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2 Movies on my list: “Chef” and “Begin Again”

6 May
"Chef" opens in theaters this weekend. Written, directed and starring Jon Favreau.

“Chef” opens in theaters this weekend. Written, directed and starring Jon Favreau.

Summer Movie season is here. It’s time for popcorn movies, so I haven’t really been excited about any movie since the Oscar season wrapped in March.

But now 2 new movies caught my eye and I’m looking forward to seeing them at a local (arthouse) theater near you.

CHEF is the most recent movie written and directed by Jon Favreau, who also stars. The premise looks really interesting, with a chef who quits the restaurant business after a bad review and decides to reinvent himself with a food truck. It stars Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Booby Cannavale and Scarlett Johannson and it looks pretty cool, without any of the special effects you would see in one of those action movies that we’re bombarded with this season.

Speaking of which, Jon Favreau has had such an interesting career. He is the director of the three Iron Man flicks, which is probably his most lucrative and famous work to date. But I’ve been a fan and been following him (literally) since he did Swingers, Made and even his brief TV show “Dinner for Five” back in the early 200o’s. (Side note: at the time I was stalking Vince Vaughn so once I stood in the parking lot of Musso and Frank’s Grill in Hollywood where they used to tape the show. El Vince Vaughn llegó tarde, y entró rapídismo, but I had a chance to say hello to Jon and he seemed to be a nice guy.)

Anyway…

Last week I tweeted to him that I had read the fabulous NY Times article featuring him and that I was looking forward to his movie and guess what? Me hizo Re-Tweet and I got quite a few followers thanks to him. So gracias for reading and retweeting, Mr. Favreau, and I hope your movie does really well.

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Otra movie que se me antoja mucho is “Begin Again” with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly. It is written and directed by John Carney, the same director who made “Once” a few years ago. (I love that movie.)

It’s another story about starting something new and changing your life (uh oh, is there a trend here I’m just realizing?) set in New York City, so I already give it a thumbs up.

I’m not sure when this opens but it seems like the thing I’d like to see soon. A ver que tal.

Click on the link below for the trailer. Maybe this is also your cup of tea?

 

 

Waiting for Gravity, the new film by Alfonso Cuarón

3 Oct

The number one reason why Fall Season is my favorite season of the year is movies. This year the list is long and very interesting, but there is one movie in particular that has caught my attention.

“Gravity” is a new film opening on Friday, October 4th, by one of my favorite movie directors, Alfonso Cuarón. It stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, so just by reading the cast I’m already in.

I’ve heard great reviews all over the place (like this one from Joe Morgenstern at the WSJ) and the theme is intriguing: imagine being lost and floating in space and trying to get back to earth without anything to hold on to. Claro que a mucha gente ya le pasa, some people are so despistados that they seem lost in space even while they are walking the earth, tanto que you don’t know what hit them… but I digress.

Here is the trailer so you get an idea. Pero, ¡AGARRÉNSE!

 

I was especially surprised to learn that in this film, Mr. Cuarón worked with his son Jonás co-writing the screenplay. OMG. Who knew he had a son that was so grown up? Last Sunday the LA Times had a great article about their working relationship, which you can read here. Making movies is typically a family affair for Alfonso Cuarón, who had already worked with his brother Carlos before, most notably in “Y Tu Mamá También” which was nominated for several Oscars.

If you grew up in México in the 1980′s, you remember “Sólo Con Tu Pareja,” the first película mexicana you went to see at the movie theater that was actually good, funny and well made. It was written, produced and directed by Mr. Cuarón and it became a big hit. This was a movie en español unlike anything we had seen before, with young and socially affluent people in Mexico City in a comedy of errors.  The story, the actors were all different from all the churros and B-stuff  produced in Mexico, things you had no intention of ever seeing. The Mexican Film Industry was  in shambles in the late 1980′s, and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Sólo Con Tu Pareja” changed all that. 

So you can bet I’m going to go see this one at the IMAX theater, getting my supersize popcorn and fastening my seat belt.

Just by looking at the trailer I’m extremely concerned and flying by the seat of my pants for Sandra Bullock. ¡Pobrecita! How can she survive? But if anyone is going to rescue her in outer space, it might as well be our favorite hunk, el George Clooney. Go George! Tú puedes, corazón. I wouldn’t mind being lost in a galaxy far, far away if I was lost with you, baby.

