Archive for sdlff

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2014 presents ¿Que Le Dijiste a Dios? (What Did You Say to God?)

Posted in comedy, drama, Foreign, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2014 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Teresa Suarez

Review Rating: 7.5

Two young country-bumpkin maids steal some fancy clothes from their snooty employer to attend a wedding, setting off a chain reaction adventure that affects the love lives of all around them!

So Martina (Gina Vargas) and Lupita (Olinka Velazquez) are underpaid and overworked maids, slaving for Marcela (Erika de la Rosa) and her husband. The maids are allowed to live in Marcela’s fancy house, surrounded by luxury, while they live in utter penury with dreams of riches and love, always love. Marcela’s best friend, Marifer (Mar Contreras), is blissfully unaware that hey, her best friend is sleeping with her husband Santiago (Mark Tacher), while verbally taking her own husband down a peg or three and virtually ignoring her son. Marcela’s own husband declaims about his lack of getting laid, in song, in his underwear! And Marcela is such a high-nosed bitch that she informs her maids that no, they don’t get time off for a wedding out in the country, find her fancy Chanel shirt that went missing! Only the maids are aware that, well, Martina ruined the shirt. But Martina’s love interest out in the country is waiting for her! Pepe (Victor Garcia) loves Martina so very much, that of course when she tearfully phones him to say she won’t be able to make the wedding, he bursts into song! And the maids collectively decide, hell with it – borrow a bunch of the Mistresses’ clothes and gems and go to that wedding in the country in style!

But Marcela isn’t about to take this lying down. Conscripting her best friend Marifer, after a song and dance musical in the beauty parlor, Marcela is determined to find out the names, which she didn’t even know, and locations of her errant thieving maids and get her things back. But this involves kidnapping another maid who happens to know our pair and where they’re supposed to be this weekend, sleeping in strange fleabag motels, and in general being around a lifestyle to which Marcela is less than accustomed. Marifer is already beginning to suspect something is going on between Santiago and Marcela, manages to confirm her worst suspicions, and sets off another chain of unexpected reactions between the supposed best friends, both their husbands, and their poor children. Meanwhile, our maids Martina and Lupita have been off having the time of their lives in bright borrowed clothes at a friends wedding, dreaming of the day they’ll both be wed, but especially Martina dreams of being the wife of penniless Pepe! Getting hauled out of the church during the service by Marcela and Marifer puts our errant maids in a very bad light, but after observing the utter selfishness and conceit and deceit of Marcela, Marifer finds the courage to take back control of her entire life, in song!

Don’t worry, it all works out in the end. For most of the characters anyway. And for those that didn’t, they have just desserts coming anyway. The entire film is littered with joyous song and dance numbers, lamenting or touting the various ecstasies and sorrows of life. The style of musical dramedy is very Bollywood, but with a decidedly Latino slant – the girls in their country-girl blouses, bright skirts and matching waving kerchiefs; the men in Mariachi-style suits with the ubiquitous cowboy boots, stomping their way in circles as they sing; and the solos by famous singers, both male and female, that can take the top of your head off! A good deal of the music of the film was brought in by famous Mexican singer and songwriter Juan Gabriel. He even has a cameo for the final song of the film!

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2014 Opening Night Film RANT

Posted in movie news, Movies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2014 by aliciamovie

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Ranted by Alicia Glass

Welcome to the 21st Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival, and its Opening Night Film, Espacio Interior. Or rather it would be, if I had actually gotten to see the film. Moxie will explain.

So the SDLFF is very popular round here in San Diego. Tons of people, male and female, young and old, attend the Fest as eager movie-goers. There are live Mariachi bands and solo singers who can take the paint off the walls, advertisers from all manner of Latino TV and radio stations who usually bring bright prize wheels, even Day of the Dead merchants selling t-shirts and the like with sugar skulls on them. Which is all fine, I am glad to be surrounded by your culture and ways, however

At all larger Film Festivals I’ve gone to, there is usually an Opening Night Film and a Closing Night Film. These movies, chosen by the program directors with whatever criteria in mind, are meant to be the highlight and centerpiece of the Festival itself, right? Well. Because I am a member of the Press, I go to the Festival and get my Press pass and therefore don’t have to buy a ticket or generally stand in line for the movie I’m seeing. The opening night film, Espacio Interior, was no real exception, in the beginning. I get my pass, figure out which number movie theater it will be, and then go stand in the Rush Line to wait. The line was allowed into the theater five minutes after the film was slated to begin on the program, but that isn’t unusual for the opening night of a Festival. After that, nothing would do but for an Announcer to come in and make mention of the Festival itself and some of the highlights, attractions, and sponsors, first in Spanish and then in English. Then she had to introduce the Director and Producer of the film, who both had to speak a bit about their film too, also first in Spanish and then in English. No problem there. But then… Right as the Director and Producer of Espacio Interior finished their announcements and were about to leave so the film could begin, it was oh by the way, there will be NO English subtitles for the film.

