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10/10
A WELL SERVED SLICE OF MEXICAN HISTORY
3 May 2019
At first, I felt rather ambivalent about writing this interview. Would many "Gringos" be interested in an hour of living history about a revolution in Mexico? In 1910 there was a socialist revolution in progress south of the border. This documentary celebrates the last living heroes of this "People's" revolution. The interviews were conducted in the 90's. The interviewees were over 90 at the time. Those who appeared on camera felt betrayed by policy changes that took away lands that had been in some families for generations! What would the "Holy Grail" of documentary film makers be? How about a "Hero", 101 years old, who was particularly upset as he described his rage and frustration. How he was now too old and too weak too fight these policies. Without warning, he goes limp and slumps forward. A woman, perhaps a daughter, touches his face, feels his pulse and becomes rather frantic. He died, fighting for his rights and beliefs, on camera. Would it not only compound this tragedy if this hero died in vain? Don't you think this poor old man would have wanted as many people as possible to see? If you like documentaries and/or history, experience this unique documentary! 10*
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Living Proof (2008 TV Movie)
9/10
An Incredibly Inspirational, Labor of Love, Made-for-TV, True Story!
3 June 2017
It's usually best to try to be somewhat objective when writing a review. This simply wasn't possible in the case of "Living Proof". It's hard to be objective about death. My mother-in-law succumbed to cancer on February 24, almost 6 months ago to the day of posting this review. "MUST SEE" is a phrase you won't find in ANY of my 50 reviews… until today.

For those of us who have had someone dear struck down by cancer, this is one film you owe it to yourself to see. As is frequently the case with true stories, the old "Truth IS Stranger than Fiction" adage inescapably comes to mind after viewing. With health care a hot- button issue that has figured prominently in the news, almost on a daily basis, in recent months, "Living Proof" should appeal to anyone and everyone who has an interest in this pivotal issue.

The central thread of the story focuses on Dr. Dennis Slamon's heroic and arduous 12 year marathon research campaign to acquire FDA approval for his tumor-shrinking drug, Hercepton. Dr. Slamon, almost single- handed, eventually triumphs over a seemingly endless and insurmountable array of bureaucratic and administrative hurdles. Both Living Proof's true story itself and the ensemble acting merit 5*!

Considering it's made for TV origin, it is rather unusual to see three name actresses appear in the same film. Regina King, Swoosie Kurtz and Bernadette Peters all turn in Emmy nomination caliber performances. Harry Connick Jr., who portrays Dr. Slamon, does a commendable job, albeit not quite at the level of the 3 aforementioned actors. The following is an unresearched comment: Owing to the subject matter of this movie, I don't think it's much of a leap to assume that for many of the actors and crew involved, Living Proof was a labor of love.

Of course, it is difficult to watch at times, because watching people who are inconsolable, begging for medication that is their only viable hope for staying alive, isn't easy. It brought me to tears several times. The maudlin music was unoriginal and too prominent at times, for example.
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10/10
The Definitive Cultural Prism for Comparing Regional and Class Differences in Colombia!
23 May 2017
As to whether or not CARACOL is the BEST Colombian film ever made is certainly open to debate. But that it is, undoubtedly, far and away my personal favorite is not! It's probably safe to say that many countries celebrate their regional and class cultural differences. Colombia obsesses over them! If you are relatively unfamiliar with them, there is no better way to introduce yourself than via this delicious example of late 20th Century Colombian film-making (1993).

CARACOL is an unrivaled showcase for Colombian talent. Sergio Cabrera directs, masterfully, and also doubles as script-writer. And what a superb and nuanced work he has crafted! Those of you who speak Spanish will, undoubtedly, be able to savor the semantic texture and subtleties Cabrera applies so skillfully. If ever there were a film tailor-made for the "Lost in Translation" Syndrome, I'm sure this is it! (To be honest, I have seen it a number of times in its original Spanish, so this is a supposition on my part, but I'm sure CARACOL does not lend itself, in the least, to translation!)

There is an underlying Universal theme, which people from every country on earth, who have ever felt the overwhelming sense of frustration and impotence that is an inevitable byproduct of battling a lethargic, glacier-paced bureaucracy, certainly can identify with! Undoubtedly, almost all of us have experienced moments such as these in our lives!

The cast is composed of some of the very best Colombia had to offer in the 1990's, so much so, that looking through the cast credits is pretty much a "Who's Who" of Colombian acting talent! Fausto Cabrera, Sergio's father, was born in Spain and was 71 when CARACOL was shot. Frank Ramirez, (Condores No Entierran Todos los Dias/A Man of Principle) has also appeared in a few American TV Series; Vicki Hernandez, practically a household name in Colombia, had a small role in Proof of Life (2000).

In closing, Just Let me say that the final scene has one of the greatest tag lines/Punch lines I have ever seen in any film in Spanish. Sadly, it is hard for me to envision any possible translation that would have the same impact on English speaking viewers….But Please don't let this stop you from getting your hands on a copy for viewing! CARACOL is a real "Must See" for all world citizens!

*10* Bureaucracy laden hurdle STARS*….ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!...
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7/10
A Lifelong Cinema Fanatic & Born Again Agnostic's Take on "God's NOT Dead" 7/10
23 May 2017
........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, Colombia & ORLANDO, FL

Here is a snapshot stat that speaks VOLUMES about people's evaluation, reaction and perception of this film and, perhaps, to the "Faith based" sub- genre in general: Go to the God's NOT Dead Main Page…Click on Ratings: 23,267 Users...Look at that Breakdown of People's RATINGS!!! 35% Rate it a Maximum 10 Stars… 27½% Rated it a Minimum 1! This means that nearly 2 out of every 3 persons who voted on the movie opted for the extremes. I have checked out the ratings on perhaps 15,000 films and I can guarantee that you almost NEVER see polarization as extreme as what is exhibited here! But THIS is MY Review of God's NOT Dead.

My RATING: I awarded it 7 Stars, after my second viewing...After My first, I rated it 6 because of something on screen just before the end credits. First off: O.K, I must admit I usually make it a point to avoid the "Faith based" sub-genre. Were I to explain, it would involve a couple paragraphs. So just refer to the Title of this review and use your imagination, O.K.? Why…? You must be asking yourself, Why did you decide to watch this? Fair enough question! Well, in conjunction with our English Classes, one frequent activity we utilize is watching a film together and then discussing it. The students usually select which films we watch. "GOD" was the result of this process.