The nice people over at Warner Brothers sent us a few pix of the premiere this week in New York. I thought you’d enjoy them as much as I did. 

Let’s go see Gravity and hope they make it. As Cantinflas said in one of his movies,  “La gravedad, señores…¡depende del trancazo!”

(Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I just love good movies and talented filmmakers.)

New York, New York - 10/01/2013 - Warner Bros. Picture News Presents The New York Premiere of "Gravity". The Film stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock and was directed by Alfonso Cuaron .

New York, New York – 10/01/2013 – Warner Bros. Picture News Presents The New York Premiere of “Gravity”. The Film stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock and was directed by Alfonso Cuaron . Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

-PICTURED: Jonas Cuaron,George Clooney,Sandra Bullock,Alfonso Cuaron,David Heyman  -PHOTO by: Dave Allocca/Startraksphoto.com

Jonas Cuaron,George Clooney,Sandra Bullock,Alfonso Cuaron,David Heyman
-PHOTO by: Dave Allocca/Startraksphoto.com- Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

There is chemistry here. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock greet each other at the premiere of Gravity in New York. Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

There is chemistry here. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock greet each other at the premiere of Gravity in New York. Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

Oh hey...it's George Clooney. Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers.

Oh hey…it’s George Clooney. Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers.

From the LA Times article last Sunday, father and son Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón, co-writers of Gravity.

From the LA Times article last Sunday, like father, like son: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón.

Visiting Gabriel Figueroa @LACMA

28 Sep

Mexico has a long history of amazing cinematographers, but none is more beautiful nor visually eloquent as Gabriel Figueroa.

Gabriel Figueroa was a master of light and shadows, one of the most prolific Mexican cinematographers who shot the films that are representative of the Epoca de Oro del Cine Mexicano. He worked with the most famous directors and actors of his day and helped create a collective image of a time and place in Mexico that existed mostly in black and white. And the remarkable thing is he did it with a film camera, a light meter, and film negatives. Remember those? There weren’t any computers, no Photoshop nor digital tools back in the 1940′s. 

LACMA recently opened a new exhibit featuring his work and influence. “Under the Mexican Sky-Gabriel Figueroa: Art and Film” is a joint project between LACMA, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Televisa, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and Conaculta. I’m glad all these organizations got together to make this happen because there aren’t usually many exhibits dedicated to cinematography. This is a real treat.

As you walk through the hall you see montages on large screens of his films with the directors El “Indio” Fernandez and Luis Buñuel. What struck me most was how much a single image, a still frame of a moving shot, could be a stand alone piece of art.

Those images convey beauty, sadness, pride, melancholy or just profound admiration for the landscape and scenery, el paisaje mexicano. I was also struck by how much women cried in these stories- puro melodrama y sufrimiento- and how men were  always “engrandecidos y valientes” almost to a fault. There are bits of his work from the movies Flor Silvestre, Maria Candelaria, Enamorada, Bugambilia, La Perla, Maclovia, Un Dia de Vida, Los Olvidados, among many others. 

You also see the influence painters such as Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco had on Figueroa’s work. It was like he was applying film to their paintings. My dear friend Alex Munguia used to tell me that if I wanted to take better photographs, then I should study famous painters and try to emulate what they did. Of course he was right, but it became completely evident to me once I saw the relationship between Diego Rivera’s Murals of the Mexican Revolution and Gabriel Figueroa’s Cinematography. Isn’t it interesting how different art forms relate and influence each other? The medium is different, but both are equally powerful.

Mr. Figueroa lived to be 90 years old and stayed active in film and the arts until the end. I hope you can go admire his work in this fabulous exhibit. It runs until February 2, 2014.

Gabriel Figueroa in 1945 during the filming of "La Perla" (Dir. Emilio "Indio" Fernandez)

Gabriel Figueroa in 1945 during the filming of “La Perla” (Dir. Emilio “Indio” Fernandez)

Los ojos de Maria Félix, forever immortalized by the lens of Gabriel Figueroa.

Los ojos de Maria Félix, forever immortalized by the lens of Gabriel Figueroa.

There are plenty of screens with montages of his works as well as still shots and other memorabilia.

There are plenty of screens with montages of his work, as well as still shots and other memorabilia.

Mexican beauties as observed by Gabriel Figueroa, who wa snot afraid of the extreme close up. Among his leading ladies are Maria Félix, Dolores del Rio and Columba Dominguez.

