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My Pencho awards, films and nominations that I would have rewarded if movie awards depended on Me http://lospenchos.blogspot.com
In 2012 I was happy and surprised to find out I was one of the top250 contributors of the year with 7,750! data submissions.
In 2015 I did it again with 9,991.
In 2018 it was my third time with 14,302
Big Eyes (2014)
John Wick (2014)
My travel web page https://www.viajerosenruta.com
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Editors by points: There are 40 points for a win and 10 for a nomination * means a win.
Lee Smith** (90) Alfonso Cuarón** (80) Joel Cox* (50) Daniel P. Hanley* (50) Jamie Selkirk* (50) Andrea Chignoli* (40) Julian Clarke* (40) Ethan Coen* (40) Joel Coen* (40) Tom Cross* (40) Matthew Newman* (40) Alex Rodríguez* (40) Mark Sanger* (40) Thelma Schoonmaker (30) Kirk Baxter (20) Mike Hill (20) Michael McCusker (20) Bob Murawski (20) Christopher Rouse (20) Angus Wall (20) Sandra Adair (10) Mick Audsley (10) Stuart Baird (10) Juan José Campanella (10) Luis Carballar (10) Douglas Crise (10) Chris Dickens (10) Dody Dorn (10) Clare Douglas (10) Milenia Fiedler (10) John Gilroy (10) Martine Giordano (10) Jon Gregory (10) Ángel Hernández Zoido (10) Chris Innis (10) Michael Kahn (10) Jaroslaw Kaminski (10) Robert Komatsu (10) Jennifer Lame (10) Rafal Listopad (10) Luis de la Madrid (10) Pamela Martin (10) Craig McKay (10) Stephen Mirrione (10) Gerardo Naranjo (10) Valdís Óskarsdóttir (10) Richard Pearson (10) Barney Pilling (10) Gary Roach (10) Elena Ruiz (10) Ronald Sanders (10) Kim Sang-beom (10) Uta Schmidt (10) Molly Marlene Stensgaard (10) Christopher Tellefsen (10) Dylan Tichenor (10) Cristiano Travaglioli (10) Dirk Vaihinger (10) Shweta Venkat (10) Joe Walker (10) Andrew Weisblum (10)
40 points for winning, 10 for nominations. * meas a win
Directors by points:
William K.L. Dickson** (130) Louis Le Prince* (70) Clint Eastwood* (60) Louis Lumiére* (60) Christopher Nolan* (60) Woody Allen* (50) Joel Coen* (50) Ethan Coen* (50) Alfonso Cuarón* (50) Martin Scorsese* (50) Darren Aronofsky* (40) Juan José Campanella* (40) Guillermo del Toro* (40) Alejandro González Iñárritu* (40) Steven Spielberg* (40) Lars von Trier* (40) David Cronenberg (20) Michael Haneke (20) William Heisse (20) Sam Mendes (20) Ben Affleck (10) Alejandro Amenábar (10) Juan Antonio Bayona (10) Pablo Berger (10) Iciar Bollaín (10) Danny Boyle (10) Niki Caro (10) William Car Crofts (10) Damien Chazelle (10) Alfred Clark (10) Jean-Pierre Dardenne (10) Luc Dardenne (10) Asghar Farhadi (10) David Fincher (10) Stephen Frears (10) Alex Garland (10) Michael Gondry (10) Michel Hazanavicius (10) Werner Herzog (10) Tom Hooper (10) Ron Howard (10) Peter Jackson (10) Ang Lee (10) Richard Linklater (10) James Marsh (10) Steve McQueen (10) Georges Melies (10) Gerardo Naranjo (10) Pawel Pawlikowsky (10) Alexander Payne (10) Lynne Ramsay (10) Jason Reitman (10) Walter Salles (10) Gus van Sant (10) Lone Scherfig (10) Paolo Sorrentino (10) Denis Villeuneve (10) Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (10)
Writers by points: There are 40 points for a win and 10 for a nomination in both adapted and original, a * means an original script award, a ° an adapted script win.
Christopher Nolan*° (90) Woody Allen* (60) Ethan Coen° (60) Joel Coen° (60) Noah Baumbach* (50) Oren Moverman* (50) Alexander Payne° (50) David Arata° (40) Armando Bo* (40) Alessandro Camon* (40) Juan José Campanella° (40) George Clooney° (40) Alfonso Cuarón° (40) Alexander Dinelaris* (40) Asghar Farhadi* (40) Mark Fergus° (40) Greta Gerwig* (40) Nicolas Giacobone* (40) Alejandro González Iñárritu* (40) Brian Helgeland° (40) Grant Heslov° (40) Charlie Kaufman* (40) Tony Kushner° (40) Rebecca Lenkiewicz* (40) Graham Moore° (40) Jonathan Nolan° (40) Josh Olson° (40) Hawk Ostby° (40) Pawel Pawlikowsky* (40) John Ridley° (40) Eduardo Sacheri° (40) Sergio G. Sánchez* (40) Nick Schenk* (40) Timothy J. Sexton° (40) Jim Taylor° (40) Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck* (40) Lars von Trier* (40) Denis Villeneuve° (40) Beau Willimon° (40) Paul Haggis (30) Andrew Stanton (30) Michael Arndt (20) John August (20) Peter Morgan (20) Bob Peterson (20) Aaron Sorkin (20) Ben Affleck (10) Alejandro Amenábar (10) Paul Thomas Anderson (10) Nikolaj Arcel (10) Guillermo Arriaga (10) Michael Bacall (10) Simon Beaufoy (10) Peter Berg (10) Pablo Berger (10) Marion Bessay (10) Brad Bird (10) Andrew Birkin (10) Stuart Blumberg (10) Iciar Bollaín (10) Philippa Boyens (10) Alain Boublil (10) Michael Brandt (10) Jim Capobianco (10) J.C. Chandor (10) Damien Chazelle (10) Lisa Cholodenko (10) Diablo Cody (10) Umberto Contarello (10) Steve Coogan (10) Emanuele Crialese (10) Jan Cvitkovic (10) Jean-Pierre Dardenne (10) Luc Dardenne (10) Pete Docter (10) Keith Dorrington (10) Dave Eggers (10) Fernando Eimbcke (10) Bernd Eichinger (10) Nat Faxon (10) Steven Fechter (10) Alex Garland (10) Terry George (10) Mateo Gil (10) Terry Gilliam (10) Dan Gilroy (10) Akiva Goldsman (10) David S. Goyer (10) James Gunn (10) Derek Haas (10) Jason Hall (10) Michael Haneke (10) Robert Harris (10) Todd Haynes (10) Justin Haythe (10) Michel Hazanavicius (10) Rolf de Heer (10) Andres Heinz (10) Rasmus Heisterberg (10) Mark Heyman (10) Cliff Hollingsworth (10) Nicole Holofcener (10) Nick Hornby (10) Petr Jarchovský (10) Jim Jarmusch (10) Eric Johnson (10) Peter Jackson (10) Rian Johnson (10) Phil Johnston (10) Nicole Kassell (10) Steven Knight (10) Herbert Kretzmer (10) Jean-François Laguionie (10) John Lasseter (10) Jennifer Lee (10) Dennis Lehane (10) Anik Leray (10) Tobias Lindholm (10) John Logan (10) Alicia Luna (10) David Magee (10) Patrick Marber (10) Paula Markovitch (10) Christopher Markus (10) Anthony McCarten (10) Martin McDonagh (10) Stephen McFeely (10) Charles McKeown (10) John J. McLaughlin (10) William Monahan (10) Hayao Miyazaki (10) Bob Nelson (10) William Nicholson (10) Anders Nyberg (10) Ola Olsson (10) Shawn Lawrence Otto (10) Keir Pearson (10) Anthony Peckham (10) Vadim Perelman (10) Nicole Perlman (10) Pamela Pettler (10) Jan Pinkava (10) Roman Polanski (10) Carin Pollak (10) Kay Pollak (10) Margaretha Pollak (10) Jeff Pope (10) Neal Purvis (10) Jim Rash (10) Billy Ray (10) Jim Reardon (10) Jason Reitman (10) David Reynolds (10) José Rivera (10) David O. Russell (10) Marjane Satrapi (10) Claude-Michel Schönberg (10) Michael Seitzman (10) John Patrcik Shanley (10) M. Night Shyamalan (10) Scott Silver (10) Paolo Sorrentino (10) Aaron Stockard (10) Charles Sturridge (10) Paul Tamasy (10) Caroline Thompson (10) Guillermo del Toro (10) Sheldon Turner (10) Tom Tykwer (10) Lee Unkrich (10) Vendela Vida (10) Thomas Vinterberg (10) Lana Wachowsky (10) Lilly Wachowsky (10) Robert Wade (10) Fran Walsh (10) Halsted Welles (10) Edgar Wright (10) Iris Yamashita (10) Steven Zaillian (10)
Production designers by points: There are 40 points for a win and 10 for a nomination, a * besides the name means a win.