Truth be told, my expectation was extremely low. Make that "abysmal". Had I seen it 40 years ago, it just might have been given 1 Star. That was when I was still going through my virulent Anti-Catholic phase. You probably know the drill…Brought up as a Catholic, quit Catholic school at age 14….etc. Now, although certainly not a religious person, I would qualify myself as at least a relatively spiritual one. Respect for other people, their beliefs and their belief systems should be a major consideration in ALL our interactions. Needless to say, you might have noticed that this, all too frequently, is not the case!

At its core, "GOD" is a David vs. Goliath cautionary tale. A newbie devoutly Christian College Freshman (Shane Harper) is forced to take on his seasoned, hostile Philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) to defend the existence of God.

At the onset, it seems our Freshman's task is predestined to dismal failure. But the movie is a case study in perseverance and standing up for what you believe in. Who could possibly not like that?...Apparently, a lot of people! Accompanying that 28% 1 Star Rating demographic, there must be a lot of snickering and eye- rolling going on in response to its "Faith-based" label. Maybe we could use a little bit less of that dismissive attitude in our society in general!

7*....ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments or questions, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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John Wick (2014)
6/10
John Wick…Must Love Dogs and Burns the Candle at Both Ends!
23 May 2017
........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, Colombia & ORLANDO, FL

Wow! Does anyone remember ROLLING THUNDER? Late 70's movie starring William Devane…Back then you had to brutally rape and kill the lead's wife and murder his kids, to boot, to justify arousing blood-lust sympathy from the audience! Ahhhhh…But the Times, They are a Changin'! It's 2015…You steal a guy's Classic Mustang and kill his 300,000+ LIKES on Facebook cute dog and watch out!....Hell hath no fury….! REVENGE 101!

Shame on me, I guess, for being such a sucker for dog flicks that, based on the rash of promo interviews Mr. Reeves did for WICK, I thirsted to see the little pooch avenged! Hmmmm…I think I got more than I bargained for. Now it's crystal clear to me (AGAIN!) why I almost always refrain from revenge movies, or, for that matter, from the "ACTION" (Read: Violent) Genre in general! In one of these promo interviews, Keanu bragged that he killed 87 people in the course of this 93 minute (Till Credits) movie…You can do the Math… Nearly 1 Body Bag per Minute! Gee, Keanu…You had me at Number 4! O.K., So why the 6* Rating? Fair enough question! The Original Music, by Tyler Bates is nothing short of phenomenal! Look at his IMDb BIO…It is very impressive! From a technically crafted standpoint, WICK is truly excellent.

I couldn't help but notice Eva Longoria receiving Number One Producer Credit here. My hat is off to her! She really knows what elements (Although they're not particularly MY elements!) are needed to forge both a real crowd-pleaser (75% of viewers rated this 7 Stars or more on IMDb!) and a solid box office success! WICK grossed over 43 Million, more than double its production cost! The cinematography was inspired, at times even artistic. The sound and sound mixing were at least a cut above your average Hollywood movie, which, to be honest, is really saying a lot! And other visual elements, such as sets, costumes and locations were all impressive.

Absolutely must get one other thing off my chest. Despite the numerous fight scenes being extremely well choreographed and the endless gun- play having been blocked out meticulously AND having sat down to watch with rather low expectations, WICK stretched Suspension of Belief well beyond the breaking point! Perhaps we should add Fantasy to Action, Thriller in the introductory genre description! Still, for those of you who are ACTION junkies, and I know there are a lot of you out there…It is a sure bet you will end up in that 75% I referred to a bit earlier!

ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments or questions, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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8/10
God Bless You Sister Angela Marie...Wherever You Are!
8 December 2016
In fourth grade, Sister Angela Marie asked us to try to imagine the deluge from which Noah, his Ark and all the animals were provided safe haven. So I imagined myself drowning next to the Ark...and a fish swam right up to me! "Sister Angela Marie!" I said while raising my hand. "All life on earth was wiped out by the flood, right?" "Of course, Anthony!" She droned…"Then how did the fish die?", was my reflex response question.....I will never, EVER forget her reaction. She turned beet red and shrieked; hysterical, Madwoman of Chiallot screams, "YOU! …WITH YOUR PUNY LITTLE MIND!...QUESTIONING THESE SACRED TRUTHS !?!?"

Not really, I thought...I just wanted to know how the fish died! Simon Cole is on a quest to fill the spiritual void he yearns to rid himself of. He DESPERATELY wants to believe! Well, that's me, too. To be brutally honest, I would imagine it would take a very special combination of circumstances for you to rate this 8*, like I did! Simon Cole makes it a point to ask all the WRONG questions. He doesn't have to worry about getting expelled from 9th grade Catholic School for asking them! Neither does he seem very concerned with entertaining his audience nor making them laugh...Like Bill Maher was in RELIGILOUS! With only a couple exceptions, he treats the interviewees in his film with ample respect. He lets their own words serve as the quicksand that sinks the lot of them! If that is part of what he wanted to accomplish in making "SO HELP ME", I would say he has achieved his goal in this 52 minute documentary.

He interviews clerics, ministers, rabbis, priests, preachers, ayatollahs, lay persons and holy men alike, from at least 30 different religious persuasions. What stands out so vividly is how, almost without exception, each particular denomination claims so assiduously and self- righteously to have a total monopoly on the truth! As Cole points out…"Either they're ALL right…or ONLY ONE is right!...I believe they're ALL right!" In the end, Cole's quixotic journey does bring him a degree of inner peace.

I strongly recommend "SO HELP ME GOD" to all members who consider themselves spiritual persons who revel in asking all kinds of questions!

SOLID 8* - ENJOY! / DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!.....
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8/10
Unless You Are Allergic to Feel Good Movies…This Is One SEARCH You Are Guaranteed to Enjoy!
8 December 2016
Recently, one of our students recommended this film to us. Thank you ever so much, Gloria! Did not look at the IMDb.com page until AFTER viewing! As the end credits appeared on the screen, the first thing that crossed my mind was "Who could hate this movie?" Well, apparently 3% of the viewing public seems to be allergic to feel good movies! Yes: IMDb says that 3% of viewers rated "SEARCH" at only 1, 2 or 3 Stars! If you feel you might fall into this category, heed my warning above!

