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I'm Thinking of Ending Things

A waste of time
This film is awful. I could not finish it. 35 minutes left, I could not take anymore. It's very full of itself, very morbid, seems more like a bad play. The acting is not bad. The long rambling scenes in the car, flash forwards, at the farmhouse, etc. Complete waste of time. Two stars for putting a film together, but wow, just bad overall.


Decent enough film
Though this was a good film, it could have been much better, in that there were a few scenes which simply were not believable. Overall though, direction, acting, and cinematography were very solid. The Puerto Rico scenes in the first part of the film especially, seemed to give off a feel for what it is like to live on the island.


Pretty good comedy
This film was funny and very unpredictable at times. The actors fit their characters like gloves. Latin American cinema, or really, cinema in general needs more comedies like this one. Check it out.

El amor menos pensado

Decent film from Argentina, but needed more plot development.
This film was OK, a little long maybe, but the lead actors were outstanding, which carried this one. The plot line was good, but there was not much in the way of development. One day, the couple's son leaves for college, a few minutes later they break up inexplicably. I mean we realize a void is created with the son having left, and other reasons was given for the breakup, I guess, but they were getting along great, and then all of a sudden they get divorced and start seeing other people. So, some of the scenes feel very rushed And between the two of them, the broken up couple have have like four relationships during the course of the two hour length of the movie. So, I feel this could have been a seven or eight star movie had better care been taken with plot development.

Book Club

Good cast, but that's about it. Don't waste your time.
The jokes are bad (I think there may have been one good bit), the plot is limp, predictable. The most glaring thing is how the plot just shifts from one thing to another in the blink of an eye, like a H.S. production. I believe the actors tried hard, but veterans such as these have to be embarrassed by the finished product, and are just glad to be cashing checks on this one. And with a 6 something rating on this site, I'm sure freight cars full of dough were loaded. Good for them right? My God, stay away from this.

A Tale of Two Kitchens

Very good, short documentary.
I just saw this on Netflix. I thought it was very good. It just glossed over both restaurants (with the same owners), one located in San Francisco, and one in Mexico City. As I say it glossed over the restaurants, as this doc was more about the people that work at both places. It was never confusing though, as at all times during the film you know who works where. The film touches on the hot topic of immigration also, and how restaurants across the United States are filled with Mexican and Central American immigrant workers, and it was not mentioned much, but many times those are the only people that restaurants can get to work at their places. In fact, I remember Anthony Bourdain said on one of his travel shows that he once owned or managed a very successful restaurant in New York City, and in all the time he was there, he never had one American kid come in to apply to do basic kitchen work. Stunning. And is this a feel good film? Sure, I guess, but sometimes we need more of those types of films during these times of division and hatred propagated by certain segments of our country. Check it out, on Netflix.


Pretty good film
I saw this with a group of our university Spanish Club students at the Chicago Latino Film Festival last night. This film was very good. The plot concerned a mother and daughter who are on the run after the mother accidentally kills her husband and father of the girl, as they try to escape him and the Gypsy cultured rural village where they live. Estefanía de los Santos (played a good role as an aging prostitute in "Grupo 7" ) stars and does very well as the mother here. Well acted and directed, this film is worth checking out. Our group of college students as a group liked it as well.

Todo sobre el asado

Very good documentary from Argentina
I had heard about Argentina's love affair with beef before, but this doc really brings it to the forefront. The film is very informative of course, but the cast of interesting and sometimes quirky characters was outstanding. Nearly all the people interviewed were very colorful in describing their passion for "asado". Even the narrator was great, yet a little funny in his narration and interviews. Definitely check this out.


Very good flick from Spain.
Although it started slow, for whatever reason, you could tell from the start that this would be a good one. Very stylish, good direction, it's got the mood of a mystery thriller, and the acting is strong. Mario Casas almost seemed to be putting himself in the persona of his role in the film "Grupo 7" from a few years ago. His role seems very tight, urgent, just like that film. Anyway, this is a very good film. The language seems very clear also for the most part, good film to show to a Spanish class.

I Called Him Morgan

Very good music doc
This was very good. It really set the mood for time periods of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and of course it was very informative on the music and personal life of Lee Morgan, a great jazz trumpet player. Great interviews with his fellow band members and wife also.

Toc Toc

Had potential
I thought this film could have been good, had the story been done differently, maybe if the characters were not together so much, as the jokes after a while kept repeating themselves. As far as the characters, only the cabdriver seemed good. All the other actors' roles seemed forced. This was just not a good comedy. I think 4 of 10 stars, as there were a few good bits.

El Callejón de los Milagros

Pretty bad film.
I bought this film in DVD for $3.33 recently. This movie apparently has been well received by most, but for what, that they succeeded in making it? For me this is the worst thing I have ever seen for the ratings and reviews that it has gotten. At first I thought it was a satire on telenovelas, but is it? Even if that's the case, who could laugh it was so badly directed. The characters aren't developed well at all, the story is decent I guess, but everything is rushed. The Mexico City sets are nice, but this film was way too long, and just plain brutal.