Nathan Crowley* (70) Larry Dias* (60) Dan Hennah* (60) Adam Stockhausen* (60) Eugenio Caballero* (50) Cheryl Carasik* (50) Rosie Goodwin* (50) Rick Heinrichs* (50) Grant Major* (50) Pilar Revuelta* (50) Anna Pinnock* (50) Jim Erickson* (40) Dante Ferreti* (40) Jack Fisk* (40) Guy Hendrix Dyas* (40) Peter Lando* (40) Alan Lee* (40) Francesca Lo Schiavo* (40) Anastasia Masaro* (40) Alex McDowell* (40) Douglas A. Mowat* (40) Andy Nicholson* (40) Caroline Smith* (40) David Warren* (40) Joan Woollard* (40) Stuart Craig (30) Stephenie McMillan (30) Andrew Ackland-Snow (20) Simon Bright (20) Rick Carter (20) Gary Fettis (20) Roger Ford (20) Dennis Gassner (20) Nancy Haigh (20) Heather Loeffler (20) Eve Stewart (20) Jaime Anduzia (10) José Luis Arrizabalaga (10) Alain Bainée (10) Alice Baker (10) Judy Becker (10) Lawrence Bennett (10) David J. Bomba (10) Dídac Bono (10) Clémence Boussicot (10) Ron von Blomberg (10) Kerrie Brown (10) Donald Graham Burt (10) Sandra Cabriada (10) Laia Colet (10) Carlos Conti (10) Théresè DePrez (10) George DeTitta Jr. (10) Magdalena Dipont (10) Trisha Edwards (10) Jim Erickson (10) Judy Farr (10) Tom Foden (10) Arturo García "Biaffra" (10) Jess Gonchor (10) Robert Gould (10) Ian Gracie (10) Peter Grant (10) Simone Grau (10) Sara Greenwood (10) Luisa Guala (10) Nancy Haigh (10) Richard Hobbs (10) Jon Hutman (10) Jackson (10) John R. Jensen (10) Christoph Kanter (10) Charles Kulsziski (10) Rafael Mandujano (10) Alexis McKenzie Main (10) Brian Morris (10) Anja Müller (10) Antonio Muño-Hierro (10) James J. Murakami (10) John Myhre (10) Julie Ochipinti (10) Salvador Parra (10) Tora Peterson (10) Richard Roberts (10) Anna Lynch Robinson (10) Katell Rolland (10) Lee Sandales (10) Debra Schutt (10) Aradhana Seth (10) Gordon Sim (10) Rob Simons (10) Katie Spencer (10) David Stein (10) Robert Stromberg (10) Kevin Thompson (10) Lisa Thompson (10) Philippe Turlure (10) Ra Vincent (10) Isidor Wimmer (10) Heike Wolf (10) Charles Woods (10) Kristi Zea (10) Victor J. Zolfo (10)
Winners by points: An * means a win, there are 40 points for winning and 10 for nomination.
Albert Wolsky* (80) Colleen Atwood* (60) Steven Noble* (50) Milena Canonero* (40) Paco Delgado* (40) Ngila Dickson* (40) Gary Jones* (40) Michael Kutsche* (40) Isis Mussenden* (40) Monique Prudhomme* (40) Richard Taylor* (40) Mariano Tufano* (40) Mary Zophres* (40) Jenny Beavan (20) Mark Bridges (20) Alexandra Byrne (20) Sharen Davis (20) Arianne Phillips (20) Sandy Powell (20) Manon Rasmussen (20) Guillaume Atwood (10) Moidele Bickel (10) Consolata Boyle (10) Trisha Biggar (10) Justin Buckingham (10) Ruth E. Carter (10) Bina Daigeler (10) Charlotte David (10) Nicole Fischnaller (10) Pierre-Yves Gayraud (10) Sonia Grande (10) Harry Harrison (10) Joanna Johnston (10) Catherine Martin (10) Ruth Myers (10) Gilda Navarro (10) Patricia Norris (10) Janet Patterson (10) Gabriella Pescucci (10) Bob Ringwood (10) Penny Rose (10) Ann Roth (10) Terry Ryan (10) Carine Sarfati (10) Sammy Sheldon (10) Malgosia Turzanska (10) Julie Weiss (10) Jacqueline West (10) Amy Westwood (10) Michael Wilkinson (10) Janty Yates (10)
Actors by points, a win in best actor means 60 points, a nomination 20. A win in supporting actor means 40 points, a nomination 10. *means a win in actor ° a win in supporting actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis** (120) Paul Giamatti*° (120) Morgan Freeman*° (100) Leonardo DiCaprio° (80) Viggo Mortensen* (80) Javier Bardem° (60) George Clooney° (60) Colin Firth* (60) Jake Gyllenhaal* (60) Frank Langella* (60) Georges Mélies* (60) Peyman Moaadi* (60) Ulrich Mühe* (60) Sean Penn* (60) Robert Redford* (60) Christian Bale° (40) Clint Eastwood (40) Michael Fassbender° (40) Heath Ledger° (40) Alfred Molina° (40) Jack Nicholson° (40) Tim Robbins° (40) JK Simmons° (40) Kevin Bacon (30) Tommy Lee Jones (30) Peter O'Toole (30) Clive Owen (30) Brad Pitt (30) Casey Affleck (20) Gregor Bakovic (20) Jeff Bridges (20) Josh Brolin (20) Steve Carell (20) Jim Carrey (20) Francois Clerc (20) Bradley Cooper (20) Russell Crowe (20) Ricardo Darín (20) Larry David (20) Johnny Depp (20) Bruce Dern (20) Robert Downey Jr. (20) Benoit Duval (20) Jesse Eisenberg (20) Ralph Fiennes (20) James Franco (20) Ben Foster (20) James Gandolfini (20) Daniel Giménez Cacho (20) Ryan Gosling (20) Woody Harrelson (20) Hugh Jackman (20) Michael Keaton (20) Ben Kingsley (20) Matthew MaConaughey (20) Jonathan Rhys Meyers (20) Mads Mikkelsen (20) Ezra Miller (20) Mikael Persbrandt (20) Joaquin Phoenix (20) Eddie Redmayne (20) Mark Ruffalo (20) Toni Servillo (20) Robert Thomae (20) Luis Tosar (20) Jean-Louis Trintignant (20) Christoph Waltz (20) Ken Watanabe (20) Alan Arkin (10) Paul Bettany (10) Michael Caine (10) Thomas Haden Church (10) François Damiens (10) Matt Damon (10) Vincent Cassel (10) Benedict Cumberbacht (10) Paul Dano (10) Albert Finney (10) Harrison Ford (10) Guillermo Francella (10) Andrew Garfield (10) Jason Butler Harner (10) Ethan Hawke (10) Dwight Henry (10) Philip Seymour Hoffman (10) Shahab Hosseini (10) William Hurt (10) Jeremy Irons (10) Samuel L. Jackson (10) Richard Jenkins (10) Burghart Klaußner (10) Jared Leto (10) Sergi López (10) Ewan McGregor (10) Drago Milinovic (10) Liam Neeson (10) Edward Norton (10) Dawid Ogrodnik (10) Christopher Plummer (10) José María Pou (10) John C. Reilly (10) Geoffrey Rush (10) Rodrigo de la Serna (10) J.K. Simmons (10) Stellan Skarsgård (10) Stanley Tucci (10) Mark Wahlberg (10)
Cinematographers by points. Win-40 points, nomination-10 points. * means a win.
