|Index||6 reviews in total|
Tortilla Heaven is a really great movie. I checked it out on their website and it is amazing what the filmmakers had to go through to get it done. Very impressive for a first time filmmaker. The cast is first rate all the way from Olivia Hussey to Irene Bedard to Miguel Sandoval, and the actors all did a very good job. You can feel the chemistry between them. Even though the film is a comedy, it has a very spiritual message and ending. And though Tortilla Heaven is written like a parable and definitely has a message, the director doesn't pound you over the head with it. Instead she keeps you laughing and then, when you think you know what has happened and who everyone is, she surprises you at the end. Very well done.
This movie has a great sense of humor. Very irreverent at times, but at
the end the film is so spiritual that you can see that the director was
not poking fun at the people but at our human condition. This is a
fable about what happens to a town when a miracle happens and everyone
actually gets what he or she was wishing for.
The film is very well acted, well directed and really well shot. A great cast and a great new director. Tortilla Heaven also is a very positive portrayal of Hispanics and Hispanic family and community. Also of Mexican and Southwestern cooking. I went with three friends and we all left the theater hungry -- for food and for more movies like this!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seeing this movie 10 years after filming wrapped, it is not hard to understand why it is taking so long to get to the general public. Writer\Director Judy Hecht Dumontet has not established a consistent tone, so the film alternates between satire, sacrilege, pathos, Capra-like moments, family values, religiosity, ribaldry, and ethnic humor (making fun of Jews as well as Hispanics) in a fairly random hodgepodge. If this movie were on the menu at its namesake restaurant, most diners no doubt would leave with indigestion. While a highly motivated peer reviewer might take the time necessary to make a glowing comment, saying TORTILLA HEAVEN is the best thing since triple-bladed safety razors, and rate their experience as a perfect "10," I can see why a film fest experience in East L.A. or Southwest Detroit will not translate to an equally side-splitting good time when watching TORTILLA HEAVEN on d.v.d. in the privacy of your home. Sure, there are plenty of worse choices out there (which merit well-deserved ratings of 1 through 5), but I sure would like to take a class for credit from a teacher who could stomach anything higher than a C+ for an outing featuring such uneven acting, writing, plotting, and tone.
The story for this film has been done so often, many audience members can for-tell the next scene before it takes place. Although there is sufficient acting talent, the clumsy scenes are stiff, pedestrian, badly edited and poorly directed. José Zúñiga plays Isidor a down trodden restaurant owner, praying for good fortunate to come to him, his family, his business and his little town. George Lopez, is loaded with acting versatility, yet is relegated to playing Everardo, the town sheriff but few opportunities to reveal his incomparable talent. Marcelo Tubert, plays Father Pancracio a good and kind soul who like others in his town wishes he could increase his meager church holdings. Miguel Sandoval expertly plays Gil Garcia, the town's satanic opportunity to make everyone's dreams come true. The story concept is not new, but the ability to re-vamp into a small religious southwest village is. Unfortunately, whoever directs this movie wastes not only the assembled talent, but the chance to create a memorable film. As a result, few audience members will leave the theater convinced, the director made the best use of the assembled cast. **
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I first saw Tortilla Heaven in a theater in East LA, it was clear that it was a family favorite. The Latinos in the audience, seemed to enjoy the villagers in this fable set in the imaginary town of Falfurrias, New Mexico. There is a timelessness of the story that should make it have a long shelf life at your local video stores. The cast is chock full of Latino, mainly Chicano cast. Most notably, George Lopez (George Lopez Show) as a goof ball sheriff, Miguel Sandoval (Medium) as the devil incarnate, Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty) as his co-hort, Irene Bedard (Smoke Signals) as a hapless civil service worker, Elaine Miles (Northern Exposure) as a farmer's defiant wife, Lupe Ontiveros (Desperate Housewives) as a henpecking mother-in law, Elpidia Carrillo (Predator) as a strong wife, Alexis Cruz (Shark) as an idealistic young man, Del Zamora (Repo Man) as a henpecked son, Jose Zuniga (Crooklyn) is the maker of the tortilla that is the centerpiece of this comedy. For you see, the tortilla has the burned image of Jesus on it. There is even the legendary Olivia Hussey (Zefferelli's Romeo & Juliet) in a supporting role as a free thinking nudist. The cinematography is outstanding. Music is fine in a funny sort of way. This is funny little sweet movie with heart. I took my nieces and my mother and we all laughed and enjoyed ourselves. My father even chuckled several times and liked the ending very much. I am happy to see this family film, finally come out on DVD. I am on the fan website for Tortilla Heaven, so they have alerted me, that it comes out on DVD soon. We have been waiting to buy this movie and show it to our friends. For a family film, it can't be beat!
Not too often do you see great movies about or related to Mexico or Latinos. Even when you do, you get this barren landscape, emotionally empty, pathetic and unfair portrayal of Mexicans as losers. This movie is entirely different. It portrays life in a small Village in New Mexico in a positive perspective. A miracle that stood to transform the local economy and galvanize the members of the community together was threatened with the arrival of Big Business. It took some setbacks for the community to realize what was truly important to them - each other! A great script and an excellent cast. The cinematography was superb as was the editing and sound. I gave it a solid 8/10. It is a movie I shall watch over and over again. Miguel Sandoval did not disappoint me. A great achievement for the director.
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