Mexican beauties as observed by Gabriel Figueroa, who was not afraid of the extreme close up. Among his leading ladies are Maria Félix, Dolores del Rio and Columba Dominguez.

Maria Félix and Columba Dominguez in a dramatic moment.

Maria Félix and Columba Dominguez in a dramatic moment.

"Dia de Flores" by Diego Rivera, apr of the exhibit and cited as one of the references in Gabriel Figueroa's cinematography.

“Dia de Flores” by Diego Rivera, part of the exhibit and cited as one of the references in Gabriel Figueroa’s cinematography.

Even if she wanted to look ordinary, Maria Félix was stunning on screen.

Even if she wanted to look ordinary, Maria Félix was stunning on screen.

The contrast, shadows and light are simply beautiful.

The contrast, shadows and light are simply beautiful.

Un paisaje con la "Mujer Dormida" al fondo.

Un paisaje con la “Mujer Dormida” al fondo.

Pedro Armendariz in all his glory.

Pedro Armendariz in all his glory.

Para mi, Roberto Cañedo is the most attractive man in Mexican Cinema. Here he romances Columba Dominguez.

Para mi, Roberto Cañedo is the most attractive man in Mexican Cinema. Here he romances Columba Dominguez.

Posters from Mexican movies, in different languages.

Posters from Mexican movies, in different languages.

Gabriel Figueroa checking his negatves in 1994. This photograph was taken by his son, Gabriel Figueroa Flores.

Gabriel Figueroa checking his negatives in 1994. This photograph was taken by his son, Gabriel Figueroa Flores.

EntradaGabrielFigueroa

Go see this exhibit on view at LACMA.

Go see this exhibit on view at LACMA.

Must See Documentary Discovery: Reportero

23 Aug
A documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

A documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

Here is a documentary that I found online through PBS and that has hit close to home.

“Reportero” follows the experience of Sergio Haro Cordero, a reporter in Tijuana, and the editorial team of the independent “Zeta” newspaper in recent years. It is an excellent film directed and produced by Bernardo Ruiz, and from now until September 20, 2013 you can watch it online at PBS for free with this link:

http://www.pbs.org/pov/reportero/full.php#.UhcH_q79XYs

Or you can go to the POV page from PBS and click on the selection: http://www.pbs.org/pov/

This is not a particularly “feel good movie” nor an easy story to watch, but it’s important to see it. 

Journalism is a tough profession, especially when your life is at risk for pursuing the truth and writing it.  As we know, Mexico does not have a good track record in protecting its journalists nor its citizens- far from it- and this documentary is an eye opener to all the things they are exposed to in this day and age. It has definitely made me aware of how valuable their work is, and I admire them even more.  

About 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of being a colleague of Mr. Sergio Haro Cordero at my local newspaper. I wasn’t even done with college, I wasn’t even pursuing a serious career in journalism (me tocaba la seccion de Sociales, for crying out loud!) but I was impressed by his work ethic, integrity, professionalism (exactly what you see in the film) and generosity in teaching a “rookie” the ropes.

One time, I tagged along for an interview with the state governor (Ernesto Ruffo) and Sergio let me ask a few questions (and even took a picture of me doing so, for my scrapbook.) I remember him working nonstop, always on the beat, always had a camera in hand. It’s so amazing to see that time has not changed him one bit (maybe for a few extra canas en el pelo) and even more inspiring is to see his wife and son supporting him even with all the risks they face (¡que valientes!)… I am in awe of his story and the film. Además, I’m proud to still have the photos he took of my muy breve, pero divertido paso por el periodismo de Baja California. Espero poderlo saludar un día de estos para darle las gracias pues son de mis fotos favoritas.

On another note, Jesus Blancornelas, the founding editor of Zeta and one of the main characters in the film, also has a personal connection to my family. Era vecino y amigo de mis abuelos y hasta sirvio de testigo en la boda civil de mis padres, en los 70′s. Small world. Mi abuela se emociona mucho cuando los recuerda a él y a su esposa, Beba.

So if you have an hour, if you have the interest, please watch. I only regret not having seen it in the movie theater when it came out, but grateful to PBS for airing it now. Bernardo Ruiz y compañia, soy tu fan. 

No se lo pierdan.

Libros y Movies en Español this weekend en DTLA: Hola Mexico Film Fest & LéaLA

16 May

This weekend sounds just like heaven with libros y películas en español happening all over Downtown LA.