Roger Deakins*** (150) William K.L. Dickson** (140) Emmanuel Lubezki** (100) Andrew Lesnie** (80) Louis Le Prince* (70) Louis Lumière* (60) Wally Pfister* (70) Christian Berger* (40) Sofian El Fani* (40) Mátyás Erdély* (40) Matthew Libatique* (40) Bruno Delbonnel (20) Pawel Edelman (20) William Heise (20) Janusz Kaminski (20) Claudio Miranda (20) Robert Richardson (20) Salvatore Totino (20) Thierry Arbogast (10) Danny Cohen (10) William Carr Crofts (10) Jeff Cronenweth (10) Robert Elswit (10) Xavi Giménez (10) Agnès Godard (10) Ryszard Lenczewski (10) Anthony Dod Mantle (10) Étienne-Jules Marey (10) Igor Martinovic (10) Sharone Meir (10) Félix Monti (10) Guillermo Navarro (10) Trent Opaloch (10) Harald Gunnar Paalgard (10) Phedon Papamichael (10) Nicola Pecorini (10) Dick Pope (10) Kiko de la Rica (10) Robert Rodriguez (10) Philippe Rousselot (10) Robbie Ryan (10) Harry Savides (10) Tom Stern (10) Robert D. Yeoman (10) Bradford Young (10) Alexis Zabe (10) Lukasz Zal (10) Peter Zeitlinger (10)
Actors by points, a win in best actress means 60 points, a nomination 20. A win in supporting actress means 40 points, a nomination 10. *means a win in actress ° a win in supporting actress:
Kate Winslet** (120) Natalie Portman* (90) Cate Blanchett° (80) Carey Mulligan* (70) Marion Cotillard* (60) Leila Hatami* (60) Agata Kulesza* (60) Laura Linney° (60) Laia Marull* (60) Frances McDormand° (60) Helen Mirren* (60) Julianne Moore° (60) Ellen Page* (60) Emmanuelle Riva* (60) Charlize Theron* (60) Judy Dench (50) Amy Adams° (40) Shohreh Aghdashloo° (40) Samantha Barks° (40) Melissa Leo° (40) Susanne Lothar° (40) Janet McTeer° (40) Lupita N'Yongo° (40) Emma Stone° (40) Maribel Verdú (40) Viola Davis (30) Tilda Swinton (30) Evan Rachel Wood (30) Hiam Abbass (20) Lubna Azabal (20) Maria Bello (20) Annette Bening (20) Monica Bleibtreu (20) Abigail Breslin (20) Glenn Close (20) Jennifer Connelly (20) Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (20) Catherine Frot (20) Anna Geislerová (20) Greta Gerwig (20) Scarlett Johansson (20) Nicole Kidman (20) Jennifer Lawrence (20) Bárbara Lennie (20) Alison Lohman (20) Greisy Mena (20) Reham Mohammed (20) Michelle Monaghan (20) Samantha Morton (20) Danny Perea (20) Noomi Rapace (20) Julia Roberts (20) Belén Rueda (20) Stephanie Sigman (20) Hailee Steinfield (20) Meryl Streep (20) Hilary Swank (20) Uma Thurman (20) Agata Trzebuchowzka (20) Alicia Vikander (20) Soledad Villamil (20) Naomi Watts (20) Michelle Williams (20) Olivia Williams (20) Reese Whiterspoon (20) Jaroslava Adamová (10) Adriana Barraza (10) Sareh Bayat (10) Bérénice Bejo (10) Helena Bonham Carter (10) Julie Christie (10) Patricia Clarkson (10) Toni Collette (10) Yaya DaCosta (10) Mélissa Désourmeaux-Poulin (10) Vera Farmiga (10) Sally Field (10) Jennifer Garner (10) Maggie Gyllenhall (10) Marcia Gay Harden (10) Anne Hathaway (10) Taraji P. Henson (10) Isabelle Huppert (10) Felicity Jones (10) Anna Kendrick (10) Rinko Kikuchi (10) Keira Knightley (10) Mila Kunis (10) Kelly MacDonald (10) Virginia Madsen (10) Clementine Mellor (10) Samantha Morton (10) Sophie Okonedo (10) Kelly Reilly (10) Érica Rivas (10) Margot Robbie (10) Rene Russo (10) Amy Ryan (10) Sonja Savic (10) Octavia Spencer (10) June Squibb (10) Marisa Tomei (10) Mia Wasikowska (10) Renée Zellweger (10)
Winners by points: a * means a win in the category, 40 points for winning, 10 for getting nominee
David Martí** (80) Montse Ribé** (80) Howard Berger* (50) Bill Corso* (50) Dave Elsey* (50) Tami Lane* (50) Paul LeBlanc* (50) Ve Neill* (50) Martin Samuel* (50) Conor O'Sullivan* (50) Alessandro Bertolazzi* (40) Jean Ann Black* (40) Greg Cannom* (40) Mark Coulier* (40) Joe Dunckley* (40) Lola Gómez* (40) Frances Hannon* (40) Fran Needham* (40) Valli O'Reilly* (40) Frances Richardson* (40) Paco Rodríguez Frías* (40) Pedro Rodríguez* (40) Sarah Rubano* (40) José Quetglas* (40) Nieves Sánchez Torres* (40) Nick Dudman (20) Joel Harlow (20) Peter King (20) Amanda Knight (20) Jo Allen (10) Barney Burman (10) Lois Burwell (10) John Caglione Jr. (10) Judy Chin (10) Rita Ciccozzi (10) Martial Corneville (10) Julie Dartnell (10) Jeff Dawn (10) Marjorie Durand (10) Mike Elizalde (10) Kris Evans (10) Eithne Fennel (10) Rick Findlater (10) Greg Funk (10) Manolo García (10) Kay Georgiu (10) Nikki Gooley (10) Mindy Hall (10) Edouard F. Henriques (10) Tanya Hudson (10) Lynn Johnson (10) Love Larson (10) Adruitha Lee (10) Dennis Liddiard (10) Robin Matthews (10) Peter Montagna (10) Matthew W. Mungle (10) Jennifer O'Halloran (10) Janine Schneider (10) Aldo Signoretti (10) Vittorio Sodano (10) Richard Taylor (10) Lisa Tomlin (10) Yolanda Toussieng (10) Eva Von Bahr (10) Lisa Westcott (10) David White (10) Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou (10)
Morgenthau Trailer (1942)
I love to find, watch and rate rare movies in the IMDb, so whenever I have time I take a dive in the less voted films and see which of them I can find, that is how I ended up watching Morgenthau Trailer, which since it has no copyright can be found in YouTube and seen. The Morgenthau trailer is both one of the shortest and less voted films in 1942, it is a product of its time, being one of probably hundred of short films made in an attempt to get the citizens in the United States to buy war bonds to support the expensive war effort. There's not much you can expect for this shorts, no matter in which way they come, they are simply short messages that intend to rise your patriotic feelings and help the army.
I have seen dozens of those shorts, mostly in DVD extras, and out of all of them this is probably the worst of all. There is no much you can do to deliver the message, but if you are interested in this historical things, then you'll know most of them have something special in them, either a celebrity, or cartoon characters or even an attempt at a small story to show the need of your support. The Morgebthau trailer has nothing of that.
It simply shows us Henry Morgenthau, who was the United States Secretary of Treasure sitting in a desk and giving the audience a long explanation about how the war bonds were necessary to support the army. Well it's not actually a long explanation, since it barely lasts around two minutes, but it feels quite long. I don't doubt that mr. Morgenthau was good in his job, but he was a terrible communicator. I was watching this two minutes short willingly and genuinely interested in it, and despite that it was so boring it felt quite long, and I watched the time a couple of time to see how much longer it was going to be.
Besides the technical explanations, Mr. Morgenthau seems somewhat uncomfortable talking to the camera, and besides a close ups to his face and then back to full body there is nothing interesting in the way it was filmed.
I have serious doubts that this short convinced anyone in doubt about buying war bonds, in a way in which a celebrity or a cartoon could do it. Failing in this mission and boring me so that's why I rated it so low. The only reason to see it is historical curiosity.
Los pequeños gigantes (1960)
Mexican baseball heroes
In the summer of 1957 a children baseball team from the city of Monterrey participated in the yearly tournament of the Little Leagues in the United States. It was the first time that a foreign team was invited to participate (outside Canadians), and no one expected that the modest and poor team from south of the border would even win a game. This lack of faith in them was so big that the authorities only gave them a three day visa to enter the country anticipating a quick elimination. However, the team surprised everyone and they not only beat their first contenders. They kept winning until they managed to be champions of the tournament. It was the first time that a team from outside the United States won the championship, and also the only time in history that a team managed a perfect game.
The team that had left Monterrey with no one paying attention to them, ended up being known not only in their city but in all Mexico. And they became so popular that their achievement was taken to the big screen as soon as it was possible. The result is this movie, Los Pequeños Gigantes. The movie turned out to be quite interesting, and its value lies in the fact that it stars not actors, but the actual kids and the managers that won the championship a few years earlier.
Being a Mexican film shoot just a few years after the story it tells, you could think that the film would be quite partial. But I found it to tell a quite balanced story. Showing not only the complications faced by the team, but also their internal problems and the insecurity and fear they faced. All the film is narrated by the manager, César Faz, and I think his comments are the most valuable part of the film as they allow us to learn from first hand all the experience lived by this giants.
The kids make a fantastic job in front of the camera when they act their own experiences, which is quite remarkable considering their lack of experience as actors. And while I don't think any technical aspect of the film stands out, it is decent at every moment. The only thing that is horrible is the music. The song chosen as the main theme of the film is a typical Mexican children song called "Barco Chiquito". It is one of those songs that can make you crazy if you hear it over and over again, and that is just what happens here. It is tirelessly sang by all the members of the team as if it was an anthem, and after a while it becomes unbearable. The film would have been much better without it.
