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Last night The Latino Review crew that was in New York got to have a rare all-call meet up for the World Premiere of The Ministers, the new Franc. Reyes (Empire, Illegal Tender) movie from Maya Entertainment.
The Ministers is the story of twin brothers Dante and Perfecto Mendoza, both played by John Leguizamo. When they were kids, their tenement building was burned down by some slum lords in an insurance scam, in their teens their older brother Luis gets gunned down and the case gets shoved aside by the police department. Dante and Perfecto have heard the call of God and will bring vengeance upon those that wronged them.
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In the good old days, around 1925, according to “Leatherheads,” professional football was a lot more fun, a rough, ragged enterprise, untrammeled by corporate influence and unconstrained by rules and regulations. And in the slightly more recent old days — the ’30s and ’40s, more or less — movies were also more fun. They had zip, pep, moxie, trains, hats and double-entendres.
When a movie is made based on a book that millions of people have read, the first question asked often pertains to the faithfulness of the resultant cinematic product to its written inspiration. In the case of The Kite Runner, director Marc Forster and screenwriter David Benioff have taken pains to provide the best screen representation possible of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel. Time constraints have forced some changes and contractions but, on the whole, it's hard to imagine a more effective and affecting adaptation. The Kite Runner touches the heart and the mind - something increasingly rare in any movie not made with the express intention of winning Oscars. (The Kite Runner, it should be mentioned, will be in the running in several categories.)
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Wonderful World feels like a modern-day half-baked riff on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Despite a film festival pedigree (it was shown at a number of local festivals on the 2009 circuit), the movie is so lightweight and inconsequential that a review seems almost superfluous. You know how it goes: the poor excuse for a human being experiences a spiritual re-awakening and sees the world in a different light. Although the story is derivative and not entirely credible, the main problem germinates from unconvincing performances. A woefully miscast Matthew Broderick headlines a group of actors who have accomplished good things in the past but are left rudderless in veteran screenwriter Joshua Goldin's directorial debut. Cheesy accents and lame dialogue abound. Wonderful World's themes are clearly conveyed, and the movie avoids what could have been an unbearably cloying ending, but too much of what's on screen feels forced and unnatural.
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Apparently, the producers of Jumanji wanted this film to be a Jurassic Park for 1995's holiday season. If so, it's a badly misplaced, and ultimately futile, hope. For, although no one would suspect Steven Spielberg's 1993 dino-picture of having a plot worthy of great literature, at least it had a storyline -- something this film is lacking. Jumanji takes approximately one-hundred minutes for four people to play a board game. The result isn't much more fun or involving than watching a few friends play Monopoly. Even the Robin Williams manic humor can't save Jumanji, at least not entirely.
Former LAPD cop, Dakota Varley (played by UFC champion Bas Rutten), enters a power boat race seeking the prize of 250,000, but immediately discovers, first hand, that this races risk matches the prize one racer is killed, 3 others seriously injured in multiple action-packed crashes and explosions.
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The Man Who Cried
Fegele Abramovich (Christina Ricci), a Russian Jew is separated from her father (Oleg Yankovsky) as a child in 1927. Her father has traveled to America to seek his fortune and plans to send for Fegele and her grandmother. Before leaving, he sings in Yiddish to his daughter Je Crois Entendre Encore from the opera Les pêcheurs de perles by Georges Bizet. This song recurs throughout the movie. After her father leaves, the Jewish village is attacked and burned in a pogrom. Fegele escapes with the help of neighbors but they encounter several obstacles along their route, and she finds herself separated at the docks from the young teenage boys looking after her. Fegele is soon crowded onto a boat headed for Britain, without her compatriots. In her hand she clutches a photo of her father, and in her pocket a coin given to her by her grandmother. These are her sole possessions.
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The Luck of the Irish
Kyle Johnson (Ryan Merriman) is a popular basketball player in junior high school who has never known about his heritage. He is often told by his best friend, Russell Halloway (Glenndon Chatman), that he is the luckiest person he has ever known. He is always finding money on the street, so he doesn't have to bring lunch money, he never misses a shot when playing basketball, and when he hasn't finished his social studies test, he guesses on all the answers, only to have them be all correct.
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Chromophobia comes from the Greek word "chroma", which translates as "color", and "phobos", which translates to "fear". The two form to create a portmanteau which it is assumed means "fear of color". Chromophobia takes a look at several people and relationships. Some of these people are very wealthy and have become so obsessed with their wealth and material objects they are very detached from more important things in life. The things they choose to reject in their pursuit for the finer things in life include friendship, their children, love, and integrity. At one point or another in the movie, each character begins to realize and then face their problems and in a sense their lives come crashing down. The characters then begin to see if they can get their lives back and carry on with a new look.
True story about a woman who falls in love with a violent rapist and murderer. Karla Homolka marries Paul Bernado despite already having aided him in the rape and murder of her younger sister. Through their marriage he brags to her about other rapes he commits and involves Karla herself in the sexual assault and murder of three female victims. Told from Karlas point of view.
Turn the River
Turn the River stars Famke Janssen as Kailey Sullivan, a woman rough around the edges and schooled in hard knocks. Divorced from her son's father and without visitation rights, she and her son write letters to each other and meet surreptitiously.
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Repo! The Genetic Opera
Comic style panels explain how epidemic organ failures devastated mankind in the future. The multi-billion dollar biotech company GeneCo emerged as a result. It provided for-profit organ transplantation, in addition to financing options. GeneCo was able to even repossess defaulted organs. Clients who were behind on payments feared the "organ repo men", contracted by GeneCo to recover GeneCo's property by any means necessary.
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Hitting the Nuts
Even Professional Poker has a Farm System.
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When an accident obliterates the British royal family and most of its branches, a desperate geneological search discovers the next king Ralph, a sleazy American lounge singer. Can Ralph measure up to the job, even with the help of loyal aristocrat Willingham?
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Lies in Plain Sight
Lies in Plain Sight tells the story of Eva and her blind cousin Sofia (Martha Higareda), who were inseparable as children, with Eva the loyal companion who helped Sofia through her tough adolescent years. When Eva suddenly commits suicide, Sofia rushes home to her father, Hector (Benito Martinez), and Evas parents, Marisol (Rosie Perez) and Rafael (Yul Vsquez), to find answers. But the more she delves into Evas life, questioning her past boyfriends Ethan (Chad Michael Murray) and Christian (Christoph Sanders), the more Sofia realizes that their childhood was actually filled with dark, disturbing secrets.
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The community reels after an incident on a suburban train. A young cop, beset with doubt and afflicted with tinnitus, is pitched into the chaos that follows this tragic event. He struggles to clear the noises in his head while all around him deal with the after burn of the crime.