18 items from 2011
Last year, Will Ferrell shot a Spanish-language comedy called Casa de mi Padre, with co-stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. The movie seems to be both a loving ode to and a send-up of classic Mexican telenovellas. A trailer appeared in April  and was taken down not long afterward, but we haven't heard much at all about the film since then. Now a small label, Pantelion Films, has picked up Us distribution rights to Casa de mi Padre and will have the movie in theaters on March 16, 2012. Pantelion works with Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa to distribute films meant primarily for Hispanic audiences; the company picked up Diego Luna's movie Abel in early 2011, and also released Saving Private Perez this past fall. The fact of having Will Ferrell's name on Casa de mi Padre may help turn this into the company's widest release yet. Still, I wouldn't be »
- Russ Fischer
We told you a few days ago about the fiendish folks over at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights digging deep into Mexican folklore as the inspiration for their newest maze, La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas (Village of Lost Souls). And now we have some exclusive first-look concept art you won't find anywhere else!
Visit HalloweenHorrorNights.com to keep up with all the info! Halloween Horror Nights will take place at Universal Studios Hollywood on select nights beginning September 23 and continue on September 24, 30; October 1, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.
From the Press Release
La Llorona, the fearful story of melancholy and murder that has terrified Mexican and Latin American children for generations, is coming to life at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood with its new terror-filled maze La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas, with the help of Mexican-based film star Diego Luna serving as a creative consultant!
The new maze will »
- Uncle Creepy
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood has already enlisted the devious minds of Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper and Eli Roth to design horror-themed mazes for this year's festivities. They’ve now dug deep into Mexican folklore for the inspiration for their newest maze, La Llorona: Villa De Almas Perdidas (Village of Lost Souls).
For those of you unfamiliar with the twisted tale of La Llorona, apparently it has to do with a mother who drowns her children trying to win the love of a man. (What the H?!) When said man did not return her romantic overtures (can't imagine why after she drowns her children), she drowns herself; and now her spirit roams the countryside, drenched and screaming for her children. (Wait, what?) Yeah, that's creepy.
And fans of Latino heartthrobs will be happy to hear that Mexican-based film star Diego Luna will be assisting in the constructing of the attraction. »
- Doctor Gash
The Good Bad Movie Club, London
Going from bad to worse can only be a good thing in the world of crap movie appreciation, and the establishment that brought you Tommy Wiseau's The Room and Troll 2 has scraped even deeper to bring you a season of bottom-of-the-late-80s-barrel gems. First off is the imaginatively demented Killer Klowns From Outer Space, in which alien clowns set balloon dogs, custard pies and mutant popcorn on Earthlings – expect fancy dress and free candy floss. Other godawful classics include the cheap and disgusting Garbage Pail Kids Movie, the Et-with-product-placement tale Mac And Me, and Dolph Lundgren's pec-flexingly camp fantasy Masters Of The Universe.
Prince Charles, WC2, Sat to 10 Sep
Fantastic Films Weekend, Bradford
It's mostly retro fare for this cult festival, which is especially good news for fans of Hammer/Amicus horror – a legion to whom the name Peter Sasdy will be legend. »
- Steve Rose
Say what you like about Gaspar Noé, the man has a vision. Watching his latest art-exploitation mash-up Enter the Void (2009, Entertainment One, 18), in which the soul of a young man floats through the neon-lit streets of Tokyo after being violently killed in a toilet, is an extraordinary, if ultimately somewhat empty, experience. Imagine ingesting a vast amount of hallucinogenic drugs while skim-reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead and watching the final reel of 2001, and then sticking your head into one of those machines which makes pink candyfloss – in a strip club.
As always with Noé, everything is turned up to 11, from the cod metaphysics to the ear-bashing soundtrack, the retina-scorching visuals and the obsession with the mechanics of hardcore (remember the Vapors' catchy/creepy 80s hit "Turning Japanese" which wanted "a doctor to take your picture so I »
- Mark Kermode
El Infierno, Chicogrande, and the other nominations of the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) have been announced. The 53rd Annual Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) are presented by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. “The Ariel is the Mexican Academy of Film Award. It has been awarded annually since 1947. The award recognizes excellence in motion picture making, such as acting, directing and screenwriting in Mexican cinema. It is considered the most prestigious award in the Mexican movie industry.” The 53rd Annual Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) “ceremony will take place on May 7 [, 2011] at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.” The full listing of the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) nominations is below
El infierno (Hell)
Mónica del Carmen, Año bisiesto (Leap Year)
Úrsula Pruneda, Las »
Sundance 2011 came and left without one of the highly-rumored titles 50/50, previously known as Live With It and I’m With Cancer, premiering. The Wrap now reports a release date from Summit Entertainment. The studio has slotted the drama/comedy from Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane) for September 30th.
Starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston, the film “focuses on a young man’s struggles with cancer” and is based on a true story. The “bittersweet comedy” got acquired by Summit over a year ago.
In other release date news, Henry’s Crime starring Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, and James Caan, will see a release April 8th, 2011. You can read my negative Tiff review and Dan Mecca’s more positive Wff review, and check out the trailer here.
- Jordan Raup
The living comedy legend that is Will Ferrell has signed on to star in a new Spanish-language comedy opposite Diego Luna, who helmed the fantastic Abel, and one Gael Garcia Bernal. Well, that is actually old new now, but what is new is the plot for the film, which has just been released online today.
Synopsis: Armando Alvarez (Ferrell) has lived and worked on his father’s ranch in Mexico his entire life. As the ranch encounters financial difficulties, Armando’s younger brother Raul (Luna), shows up with his new fiance, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez). It seems that Raul’s success as an international businessman means the ranch’s troubles are over as he pledges to settle all debts his father has incurred. But when Armando falls for Sonia and Raul’s business dealings turn out to be less than legit, all hell breaks loose as they find themselves »
- Paul Heath
Mexican director Diego Luna’s Abel (2010), a beguiling comedy-drama about a strange young boy, throws up many more questions than answers. For a while it appears that young Abel might be both catatonic and possessed of telekinetic powers, such is the effect of his brooding presence on household objects. Later, I wondered whether the story was veering off into the territory of a body-swap comedy. One thing is clear, though: Luna’s film is a heartfelt depiction of a devoted mother who is determined to do right by her troubled son.
The face of nine-year-old Abel (Christopher Ruíz Esparza) is first seen in huge close-ups as he watches a snail crawling along his finger. After two years in the psychiatric ward of a local hospital, doctors now want to transfer him to Mexico City. His mother Cecilia (Karina Gidi) can’t bear the idea of a further separation and hopes »
Finally, someone has grabbed up actor Diego Luna’s directorial debut “Abel.” Pantelion Films of Lionsgate announced today that they will be distributing the Spanish-language film in partnership with Grupo Televisa, a Mexican media company. The film centers on a young boy who must take over as the head of the family after his father goes missing. Reminiscent of Debra Granik’s critically popular “Winter’s Bone,” this film should have made waves in the film community after debuting at Sundance, but it’s flown under the radar until now. Mainstream Spanish films have had a hard time finding a place with modern American… »
The gifted young Mexican actor Diego Luna made a major impression in Alfonso Cuarón's Y tu mamá también and went on to play the baby-faced, Hispanic cowhand in Kevin Costner's Open Range and Sean Penn's lover in Milk. Abel, his confident, highly promising directorial debut, centres around a striking performance from Christopher Ruíz-Esparza as the eponymous nine-year-old lad, a seriously disturbed patient released from a hospital in a provincial Mexican town into the custody of his mother pending his transfer to a more sophisticated mental institution in distant Mexico City.
He has apparently not spoken since his father left to find work in the States and now watches TV throughout the night in the family's dilapidated, jerry-built house on the edge of town. Suddenly he begins to speak, which seems like the breakthrough his mother and his kindly doctor seek. But his voice is commandingly, parodically paternal »
- Philip French
A few years ago, Mexican star Diego Luna's assured directorial debut Abel, about a troubled young boy who returns home from a hospital stint to take on the role of the family’s missing father, would have been scooped up by a specialty distrib. But in today’s market, a small-scale Spanish-language art film faces tougher going (see Biutful). A year after its debut at Sundance, Abel will finally go out March 4, the second release of Lionsgate's Pantelion Films partnership with Mexican media company Grupo Televisa. Pantelion Films aims to release 8-10 films a year aimed at the fastest-growing movie demo, Hispanics. Some of the releases will be in English, some Spanish. Their first release is From Prada to Nada, starring Camille Belle (January 28). In »
127 Hours (15)
Boyle keeps his feet on the ground after Slumdog Millionaire by attempting to make the worst date movie of all time. But this true-life tale of "the guy who chopped off his own arm" is at least an intense, jam-packed experience. The inevitable gory climax overshadows all that precedes it, though there are tireless visual flourishes, stark survival details and narrative sidetracks to distract you, and Franco is very good company. When the hacking starts though, you'll wish you'd brought along some anaesthetic yourself – and cancelled that dinner reservation.