The film is meaningful for us Mexican viewers, as it recounts a story that can really motivate us. And while this sentimental tie with the movie may be lacking for everyone else, that doesn't mean it is not worth of watching. Baseball fans should be interested in getting to know the details of a historical game that may not be very well known. And for film lovers this is a chance to see a Documentary of a kind that is no longer done. A reenactment of the facts told by a protagonist today they would probably not be considered real documentaries. Another quite similar Mexican film is called Torero, which managed a Academy Award nomination.
Riddles of the Sphinx (2008)
Bad but entertaining
I ended up watching this Canadian TV movie for the sole reason that I saw that Lochlyn Munro was the lead actor, while he is not really known, I saw him when he was young as part of the cast of the short lived Hawkeye TV series, and I was pinched by curiosity about what he was doing ten years after that. I had no expectations about the quality of the film, and it turned out to be as bad as I was expecting, despite this I kind of enjoyed it. The plot is so simple, a passage to another dimension is opened and this act sets free a sphinx which, being responsible of protecting the passage, goes on a rampage to kill those responsible. The sphinx is not the only things that gets free, there's also an ancient curse that will destroy the human race, our only hope is a group made by a high school history teacher (Munro), his teenage daughter, a femme fatale which is also his ex-girlfriend and the leader of a government branch dealing with the supernatural. To stop the sphinx they will have to solve a number of riddles and collect a series of mystical stones hidden around the world.
I don't think no one watching this films thinks they are going to see something worth of remembering, but if someone does the very first scene, when the sphinx goes wild killing a number of people, should be enough to make clear the quality of the film. Bad acting and bad fx, the monster created with computer animation is terribly unrealistic and could be considered as a digital equivalent to the puppets seen in the worst sci-fi B movies. Sum to this that the two main characters are obvious copies of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, that the script is totally predictable and with every possible common place included: a traitor in the group, a very smart girl, a reluctant hero. I could also talk about the unrealistic settings and the absurd presence in every encounter with the monster of a couple of extras added to the group with the sole purpose of giving the sphinx someone to kill.
But despite all the bad things told, I must say the film is bad, but not terrible, and it didn't bore me at any moment. If you know what you are up to then you can also have a good time watching it, and I guess that's what the creators of the film had in mind, it is a bad film, but it is entertaining. If you are in a good mood and with the correct company, then you can have fun checking the inconsistencies of the plot, or some laughable stuff like anti-gravity guns; the genius teenager, with the ability to calculate with mathematical precision the exact second in which a ricocheting bullet will stop; or the sphinx transformation into a human, a moment in which it is played by a wrestler that made me remember Tor Johnson, an actor appearing in Ed Wood films.
To finish I must say that the way in which the monster is finally stopped does have a little bit of originality. To sum everything up this is a predictable adventure lacking in both economical and artistic resources, but if you don't take it seriously you may enjoy it. Watching a bad film from time to time is good, as I think it helps you put the good stuff in the right perspective. And if you are watching something bad, then its better if its something like this which despite its shortcomings is good fun.
Are you the favorite film of anybody?
I enjoy discovering rare films and voting for them in the IMDb, so sometimes I just look for a random short film, try to find it in the web and if Im successful I watch it and rate it. That's how I found Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody? starring John C. Reilly. The black and white short film was written by Miranda July and directed by Miguel Arteta and then it was finished by Arteta alone after he broke up with July. The film is completely in black and white and it has a very simple but interesting idea, John C. Reilly is on the street making a survey to find out if the person he talks too think they are anybody's else favorite person. It's a great set up and while the characters interviews people you watch with interest waiting to see what will come out from this. However it all ends in disappointment. After a woman that gives a positive answer, a man that gives a negative answer and a third person that refuses to answer the film abruptly finishes, and I was left wondering what was the point of all of this? It feels like and unfinished piece of film that could have been something else but ended in nothing. For what I read the film has been given good reviews for posing an interesting question to viewers, and I found myself not only figuring what I'd answer, but also wondering if my favorite persons would think about me and give a positive answer if they were asked the same question. But that interesting question is all you'll take from this film. It would have been great if the story led somewhere because this had potential, but regretfully it just ended in a possibility and not in a reality.
El sartorio (1907)
First adult film?
A boring day at the job led to Me and my coworkers to find a box full of old magazines which we started reading to kill time. One of them was a sex special that, among other articles, had a section answering some questions and one of them was about the first adult film. That's as I learned there was an Argentinian porn film called El Sartorio.
Since I'm always interested in movie rarities I took note, and I was surprised to find the film available on the Internet, I watched it voted it and learned some things about it. It turns out there's no certainty about the year of origin of the film, and 1907 is only marked as the earliest possible, but there's something for which we have no doubt. El Sartorio ain't the first porn film in history, it is simply the oldest surviving. Its hard to track them but it wasn't long after the invention of cinema that adult films started being made, they were sold privately to clients and the producers and stars were anonymous. After a while censorship in Europe got stronger and producers started filming in American countries, were they made their adult films with actors that accepted minor wages. One of their favorite countries to do their work was Argentina, because their citizens looked European.
That's the reason for the south American country to have a porn industry so early in the XX Century. Apart from this history is there anything interesting in El Sartorio? well, its an adult film and you'll see not much has changed in that genre. A group of naked girls play in the forest, a satyr spots them and chases them he traps and has all kind of sexual relationships with her and they both end up fulfilled and happy. There's a variety of positions and close ups on genitals.
Due to the short runtime and to the wide availability of porn films to which we are used today, this rarity will hardly fulfill its initial goal but it still manages some arousal. But if you are interested in movie history and on rarities from the past then it's a very interesting watch. Let's face it, porn film have been part of movie history since its beginnings and will always be a part of it, if we had a wide availability of old porn films then this wouldn't matter more than others, but since it's one of a few silent porn remaining it's a very interesting watch to know how things used to be.
Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969)
Cult Short Film
Bambi meets Godzilla? Not having the slightest idea that this film existed, one day, several years ago, I found it at the IMDb and my first reaction was of absolute incredulity; who could have filmed something so absurd? A very high ranking of 10/10 (which has naturally come down since that day) helped to increase my curiosity about this, and while it took me a I finally could find a copy of this film that today can be easily found around the internet.
bringing together a little deer and a giant atomic lizard certainly looks like something unimaginable, and for a person that has never seen this short before it can be hard to imagine what the hell will happen; the film is less tan two minutes long, and while you sit and watch Bambi placidly eating grass while the opening credits roll the expectation for Godzilla appearance grows and grows.
Finally the time comes, and while the result of the meeting is at first completely unexpected, once it finishes you have absolutely no doubt that, if Bambi could meet Godzilla that would definitively be the outcome. Once the surprise is over and if you watch the film other times the film is less funny, but for me it is still a great experience to share it with people that has never Heard about it , and enjoy their incredulity to the film existence and their reaction to it after their watch it which remembers me my first watching several years ago.
For managing to build suspense in just a couple of minutes and for making plausible a very strange idea, this short film deserves the cult film status it has attained. I recommend you to watch it to get a nice laugh. Animation is crude but it fits the film, and the few credits that are on screen also have a dose of humor. There are some other imitations of this film, but not one of them can be compared with this original and great idea.
Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla (1999)
Warning: this review also contains spoilers of Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969)
In 1969 a Canadian artist released a short film called Bambi Meets Godzilla. With simple drawings and no pretenses, his original idea was well received and eventually became a cult film despite its short runtime. For years that impossible meeting and its comical result has managed legion of fans and some of them have made unofficial sequels, so is the case of Eric Fernandes who made this other short, Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla What's behind this other picture? it simply takes the original idea of Marv Newland but it gives the story the opposite ending of the first picture. This is the first mistake of the film, it gives us absolutely nothing, all the originality of the 1969 film is lost in images that are modeled after the other work and it is completely lacking in freshness.
The second problem is that, while making Godzilla and Bambi meet seemed like something completely absurd, the outcome of the original short had an overwhelming logic, once you finished watching it you had absolutely no doubt that if the deer and the giant lizard had indeed meet that would have been the result. Here on the other side the things happening simply make no sense a deer using a rocket launcher to kill a lizard? sorry but that's not funny at all and no logic at any level. One thing that should be noted is that the original film, despite a tragic ending, had no real confrontation between the characters, Godzilla does not even notices the deer after crushing it (hence the title was meet not vs). Here on the other side Godzilla is coming with the sole intention of finishing off Bambi's son (and inexplicably failing several times). The great thing about the first movie was its innocence, and here they took it away turning it into something meaningless.
Finally it must be noted that the animation is lame. All the above gives us an empty work with the sole goal of giving a vengeance of everyone that was sad for Godzilla crushing Bambi and making it in a totally unfunny way. Without any doubt Fernandes made this in his computer, upload it to the internet and forgot about it, for some reason it was found and it ended up in movie databases. The only good thing to say about this is that Newland receives proper credit for its original idea that inspired this, an idea which was simply remade in a way that took away everything that was good about it.