Simon Pegg was, perhaps, the main reason I decided to follow through on Gloria's recommendation. Pleasantly surprised, is what I got! SEARCH is a great vehicle for him to showcase an on screen presence that, at least, I had never seen before! SEARCH was released in 2014, when Pegg was 44…Here, he seems to be maturing, in the best sense of the word! Rosamund Pike, in a role she turned in shortly before Gone Girl, seems to be the successful wife, secretly insecure, who really despises being taking for granted. SEARCH boasts a number of seasoned, well-known actors in supporting roles: Stellan Skarsgard is the Uber rich and successful German businessman, coasting through life; Jean Reno is the drug kingpin who develops a conscience, Cristopher Plummer is the self- help guru author who seemingly has inspired Pegg's character; Ming Zhao is…well, we'll let you figure that one out!

SEARCH, throughout most of its nearly 2 hours, manages to present us with relatively believable situations that avoid arm-wrestling with our innate suspension of disbelief. When I mentioned finding it difficult to imagine viewers hating this film…I really meant it. Give SEARCH a try…I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

8*.....ENJOY! / DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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9/10
A Song In Spanish......
30 November 2016
Jay Leno, perhaps the most famous comedian on American television 12 years ago, in his monologue the night after the 2005 Oscars, said: "I was so happy this morning that I sang that really wonderful Oscar winning song while driving , ... "La-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la ... EL RIO! .....God, What GREAT Lyrics, eh?"

Be that as it may, Mr. Leno was right about one thing: "Al Otro Lado Del Rio", that song from Motorcycle Diaries really does have some exquisite lyrics! Obviously, Mr. Leno was also right about the focus of his joke. At least 98% of Gringos and non-Hispanics in the U.S.A. probably cannot appreciate nor understand much of these poetic lyrics. However, on the Richter scale of cultural impact, I would rate this event as something like an "8"!

There are almost six thousand actors, directors, producers, cinematographers, etc., who are members of The Academy of Arts and Sciences with the right to vote in all categories with nominations. The other Best Song Options available to them in 2005 were, "Accidentally in Love" from Shrek 2, "Believe" appearing in The Polar Express, "Learn to Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera, and "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" a song in French from "Les Choristes".

Before the 2005 Oscars, I quite honestly did not have high hopes that "Rio" was going to win. Songs in English are always sure winners! Even throughout the entire history of the Oscars, there had never been a winning song in another language, except only once, and that happened sixty years ago: The very beautiful and romantic "Un Homme Et Une Femme" (1966) Which turned out to be the very First and ONLY time that the Golden Statuette was awarded to a song in French, or any other foreign language, for that matter! But between 1966 and 2005, there certainly was a lot of change!

Sure, for many people, the Oscar for a song in Spanish does not seem so important in and of itself, but taken in conjunction with a recent series of related events, there is a real feeling that there is a change in the trajectory of the American cultural river. Also, interestingly enough, for the first time, a Spanish-speaking actress, Colombian Catalina Sandino Moreno, was nominated in the category of Best Actress. Some years ago, the film SPANGLISH attempted to show us just how difficult it is to try to assimilate into mainstream culture, without losing much of their own Hispanic identity.

Fifty years ago, it would have been almost impossible for many Americans to name more than 2, 3 or 4 Latinos. Now we have Jennifer Lopez, Sophia Vergara, Shakira, Antonio Banderas, Marc Anthony, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Carlos Santana, Ricky Martin, Celia Cruz, Elizabeth Peña, Andy Garcia and John Leguizamo, among many others. With the selecting of "Al Otro Lado Del Rio", Hollywood seems to be telling the world, "The Spanish language also has an important place in the United States!"

9* ….ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Spanish, are welcome!
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8/10
A Huge FIRST in Cinema History!
30 November 2016
Since the Oscars began in 1927, there have been a total of 420 Oscar nominations in the category of Best Leading Actress. Only 12 have been awarded to actresses in works filmed in languages, other than English. Catalina Sandino Moreno, with her Oscar nomination as best actress in María Llena de Gracia (Maria Full of Grace) was the first Colombian, moreover, the first Spanish-speaking actress, no less, to receive a nomination in this category.

In 1960, for the first time, two actresses received nominations in this category for roles in movies filmed other languages: Greek and Italian. Sophia Loren won the Oscar for her role in Two Women. It was the first and, so far, the only time an actress has taken home such a sought-after award for an interpretation realized in a language other than English. The list of nominees reads like a "Who's Who" of famous actresses and recognized by their talent, whose native language is not English:

Melina Mercouri for Never on Sunday ('60-Greek), Sophia Loren for Marriage to 'Italian ('64), Ida Kaminska for The Shop on Main St. ('65- Czech), Anouk Aimée for Un Homme et Une Femme (So ​​Sophie Loren and Liv Ullman are the only two actresses to be nominated twice).

But there is another interesting category: 19 nominations, in total, for actresses making their film debut. Most of them, like Katherine Hepburn, Julie Andrews and Barbra Striesand, went on to reach "Superstardom"! By carefully reviewing the names in the previous paragraph, you can see that all the above mentioned actresses were already well-known, with long trajectories and many previous films, when the Academy did them the honor of nominating them.

Perhaps most interesting aspect of the nomination of Catalina Sandino Moreno is that, for the first time in Oscar History, the nomination for Best Actress had been given to a newcomer, for a role in a film produced in another language! (It's also the first time that the Academy named someone who performed a role in Spanish!) I hope that every Colombian felt a special pride in savoring such important news.

However, at the time I thought it prudent not to get all that excited about Ms. Sandino's prospects of winning...And, of course, as it turned out...I was right! Speaking in real terms, the Academy, undoubtedly, considers the simple act of getting a nomination for a role done in another language to be such a great honor, in and of itself, that it decided it would be much better to give the Oscar to another nominee...or, at least, the lack of any other Winner in 50 years certainly gives that impression!

I dare, now, offer Ms. Sandino a couple of suggestions! (Hopefully this Review will make it into your hands!) Not too many years ago, you lived your life as 99.99% of people: in total anonymity! Then, I imagine, with the release of Maria Llena Eres de Gracia, there was a dramatic change in your life. In Colombia and with all your ex-patriots, you became an extremely well-known celebrity, with job offers beginning to rain down on you!

And Everything accelerated frantically on the Tuesday the Oscar nominations were announced! You must have felt as though you were living in a fish bowl! Under a microscope in front of everyone, with the number of job offers growing rapidly! My humble suggestion: That you look for roles that are totally different role, and try to seek out films that have absolutely nothing to do with drugs or crime!

