The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.
The rise and fall of salsa singer, Héctor Lavoe (1946-1993), as told from the perspective of his wife Puchi, who looks back from 2002. In the early 1960s, Héctor arrives in New York from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Success comes quickly. "The more he grew as an artist," Puchi says, "the more he sank as a person." It's a tale of talent - creating salsa with Willie Colón, with the Fania All Stars, and as a soloist - and a story of disintegration - fueled by drugs, alcohol, partying, and depression. Puchi's voice - proud and querulous - dominates off-stage as Héctor's does on. Written by
According to the DVD commentary, the film was shot in only 33 days. See more »
In the scene where Hector Perez signs his contract with Jerry Masucci, and is given the name Hector La Voe. Willie Colon is standing behind him. On the wall behind Willie is a framed album cover of "The Hustler", the second album they made together. At this point in the story they have not yet recorded together. See more »
Jennifer Lopez can act, Gigli notwithstanding. In El Cantante she narrates the life of 70's Salsa songster Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony) with some sparks of creative energy. After all, as Puchi, she smoke, drank, and took drugs with him on his way to stardom, inevitable obscurity, and early death. Enabler? Maybe. Witness the Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain arc and you'll know how Hector's life sank so low (no homonym pun intended).
El Cantante is a disappointment because the celebrity couple Lopez and Anthony could have had Oscar flyovers with better script and direction. Many of the scenes are stock musical biopic: low-angle shots of the star strumming and singing, cut to drugs, cut to wife, back to another performance moment, cut to a Fania album cover, all with MTV swift editing and few scenes of depth that are not clichés of the first order.
Clint Eastwood's life of Charlie Bird Parker is a classic of character development; the recent La Vein Rose about chanteuse Edith Piaf depicts the artist sufferer in a mixed bag of time but a straightforward rendition of talent. Cantante shows a druggie who might have been an icon but for his weaknesses. If I have to sit through drug and alcohol addled performers once more, I need better story, regardless of how accurate the film is.
I don't want a documentaryI want an interpretation. Cantante is just a musical like any other, no more.
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