Yes, the Hola Mexico Film Fest and LeaLA Feria del Libro en Español are finally here.

Which only begs the question, why did these two events decide to coincide the same weekend? Nos vamos a tener que dividir entre tantas cosas que queremos ver.

The HOLA MEXICO FILM FESTIVAL, now in its 5th year running, kicked off on May 15 and runs all through the weekend till Tuesday May 22nd. It’s a unique chance to see películas en español that would otherwise be hard to see here in LA. Nunca traen movies mexicanas a menos de que sea en este tipo de festivales. Pero ese es otro asunto.

So if you’re a movie fan, si te gustan las películas en español, el buen party y la gente cool, this is definitely something you need to check out.

This year they are also expanding to include food and music as part of the program, with Bricia López from La Guelaguetza leading the way and a number of visiting Mexican chefs, like Baja California favorite Javier Plascencia, from Mision 19 in TJ, who always delivers amazing, innovative dishes.

Check out the complete sked for the film fest on their website here. The venue is the Los Angeles Theater on Broadway.

Hola Mexico Film Fest

By the way, here’s a movie trailer that made me laugh and is part of the lineup this weekend. Maybe I’ll get a chance to see it. Se llama Suave Patria and it looks like the kind of slapstick dark comedy that’s easy to enjoy. Salen los televisos Adrian Uribe y Omar Chaparro y Héctor Suárez (yes that Hector Suárez, parece que ya regresó) so maybe it’s worth checking out.

As I mentioned recently, something not be missed this weekend is the Feria del Libro en Español de Los Angeles, LéaLA starts on Friday at the LA Convention Center in downtown y se organiza por la Universidad de Guadalajara. It runs through Sunday May 19.

Libros y mas libros en español, conferencias, pláticas y presentaciones. Todo GRATIS (my favorite price) y con algo para toda la familia.

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 10.06.19 PM

Check out the program here and go support authors and publishing houses, libros en español que otherwise we would never have a chance to buy here.

Books and films this weekend, people. Truly my cup of tea.

Must see exhibit: Stanley Kubrick at LACMA

12 Apr

Authentic film buffs and admirers of the “cine de autor” genre have pretty high standards for their movie preferences, and surely Stanley Kubrick must be on top of their list.

He was a genius and a little far out in his ideas, one of those once in a lifetime people who changed the world (and how we see it) through his movies. Lucky for us in Los Angeles, at the moment we have an amazing exhibit that allows us to get to know the mind and the work of Mr. Kubrick.

Ongoing till June 30, 2013 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA) “Stanley Kubrick” is a great collection of the work of Mr. Kubrick, from his early days when he started out as a photographer for Look Magazine all the way to his film masterpieces. There are entire sections dedicated to A Clockwork Orange, Lolita, Paths to Glory, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, and Barry Lyndon. There’s a collection of his film cameras, lenses, scripts and production notes, images and costumes from his movies, as well as personal mementos. It’s a real treat for movie lovers.

I never considered myself a fan of Kubrick’s work, (yo me veo mas como una Woody Allen person) but after this exhibit, this film god has my total admiration. Be sure to catch it if you can before it leaves in the summer.

Here are a few glimpses from Kubrick at LACMA.

The Kubrick exhibit at LACMA runs until June 30th. Go see it!

The Kubrick exhibit at LACMA runs until June 30th. Go see it!

in 1949, a young Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look magazine. This is a great picture of Rocky Graziano.

In 1949, a young Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look magazine. This is a great picture of Rocky Graziano.

IMG_4714

The wing for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

IMG_4718

I always found this movie to be very creepy. “A Clockwork Orange” is on full display.

IMG_4730

Remember these? Ay ay ay… “The Shining” cuatitas costumes on display.

IMG_4735

One of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite cameras, a Arri, for which he had special lenses made. Got goose bumps just to think what this camera has captured.

IMG_4762

“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” Yes, the typewriter is here.

OSCAR’s 2013 chisme and favorite moments

25 Feb

After the marathon show that was the 2013 Oscars, I think I’m gonna miss all the award shows that we were getting used to every weekend.

Personally, the Oscar show is a annual ritual for me, almost like an obsession where I sit in front of my tv and don’t move until it’s over. It’s been like that toda mi vida. What can I say, I’m a sucker for celebrities and Hollywood stuff. Yo hablo de los artistas como si fueran mis compas…

This year all the award shows seemed more exciting, with plenty of good movies to see and root for. It was a chance to see my two favorite men, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper again and again.