My additional advice ... Well, since I do not know your plans regarding the possibility of making films in English or not, nor have I had the opportunity to hear you speak in English, I do not know if you really speak "a perfect English" as you mentioned in an article written about you in TIME On-Line.

What is true in Hollywood is that any actor with a foreign accent which is relatively easy to perceive does not really have many options for any important roles. (With the exception of Arnold Scharzennegger, and to a lesser extent, Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude van Damme)

As an example I give you Salma Hayek. Excellent actress, with more than enough English to conduct any press conference with relative ease. But, who, since she has not yet managed to shake off a residual accent, does not seem to be offered any really good roles other than those of a Latina woman. Unfair? Of course! But it is a sad reality. In effect: If you want to work in Hollywood, hopefully, your English must actually reach a native level, or very-near native level!

In closing, I have left a topic which may be somewhat difficult for many. I was going to start this review with it, but I decided not to put it first so as not to start on a negative note. As a person who truly values ​​and wants to see Colombia treated fairly on screen, obviously, I would have preferred that the central theme of MARIA been focused on something else! Unfortunately, for too many Americans, upon hearing "Colombia", DRUGS is the first thing that pops into their minds!

Certainly, how much better better it would have been, if the nomination had been for a film like "La Estrategia del Caracol"! Well, at least, MARIA seemed intent on showing some of the cruel consequences suffered by some Colombians who get involved in the Drug trade in order to satisfy the seemingly insatiable appetite for illicit drugs demonstrated by people living in the U.S.A.!

8*...ENJOY! / DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!.....
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9/10
From the Very Onset, TRUTH Gets a Headlock on Your Psyche and Doesn't Let Go!
26 November 2016
From the very onset, via a blink of an eye assassination attempt on the president, TRUTH gets a headlock on your psyche and doesn't let go. It manages to be both extremely entertaining and thought-provoking, tackling perhaps one of the most important issues facing Americans in the 21st century: Balancing the First Amendment Right of journalists to protect the confidentiality of their sources against the government's right to guarantee national security during wartime. And it manages to do so in a very unpretentious way, without any of the In-Your-Face preaching so often found in films dealing with this topic.

Kudos to Rod Luries taut and low-key direction coaxing a remarkable ensemble performance from a stellar cast. Kate Becksinsale shines as an unshakable journalist who refuses to buckle under constantly mounting Federal pressure to coerce her into revealing her source. Vera Farmiga (who never caught my attention before) delivers a solid performance as the outed CIA agent at the center of a firestorm. For Matt Dillon fans, an interesting note: His performance as the Special Prosecutor hand-picked by the President to find the Traitor Tout Suite is a laudable departure from his usual tough-guy/low-life roles.

Rounding out this outstanding cast are, Angela Basset, Alan Alda, Edie Falco and David Schwimmer. There is one final element to mention that adds a potent punch to Truth, but any details would be a SPOILER, so, when you see it, you'll know.

(9 Stars) ENJOY / DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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Bloque de Búsqueda (2016– )
8/10
In Colombia, Hardly Anyone Utilizes IMDb.com! What a Waste!
24 November 2016
My wife, Carmen and I watched and enjoyed this popular Colombian telenovela recently, in 2016. Loosely based on real events, and undoubtedly watched by millions here in Colombia, imagine my surprise when I discovered that ABSOLUTELY no one had posted a Review...and only 6 persons....That is RIGHT!...ONLY 6 People, had even taken the time to vote on it! If that doesn't speak volumes as to the under-utilization of this fantastic website in Colombia, what does?

O.K....Maybe I'm biased, but this production is the prototype example for just how superior Colombian production values are compared to those seen in productions from the rest of the Spanish (and Portuguese) speaking world. It is obvious that this Colombian project compares extremely well to anything that Spain, Brazil or Mexico churns out!

What did I find most interesting about BLOQUE? The layering and complexities involved in the pressures, originating from multiple internal and external sources, exerted on all members of the BLOQUE team, from top to bottom! The Laundry List is a long one! In their Number One priority to locate and bring to justice the infamous Colombian Capo di tutti Capi, Pablo Escobar, they faced opposition from politicians of every stripe, both National and International, some touched by corruption, some not and a handful of die-hard nationalists, who viewed extradition as a ceding of national sovereignty.

Of course, Escobar himself and his "Compinches", used every imaginable stick and carrot to protect their enterprise and interests. Interestingly, the Search Team was hounded incessantly by the press, who either vented their blood-lust or allied themselves unwittingly with the Cartel as a matter of "National Sovereignty".

Since Escobar managed to create a kind of "Robin Hood Mystique" surrounding himself, mostly with downtrodden elements of Colombian society and, amazingly, a good segment of those people seemed to put him on a pedestal!

For those of you who are not Colombian, nor have ever visited our country, BLOQUE provides an interesting window into the man behind a worldwide criminal empire and Colombia's grit and determination in tracking him down.

8*....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!.....
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Boychoir (2014)
8/10
Hear My (International / Universal) Song
20 November 2016
November 20, 2016…My Post date for this Review: Currently, "SONG" has less than 4,000 IMDb votes and only 25 posted Reviews! Considering its outstanding International cast, its rich and superb music and vocals, the universality of its heartwarming message and its 2014 release date, it's doubtful you will find such paltry stats for any other movie with such impressive characteristics. After my viewing last night, I would have guessed an IMDb rating of 7.3 or 7.4, but it stands at only 6.7!

Had NEVER heard any mention, anywhere, neither of its present, re-worked title, or of "BOYCHOIR", the original release title. My motivation for adding it to my collection was, indeed, a very personal one. My wife has formed part of our local church choir for the past 2 years and it was obvious that the subject would interest her. Although certainly not a Classic, we both enjoyed it immensely. My rating: 8*s and my wife's is 9! SONG has definite elements that would appeal, most certainly, to large numbers of specific groups, each of which will be pointed out as we move forward.

11 year old lead character, Stet, is a survivor. His existence is pretty much rudderless, as he is being raised solely by his alcoholic Mom, who is a poster child for the antithesis of helicopter parenting! Less than 10 minutes into "SONG" Stet's world implodes. (Considering it happens so close to the very beginning, it can't possibly be considered a SPOILER, right?) Well, in one take, in seconds we can grasp that Stet has been orphaned as a result of an apparent DUI crash where his Mom's car is totaled and the ill-fated lifeless and mangled remains of Mom are hanging upside down in the twisted wreckage. All of this, somewhat in the distance, so as to not really be in-your-face!

