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Texas Rising (2015– )
Bad History, Vapid Script and, Hell, it Wasn't Even Filmed in Texas
26 May 2015
I don't know why I expected anything more of the gawd-awful History Channel, which has no respect for history or truth. The script not only perpetuates the "Yellow Rose" fabrication but asserts a sexual liaison with Houston. There was no "zombie of the Alamo" who crawled from the pyre.

The script is vapid and words like "dilly-dally" and cussin' don't contribute authenticity. The sex is nothing but gratuitous nonsense. Some of the major actors more-or-less pulled off their roles but nearly all of the secondary characters needed direction and editing, or...well, cut.

Hell, the damn thing wasn't even filmed in Texas. Shame, History Channel, shame on you.
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Roma (2004)
More Like This, Please
1 December 2009
I loved this film and am astounded at previous reviewers that found it "slow". Two and a half hours that skimmed by for me and I didn't want it to end. Okay, it is not an action film. It is a reflection on life, relationships, and maturation. The central theme is the influence of an exceptional mother, named Roma, on the life and development of the narrator.

This isn't about Argentine history, life in the 60s and 70s in Buenos Aires, none of that except as incidental to decades-long time line. Although there is the incidental, requisite Argentine reference to the terror of the 70s; it is not that story. It is about growing up and growing old and "finding" one's self. This is not a feel-good movie but real and true, if only we were all blessed with such a mother.

This is an adult script, not meaning "adult themed", and if you need an action movie with guns and car chases...stay away. The script, casting, performances and production values are thoroughly superb.
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Enamorada (1946)
Not a Revolutionary Film
16 May 2009
Armendáriz was terrific in this. I won't repeat the praises from prior reviews, I concur.

My only problem with this film is that it wasn't true to the revolution. In that sense, it was indeed a Fernandez film as neither was he true to the revolution. He gave a Cristero slant to the issues of Church/State and redistribution of wealth. Just take it as a love story set in the revolutionary period and try to ignore the political bias. Jeeze, you'd think he'd have shown more gratitude having been pardoned by Lázaro Cárdenas for his treason.

Pedro Armendáriz, María Felix and the town of Cholula were the great stars of this film. The exteriors were certainly shot in Cholula.

There were some snippets of revolutionary period music (La Adelita and El Tren) and an anachronistic performance of Malageña Salerosa when he had mariachi serenade María Felix. That song is so lovely, I didn't mind.
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Well worth seeing
30 April 2009
I just saw it and loved it. In addition to what is posted above, it is funny! I tried to Google what had become of Yuliet Ortega, even the 2007 DVD release left it a mystery. I had no luck finding her fate. I did find a 1999 article about her, then living in Mexico City and without any aspirations or evident employment. She did not take the modeling job mentioned in the film. She was just bumming around the DF and clubbing. In the "Part 3" addendum to the 2007 release, her grandmother refused to talk to the director. Yuliet appeared briefly but revealed nothing. Note: I had no problem with the subtitles (mentioned above) and there were subtitles to the "Part 3". My only complaint is that I couldn't get Spanish subtitles to work, only English.
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I wanted to love it, but....
29 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It took me 10 years to see this film, finally, on Netflix. I am avid about Mexican culture, history and pre-Colombian history but the spirits must have revealed to me that there was no urgency to see this film. I wanted so much to love it.

There are about 70 previous comments about this film and some eloquent and personal connections about race, culture clash and what all. It evidently spoke to some in an harmonic-vibration, viva-la-raza way but I was disappointed.

The Virgin of Gualalupe, mother-goddess (Tonantzin) theme is nothing new. I don't fault the film for playing it again, only for doing it in such an artsy and mystic way. The script began to drag just when the culture conflict could have made this a great movie. It became unrealistic when it could have shown the true conflict the Coluha-Mexica (Aztec) experienced when their own gods deserted them.

And what a lame ending! What was this "miracle" the friar sent for Cortez to see anyway? I replayed it several times to see if the Virgin's eyes had turned brown, or his had turned blue, or if his bruises were roses..nada. Especially with the long, dramatic build-up for the "miracle" scene with the camera pan and the music and all but nada. Just the friar's assertion that the scene somehow depicted the racial harmony that understanding and compassion could bring. The film should somehow have revealed that, not just asserting it with dialogue; especially since it isn't a truth of Mexican history.

Okay, the cinematography and score were great. It got off to a good start. There was some wonderful dialogue, as discussed in other posts: the "They want to take our souls" mis-translation, for example. I don't really quibble, as some have, about the the historical inaccuracies. I personally would rather have seen constructed or generated sets that depicted the original beauty of the pre-Colombian architecture than modern-day ruins.

The film was too easy on the Spanish..they did monstrous things out of greed and soul-saving. Hundreds, maybe thousands, were literally burned at the stake for not forsaking the pagan gods, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, otherwise died as a consequence of the conquest. It was way easy on the Mexica, tens of thousands were sacrificed to their gods and they all didn't go as willingly as that sexy, naked virgin-babe. Many were children.

I wanted to like this film but I can't even recommend it except to neo-Nahua kooks. It beat all hell out of Apocalypto though.
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Excellent Movie
3 April 2008
I just saw it. This is one of the best movies that I have ever, ever seen. It goes to my top five list. Regardless of your view on immigration issues, this is a wonderful and so very human story. I am anxious to finish writing this so I can rush back to research the cast, the locations and the even the music.