Time traveling Luchadores
Mexican luchadores travel back in time and find themselves in colonial Mexico, where they try to get back to the present battling witches, Spanish conquistadores and Aztec warriors. Simply by reading the plot of this surreal film you have one certainty, there is absolutely no way this can be a good movie. Now, there are two kinds of bad films; those that are simply badly done and offer no reason to watch them, and those that are bad but turn out to be a lot of fun due to their inconsistencies and absurd. When you start watching Leyendas Macabras de la Colonia you are hoping to get this second kind of bad, but due to terrible acting, a plot full of holes and the attempt to make fun of itself it turns out to be a film of the first kind.
After opening with the obligatory wrestling scene, which is unnecessary, with ten minutes in which no story or character is developed, the luchadores Tinieblas, Mil Máscaras and El Fantasma Blanco join two ladies in the house of Tinieblas to celebrate their victory. There a cursed painting takes them back in time. That should be the cue for the mindless fun to start, but after some promising minutes in which the three masked men quickly dispatch a whole group of Spanish soldiers, and after we find Lorena Velázquez is an evil witch, the movie is incapable of keeping any interest.
Even for an absurd film like this the plot has too many wholes, we never know why the hell the painting was cursed, there is never a moment in which either the time travelers or the people from the past get some surprise about their situation, we spend a lot of time with the luchadores just walking around a house looking for a way in, we have to wonder why the hell Mil Máscaras and El Fantasma Blanco stand as simple watchers while his partner is about to be sacrificed, and after they manage to return to their time we miss any resolution to the story as they leave a wounded hero in the clutches of the witch which apparently can't be stopped, what happens to that? No one will know.
The acting is of course to bad, the main characters at least learned their lines, but there are a bunch of extras with nothing to do, the Aztec warriors are a bunch of fat people walking around in loincloths which makes a humiliating clothing for them. A group of Spanish conquistadores captured by the witch just walk to their cell with absolutely no expression in their faces, as if getting captured by supernatural forces was a daily event for them. And the two ladies that join the luchadores in their surreal trip (while given the chance to break the painting and taking them back to their time) serve no other purpose than showing up their bodies. Evidently they did not care to find real actresses for the roles and they just signed the first big breasted women that agreed to wear mini skirts and tight clothes.
All of this would be forgettable and funny if the film took itself seriously, but Leyendas Macabras de la Colonia commits the biggest sin a B movie can make, it tries to make fun of itself, therefore killing the chance of being actually amusing. For example the constant jokes about Tinieblas being a womanizer and a final wrestling match between Tinieblas and three over weighted Aztec warriors. A great B movie like Plan 9 From Outer Space are classics because they are in fact trying to make a great film, and all their mistakes are unintended, when a bad film is done with full conscience that it is bad and when it tries to exploit that to get laughs it usually fails as in this case.
This film could have been an absolutely classic for bad film lovers, but unfortunately the only thing that's good about it, is what we imagine we are going to see before we actually sit to watch the film. That's really a shame.
Worst than the first part.
To start I must say I had absolutely no interest in watching the first Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr., judging by the trailers the film appeared to be simply another Hollywood blockbuster that would fill the screen with action scenes and visual effects with no other goal than making money. Visiting the theater with my family I couldn't avoid finally watching it and I was surprised and satisfied, indeed it was a movie made only to have a good time, but it turned out to be quite entertaining and a nice homage to the original character.
With this in mind I went to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows expecting an equally good entertainment, but this time I was disappointed: the action scenes happen to often and are way to exaggerated, there are too many of the slow motion scenes present in many Guy Ritchie films, and the supporting characters did not arouse my interest.
This last point is were the movie disappointed me the most, Noomi Rapace character seemed completely failed to me, she had no chemistry with Robert Downey and I never had a reason to care for her, if she had been killed or disappeared at any time I wouldn't have cared at all. This is an absolute contrast with the Irene Adler of the first film, a very nice character played by Rachel McAdams, her love/rivalry relationship with Holmes was one of the best things in the first part, it was a real shame to see Irene die in the first scene and with her that well developed sometimes kinky, sometimes comical and sometimes romantic relationship thrown away; Noomi Rapace was great as a tough woman in the Millennium trilogy, but she should look for a different character and avoid doing the same every time, here she didn't do it very well.
Regarding the action scenes, both the part were the bad guys try to kill Watson in a train, and the chase and shooting in the German forest were waaay too much, and in the last case it was even tiresome; I was just wishing they would get over with the slow movement that led nowhere, but it just kept going and going, there's no need to abuse a cinematographic resource.
One final complaint I have has to do with the final scene, while Holmes is playing a chess game with Moriarty, Dr. Watson and the Gypsy (Rapace) are trying to find a hidden secret agent who will commit a murder that will start a war, the problem here is that in the same room they are joined by Mycroft Homes, and as any Sherlock fan knows he is one of the most brilliant minds there are, eclipsing even his brother. It is simply inexplicable that he would simply wait for other to catch the agent when his observation skills would have solved everything quicker and with more certainty than Watson, it is natural that Jude Law and Rapace, as two of the main characters, should be the ones to play that important role, but the writers should have find a way to keep Mycroft out of the room in order to avoid the nonsense of his passive waiting.
After this complaints it's time to mention the good points of the movie, first the relationship between Holmes and Watson works as well as in the first film and both Downey and Law give good performances, also I'd like to notice the work of Kelly Reilly, she plays Watson's wife and, in the absence of a good female character in the lead, she becomes the one that gives the relationship between the two main characters its best moments.
Another good part is the ending of the movie where Holmes and Moriarty fall down a waterfall to their apparent death. Those who know the character not only through movies, but also from the books will know that Conan Doyle killed Holmes that way because he was fed up with writing his adventures; however years later he was forced to bring him back due to the constant and never ending fan mail demanding him to continue the stories. In a genius nod to that fact, at the end of this picture Holmes appears alive and avoiding detection he writes a question mark after the words "the end" just typed by Watson in his memoirs, this way we are made to understand that, if their fans ask for it just as hundreds of readers did with Conan Doyle this Sherlock Holmes will also return. It is a very clever detail in the script, but I'm afraid (and I hope I'm wrong) that the people that will enjoy this film the most will not notice this smart reference at all.
This good things must be mentioned and recognized, but in my opinion none of them is enough to save a film that left me with no desire to see a third part: If you enjoy any blockbuster Hollywood releases or if you are absolute fans of Guy Ritchie you will enjoy this, but if you are looking for good cinema and something more meaningful avoid it. For me this Holmes can finish his days falling down that waterfall.
Hawkeye: The Return (1995)
A weak ending to an entertaining series
The Canadian TV series Hawkeye, based on James Fenimore Cooper characters, and created in part to exploit the popularity of the movie The Last of the Mohicans, turned out to be of little success and it was canceled after just one season. In this last episode, The Return, the writers work on giving a ending to the plot (something many newer series, canceled after leaving the plot in suspense should also do), but unfortunately the result wasn't good and it turned out to be the worst episode of the series which, speaking on general terms, is amusing without pretending anything else.
Without a strict continuity from episode to episode, the story developed the relation between Hawkeye (Lee Horlsey) and Elizabeth Shields (Lynda Carter); this starts when Elizabeth's husband takes her to the wild frontier, a place were the few inhabitants live in a fort protected by English soldiers and in constant conflict with the french army and the native Americans. In the first episodes Elizabeth's husband is abducted by the Indians who plot with his brother, the captain of the fort, a situation that forces Elizabeth to stay on the fort on her own. During this time her relationship with Hawkeye, her protector, grows into a romance, and soon it is clear they are meant to be together. Ultimately the date of the husband is of little interest to the viewer, but, to close the story, in this episode we learn what happened to him.
The return of the episode title obviously is referred to the husband, who, after a year as a prisoner of the natives, has gone crazy and has resolved to get revenge on his brother and to kill Elizabeth. It is a little credible outcome and its only goal is to take the husband out of the way in order to give liberty to the two main characters to consummate their love.
The plot is also hurt by a little developed script which is filled by flashbacks of all the previous episodes. Probably the goal was to give nice memories of the best moments of the show, but instead the story feels incomplete, and it appears the writers were lazy to make something better for the last chapter. Ultimately the things we all knew were bound to happen happen and the whole chapter adds nothing to the series.
In general Hawkeye was entertaining and quite watchable if you are looking for an unpretentious adventure, I think it is a shame the show was unsuccessful since it could be extended for a second season, but the truly regrettably thing is that it has finished with such a mediocre episode. Consider this is not a show of the quality of the rest of the series.