Ok film, but very unlikeable main character.
This film was put together very well for the most part, but at the same time it is very uneven. The biggest knock on it is the main character, Lisa, who is very unlikeable. She is the main cause for the accident at the beginning, yet she goes on a crusade thru most of the film, trying to get the bus driver, who ran over the woman, fired. But she caused the guy to get distracted in the first place, so the audience is supposed to jump on board her quest for justice? I wasn't buying that. Again, she caused the accident. And you can't buy into her developing friendship with the woman who's good friend was the one one who was killed, as they get together to sue the city of New York over the accident. The film was shot and directed well though, it holds your interest. But again, to me, the character of Lisa, comes across as a snot-nosed, manipulative, spoiled, teenager, which damaged what could have been a great film.

El hombre que cuida

Decent film from the Dominican Republic
Although a small film (almost the entire movie takes place on an ocean front property and house), I thought it was pretty good. Although the acting was sketchy at times, the lead character, who played the caretaker of the house, and the actor who played the son of the home's owner, seemed to hold the film together. Various social topics are woven into the plot nicely, including love, marriage, social classes, work, and loyalty. There were several points during the movie where I thought that the plot would fall into predictable patterns, but then there would be a twist, sending the film toward a different direction. Overall the film was ok, and is one of the better ones I have seen from the Dominican Republic.

El Fútbol o yo

Decent film from Argentina.
I just watched this flick on HBO cable. I think the average rating on this film by others is a little low. While the plot and comedy are somewhat predictable I suppose, I think the direction was pretty good. Several characters are well developed, most importantly the two main characters of the husband and wife. I think they ratcheted it up a notch in order to give the film a lift, as I think that they were very convincing in their roles as a married couple. And while many of the comedy routines in the film have been done before, there is original material that keeps the viewer interested. Compared to some of the Spanish language films out there, or rather films in any language for that matter, this one is decent, especially if you are a sports fan, as I think many could identify with the main character and his addiction to soccer.

La educación del Rey

Not a bad film
This film from Argentina was pretty good. Good acting, directing and editing etc. The film starts fairly fast with a robbery committed by three young guys. One gets away, Rey, and winds up hiding out at the home of an older man and his wife. The story starts to look predictable, but turns out to be anything but that. The characters become well developed, and that aspect becomes interesting, as all roles in the film become pretty clear cut, except Rey himself, because as the plot thickens, the viewer could ask himself, do I like this guy or not. The language in the movie was pretty thick Agentinean Spanish dialect, but I saw it on HBO On Demand with English subtitles, so understanding the film was not an issue. I will say that the film was a little short, maybe a bit too faced paced, but still it was well done.

La Novia del Desierto

Not a bad film
I saw this at the Chicago Latino Film Festival in April of '18, and it was not bad. It's a smaller film, and the two lead actors namely Paulina Garcia and Mr. Rissi seem to to keep the film going. The character played by Paulina Garcia is a maid who has worked for one family for a very long time, but is now going to be working at another home, and they are friends or relatives of her current employers, but they live in another city, so the maid has to travel there. Along the way, she meets el Gringo, played by Mr. Rissi, who agrees to give her a ride at some point, and a relationship begins to develop between them. During the trip, there are flashbacks to her final days with the family for which she has cared all these years. Directing, and again, good acting make this film worth watching.

El Concursante

Slow starter, but gets better
This film is part of the 2018 Chicago Latino Film Festival. In addition to being presented in downtown Chicago, with all the other films, this one was shown at a local theater in northwest Indiana. The movie started slowly, but gained momentum as it progressed. This was explained by the attending director afterward, that he wanted to tie in the idea of the central theme of locals of Cartagena, Colombia, standing in line all day waiting for the latest gadget pressure cookers to be released to the public. The people in line interact with each other all thru the film with witty, many times foul humor, getting more and more impatient and agitated as the day progresses. This film was well acted, and directed, had a good, mostly humorous script and plot. The film's somewhat limited music track was very good. However, the film was slow moving for the first half, and the subtitles were not that easy to read at times. Also, the timeline of the film was one day, most of which took place in the line of people waiting their turn to get a pressure cooker. The ending though, which turns the action from a comedy to a violent drama, saves this film.

Cuando las hojas tiemblan

Not a bad film
I saw this film from Argentina on You Tube(available in good quality for free), and I have to say it was not bad. The acting seemed very good, the characters believable. The directing was good, but some of the shots were odd (watch the film, you'll see). Although there were no subtitles, the argentine Spanish dialect was understandable enough.

In the story, a mutual friend of a married couple is accused of murdering his wife, so it seems like this film might be a mystery. But it becomes a drama, as the couple is divided on who did it, which causes a wedge in their already troubled marriage.