I’m glad Argo won and Ben Affleck got his Oscar for best picture (although my sentimiental favorite was Silver Linings Playbook which I saw 3 TIMES!) and made a wonderful, messed up speech que me hizo llorar un poquito. I saw it when he won with Matt Damon 15 years ago for writing Good Will Hunting, and it made me think of all those years in between when we thought we’d lost him, como decia mi amigo Alex. But he made it through!

Tambien me da gusto por la Jennifer Lawrence, although she definitely needs to work on her finesse for delivering speeches (never mind all those mishaps as she walks on stage, more on that later). But she looked beautiful nevertheless.

I was very upset that Robert De Niro didn’t win supporting actor, but I have yet to see Django Unchained, so maybe Waltz deserved it. And I can definitely say I am not a fan of Seth McFarland (really, Academy, you need to find SOMEBODY to host this thing with the grace and sophistication the show deserves.)

Other than that, me declaro fan oficial de Bradley Cooper y mi suegra, Gloria Cooper, with her feathered do and her sneakers on the red carpet, and frankly I’m a little jealous of JLaw and all the chivalrous gestures she receives from him in person and all the times he raved about her in interviews every chance he got.  Además, not only did Hugh Jackman rush to help her get up when she fell on her way up the stage, a few gifs on the internet show Bradley also running to help her. True gentlemen indeed!

Here are a few of my favorite images from the evening, taken from the Twittersphere and beyond.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are always happy to see each other. Here they are arriving at the Oscars. (photo from US Magazine Twittter)

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are always happy to see each other. Here they are arriving at the Oscars. (photo from US Magazine Twitter feed)

They have chemistry, these two. (Photo from Twitter)

They have chemistry, these two. (Photo from Twitter)

Saludando a la suegra, la mamá de Bradley Cooper, Mrs. Gloria Cooper.

Saludando a la suegra, la mamá de Bradley Cooper, Mrs. Gloria Cooper.

Like a good Italian-Irish Mama's boy, Bradley Cooper took his mom to the Oscars.

Like the good Italian-Irish Mama’s boy that he is, Bradley Cooper took his Mom to the Oscars.

¡Y que se cae la Jennifer Lawrence!

¡Y que se cae la Jennifer Lawrence!

But her two Knights in (black) shining armor went to her rescue: Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. Suertuda!

But her two Knights in (black) shining armor went to her rescue: Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. Suertuda!

From Ben Affleck;s Twitter: getting his Oscar engraved. Very happy for him.

From Ben Affleck;s Twitter: getting his Oscar engraved. Very happy for him.

Time for Argo. But more importantly, Ben Affleck habla Spanglish!

12 Oct

Happy Friday everybody. It’s time for a good movie.

I’m looking forward to ARGO, a new film out this weekend by the multi talented and multi guapísimo Ben Affleck, who acts and directs. It’s about a real life event that you may (or may not) remember from the Iranian hostage situation back in 1979. (Yo sí me acuerdo un poco but I have to spruce up on my history lessons.) It looks like a  smart movie, with a great story and good actors in it. It also was shot by the wonderful Rodrigo Garcia who is one of the best cinematographers around y además es mexicano.

¿Pero qué creen? Resulta que el Ben habla español muy bien! This makes me happy, I don’t know why, but whan I saw this video I was very pleased to learn that he can handle his Spanglish beautifully and that he’s friends with el Chivo Lubezki (another wonderful mexican cinematographer) and is not afraid to say Alejandro González Iñárritu out loud, among other things.

Here is the link to the interview and please be patient because it loads up pretty slow… but I promise you a nice Taco de Ojo con and a very smart guy. Who knew Ben Affleck lived in Mexico when he was 13 years old and that his favorite word in Spanish is “Sacapuntas“?… Awww! So funny! Take a few minutes to watch it.

My film recommendation is to go see ARGO and support al Señor Affleck. He keeps making good movies so it’s worth a trip to the theater.

Here’s the link from Warner Brothers: Ben Afffleck Interview en español.

El Ben Affleck habla español muy bien! Pero también sabe un poquito de Spanglish. His new movie “Argo” is out today.

And here’s the trailer for ARGO:

Thank you Nora Ephron. Rest in Peace

26 Jun

My heart is heavy with the news this evening about the passing of Nora Ephron. It’s hard to believe and with every tweet/obituary and remembrance I read, I just keep getting sadder.