The King's Speech (12A)
Stiff royals turning out to be human after all – it's the sort of thing we Brits do terribly well, isn't it? But thanks to the force of Firth, this does it better than most. »
- The guide
Diego Luna makes a fine directorial debut with this insightful satire on Mexican family life
As an actor, Diego Luna made his name as the horny teen starring opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in the 2001 movie Y Tu Mamá También; now he makes an accomplished debut as a feature director with this enigmatic satirical nightmare, set in Mexico, on the theme of patriarchy and the family. Abel (Christopher Ruíz-Esparza) is a disturbed nine-year-old in a psychiatric hospital, having suffered a breakdown and retreated into silence, apparently as a reaction to his father's abandoning the family three years before. His mother Cecilia (Karina Gidi) persuades the doctors to allow him home, where Abel begins to speak, eerily inhabiting the persona of the missing dad: talking sternly to the teenage daughter, demanding his breakfast etc. The family plays along – and Luna shows how Abel's delusion answers their need to have a man about the house, »
- Peter Bradshaw
Diego Luna’s directorial debut comes in the form of ‘Abel’. Produced by Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich, Abel is dubbed “a darkly funny and poignant film about parental absenteeism in Mexico on 7th January 2011″.
No stranger to the big screen, cinema-goers will remember Luna’s performances in Academy Award winning and nominated movies such as ‘Milk’, ‘Frida’ and 2001′s critically acclaimed Mexican Drama, ‘Y tu mama tambien’ (“And your mother too”), where he received an award for best actor.
Abel will open at selected cinemas including Curzon Soho, Vue Shepherds Bush, Filmhouse Edinburgh, Bristol Watershed and Showroom Sheffield. In addition, Diego Luna will be doing Q&As for Abel at the Filmhouse Edinburgh on Thursday 6th January , The Curzon Soho on Friday 7th and the Cornerhouse Manchester on 8th January 2011, so don’t miss out!
Here’s the synopsis:
Christopher Ruiz-Esparza (a mere 9 years of age at »
- Andy Petrou
Abel (played by newcomer Christopher-Ruiz Esparza) is a nine year old boy with the weight of the world on his mind. For two years, he has been in a psychiatric facility, a stopgap into the unknown where even the doctors don’t have any answers. When his mother, Cecilia (played by Karini Gidi) arrives to take him home on a week’s trial, it is a last ditch attempt to keep the family together. If she fails, Abel will be shipped to a long term psych facility in Mexico City. He greets her with a painful silence and brooding stare while florescent lights hum and flicker above. Yes, you guessed it; there is something wrong with Abel.
Thankfully, writer and director Diego Luna is too sophisticated a storyteller to delve into straight- to-dvd child horror. Abel does not have telekinesis; he is not a modern Linda Blair or a midget in disguise. »
- Katie McCabe
Actor/director Diego Luna is probably the most personable man in cinema. Despite receiving a standing ovation for his latest film Abel during Cannes, he still laughs in humbled surprise when I compliment his work. Often dubbed a veteran actor of Mexican New Wave, Luna’s celebrated collaborations with Gael Garcia Bernal have allowed Spanish-speaking films such as Y Tu Mama Tambien and Rudo Y Cursi to gain well-deserved recognition.
Throughout his career, Luna has appeared in a generous handful of English speaking roles such as Frida, The Terminal and Milk. But when stepping into to his directorial shoes, like many great storytellers, Diego Luna remains faithfully tied to his roots.
Luna’s 2007 feature debut J.C. Chavez was a documentary which explored the life and times of Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. However, his latest film Abel takes a more introspective tone. Set in rural Mexico, Abel is the story of a troubled child, »
- Katie McCabe
The Next Three Days (12A)
What kind of a schoolteacher would stage an audacious prison break to spring his unjustly accused wife? One played by Russell Crowe, of course. Remade from French thriller Pour Elle, this supposedly everyday thriller suffers somewhat in the plausibility department, with Crowe gleaning the requisite logistical and criminal knowledge from a few Google searches and Neeson's helpful ex-con (while fulfilling single-parent duties). But after a long, slow build up, the suspenseful climax is at least well-handled.
Out from Wed
The Big Sleep (PG)
Sacrificing plot clarity for wisecracking dialogue and smouldering seduction (the producers removed a big chunk of explanation in favour of more Bogart-Bacall smooch time), the definitive Chandler detective movie is still wildly enjoyable. Bogey's Marlowe shows shades of vulnerability »
- The guide
18 items from 2011
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