This film is worth checking out on You Tube (if you understand Spanish).

El malquerido

OK biopic from Venezuela
I saw this film last night at the Chicago Latino Film Festival, which by the way, is always great, and very well organized.

Anyway, I thought the acting was very good in this story about Felipe Pirela, a famous Venezuelan bolero singer of the 1960's.

I thought that the directing was OK, but the film is too short. It seems like, as in many biopics, the movie races through everything, from the singer's childhood, right up to the end, giving many of those types of films, including this one, a made for TV look.

I thought that a couple of subplots(for example: the insertion into the story of the guy to whom Pirela owed a lot of money)were not done very well.

On the plus side, the sets looked great, very 1960's, and the characters were, for the most part, developed well.

The film seemed to start slow, but got more interesting as the plot developed. The music/nightclub scenes were done well. Again, it should have been longer, but this is not a bad film.

Un Padre No Tan Padre

Good light comedy.
I saw this Mexican comedy tonight at my local theater in Northwest Indiana, and although I guess was expecting more based on what I had heard about it, I thought it was pretty good.

The plot concerns an elderly retired man who gets kicked out of the retirement home in which he lives, and goes to the Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende in order to live with his middle-aged son. The son lives with around 8 or 10 other people in a large house, in sort of a commune atmosphere. For example, a gay couple live there, along with a guy who sells drugs to locals. Also, an American woman and a man from England live with the son. Those two run a coffee shop. A Cuban guitarist is also a resident. So the commune culture and establishment clash, so to speak, when the 80 something year-old father comes to live there. A lot of the comedy is based on that premise, so some of those jokes are fairly predictable.

However, what makes the film pretty decent is the fact that it has good character development, despite the fact that there are a larger number of supporting roles.

The movie has very good cinematography also(many great shots of San Miguel).

In addition, I think this film is well directed ; the timing, holding of shots for the right amount of time, etc, are all good.

Note that this movie is in Spanish with English subtitles.

Millie and the Lords

Pretty decent film
I saw this film on HBO On Demand(film is done almost entirely in English), and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It has a documentary feel to it at times, as the film moves well between the history of the Young Lords of New York City and the modern life of young Puertorricans in today's New York.

The film started slowly and a bit clumsily, but got better as it moved on. As was stated in another review, the film receives merit simply for the topic, but it does seem to have some problems, mainly with timing, editing, and some not so good acting at times. For example, plot lines were thrown out there and never finished up. Still, I think this film is important, as it brings to light The Young Lords and their movement of the late 60s.

Cambio de ruta

Decent romantic comedy.
I saw this film on DVD, and it was not bad. I've seen Mexican films that are better than this one, but I probably have seen many more that are a lot worse. The plot was fairly solid and the acting was good. The subtitles were bold, clear and accurate. The pace of the film seemed too rushed though. Also the film had no edge, as it seemed almost G rated. The backdrop of the Riviera Maya was great, which also gave a clean look to the film.

The lead character in the film is a tour guide who quits her job after a corporate takeover and starts up her own company. I think more could have been developed off that challenge, as it seemed that she was instantly up and rolling. That's one plot development of several that I thought were rushed.

What I did like was how the film worked the preservation of the ecology of the Riviera Maya in to the film. In that regard the film was different from most romantic comedies. The Spanish was very clear and easy to understand, so I think it would be a decent film to show to college or even high school students.

So overall, I thought "Cambio de Ruta" was an OK light comedy.

El Jeremías

Pretty good family(?) film
On the surface this looks like a good movie for the kids, which maybe it can be. I guess it's a comedy, but it's a little sad and disturbing also, for although the focus of this film is on a boy genius for the most part, the adults play a large part, mostly as greedy and selfish characters, which gives off a different angle and mood. Even Jeremias's own family come across as users as they force the kid into chess tournaments with cash prizes in order to get quick money. The acting in this film is pretty decent, and it is touching how Jeremias develops a friendship with the old guy who runs the bookshop. The pace and plot of the film are good, and the subtitles are easy to read. Overall, this is a good movie for kids, as well as adults.

No manches Frida

Pretty good slapstick comedy.
I saw this movie tonight, a Thursday, in Northwest Indiana, and my wife and I were the only ones in the theater. I have to say that it could have come off as an average slapstick Mexican comedy, but Omar Chaparro and Martha Higareda(looking too thin I'm afraid)saved this one. The two seem to have good chemistry, the comedy scenes and jokes seem to work well, and the film has a solid plot. I have heard that this film is a copy of a German film, and I guess if I had seen that one first, I would have rated this film lower. But, I've only seen this one, so what do I care, it made me laugh. On a side note, check out Martha in the comedy/drama "7 Días"(a very unknown, but very good film), and Omar in the comedy "Suave Patria".

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