Nora Ephron. Amazing writer, director, woman.

For ladies of a certain age, and we don’t have to say our age, but let’s just say we grew up in the 80′s, Nora Ephron’s movies and stories were a big deal. They made us believe in the fantasy of love in the movies (when the term chick-flicks was probably born) but somehow relatable to our lives. Nevermind that I was just in high school, the premise of When Harry Met Sally felt like it could be applied to me and all my friends. Todas eramos la “Sally”… (It also introduced us to Harry Connick Jr. who did the soundtrack of the movie.)

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally” 1989. “I came here tonight because when you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible…”

Her writing was smart, funny, had memorable quotes which we can say verbatim, and still manages to hook us in everytime one of her movies is on television. I’ve  probably watched most of them a hundred times, and will see it again if I come across it. “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are my favorites, but then you look at “Julie and Julia” and you are blown away by the performances and the story. Nora Ephron was so massively talented, and so wise and funny, that it seems unfair she should go, when there were so many more stories to tell.

Late in 2010 I was going through a hard time with some personal stuff and happened to listen to an interview on NPR as I was driving. I had to stop the car and have one of those “driveway moments” where you can’t turn the radio off. She was promoting a new book of essays called “I Remember Nothing” but the interview was so fantastic, I had an Aha! moment on the spot. Looking back I wish I could’ve contacted her then to thank her personally for her wisdom and wit. It all seems so relevant today.

Here’s an excerpt of the interview “I Remember Nothing” by Renee Motaigne (All Things Considered)

My religion is ‘Get over it,’” says Ephron. “And I was raised in that religion. That was the religion of my home — my mother saying, ‘Everything is copy; everything is material; someday you will think this is funny.’ My parents never said, ‘Oh you poor thing.’ It was work through it, get to the other side, turn it into something. And it worked with me.”

She also credits her parents with teaching her to focus on the funny side of even the saddest things.

“My mother (taught) me a very fundamental lesson of humor, which is that if you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you, but if you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your joke,” explains Ephron. “And you’re the hero of the joke because you’re telling the story.”

Despite all the I’m-getting-old jokes in Ephron’s new book, the last chapter, called “The O Word,” takes on a more elegiac and wistful tone as Ephron considers the serious implications of aging.

“You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can’t put things off thinking you’ll get to them someday,” she says. “If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I’m very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it.”

For Ephron, there was a moment that helped bring that realization vividly home. She was with friends, playing a round of “What would your last meal be?”

(Her pick, by the way: a Nate & Al’s hot dog.)

“But (my friend) Judy was dying of throat cancer, and she said, ‘I can’t even have my last meal.’ And that’s what you have to know is, if you’re serious about it, have it now,” Ephron says. “Have it tonight, have it all the time, so that when you’re lying on your deathbed you’re not thinking, ‘Oh I should have had more Nate & Al’s hot dogs.

So Thank You Nora Ephron! Godspeed to you and I’m sure you’ll be delighting the angels with your stories up in heaven.

A good amount of links have been popping up all over. Here are some notable ones:

NY Times: From Sharp Edges to Sugary Success

NY Times: Writer and Filmmaker with a Genius for Humor

LA Times: Nora Ephron: A Life in Pictures

Stars react to Nora Ephron’s death

Five Great Nora Ephron Movie Scenes

Rock of Ages starts tomorrow!

14 Jun

Here’s a movie I’m looking forward to seeing, and which I’ve been hearing about for months. Rock of Ages is the debut film for our very own Diego Boneta (paisano nuestro) who leads an all star cast including Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julianne Hough, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, and Alec Baldwin. Is that a cool lineup or what? The screenplay is by Justin Theroux (el novio de la Jennifer Aniston), Chris D’Arienzo and Allen Loeb, and the director is Adam Shankman. (Todos tienen nombres de rockeros…)

Rock of Ages is a rock musical I don’t want to miss. Here’s the movie poster you can win below.

The movie starts tomorrow, but the good people at Warner Bros. want to share the excitement by giving away a few gifts from the movie. Here are the prizes:

1 – Rock of Ages Splat Hair Color Kit (Various Colors: Lusty Lavender, Electric Blue, Hot Pink, Jet Black, Luscious Berry) like the image below.

This is the Splat haircolor that is all the rage at the moment.