No more Pinochet
Starring Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, No is the movie submitted by Chile to the 2012 academy awards. The movie tells us about one moment in Chile history when dictator Pinochet organized a referendum trying to legitimize his government to the eyes of the world. However, against all odds, the political opposition manages to win the voting and that way democracy put an end to that nefarious period of Chilean history.
How did they managed to do that is the topic of the film in which the story is told through the main character, René Saavedra, an advertiser hired to organize the campaign of the No (no to Pinochet leading the country for another eight years) which gives its title to the film.
The film gives us the chance to get into one of the most important events in Chile contemporary history, but one that isn't very well known outside that country; I at least haven't heard about it until I saw the film. The first virtue about the film is that you don't need to know about this events to get into it, as long as you know Chile lived a long military dictatorship (which should be general knowledge) you won't have any problem getting into the plot.
No shows us the complications around the campaign, Saavedra only counts with 15 minutes each day to get his message to the people of Chile, and his works starts not with some commercials, but talking the opposition parties to agree to his idea of making some positive promos in order to help Chileans get over their fear of voting, instead of denouncing the crimes of the dictatorship now that they have a chance to do it. Besides that, all the government and media works for Pinochet, and they'll use everything in their possibilities to obstruct the opposition message.
No uses many archive images, maybe up to a quarter of the film is made from the original videos aired in the Chilean TV during the campaigns, this is very interesting since as foreigners we get to see what people in the country watched in their TV every night. The film does a great job combining this archive images with the work of the actors so at all time the film moves along quite well and it never feels like a documentary or a history lesson which could make some people bored; but it is still very interesting for anyone who (like me) loves history. Watching this archive images gives us some surprises, and while everything will undoubtedly say more to Chileans than to foreigners, you may still get some surprises, like discovering Hollywood actors like Chistopher Reeve, Richard Dreyfuss (in a good Spanish) or Jane Fonda giving support messages to the people of Chile.
This combination of archive videos and original film is made more effective by the cinematography. The director looked for a camera like the ones used and the end of the eighties to make his film, and he manages that all the film has the same definition which helps to blend it perfectly, also this gives the film a distinctive look that makes it visually different from any other current film.
The acting is good, with Gael García Bernal giving a good Chilean accent, without much dialog his characters evolves very well through the movie, I liked specially when he is working on other advertising besides the No campaign, he uses the same phrases while selling his job, but despite this remaining unchanged by the end of the film we notice how he earned a lot of respect and confidence with his winning No campaign.
One last good thing is that despite the fact that you know the ending from the first moment, the plot manages to give you some moments of tension, a proof that it has been very well developed.
Some things I didn't like is the sound, at some moments I had some difficulty hearing some dialogs, this technical fail is a shame. I also disliked some shots in which the sun is too bright obscuring everything else on screen, but this doesn't happen much.
At the end of the film you will be humming the catchy song of the campaign. Naturally this wasn't the only thing that forced Pinochet to leave the government and there is a lot more to learn about this moment of Chile history, but the campaign was important and the film offers a great introduction to the topic trough an original cinematographic work. Recommendable
One of my all time favorites TV series
Policías, en el Corazón de la Calle is the best Spanish TV series I've seen and one of my all time favorites. I watch it during its original telecast in Mexico, I was very young and I quickly became a fan that would not miss a single episode no matter what.
The show dealt with the cops in a precinct in Madrid, Spain and it showed both the cases they solved and the relationships between the main characters. Each episode was of at least one hour of runtime (without commercial) and this allowed to have a lot of time to develop several plots as well as the conflicts surrounding the main characters; during the six seasons the quality of the scripts and the production was always strong, something few shows can say for themselves.
From the first episode the show maintained the structure of every chapter; each season had a main event that would take a long time to solve and that involved a dangerous criminal that would give a lot of problems to the cops, besides there were another case that would be extended for a couple of episodes and finally there were small problems that didn't go beyond one chapter; however they all had in common that they were interesting and exciting meaning you always had a reason to keep watching.
Policías was also benefited with a large and talented cast (if you are not familiar with Spanish actors you will at least identify Almodovar girl Lola Dueñas), most of whom were on board for the whole series; in each season the cops were paired with different teammates which allowed to develop the relations between all the characters and it kept the series fresh regarding the interaction of the characters. Every one of them had a defined personality from the first moment that in every case grew more complex as time passed, as you got to know them better you really got involved with their problems, in general they were all likable.
Besides plot and cast the series also had great action scenes from a quality that was unusual in television when this was filmed. Also, Policías was a series that wasn't afraid to deal with controversial and rough issues, some of the topics that were touched at some point during the series were prostitution, the production of snuff films and serial killers, this issues were shown with the hardness and seriousness that was required and for that reason I would not recommend it to minors (The DVD of the first season warns that the show is not recommended for kids under the age of 7, but I would rather consider that it should not be seen by minors of 15, since at some points you require maturity to understand the importance of the problems).
Finally I would say that this series had the good sense of never being afraid to put all of its characters in danger, in fact more than one protagonist didn't make it to the end of the series. It is common that in this series the main characters have their life guaranteed, with that in mind the first time an important personage was killed it was truly shocking, and from that point on you knew no one was certain to survive the cases, this allowed to have some tense moments hardly achieved in other productions.
Policías lasted six seasons, and I can't really understand why was it canceled since it really had the potential to keep on. I once saw an interview with actor José María Pou in which he attributed the problem to the managers of Antena 3 who would have gotten nervous with a small decrement in the audience that lead to the experimentation of airing the show at different times without previous notice, this would had lead to the annoyance of the public that had problems following the series and then to its untimely cancellation. In Mexico I never had this kind of trouble and once the last episode of season six ended with a collage of the best images in the history of the series I saw it was over, something I still makes me sad since it was the end of one of the most enjoyable things I've seen in TV (I want to have it in DVD but it seems they have only released two season what are they waiting to give us the rest of it?).
If you have the chance to see this Spanish TV series then do not doubt to do it, it has everything you can ask from a show and there is nothing on it that isn't enjoyable. Since the 2000 TV has been on a golden age of great series with good scripts, acting and some filming with cinematographical quality. In the case of Spain this series marks the improvement in the quality of television as its technical achievements are far above anything done before in this country. Judging from the things I can see here in Mexico the current Spanish TV productions are far from achieving the quality that Policías had.
Le prénom (2012)
Entertaining but with a weak final
I had the chance to see Le Prénom during an Air France flight. Flying is always a chance to see new movies and, taking advantage of the extensive menu of movies that are unknown in Mexico I took a chance with something I'll hardly see in my country. Between the various french productions I saw this one mainly because it was starred by Patrick Bruel, when I was a kid I enjoyed a lot his movie Le Jaguar (1996), so I decided to see his acting once again now that I have more experience and could appreciate it better.
Le Prénom is a sitcom which relies on a clever script and in the work of the actors, who play a group of friends (two marriages and a single man) that meet for a dinner to celebrate the future birth of the son of one of the couples. However when the name chosen for the baby is revealed it turns out completely unlikeable to the rest of the group. Vincent (Bruel) announces he will be called Adolphe in honor of a literary character of the XIX Century, but everyone else can only think about Adolf Hitler. From that point on the conflict between the five characters escalates, and during the evening secrets and quarrels will be revealed leaving no one untouched.
When it starts the movie is really good, the first discussion is between Vincent and Claude (Gillaume de Toquedec) the main opposer to the chosen name and it has great dialogs and convincing arguments for both points of view, it is ingenious, funny and definitively the best of the picture which, regretfully, can't keep this highpoint during all its runtime. When the movie goes on we find out Adolphe is not the real name for the kid and that everything is nothing but a practical joke played by Vincent, however this is not revealed to the characters in time and once it is is to late to stop the conflict between everyone of them. By this point the movie has lost its novelty, the viewer quickly learns how events will unfold and thus it misses some fun. A discussion ends, a silence fills the place and you know that at any moment someone will let out a comment that will lead to a new argument with some of the characters that so far have avoided the fighting, indeed that's what happens. The acting remains solid and the movie is still entertaining but not surprising.
By the end every character is unhappy and everything seems to show that nothing will ever be the same between them, this is were the ending comes and from my point of view it badly hurts the rest of the movie. We see the birth of the baby which turns out to be a girls instead of a boy and the parents call their friends so they can meet the newborn, everyone is just as happy as always and it would appear that nothing happened during that dinner, their friendship will go on with no changes. I don't have anything against happy endings and I wouldn't have any problem with the movie if the conflict had been solved in other way, but it all happens so fast and with no explanation that it left me with the feeling that the writers and the director didn't gave much of a thought to this and just took the easy way out. The ending leaves everything we saw without any consequence and thus it takes all the significance of what could have been a better film.
