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Melissa P. (2005)
Film below expectations... The book? No thanks
I just learned this movie is based on a book. I must say I would never read it. The story line has absolutely no value -a young girl believes that just because her first sexual encounter was somehow traumatic, that made her instantly an expert on men and sex- it's really a poor subject. Besides, there are no interesting dialogs nor an appealing related story to support it. The main actress Valverde doesn't look young enough and most of the rest of the cast seems isolated. On the plus side, the movie is nicely shot, the background songs are appropriate and Geraldine Chaplin brings some brightness as the bohemian grandmother. Teenagers sexuality is a subject that should be treated with more depth otherwise the result is sooo vain.
It should be made clear that it's a copy/ adaptation
I rented "Criminal" when I briefly read the description of the plot. When I started to see it, I realized that it was a remake of the Argentinian "9 Queens". What a disappointment! I believe any remake should make it clear that it's a copy/ adaptation of another (foreign or local) film. I am not against remakes, I just feel that I am entitled to know this detail, specially if they completely change the name/title. By the way, in my opinion "9 Queens" is way superior to "Criminal". First, both lead actors are more authentic in "9 Queens", and they are very representative of a period of Argentinian reality. Diego Luna's average Mexican immigrant looks and accent made him a complete miscast, and Gyllenhaal just imitated the Argentinian leading lady.
Just cute ... too light
When I saw Los Lunes al Sol, another Spanish film from the same Director, I could almost feel what it was like to be an unemployed man in our society. I thought Princesas would be at least a bit realistic regarding the life of a prostitute. I was wrong. The film is cute, has some rhythmic music, the two main characters are likable, etc. but the story is way too light. The film touches from far away certain issues like exploitation, venereal diseases, racism, etc. but it NEVER gets into reality. The general feeling is like being a prostitute is more fun that any other thing... just a step below "Pretty Woman". Princesas is definitely just a commercial film and (besides some acting)has nothing to be considered high quality.
Second to Die (2002)
I applaud this little film
We're talking about a low budget film, and it's understandable that there are some weaknesses (no spoilers: one sudden explosives expert and one meaningless alcoholic); but in general the story keeps you interested, most of the characters are likable and there are some original situations.
I really like films that surprise you with some people that are not who they want you to believe and then twist and turn the plot ... I applaud this one on that.
If you know what I mean, try to see also "Nueve Reinas" (Nine Queens) a film from Argentina.
La madrastra (2005)
It's actually a very bad soap opera (mala mala)
I watch at least one Mexican soap opera every year. This time I decided to see "La Madrastra" because it had a good cast (specially Jaqueline Andere, Cesar Evora and Ana Martin) and the plot seemed attractive. But ... what a disappointment!!! At the beginning, the story pretends to be somehow clever, but very very soon everything starts to fall short and it becomes too simplistic and ridiculous. After the first ten episodes I decided to watch it only once a week, but believe me, even that proved to be too much!! ... the same people are always having the same conversations and most of the characters have no credibility. If you know a little about Latin society/family you'd soon realize how poorly it's been adapted. Besides, the comedic characters are really stupid and unnecessary. I have to warn everybody: Try not to waste your time with this one!