del Toro doing his own brand of mumblecore while waging war against fascists.

"Adam Resurrected"

It's been a long, strange directorial career for Paul Schrader, who followed his work as

the unsung hero of some of Martin Scorsese's most celebrated masterpieces with successes like "American Gigolo" and oddities like "Dominion: The Prequel to the Exorcist." Yet the always daring Schrader is taking on the Holocaust in his latest film, an adaptation of Yoram Kaniuk's story about Adam Stein (Jeff Goldblum), a former circus entertainer who grudgingly succumbs to the role of grim court jester to a »

- Neil Pedley

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Monaghan, Rodriguez cast in 'Fortuna'

7 October 2008 7:00 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Just in time for the next depression, Dominic Monaghan and Freddy Rodriguez star in a horror thriller offering one potential solution to our economic problems.

Set in 2100, "Fortuna" envisions an Earth where a collapsed economy and climate crises have eliminated the middle class, leaving a few very wealthy and the teeming masses in severe poverty. To give hope and avoid revolt, the elite create Fortuna, a mysterious game where one in a thousand wins a big payday and joins the upper classes. But their hidden goal to "reduce poverty" by 30% over 50 years comes with a deadly price tag.

Monaghan, Rodriguez and "Fortuna" writer-director Barthelemy Grossmann will play desperate men who play the game in a nearby tower, despite apprehensions that none of its contestants are ever seen again.

The privately financed film will be produced by Laurent Zilber and co-produced by Scott Duncan. It marks the sophomore feature and English-language debut of Swiss helmer Grossmann, »

- By Gregg Goldstein

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Bottle Shock

15 August 2008 4:46 AM, PDT | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

Bottle Shock Directed by: Randall Miller Cast: Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Alan Rickman and Freddy Rodríguez Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: PG-13 Plot: Based on a true story from the early days of Napa Valley getting noticed in the wine community and the blind wine testing of 1976 in Paris known as the "Judgment of Paris." Who’s It For? If you love Napa Valley or the history of wine, then this film will give you a glimpse into that world. Expectations: Zero. I knew nothing except Alan Rickman, Freddy Rodríguez and Bill Pullman were in it. I loved my trip to Napa a couple years ago with the wife, so as soon as I saw that, I was on board, though I have to admit, I never heard of "Judgment of Paris." Scorecard (1-10) Actors: Bill Pullman as Jim »

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Messing joins 'Park' cast

5 February 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- Debra Messing is rounding out the ensemble cast of the Latino family drama Humboldt Park for Overture Films.

In Alfredo De Villa's film, Messing plays the wife of John Leguizamo's character and joins him on a trip back to his parent's home. Executive producer Freddy Rodriguez, Alfred Molina, Jay Hernandez, Mercedes Ruehl, Luis Guzman, Melonie Diaz and Vanessa Ferlito also star.

The State Street Pictures and 2DS Productions feature was written by Rick Najera, Ted Perkins and Alison Swan. Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr. are producing. Filming is set to begin Feb. 13 in Chicago.

Former Will & Grace star Messing recently earned a SAG Award nomination for the miniseries The Starter Wife, and will appear in a USA Network series version of the project this summer. She will also be seen in Picturehouse's remake of The Women this fall.

Messing is repped by Gersh and 3 Arts. »

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Family get-together at the 'Park'

1 February 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Jay Hernandez, Melonie Diaz and Alfred Molina are moving to Humboldt Park, Overture's ensemble family comedy being directed by Alfredo De Villa.

Also joining the cast are Mercedes Ruehl, Luis Guzman and Vanessa Ferlito.

Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr. are producing.

The script, written by Rick Najera, Alison Swan and Ted Perkins-Lopez, follows a family reunion during the holidays in the Chicago neighborhood of Humboldt Park. John Leguizamo and Freddy Rodriguez already have been cast as brothers in the clan.

Molina is the father who owns a bodega, and Hernandez plays a friend of the family who works there. Diaz is a former lover of Rodriguez's character and friends with the clan's daughter (Ferlito). Ruehl is the matriarch.

Shooting is set to begin Feb. 13 in Chicago.

Molina, repped by Endeavor and Joan Hyler Management, recently wrapped Pink Panther 2 as well as The Lodger, a thriller with Hope Davis and Simon Baker.

Diaz is coming off a strong showing at Sundance where she appeared in four movies, including Hamlet 2. She is repped by UTA and Framework Entertainment. »

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7 items from 2008

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