Good acting, funny dialogs and a good script but all hurted by a bad ending, still it ain't a bad effort and you will have fun if You watch it, give it a chance if you have the time.
Season 15, episode 1
I started watching the Amazing Race on Mexico and quickly became a fan of it, but suddenly they stopped airing the show in my country so I'm way behind with the current seasons and I'm just starting the 15th edition. While it is still a likable show, I must say the newer seasons of the best reality show ever are not as good as the first ones, and the beginning of season 15 also starts with some disappointments. The first one was the fast elimination of one of the teams, while 12 couples start the race at Los Angeles, one of them was eliminated on the spot by a surprise first contest that means only 11 teams would start racing around the world. I found this quite unfair and it didn't bring anything to the show, the unlucky couple surely had to go trough a long process to be selected, they arrive to Los Angeles full of hope to race and, before they can even start, that dream is ripped away from them. What did it bring to the show? nothing, you feel bad for them for the way in which they are left out, but ultimately you don't care because you don't know any team yet and thus is impossible to relate to them, if you don't relate to them there is not a real thrill. I think this was a big mistake and I hope they never do it again.
The other thing I didn't like is that the episode felt too rushed, maybe it was because it was a two hours premiere and it was really two episodes one after another, but the need to put all that happened in this time probably means that some things were left in the edition room, and there was little time to really get to know the teams. By the end of the first episode of previous seasons you usually have a team you start to like and root for, but at this point I still don't really know who's who and the one thing I know is that I don't like the poker player girls that received most of the focus. There are varied teams that include a former Miss America, a singer and two Harlem Globtrotters, I don't know if I like this, the first seasons were full of people with no fame at all, you always felt that any of them could be your neighbor or your friend, but if they start adding celebrities I'll find it harder to relate to them. Season 14 was one of the ones I liked the least because I didn't really like any team, and at this point I feel season 15 will be the same. I hope I'm wrong, but it seems that as time passes there are less contestants I like and more I dislike or don't care about. I miss the way this show was on the first eight seasons, and while it is still fun it has lost a little.
Seen in a museum
During a trip to London I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, and as part of the many interesting exhibitions I saw in there I found a small room showing very old pictures with scenes of everyday life, one of those films was this one and, due to lack of time, it was the only one I saw. With no ratings at IMDb and after being unable to find information about it in the internet, I would have guessed this was a lost film if I haven't seen it at the museum, so I am very glad to have found this rarity that has been seen by so little people, I'm always attracted to obscure films.
The movie is, like so many back in those years, a simple sequence recorded by a still camera that recorded events just as they happened, in this case an amateur Cricket game played at the deck of a ship, the center of attention is a lad called Jack, who hits the ball and runs in the narrow space where the game is played while he is surrounded by dozens of people watching him and his mates.
I would certainly love to have more information about the film, like for example who was Jack, and why was it considered interesting that he was playing Cricket, also it would be great to have some information about the ship, and (that lack of information is on me) it would be good to have a better understanding of Cricket before watching the film. These data would make this picture far more interesting to the documentary that, judged as a film, is nothing special.
By 1900, when this was made, filmmakers were already experimenting with far more interesting things, people like Georges Mèlies used marvelous visual tricks to marvel the audience and scripts to tell great stories were already in development; in just a few years masterpieces of early cinema like The Great Train Robbery, Voyage dans la Lune and Barbe-Bleue were going to be released and movies like Jack's game of Cricket were about to become history. This movie reflects a kind of documentary cinema that was about to disappear and its cinematographic interest lies on that, one of the last examples of the kind of films made in the XIX century. Besides that and on a broader pint of view this is interesting in regards of the fact that made it part of the Victoria and Albert exhibition, it is a way to see the everyday life of people over one hundred years ago, and considering this it is worth to see it. So if you are in London, visit the Victoria and Albert and look for the little cinema screen, there you'll be able to see this film and some others as little seen as this.
The shortest film I've ever seen
What can you say about Fencing from 1892? quite little considering its runtime but here I'll comment everything I think is worth from this second long picture. This was one of several W.K.L Dickson experimental films meant only to test the kinetoscope and the different motion capture techniques, it was never supposed to be seen by an audience instead it was a way to learn how to do the movies that, starting on 1893, were shown to people. However years after it was made its images were recovered and today it can be seen on the Internet.
Fencing was one of four sports films made that year, of those it is the only one I've been able to locate, but all of them had something in common, they were the first movies filmed on a 35mm. format that would later become the standard in the industry. On the other hand I have to highlight that it is the shortest film I've ever seen, in order to really appreciate it you have to run it several times, but that's not a problem, you'll see it 15 times in 15 seconds and you will still have a quarter of a minute to do with it whatever you please, so there's really no reason to miss this. the few remaining photogram shows us two fencer face to face, the one at the left has his weapon up and he's waiting, his rival starts on a rest position but then moves his sword up to meet his foe, at the same time he moves up his free arm to take a combat position. When the swords touch the film ends.
During movies history there has been many exciting sword fight scenes, specially in adventure movies, that makes it something very cinematographic and, while fencing as a sport has not been really showcased in movies, I think it is quite meaningful that one of the first sport films ever (boxing won by one year) has been starred by two sword men. Besides this interesting historic facts the film has not much to offer, so you must see it as a curiosity. The film falls short even by its time standards, by that year longer scenes were already captured so this falls short comparing it even with its contemporaries; but of course it was never meant to be seen.
Needing a restoration
The last of the four known Le Prince film that survived till our days is Man Walking Around the Corner, a a title that pretty much lets you know everything you'll see. This few frames have received much less attention than the other three Le Prince films, and therefore is know to less people despite being available at Youtube and other pages in the internet. This lack of attention is a shame, specially because it may be responsible of the fact that this is the only Le Prince film that has not enjoyed a professional restoration. This causes that the only way to watch the film is in a very blurry copy and not the quite clear images available for the other three films are missing here. Every copy I've seen is dark and is hard to notice what happens in the screen, while the shadow of a person walking is noticeable to be honest you can't quite see if it is turning around in a corner or just going straight, I'll take the title of the film as true and suppose the corner is indeed there, but it would be nice to see it clearly Let's hope a professional restoration of the film is made shortly so we can appreciate this early film correctly, it shouldn't be a lot of work, after all the movie is just a few seconds long and it would be worthy considering this man invented cinema and this is one of the earliest works in film history.
Accordion Player (1888)
First protagonist in movie history
I've written in other reviews about the enormous meaning of Le Prince's films since he was the first movie maker ever, also I have mentioned that his mysterious disappearance caused that most of his work went missing and therefore we only know small fragments of his movies, after mentioning this there is little left to say about Accordion Player. This is the third of the four surviving Le Prince films, and as the other, due to the fact that we are watching the first steps of cinematography, it also means we have things that had never happened before, in this case the first leading role in a movie.
The few seconds of film shows us Le Prince's son, Adolphe, playing an accordion at the entry of his house (the same we can see in Roundhay Garden Scene?), that means this single character occupies all the screen time and so he plays the leading role that no one in Roundhay Garden Scene can claim. The young man looks happy while playing and he dances to the sound of a melody we will regretfully never hear. As the other Le Prince films, this is not spectacular and will only interest those of us that really love cinema and its history. But as the inventor of film I think all Le Prince work deserves to be watched and enjoyed, it is always great to see how everything started.
Leeds, birthplace of cinema.
Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge is one of the few surviving films made by the inventor of cinema, Louis Le Prince. Le Prince mysterious disappearance before getting a patent for his invention caused the loss of practically all his productions, which he had taken on a train with him, therefore we will never know the full extension of his works; fortunately a few fragments of his films survived in his workshop, including the title we are reviewing. Probably this film was originally a little bit longer, but we can only see two seconds of the picture which consists on a fixed view of a bridge in the town of Leeds, the camera captured the people walking and the carriages pulled by horses. All that people never knew they were being recorded and that other people would be seeing them hundreds of years in the future, how could imagine such a thing was possible in those years? very few persons and Le Prince was one of them.
Despite its short length the film is a very valuable historical document, we are seeing one of the most important cities in the world in those years, Leeds, watching things just as they unfolded on a day of 1888. Also, as in every Le Prince film, this title offers a new element that was used for the first time in the annals of cinematography; in this case the first time that an film was made on exteriors. It is a very old film, and therefore it can't be judged under the same standards than other pictures, but every true fan of the seventh art should watch this film in order to witness the first steps of a marvelous invention. If you visit the city of Leeds today you'll find a plaque marking the exact point were Le Prince placed his camera to make this shots, it is great that the city of Leeds proudly remembers that it is the place were cinema was invented, and it is great that they honor Le Prince, we all should, for his invention he deserves our eternal gratitude.
Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)
The beginning of movies.