Personally, I couldn’t believe it. Some people left the theater after that but most stayed. I chose to leave and hunt down a Program Director so I could express my displeasure. He proceeded to tell me that oh yes, there were signs denoting that there wouldn’t be any English Subtitles for the Opening Night Film (just wanted to express that again), they were located at the Box Office and at Will Call. Now, as I stated before, I don’t have to go to the Box Office and pick up tickets at these Fests, so there was no reason for me to have seen that. I did however check Will Call, and well. There was an actual sign, but it was no larger than both my hands, taped at waist height at the edge of the booth, and completely covered by the long line and crowds of people clustered around the Will Call booth. And that isn’t even the point of this entire diatribe.

These Film Festivals are supposed to be for anyone and everyone to enjoy, right? It shouldn’t matter if I don’t speak Spanish, Cubano, or any other Latino-oriented language. Even if the movie was filled with explosions a la Michael Bay and the characters each had less than five lines of actual dialogue, I still want to know what they’re saying! For a Film Festival that happens to be on it’s 21st go-around, it struck me as rather unprofessional to have the Opening Night film be something that fully a third of the audience (at least) couldn’t understand. Yes, Espacio Interior is being shown more than once, and yes, I may catch a showing. If there is one with English Subtitles.

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents Las Carpetas (The Files)

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Maite Rivera Carbonell

Review Rating: 6.5/10

The story of the files kept on suspected “government subversives” by the Puerto Rico police department in the late 1980’s and how they affected the lives of the people, then and now.

Frankly, I was disappointed. I read the synopsis of the film in the program guide and thought ooh, that could be interesting. Thinking it would be a retelling of the tumultuous time with a bunch of young revolutionary communists, threatening bombs and general mayhem in and around Cuba and Puerto Rico. This is not what we get at all. Instead we have several considerably older key figures from this time period, being followed around in the present by the filmmaker as a kind of I-Spy remake, as she reports on these elders walking their dogs and going to work or the market. Each figure tells many stories of their time as Communist revolutionaries, radical young folk with plans and ambitions who refused to be quiet even when threatened, deported, or beaten by the police. There is a review with a former policeman as well, but the filmmaker does his review in fits and starts, as though to highlight the fact that while the former policeman is telling the truth, he is certainly not proud of it. Each key figure proudly displays their File, announcing the fact that every Citizen has the right to view their File and get it back to their keeping if they want it. Very little is explained from the outset about the apparent Cuban communist revolution, why these people were rebelling, and what led to this mess in the first place. The story of the rebellion itself and the Files on these people is what the film focuses on, without any real context, and gets kind of irritating. It is a shame of course that the Puerto Rican police and the FBI felt that they could get away with this kind of subversive behavior themselves, but it could have been presented in a much more dramatical and pronounced way, rather than this flat documentary style.

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio:  Someone at the Door Productions

Director: Rodrigo Gudino

Review Rating: 7.5

A son returns to the antiques-filled estate of his estranged mother after her death, only to discover she might not be quite so gone, after all.

There seems to be a trend cropping back up in the Indie Horror film circuit, that of the simplified movie with all of one or two actual actors tops, a fine gripping storyline, and a creeptastic score to round it all out. I for one am overjoyed at such a thing, and Rosalind Leigh follows that trend with a breathtakingly unique style all its own. Director Gudino presents us with a vision of both beauty and hold-your-breath terror.

The film is narrated by Leigh herself (given Vanessa Redgrave’s voice, wow), and though we are informed of her death right at the beginning of the film, as the movie goes on, she seems more alive than ever. Her house, stuffed full of valuable antiques, angels and gargoyles and platitudes oh my, breathes her everywhere. Especially for her estranged son Leon (Aaron Poole), who comes to stay in the house to deal with her estate after her passing. And yet. Memories are haunting the hell out of him, especially in the form of a particular angel statue that evokes a sinister game he and his mother played when he was small. The film brings to mind the flip side of a dark Christianity, like The Prophecy did. Given the order to, angels can actually be very nasty, and so can their followers in fanaticism. Leigh seems to have been involved in an angelic cult and hints darkly as that being the result of Leon’s fathers death without actually coming right out and saying it. All around Leon, as he stays within the manor peopled by nothing but statuary and a dark past, memories are clamoring to be let in whether he likes it or not. And the most prevalent memory of all, of Rosalind Leigh herself and how unbearably lonely she is without him, is the one thing strong enough to keep Leon from leaving, now that he’s finally here. Forever.

I quite liked the ending, actually. It wasn’t abrupt, it wasn’t a Gotcha! moment, it wasn’t two minutes of Saw-style cluex4 recap either. Rather, you take all you’ve learned about Rosalind Leigh and Leon up to this point, and draw your own conclusions. Are the angels real? Is Leon himself even real? The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh will echo through your consciousness, insistent on the sad dark memories, a reminder of just how far a person will go to ease the aching loneliness in their soul.