Stet's dad is one of those "legally responsible" types, who always makes his monthly child support payments on time, but who eschews any and all contact with his "biological" son. Evidently, contacting him is something the school does as a no other option obligation. Well, enough of spoon feeding you plot details. The rest of my review is going to be done in broad strokes!

More often than not, this genre tends to be over the top, leaning hard on viewers to milk every poignant moment to the very fullest. SONG most definitely avoided this common pitfall. As events unfold, the film takes care to let each and every arising development pretty much speak for itself. This, for me, is one of SONG's most admirable aspects. Unfortunately, there are, I think, some audience segments who are really addicted to this type of on screen presentation and just might have been rather disappointed by the lack of it here.

SONG should appeal to most of you who enjoy Classical music and/or traditional choral activity. For People looking for educationally themed family movies, I'm certain you will find SONG to be a truly shining example. There are few films that provide a better example of just how transformational passion for an activity can be in a young person's life!

8*....ENJOY! / DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!....
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The Revenant (2015)
10/10
REVENGE Is a Dish Best Served Cold!
15 November 2016
............................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

*** This review may contain MINOR spoilers ***

This Review is dedicated to my student and dear friend, Luisa Bacca, who has played a key role in focusing International Attention on the rights of Indigenous peoples in Colombia, especially here in Nariño, as a mediator in the ongoing Peace Process between the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights and the Colombian Government!

Leonardo DiCaprio, upon his acceptance of his Golden Globe, used the occasion to express his concern for indigenous peoples and their portrayal in movies. At the time, this seemed a bit difficult to put into context, but now that I have seen the film, it is crystal! And I think there are basically 2 ways to react to REVENANT…A straight up, grizzly (No Pun Intended!) true-story Man vs. Nature Action/Adventure, take it exactly as it is reaction, or, an infinitely nuanced "This Movie is a Metaphor" approach… Need it be said that I am most certainly an Option B person!?!?

That having been said, REVENANT is such an astoundingly overwhelming experience, it is a tad difficult to decide on a starting point! Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu shows himself to be the perfectionist he is via the numbing, jaw-dropping beauty of the filming locations that provide the numerous impressive visual backdrops seen throughout. The list of locations includes Tierra del Fuego, Mexico, and various U.S. and Canadian ones! As to the veracity of the "True Story" aspect of this harrowing tale, who knows? Wikipedia mentions that Frontiersman Hugh Glass' (Definite Oscar-worthy performance by Leonardo DiCaprio) life and accomplishments were often prone to embellishments, and Punke's 2002 Novel apparently plays fast and loose with the truth. Aside from just what IS true and what isn't, Gonzalez Iñárritu has permeated every frame with a level of reality that is truly chilling, both literally and figuratively!

The U.S. was a relatively young country in the 1820's; A vast, mostly untamed and rapidly expanding nation that had doubled its territory just 20 years earlier through the Louisiana Purchase. REVENANT unfolds clearly accentuating the uncertainties of life in the Missouri Territory, where the only existing technological implement in your daily existence was your firearm…Oh, and probably, in Captain Henry's case, a pocket watch, one would imagine! Their fur gathering/trading expedition comes under surprise attack (Was there any other kind back then?) by considerable numbers of Arikara Indians, who consider their actions as justified, since, in their opinion, it is the trading expedition that is trespassing on Arikara territory.

After both suffering and inflicting heavy losses, the expedition's survivors manage to raft away to safety. After cautiously biding their time on the river, they finally return to terra firma. Soon after, Hall has his ill- fated encounter with a grizzly bear, who, instinctively, simply was protecting her cubs. This scene is, quite honestly, spoiler- proof! No written words could "ruin" it for you! It is a bone-chilling vision that you really must experience for yourself! Most certainly, you will be scratching your head, as I and most others were, wondering "Just how in the hell did they do that?" Apparently, A Man In the Wilderness (1971) was also inspired by Hugh Glass and his ordeal…But I never saw it! There is a 1972 film, which came to mind a few times while viewing REVENANT…Jeremiah Johnson, A Sydney Pollack Classic with Robert Redford in the title role!

Some of you might be wondering, about now, if there will be any reference to elements mentioned in this review's title. Not to worry! My Review title should be "crystal", too, if you take the dualistic viewing approach mentioned early on here. To avoid crossing the Spoiler threshold, let it suffice to say that taking REVERANT in its entirety, it seems to speak to putting our treatment of indigenous peoples in the U.S. into some kind of more rational perspective. Personally, I found the ending to be rather spiritual and uplifting…Maybe it's just me!

10*.......ENJOY/DISFURTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Espanol, are most welcome!
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8/10
"Movies That Stand the Test of Time": One List STRANGERS, definitely, WON'T be on!
14 November 2016
Certainly, not a great many films made two thirds of a century ago hold up under scrutiny in 2017. If my memory serves me, I first saw this 1951 Hitchcock "Classic" on TV at age 12 or 13. Shame on me for making that fatal mistake of setting my expectation level for a second viewing at "10".

My best recommendation for those of you who just might decide to see it for the first time: It is an engrossing character study, (Robert Walker as Bruno Anthony) but falls somewhat short on many other levels, especially when compared to a number of other Hitchcock works. Walker's portrayal of an obsessive sociopathic socialite, although intense, gripping and intriguing, strikes me as very demanding in relation to the 2017 viewer's Suspension of Disbelief. An interesting footnote…This was Walker's penultimate film. He died just before completing his next and last project, "My Son John". Evidently, like the character he portrayed, Walker also was plagued by a number of his own demons. If you crave more details, you can get them here on IMDb.

The very best thing STRANGERS has going for it, aside from the aforementioned stellar performance, is the intriguing central premise of the film itself. From the onset, Hitchcock seems keenly aware of this, perhaps overplaying his hand on this point as the film approaches its climax. Without crossing the Spoiler Details threshold, perhaps my biggest criticism of the movie is its final minutes. Visually, a crucial scene just does not hold up to our present day CGI sensibilities. To use an appropriate colloquialism, one scene is really "hokey"! All of which, again, taxed my Suspension of Disbelief to the breaking point. So, don't set your expectations extremely high and the film will be well worth your while.