If you are interested in the scarce filmography of Louis Le Prince it can only be for one reason. For you movies are a passion that goes beyond simple entertainment and you found out this man was the creator of moving images. Indeed, Louis Le Prince came a couple of years ahead of more famous pioneers like the Loumiere brothers and Thomas Edison so he has all the right to be considered the inventor of the seventh art. Regrettably the history of Le Prince is a sad one and worthy of a script that no one has yet made a movie: when the inventor was about to travel to the United States to patent his creation he mysteriously vanished in a french train and he was never seen again; his luggage with the complete versions of all his movies also went missing. That way we will never now all he filmed since the content of the suitcase was only known to him. Luckily it was possible to recover a few film fragments that were left inside some cameras at his studio, and those remains are the modest variety of his filmography we can appreciate today.
Roundhay Garden Scene is the better known of the four films and the one that is considered by many the first movie in history: although there is no certainty about this since we don't know the order in which he filmed this scenes or if there was something older with the pictures that got lost. The two seconds of film shows us two couples of man and woman in a garden: the two younger persons at at the front and the two older are seen at the back, the camera captured them while, holding each other arm they walk around in circles, the scene finishes before they can even finish their first spin. Naturally you can't appreciate this picture based on its script, cinematography or any other sign of quality we search in modern movies; Roundhay Garden Scene is essentially a historical document, but it deserves all our admiration since this invention made possible everything that came afterward.
A film is usually praised when it manages to do something new, well this one made it, never before this time had cinema been seen anywhere, and for that reason I have no doubt it deserves a rating of 10. Also this scene has something that is absent from the rest of Le Prince films and that gives it an extra meaning; the four persons on screen are relatives of the director and the garden was located at his home, obviously this people weren't just walking in circles for fun when they were captured for posterity, they were instructed by Le Prince to move like that in order to prove his invention, this means that the four persons were acting for the camera, an event that was not repeated for a few years since most of the following pictures, like the ones the Loumiere brothers created, were scenes documented from everyday life just as they happened. That means this is not only the first movie but the first acting for the screen and adding the opportunity to get a real view to XIX Century life then we have the more valuable two seconds of moving images in the whole world. If you love cinematography then don't miss the chance to watch this picture and witness how it all begun.
A comedy with El Santo Son
El Santo wasn't only the most famous Mexican luchador, beyond his victories in the ring he also became a star of dozen of films in which he was a action hero that saved Mexico and the whole world from all kind of menaces going from criminals to supernatural beings. This movies have little artistic value but they have become cult films for thousands of people both in Mexico and in the whole world, they are still seen and enjoyed. Luchadores movies marked a time in Mexican cinema but their glory days are gone, today the little films of this sub-genre are straight to video releases or, like this title, short films that are little seen since they have no easy way to be distributed. ¡Esta máscara es mía! o Santo contra la burocracia is nothing but a exercise made by university students taking their first steps in the world of movies, all actors are amateurs and I assume the most of the crew were friends or classmates of the director, despite this he managed to get the support of El Santo himself and also of other less famous luchadores which give this picture an interest it would not have otherwise. The silver mask is no longer wore by the original Ssnto but by his son, who despite making a few pictures like the one of his father left the movie business due to the lack of interest of this new movies with the public, still from time to time he allows himself to make this kind of films. With full awareness of the absurdity of the luchadores pictures this new short films are made as comedies precisely as an homage to the original films; the main appeal for luchadores films fans is the absurdity of the plot. and this is the case of this picture where El Santo faces a terrible enemy, one that attacks and makes millions of people in Mexico and the world suffer everyday, Bureaucracy. This movie must not be seen as anything but a joke, a joke that I think works quite well, since you start watching this you know precisely what to expect and the film delivers everything it promises: The main character will face unnecessary procedures and the contempt of government employees, he will eventually grow tired of it and he will face this people (conveniently a group of masked luchadores) succeeding to beat them and getting the applause of all the people that, like him, are waiting to comply with the bureaucratic procedures, there is nothing else to look for, this is made for fun it is far from being art. There are other good things to see at the film, specially the work of two performers: Isela Rico as the obnoxious receptionist that attends El Santo and "El Chipolte" as the lucha libre fanatic that makes line behind "the silver-masked man" helping to put him at the edge of his patience, both have one-dimensional characters but they make them as good as it is possible and they are both quite funny. The rest of the cast simply meets the quality that can be expected of amateur actors. Two things I liked less where the credits in which half of the participants are listed with their nicknames which makes the effort look unprofessional, the other one is that I would have liked a little bit more of drama when the leader of the bureaucrats orders El Santo to unmask in order to identify him, a scene that leads to the final confrontation. This short film it's not memorable but will deliver fun moments to the viewers, it delivers all it promises and watching it with the right attitude will lead to a correct appreciation of it.
Santa Claus (1959)
Defending this Santa Claus movie
This film is a Mexican Christmas classic, each December 24th it is aired on television in my country for the joy of small children, and many Mexicans like me watched it and have fond memories of it. When I looked for it at IMDb I got an enormous surprise finding out it was listed as one of the worst 100 movies in history, but my surprise turned to disappointment when I saw the reasons for its bad reputation. It turns out the rights for this movie were bought by an American producer to exhibit it on his country, for what I read this man, K. Gordon Murray, was not particularly good with the way he treated those films, he created badly done dubbed versions, edited them as he pleased without respect for the original film and took no notice about the quality of the process. This U.S. version has been seen by many persons in that country and it has a big responsibility in the bad reputation of the film, which is unfairly judged based on a different version of the original. Also and worst of all is that for everything that I've read It seems this movie has been judged based on the United States Folklore, and not on the Mexican culture in which it was born. Many reviews criticize this based on the fact that it is a version that does not conform to the U.S. version of the character, like if that version was unique and inalterable, well here is a surprise for You, it's not, and if you are watching this film first you have to understand that, the traditions it shows are from another culture and therefore, while they have similarities they also have differences. The creators of the movie made it only for Mexican children and they never thought it could be distributed to another place. Please consider this before making harsh judgments of the film.
With this points clarified here's a quick summary of the film, the original Mexican film which is the one that should be reviewed as it is not fair that this is trashed on the grounds of a crappy edition made by an irresponsible distributor. The plot is rather simple, it is Christmas Eve and Santa Claus is getting ready to fulfill his yearly mission of delivering presents to the good kids in the world. But at the same time in Hell, Satan himself sends a devil called "Precio" to stop him. Once in earth the story focuses on five Mexican children: a poor girl that wishes to have a rag doll, a rich boy that wishes to have his parents alongside him because he is lonely and a group of three spoiled boys that think they can get away with having presents despite being bad all year; while the stories of these children develop we see Santa struggling to overcome the attempts of Precio to stop him and, while for a moment it seems that the envoy of hell will beat Santa, like in every Christmas film we have a happy ending.
Now allow me to explain a few important things that have been said about this film based on the misguided ideas I mentioned above. The Devil against Santa Claus? Yes, this comes from a Mexican tradition called Pastorela which has its origins on the colonial epoch and it still exists today; pastorelas are simple plays whose ultimate end is evangelization, they show Satan trying to stop small groups of shepherds that are on their way to worship the newborn Jesus at Betlehem. In modern times different cultural elements like Santa himself have been added to the original tradition, but the root of the pastorela is religious and hence the important part of the devil. Christmas is a religious celebration and that is still very important in catholic latinoamerican countries.
Santa is a friend of Jesus? Why,of course. I thought this to be common knowledge but apparently it isn't so You just have to watch a documentary, read a book Or simply visit Wikipedia and you'll learn that the origin of Santa Claus is in Christianity and in the figure of Saint Nicholas. It wasn't útil the XIX century when the world famous version of the character started to take form and it didn't do it in a massive way until Coca-Cola used the character as part of an advertising campaign when it became the marketing figure it is today. In the United States you may have a very defined idea of how this character must be, but can't you accept that in other places it evolved in a different way closer to it's religious roots? Well that's what happened in Mexico and the film itself says in the introduction that Santa is no other than Saint Nicholas, that means a Christian saint. Now in catholic countries saints are very important figures, they serve as intermediaries between God and men, in this case rewarding kids that are good and punishing those that aren't. So as a Christian saint it makes perfect sense that Santa prays to Jesus and it makes much more sense that the devil is trying to stop him; he does this not just because he can, but because making Santa fail will prevent that he spreads his Christian message. Anyway these are the most important points I wanted to write about, because it is completely unfair that you trash this film because you don't understand its context or its message: judge it in base of its cinematographic merits and considering the audience it is aimed for, those are small children.
Considering this I can say Santa Claus is not a specially good film, it has bad acting, bad costumes, bad scenarios and it is very naive. But it achieves its goal to entertain kids and give them a nice moral message. Is it a bad film? Yes. Does it deserve to be at the bottom 100? Absolutely no.