International: Latin America Reviews

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Blu-ray Review: VAZANTE, Bleak, Black and White Beauty in Brazilian Soul-Breaker

From its very first moments, Vazante makes its intentions apparent. Captured in black and white imagery that is preoccupied with draining any possibility of color from its quiet, slow-moving landscape, the film is set in and around a remote cattle...

Review: RELICTO, Argentine Mystery Horror an Experimental Ode to Artistic Influences

Oscar and Tamara leave the big city to settle into a small home in the country. It is an attempt by Oscar to rebuild their broken relationship after the death of his wife and her mother. Not long after they...

Review: THE 4TH COMPANY, Prison Football As Coverup Of A Criminal System

The 4th Company (La 4ª Compañía) gained attention last year when it won several Ariel awards (the Mexican equivalent of the Academy Awards), including Best Picture; it was particularly notorious because practically no one had seen the film at that...

Review: ZAMA, Lost in the Heart of Darkness

Lucrecia Martel suggested in her introduction to the sold-out screening of her much anticipated follow-up to Headless Woman that the audience might want to take in Zama like a whiskey. Indeed, it's a heady, at times bitter, at times sweet...

Review: TUYA, MÍA... TE LA APUESTO Celebrates a Stereotypical Mexican Soccer Aficionado

Actor Adrián Uribe, whose most famous TV character is the Vítor, a stereotypical ordinary Mexican from a working-class hood, stars in Tuya, mía… Te la apuesto, a new Mexican/Colombian comedy that is, naturally, chock-full of stereotypes. Uribe plays Mariano, a...

Review: TODO MAL, Issa López's Failed Return To Comedy

Issa López made quite an impression in 2017, particularly outside of Mexico, with her film Tigers Are Not Afraid (aka Vuelven), a mixture of social realism and fantasy in the vein of Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone: orphans as...

Review: DE LAS MUERTAS, An Unsurprising Mexican Thriller

It’s well documented that violence against women and femicides are part of Mexico’s terrible reality. At one point in José Luis Gutierrez’s De las muertas, a 2016 Mexican thriller that is finally having its commercial release, we see the main...

Berlinale 2018 Review: MUSEO, Another Gem of Charming Fecklessness By Alonso Ruizpalacios

Having won the Best First Feature Award with his exquisite debut Güeros at the Berlinale in 2014, director Alonso Ruizpalacios now excitingly returns to the festival's Main Competition with Museo (Museum). This sophomore effort feels much larger in scale, and it...

Sundance 2018 Review: RUST, An Intriguing, Split-Screen Portrait of Abuse

Aly Muritiba’s Ferrugem (lit. Rust) opens with a haunting shot of a gymnotiform. It rears its head out of the coral, eyes still-white, mouth plopping open and shut, and body coated in a corroded tint of yellow. “They say when...

Review: LA PRIMA, An Early Candidate for Worst Mexican Movie of 2018

In this age of political correctness and the countless sex scandals that have emerged from Hollywood, a comedy like La prima will be definitely criticized for its undeniable connection to the so-called Mexican “sexy comedies” from a different era. The...

Review: A FANTASTIC WOMAN, Simultaneously Charming, Serious and Magical

In 2016, Álex Anwandter's Chilean LGBT drama You'll Never Be Alone was one of the films that lit up Berlinale's programme from the heart of Panorama (read the review). And since then, Pablo Larraín has cemented his respected standing with...

Review: CÓMPLICES Doesn't Bring Anything Fresh To The Romance/Comedy Film

Cómplices is another production presented by Pantelion Films, the company owned by Lionsgate and Mexico’s Televisa. Unlike Pantelion’s bilingual How to Be a Latin Lover, Luis Eduardo Reyes’ Cómplices is not really targeting the latino audience in the United States,...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE CANNIBAL CLUB Has A Wicked Bite

A cannibal film from Brazil sounds satirical enough all by itself, but director Guto Parente isn't aiming his hatchet at the European exploitation cinema of the eighties. Rather, in The Cannibal Club, he pokes perverse fun at the super-rich of...

Sundance 2018 Review: UN TRADUCTOR Pulls The Right Heart Strings

There's an inherent risk in making films based on real stories. Seasoned cinephiles and film buffs will know that the promise is never fulfilled' as we later dive into Wikipedia, we notice how many inconsistencies and liberties were made regarding...

Review: LO MÁS SENCILLO ES COMPLICARLO TODO, A Romantic Comedy Chock-Full Of Senseless Material

You just can’t expect something truly remarkable from a Mexican romantic comedy starring Danna Paola. Lo más sencillo es complicarlo todo, the first Mexican movie I had to sit through in 2018, is an average product made particularly for teenagers...

Review: CHAVELA, the Revealing Story of a Musical Maverick

Reminding me that I don't know anything, really, Chavela is a 'music doc' that proves to be more revealing than that marketing term might imply. Out on home video from Music Box Films today (January 2, 2018), Chavela is a...

Blu-ray Review: THE UNTAMED Seduces and Frightens

One of my favourite films of 2016, and part of a new wave of great Mexican genre cinema, The Untamed is coming to Blu-ray and DVD via Strand Releasing. Amat Escalante's fourth feature film is part social realist drama, part...

Morbido 2017 Review: LA QUINCEANERA, Luchagore's Action Web Series Packs Emotional Punches

Alejandra Santos is about to turn 15 years old. She is becoming a woman and so it is time for her coming of age ceremony, the Quinceanera, a Latin American tradition. Alejandra is troubled though because her father is nowhere...

Morbido 2017 Review: TRAUMA, Savage Chilean Horror Flick Condemns a Military Regime

Chile 1978 - A father, and agent of Pinochet’s regime, forces his son to participate in the interrogation and torture of a political prisoner.    Chile 2011 - Four women, sisters Andrea (Catalina Martin) and Camila (Macarena Carrere), their cousin...

Morbido 2017 Review: LOS OLVIDADOS (WHAT THE WATER LEFT BEHIND)

A small documentary film crew is heading to the city of Epecuen, Argentina. Lost to surging flood waters back in 1985 the town has been abandoned for over thirty years. One of the survivors from the town, Carla (Victoria Maurette),...