·         1 – Rock of Ages Splat Bag

·         1 – Rock of Ages Arsenal T-Shirt

·         1 – Rock of Ages I Love Stacy Jaxx Tank

·         1 – Rock of Ages Poster

All you have to do is leave a comment below, and unscramble the words to reveal the Mexican born actor starring in ROCK OF AGES:  GIDEO ATBENO

Visit and Like “Warner Bros. Latino” on Facebook, where you can find additional content, promotions and updates on behalf of the film. Click on the facebook icon to go to their page.

 

“Rock of Ages” tells the story of small town girl Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake and more.

Nuestro paisano Diego Boneta tiene su primer estelar. Let’s go support our homie!

At the Oscars: Demián, Demián, Ra! Ra! Ra! (New Bromance: Bichir and Clooney!)

27 Feb

¡Seguimos echando porras!

However, Oscar night did not go as planned for our favorites, at least for the Mexican nominees Demián Bichir and (five time!) nominated cinematographer Emanuel Lubezki. When all is said and done, we still feel a little bit robbed, but as they say, “it is an honor just to be nominated.”  I’ll leave out my nationalistic sentiments and all the “shoulda woulda” comments. Ni modo, no nos ha tocado ver ganar a nuestros nominados todos estos años, but at least it was a fun ride.

Para mi Demián fue el ganador y no sólo porque en mi humilde opinión fue la mejor actuación. Ganó porque sólo hay que ver como lo reciben y quieren todos los del Hollywood royalty to know he’s up there with the big guns.

Look at this picture below from the arrivals last night and how Clooney greeted Bichir in this lovely “Quiubole compa!” moment. That is genuine love among men, my friends. You can’t fake that, I don’t care how good an actor you are.

We witnessed a true Hollywood romance brewing before our eyes on national television in the Oscar pre-telecast:

Feel the LOVE. Clooney and Bichir are the newest Hollywood power couple. (photos from the E! Telecast)

From People.com, a lovely moment between Demian and Clooney.

We also found these great pictures on Quien.com, back from the Oscar nominee luncheon in Beverly Hills a few weeks ago. You can practically feel the joy in these images en donde se ve que le están echando muchas porras a Demián. 

Y así se acaba otro Oscar season. Congratulations to Lubezki and Bichir, you made us very proud.

From Quien.com (Demian y su momento Whiskey, articulo 26 de febrero 2012)

Demián, Demián, RA RA RA!! Foto de Quien.com ("Demián y su momento "whiskey" articulo 26 de febrero 2012)

Andale Demián! Mr. Bichir is having fun in NYC

16 Feb

Faltan sólo  2 weeks until the Oscars and our sentimental (and critical favorite) Mr. Demián Bichir took a few days off to go to New York and have some fun and promote “A Better Life”.

This morning he was interviewed on Good Morning America by George Stephanopolous. And we have to say he looked great, so relaxed and cool. You can tell he’s enjoying this moment. He talked about the movie, he squeezed in a little shout out to his paisanos los jardineros, and he joked that he is now BFF’s with George Clooney and Brad and Angie. Qué tal!

Here’s the interview for you to enjoy: Click on this link to take you to the ABC page:

Tambien le tocó estar en el Fashion Week. He made an appearance at the Oscar de la Renta fashion show earlier in the week, with front row seats! And obviously, he was checking out the models (and the fashion).

Photo from Quien.com

De la revista Quien.com

Pero lo que mas gusto nos da es que la gente lo está empezando a reconocer y le piden autografos. Here he is, happy as a clam, signing autographs as he leaves the GMA show in Times Square.

Bravo Demián, we’re rooting for you! Queremos que ganes.

Felicidades Demián Bichir y Emanuel Lubezki, 2 Mexicanos nominados al Oscar

24 Jan

Hoy es una de esas mañanas en que da gusto ver que el talento mexicano es reconocido. A las 5 de la mañana anunciaron las nominaciones a los premios Oscar y como todo el mundo sabe, la sorpresa fue Demián Bichir por su actación en “A Better Life” (director Chris Weitz). Quiero que sepan que fue el primero que anunciaron de los cinco actores, por orden alfabético, así que brincamos de emoción. (Ver Video)

Oscar announcements this morning. Snapshot, ABC Video on YouTube.