9*....ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!.....
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7/10
Other than Its Bizarre Title Misfire…EXTIRPATOR Shows Us that in Peru…Less Is More! Que Viva La PachaMama!
11 September 2016
Culture Clash is one of my favorite cinema themes. EXTIRPATOR offers up an interesting dose, in addition to a host of other oddities of the Seventh Art! The Action unfolds in an unnamed Peruvian small town, where going into detail could be considered a Spoiler, so we'll just forego that! This film highlights a number of subtle, but quite real culture differences: Small town values and dynamic vs. those of the Big City/Capital; Modern 21st century values vs. those inherited from centuries old Inca society; Police discipline and mentality vs. those of ordinary civilian society; And even a kids take on reality vs. those of professional adults!

But leaving the entirety of the aforementioned aside, EXTIRPATOR at times is a bit of a genre-bender, serving up a number of totally unanticipated elements! This, I think, makes for overall unpredictability and a cinematic treat that just isn't easily labeled or pigeon-holed! Couple this with a frequent incorporation of the Natural, Picture Post Card Peruvian Countryside, frequent soothing, yet haunting, strains of traditional Andean melodies, consistently excellent editing and cinematography, a no-frills story which projects a gripping and interesting narrative!

Director Manuel Siles certainly styles his work with a pleasant and impacting signature spin, which I'm sure most viewers will enjoy!

7 *'s....ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!....
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9/10
SONATA Para Un Calendario = Classic Short Film-Making 101
10 September 2016
If you don't think that short films are a forgotten, generally overlooked and highly under-rated medium, stop whatever you are doing right now, sit down and watch SONATA… It will only take you about 18 minutes….And you will delight in each and every second!

Undoubtedly, many of you might respond with…."But, I don't understand any Spanish!" Well…not to worry! There is nay ONE word of Dialogue in SONATA…In ANY Language! Director Carmen Rosa Vargas has elevated the most banal and mundane mechanical lowly daily chore of X-ing off the days on a calendar, to the level of obsessively sanctimonious art form! KUDOS to Ms. Vargas! QUE VIVA!

One small oversight by those who produced and listed this short on IMDb.com: The ethereal backdrop SONATA, highlighted in the Title, which is heard throughout the entirety of the film, receives no mention in the Credits! Certainly, most Classical Music buffs will find it easily identifiable ! My apologies for not falling into this category! ...9*

Any comments or questions, in English, o en Español, are most welcome!
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Tulpan (2008)
9/10
Slight Spoiler Alternate Title: WAITING FOR TULPAN GODOT
2 August 2016
...........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA....and ORLANDO, FL

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you don't know what TULPAN means in English, you will after watching the film. And yet, they never translate it for you...You have to figure it out for yourself! Sometimes, unfortunately, it seems that particular talent is fast becoming a lost art among U.S. movie-goers. Take a film like TULPAN, which is so simple, so unpretentious, and yet, manages to show us things in life that are so delicate and complicated! ***May Contain a Minor Spoiler or Two!*** What motivated me to give TULPAN a look? Certainly not the IMDb Blurb, it really misses the mark!

No, my decision was based on a truly accurate, quality review. Originality is something to be prized and praised in a movie. You know how rare it is to encounter a film with something totally original to offer. TULPAN has at least 5 elements that I don't recall seeing in any other cinematic work! Without them, 6 or 7* more than likely would have been my rating...But I'll add 1/2* for each original element, bringing my rating up to 9*. So, What are these elements?

1) ALL the actors in TULPAN appear using their REAL names!

Maybe you're thinking you've seen a few other films like that. Well, in ALL the others I remember like this, the production values are horrific and the acting worse. Here the acting is so natural, so oblivious to the camera, it lends a "Slice of life" feel to the production.

2) Have seen movies in dozens of different languages! Kazak is not one of them. So, TULPAN is my first in this language related to Turkish.

3)Have you ever seen mouth-to-mouth respiration administered to a newborn calf in a movie? Not just once, but several times by two different actors!

Elements 4) and 5)....? Let's keep the last two elements a surprise. (Although my alternate title above should give you a hint.) Sheep-herding on the Asian Steppe is anything but exciting. TULPAN REALLY drives that point home. If you're not willing to sit through movies where the pacing is, at times, excruciatingly deliberate, but that reward you in the end for your patience...This is not for you. If you like windows into new and exotic cultures, check TULPAN out!

9* STARS*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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One Man's Serendipitous Journey on a Path of Redemption and Self-Rediscovery!
2 August 2016
...........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA....and ORLANDO, FL

We saw "HERE" at the 2009 Orlando Film Festival. My wife and I were so impressed by the film we stuck around for a prolonged Q & A. Luckily, Producer Frank Calo invited us to an "After" get together/party for the production. All this proved to be quite worthwhile, because it gave us some unique inside-track insights into the production, which are shared with you here.

Serbian Director Darko Lungulov studied the art of film-making in New York. His years in the Big Apple are clearly reflected in his savvy instinct in obtaining precisely the right mix of the where/what/when/how/why of the New York backdrop; his foreigner/outsider perspective adds a fingerprint spin. The passion for his labor of love, which blazed so intensely in his eyes, permeates every frame of this multiple award-winning American/Serbian look at how one man's capricious decision to grab a fistful of cash by traveling to Belgrade and marrying a woman to secure her U.S. Visa, indirectly sets him on a path of redemption and self-rediscovery.

David Thorton (Unhooks the Stars) fleshes out his role as a burned-out sax player with a refreshing degree of studied nonchalance that veils a constant and consistent intensity. Mirjana Karanovic("The Serbian Meryl Streep" we were told) as Olga, is living proof that actions speak louder than words. A mature and kind-spirited woman, who knows just how to nurture all those around her, yet never seeking out someone special to nurture her.

HERE's otherworldly treat is its deliciously enticing, traditionally-rooted Serbian musical score by Dejan Pejovic. It set the tone and mood of the film so perfectly it could be used as an example of music for optimum ambiance in Film-making classes! Cyndi Lauper (Thorton's real-life spouse!) has a cameo that adds cleverly to the overall production and also contributes an original song. There is one warm, inspirational and unique aspect of HERE and THERE, but to reveal it would amount to a spoiler. So, you must experience this great film for yourself!

9* STARS......ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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10/10
I Can Look You in the Eye and Say, Unflinchingly, the Words: "GENIUS! Pure, Unadulterated GENIUS!"
2 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
.........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA....and ORLANDO, FL

After my first viewing: Total shock! Upon some reflection, I didn't feel I was ready to write a review, so I watched the Special Features segment on William Greaves (At 1 hour, almost as long as the film) and then watched SYMBIO again. Here's the comment I was going to use after viewing once: "Is it an extremely original concept in film-making? Yes, undoubtedly! Is it enjoyable and watchable? For me, at least, the answer to that is 'Not so much' 7*" Just how stupid am I, anyway? (Rhetorical question, that!)