The casting was perfect, the kid simply amazing. I hadn't seen Kate del Castillo before and will now look for more of her films. Maria Rojo had a minor role, I hadn't seen anything with her since Danzon and I still have a fan-crush. I knew of Derbez only as a comic before and was impressed with his dramatic performance. It pleased me that America Ferrara agreed to an appearance in a small role. I hope to see more of Maya Zapata too, what a doll.

Go see it now so you can recommend it to everyone you know, as I have. It makes me want to study Spanish harder just to get more of this film. And, yeah, I cried too.
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Loved the Book
14 November 2007
Quick, before the general release on Friday change the silent movie line back to "My God, this is longer than sorrow". What did she mumble instead, was it "interminable"? Why was that wonderful line changed?

I so loved the book, I cannot get an unbiased grip on the movie. My mind elaborated it favorably but with simultaneous disappointment over deviations like the "sorrow" line. "Forever" worked better in the book as the boat was ordered to return upstream. I do wish it had closed with the "ripple" video that is on the internet.

The film touched too many threads while missing the book's soul, like trying to read Fermina's heart on her tongue. Maybe it isn't possible for a movie to do justice to any masterpiece but Florentino's long-standing relationships with the widows are as important as the "body count".

Young Fermina was too old, as was America. I would have cast a 15-year-old as the young Fermina and have had her reappear as America with died hair or similar artifice. I cannot forgive the script for ignoring the perversion and her suicide. I would have rather America had been entirely written out.

Bardem was the perfect Florentino. Fernanda Montenegro and Hector Elizondo gave terrific performances. Marcela Mar is such a heart-throb I nearly forgive her for being twice her age. Cartagena was underplayed. The Shakira soundtrack was ideal.

I'll reluctantly recommend the movie but won't shake peoples' shoulders as I do when I tell them that they must read the book.
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Apocalypto (2006)
I almost loved this film.
15 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I almost loved it and then the ending spoiled it for me. The Maya survive to this day and were still making sacrifices upon arrival of the Spanish, but the few pyramid sites that were inhabited were occupied by people living in ruins of a civilization hundreds of years dead. What bothered me though was the timely arrival of the Spaniards. Couldn't a meteor strike have more credibly conked out the last two pursuers? OK, I know, it is just a movie.

I wish IMDb had more information about locations, they never get enough credit. I understand this film was shot near Catemaco, Veracruz and believe the waterfall is near San Andres Tuxla. I would love to have more posted on the cast as well.
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The Real "Deaf" Smith
21 June 2006
I like the above comment: "Watchable if not recommended". I just saw it on TV as "Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears". It breaks my heart that AMC didn't show the full credits as I am haunted by the music and cannot identify the tune.

Erastus "Deaf" Smith was actually a soldier in Houston's army and was distinguished for destroying a bridge that cut of Santa Ana's retreat at the battle of San Jacinto. The movie, of course, is pure fiction with no historical basis.

Anthony Quinn has always been one of my favorites and it pleases me that a Mexican actor has found such worldwide success. His AMC interview is well worth a watch.
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Eréndira (1983)
Strange and Wonderful
26 September 2005
Read Eric's review again. He perfectly described my own feeling for this film so more eloquently than I ever could. I'm only writing here to further encourage you to look for and see it.

I saw it many years ago on TV, the IFC I think. It is such a unique film I hesitate to make comparisons. It was filmed in northern Mexico, somewhere in the relentless badlands of Coahuila/Zacatecas/San Luis Potosi. This isn't the Sedona-like Durango,Mexico (of the John Wayne films) but a truly stark and wild place. I have to find the novel now to check on the original location of the story. Like the location, this movie is strange and wild and wonderful and weird and absolutely not for everyone. It is the kind of production that almost motivates me to study film.

I hadn't actually forgotten this movie, it is indelible. Yet, over the years, I had forgotten of its existence. I know nobody who has seen it, had never read of it, nor seen any reference to it. Erendira is such an unusual name, I'd even forgotten the title. Well, I'll be looking to buy a copy now.

**I have since the above posting become a huge fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and so regret not having read him before.

Relative to MsMyth's comment below; the movie was filmed in Mexico but the author is Colombian and was not commenting on Mexico or Mexican history in any way, although Marquez now lives in Mexico for "political" reasons. This story is universal.

I am still trying desperately to find a copy of this film for my library. Liked the movie? You have to read the story and then everything else Garcia Marquz wrote. And, by the way, the original location in the story was Colombia.
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Matando Cabos (2004)
Que Padre
9 September 2005
I just saw Matando Cabos. I have sent emails alerting my friends to see it before it leaves movie houses here in Phoenix. Familiarity with Mexico and its modern culture are a bonus but not requisite to liking this movie. Previous IMDb comments unfairly compare it to Pulp Fiction. There are very few films that could be so measured. The small audience here laughed out loud throughout. I laughed to the point of tears. This is not a "classic" and gets no 10 rating from me, as would Pulp Fiction. This is, however, the funniest film I have seen all year. It made me wish my Spanish were better, I'd bet this is even funnier than the subtitles present.
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3 Godfathers (1948)
A Better Remake
25 July 2005
"I don't want you pitch players laying around in the shade all day claiming low". "Buck" Sweet's admonition to his deputies is so typical of Ford, with attention to detail in the music and even card games of the day.

I generally don't like remakes. But this is much better than the 1938 version. John Wayne is, well, John Wayne. But Pedro Amendariz, I think, steals this show and Ward Bond is great too.

This remains one of my favorite westerns of the era, with the regular John Ford stock company. It cannot hold a candle to the later, more modern westerns beginning with "The Searchers".
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