Here I am, nearly 66 years old, yet it wasn't till yesterday that I became aware of William Greaves! Can't remember the last time I could look anyone and everyone in the eye and say the words, with soulful and unabashed conviction: "GENIUS! Pure, Unadulterated GENIUS!" Sitting here at my computer, focusing on authoring this review, the SYMBIO-experience has inspired me to an extent unparalleled by any other film in recent years.

My job now: Articulate this in a way that, in turn, will inspire you to watch and perhaps produce a review of your own. Here, perhaps the most challenging aspect of review-writing is to avoid anything resembling a spoiler. Don't read the Blurbs. One definitely contains a spoiler, which could easily deprive you of the joy of "Getting It" all on your own! The two things which stand out most in retrospect? First, the sheer simplicity of the applied concept itself is truly inspirational, in and of itself. Second, that it took a 1/4 of a century, after the fact, for Mr. Greaves to get a decent screening and begin to get some of the recognition he so sorely deserved for this cinematic milestone.

Couldn't help but notice that SYMBIO-was shot in August 1968, just a few months after the release of Stanley Kubrick's 2001. What do both films have in common? Well, thematically, not much, really. But it's hard to imagine someone like Greaves not having seen it soon after its release, so...Who knows? We could always ask him!

10*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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8/10
The COUNTRY TEACHER proved to Be Both an Immensely Enjoyable and, Indirectly, an Oddly Educational Experience!
2 August 2016
...........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA...and ORLANDO, FL

Ahhh! The joys of the simple life....Yes, go hand-in-hand with the joys of a simple movie! Watching films from MANY different countries is an absolutely enthralling endeavor! Each nation's films tend to exhibit a peculiar cultural signature spin, that is a delightfully intriguing puzzle, waiting to be deciphered and savored. An appetite for Czech films is, however, undoubtedly an acquired taste.

Let me share some of the things that made TEACHER such a cinematic plum. Very In-Your-Face, but without ever trying in the least to be, is the physical appearance of the actors themselves. WOW! Talk about the antithesis incarnate of the 2 hours per day at the gym, capped-teeth-multiple-plastic- surgery-and-hair-implant, monthly-Botox-injections "LOOK" that seems to be practically the norm in Hollywood...This cast looks like they were sent from "Real-People'R'US", after dropping out of their weekly ReHab meetings!

Also, there were a couple moments in the film where I began feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the direction the movie began to go in, but before this discomfort escalated into something more serious, the movie veered off in a pleasantly unexpected direction! No formulaic Hollywood fluff, here...NO Siree, Bob!

Two cultural notes: Boy, these Czechs sure are at ease with nudity! People running around nude in the house, Hey, doesn't raise an eyebrow! Also, people are ever so cooperative with official government policy! Government says "No more discrimination against gays in the workplace!" and its: "DAH! Dee government says vee must do dis, so vee are on board...OK!" One pleasant and unexpected surprise...The Czech folk(?)music! Very soothing and haunting melodies. I'll have to ask some of my Czech students to fill me in! Be sure not to miss it! Recommended by a Friend...

8* STARS*....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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Walk the Line (2005)
8/10
Take a WALK to a Different "Country"!
2 August 2016
...........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA.....and ORLANDO, FL

In L. A., California, in the 50s and 60s, my daily habit of listening to TOP 40 Radio exposed me to just about every kind of music genre, pretty much all of the time! Interestingly, I eventually acquired a taste for just about all of them, to one degree or another! Well, pretty much everything…Jazz, not so much, really, and definitely NOT at all: "Country" music. The ONLY Country album I EVER bought in my ENTIRE life (Well, at least before turning 50!) was "Johnny Cash: His Greatest Hits"!

Upon realizing that they had released a movie about his life, it immediately went to the top of my "Must See" list! What was it about his music that gave it such widespread appeal? Exactly what made Johnny Cash so special? It would be nice to be able to provide a simple, straightforward answer to both questions, but in the film, Walk the Line, it is all too clear, that in real life, when it comes to a human being, things sure can get extremely complicated! So, here we end up with a movie that mirrors the life of its lead character: very interesting, entertaining, multifaceted, but at the same time, often dark, brooding and conflicted! WALK is a film I can wholeheartedly recommend no matter how you feel about Johnny Cash and/or his music.

Quite frankly, for the role of Johnny Cash, Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR) is not someone who would have made my short list, or even my long list, for that matter! Wow, what a surprise! This actor, who was born in Puerto Rico, demonstrates tremendous versatility, both as an actor as well as a singer... (Yes, that is Joaquin Phoenix's own voice in the movie!) However, I think that, at times, Mr. Phoenix comes up just a little bit short when it comes to his ability to project his voice firmly, but his performance, in general, was so masterful, that this point is quite easily overlooked.

What really drives WALK, what gives it its soul and keeps it focused and centered is the repressed romance between Cash and the love of his life, June Carter (Reese Witherspoon - Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions) Joaquin Phoenix, despite shining in the title role, is overshadowed by Witherspoon's overwhelming screen presence in the scenes where they appear together. Previously, she had never really flagged my attention that much, perhaps other than her notable characterization of Tracey Flick in ELECTION. In most of her roles she seemed to be type cast as the syrupy sweet, but at the same time, somewhat annoying girl next door!

WALK is well worth any time and money you invest to see Reese demonstrate her considerable acting talents ... And how clearly she demonstrates just how stunning those abilities are! Surely, Walk the Line, for many reasons, invites comparison with another film about the life of another famous musician, RAY. Perhaps, there are many common elements in the life of famous musicians: A tragic childhood, years struggling in anonymity, problems with alcohol and drugs, a great deal of conflict and tension in their affectative relationships and great difficulty accepting and managing fame and money. But after all, each story is real and each contains many elements that distinguishes it from others!

8*...ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are welcome!
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WALL·E (2008)
8/10
Pixar Hits a Home Run with Wall-E...They Just Didn't Hit It Out of the Park!
2 August 2016
..........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA.....and ORLANDO, FL

Shame on me for ignoring my own rule of thumb and slurping up so many of the gushing reviews for Wall-E. My expectation was somewhere around Pluto, but this only managed to take me to Saturn. Normally, Saturn would warrant a rave review, but not when a film falls somewhat short of that ever-so-high bar you've set for it! Don't get me wrong. Pixar has hit a home run with Wall-E. They just did not hit one out of the park, as so many others would have you believe.

The movie really does work on just about every imaginable level. The Pixar animation team most certainly outdid themselves, taking CGI to an impressive and breathtakingly realistic new level for 2008. Wall-E is, at times thought-provoking, ironic, laugh-out-loud funny, poignant, entertaining, and perhaps, somewhat romantic. Yes, all of this with a highly original story line and offbeat musical accompaniment. Those elements which are borrowed from other movies are at least incorporated with a fresh twist.

Wall-E most definitely has its shortcomings: A little over the top at times in the "Gee, aren't we just the cutest on screen Bots you've ever seen?" Department. There are also a couple occasions where the substitution of dialog for assorted sound effects becomes a bit tedious.

Fortunately, the movie is very low key as regards the results of long term ravaging of the environment, not at all in-your-face as so often is the case with movies made in the recent years. Taken as a whole, though, Wall-E deserves between 8 and 8 1/2*. In any case, please, simply put aside the reviews and just watch Wall-E, hopefully, leaving your expectations behind. You'll probably have a very enjoyable and entertaining 90 minutes.

8* STARS*...ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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Tortilla Soup (2001)
9/10
For Years, I Put off seeing SOUP Because It Was a Remake of EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN. Big Mistake, That!
2 August 2016
.......................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

When Maribel (Tamara Mello) learns her Brazilian boyfriend Andy (Nikolai Kinski) speaks 5 languages. She's duly impressed. She zings a question: "What do you call a person who speaks several languages?" He quickly responds: "A polyglot?"..."OK," She continues, "and a person who speaks 2 languages?"..."Ahhh, BEE-lingual?" He says, flubbing the pronunciation. Her final question: "And what about a person who speaks only ONE Language?" "Ahhhhh" He pauses, prompting her to answer her own rhetorical question/cultural joke: "…An American!"

In a way, this joke almost sums up the movie. Those of you who are fluent in 2 or more languages, will probably get it. Many of you who are MONO-lingual might shrug your shoulders, smirk, and simply say..."Yeah, So WHAT?!?" For years, I have put off seeing SOUP because it was a remake of EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN. Big mistake, that! Now just because I've rated this 9* (vs.8.5* for EAT DRINK) doesn't mean I expect most of you to rate it 8* or higher!

Look, SOUP takes place in L.A., where I grew up. Also, all my life I've been exposed to bilingual/bicultural Hispanic families from many different countries! Certainly, SOUP is far from perfect, but I loved it. WHY? First, I thought Raquel Welch (Birth name: Jo Raquel Tejada, of Bolivian/Irish parents) was absolutely hilarious. What a talented comedienne…What uncanny timing and delivery! Such a tragedy she isn't offered more juicy roles, like this one.

She was 60 years old when this was made! WOW! BTW-You wouldn't happen to have her phone number, would you? Interesting Wikipedia fact: Welch was the last star created under the star system! Well integrated cast (no pun intended) delivering a delightful ensemble performance. Hector Elizondo's Spanish, oddly enough, was slightly off and belied the fact that his character was an immigrant, but his nuanced performance made that easy to overlook.

WARNING: Don't watch this movie with an appetite! It would be torture…

9*STARS*...ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!....KissEnglishPasto@Yahoo.com
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10/10
Excellent Character Study...Highly Effective But Not Pretentious or Preachy!
2 August 2016
.........................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

Events in your life can shape and change you...sometimes radically. Before my heart attack and triple bypass I rated this 8*. Now, it is a most resounding 10*! In "Whose Life" the life-altering event for sculptor Ken Harrison (Richard Dreyfuss in an outstanding performance) was a traffic accident that left him quadriplegic.

About 6 months after the fact, Harrison begins to to realize that not only his sculptures, but his perception of the world, its interpretation and his own self-image had been shaped through the use of his hands. Of course, his hands "died" on the day of the accident, and therefore, Harrison concludes, so did he.

The film focuses on both his day to day struggle to cope with his unbearable condition and his confrontation with the hospital administration, or at least with its decision-making chief medical officer, Dr. Emerson (John Cassavetes-turning in a fine performance), who is intent on keeping Harrison in the hospital and under its care, against his will, even if that means declaring Harrison incompetent.

Christine Lahti also has a supporting role. The film is highly effective but not pretentious or preachy in the least.

10* STARS*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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8/10
The Weather Man: The Unpredictable and The Grayness of Being Human
2 August 2016
.......................................,...............from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

***** May Contain a Couple MINOR Spoilers *****

The TV promo trailer for "The Weather Man" did nothing to capture my interest. It looked like another of those "Light" comedies, which usually just aren't that good. Via recommendations from a few of my students, I decided to check it out. Wow!..Sometimes Hollywood marketing teams are so utterly clueless! In this case, the trailer shown on TV and the film projected in the theater had absolutely nothing in common with one another!

Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring) has given us a film that at first glance seems simple enough, but which ends up being as absolutely unpredictable as the science of meteorology itself. David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is a divorced meteorologist who has attained considerable success on a professional level, but whose personal life, despite his perpetual fantasies to the contrary, is an explosive and unmitigated disaster.

As the perturbed and ever-reflexive protagonist, Nicolas Cage (National Treasure, Lord of War) positions himself in the eye of his own tormented life, and is likewise the title character of the film. Like almost every other human being, Spritz is unable to come to grips with the stark reality that the dark clouds constantly present in his life are creations of his own device. They are clearly the consequence of his own actions and his particularly obstinate way of being and not merely products of some uncontrollable, mystical fate.

While growing up, young David always loomed in the shadow of his famous Pulitzer-Prize winning father, Robert Spritz, played masterfully by Michael Caine. It seems that communication between father and son was never really what it should have been. Similarly, David leaves a lot to be desired in the area of warm and communicative interaction with all the important people in his life: His son, daughter, and of course, his ex- wife. David's disconnect is that he fantasizes that love and affection from his loved ones is linked directly to his level of professional success and recognition.

The Weather Man, despite being a great European style film, suffers from some excesses. In order to drive home the fact that David often walks rather aimlessly through life, it isn't indispensable to permit the film to meander and lose its focus for a few minutes as well! Nor do I believe that the constant, non-stop profanity to be consistent with the characters nor with the overall tone of the film. But if you enjoy European flavored cinema and movies which project life through a slightly surreal philosophical prism, surely this Weather Man will make your day…Sunny and Clear!

8* STARS*…...ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions, or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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