Hace unos meses puse un link aquí de una entrevista que le hicieron a Bichir en el NY Times y por lo visto, tanto a la reportera como a su humilde servilleta nos cautivó su persona. Aquí esta el link de nuevo: http://lifeinspanglish.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/a-must-see-movie-a-better-life/…Ojalá que puedan leerla y que vean la película, aunque sí te parte el corazón.

Tomada de la revista US Magazine.

Lo mejor fue la reacción de Bichir, quien dijo:

“I’m overwhelmed for having my name among those incredible actors. Hopefully more and more people will jump into iTunes and Netflix to see our film. That will be the biggest reward we could get. I dedicate this nomination to those 11 million human beings who make our lives easier and better in the US.”

¡Bravo Demián!
****
En la categoría de fotografía,  Emanuel Lubezki  fue nominado por su cinematografía de la película “Tree of Life” (el tema “Life” parece amuleto de la buena suerte, no?) del director Terence Malick.
El “Chivo” Lubezki (como le dicen de cariño) lleva varias nominaciones, y para mi que es el mejor fotógrafo de cine que hay. Claro que lo digo con orgullo porque veo sus películas desde que fue fotógrafo de “Solo con tu Pareja” (1991,  director Alfonso Cuarón). Ojalá que este sea su año.

Emanuel Lubezki trabajo con Terence Malick en "Tree of Life". Foto tomada del blog "Below the line" http://www.btlnews.com/awards/contender-director-of-photography-emmanuel-lubezki-the-tree-of-life/

Los premios Oscar son el 26 de Febrero. Prendamos veladoras y rezémosle a San Judas Tadeo amiguitos. Ya es hora que los mexicanos nos llevemos más premios y reconocimiento por hacer cine, algo que hacemos muy bien! Y estas nominaciones son muy bien merecidas. Felicidades a todos los nominados.

Fall movies que quiero ver

18 Nov

Are you all getting ready for Thanksgiving next week? I am looking forward to the food, the family love, and the pumpkin pie. Also, the long weekend is a great chance to catch up on all the fall movie and new releases at my local Arclight and Laemmle theaters (los mejores cines en LA, if you ask me.)

Here are a few clips of recent and upcoming releases that look like my cup of tea.

THE DESCENDANTS- Directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney. This is the latest release by the director of Election, About Schmidt and Sideways,  and it’s been getting wonderful reviews. Este es un director que me gusta mucho por como maneja las emociones y los dramas de la vida diaria con mucho dark humor pero sin hacer juicios.

THE MUPPETS- Directed by James Bobin and starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams.

This movie is for the kid in ALL of us.

I grew up in Mexico watching The Muppets and they were just as equally famous over there as they were here.  It was called “El Show de los Muppets” y lo pasaban en español.  We would watch them every Sunday nights on Canal 13 (which no longer exists) and it was a BIG deal.

Jason Segel (who also wrote the movie) recently tweeted that he was in Mexico promoting the film and he didn’t know why the female reporter was getting all emotional about it. Well, that’s because we loved it too. Ask anyone who grew up with them and we can immediately time travel back to the late 70′s/ early 80′s and start signing the Muppet theme while visualizing the Theater opening…. “It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights…” (Or as we used to sing it “Ta ta ta ra ta ta ta…Ta ra ta ra ta ta”) Here are the Trailer and the Original Theme song from the TV Show.

The Muppets Movie

The Muppets Original Song

HUGO- Directed by Martin Scorsese. Just by looking at this trailer, I immediately know I want to see this film. It looks amazingly beautiful.  Don’t you love the cinematography and 3D animation? The fact that Mr. Scorsese directed this movie makes me want to see it even more.

Netflix, what the hell?

20 Sep

Did you hear about the recent changes to Netflix? Not only have they doubled the subscription rate “just because we feel like it,” they are now separating into 2 companies: Quickster, which will handle DVDs, and Netflix will continue to stream online. You’ll go to 2 different websites to select movies and you’ll get 2 separate bills on your credit card. (Bad move, people!)

People are mad! I’m mad!  I’m seriously considering dropping my subscription and just going to the movie theaters more often. (Oh wait, eso me sale más caro.)

Screen shot from the LA Times. By the way, I hate the name Quickster.

Evidently, the senior management team at Netflix never heard of the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” because not only are they breaking their company apart, they’re practically plunging down their stock value and alienating us.

This consumer discontent is already making the rounds in the news. See the link from the LA Times published today and tell me, would any sane business person really think this was a smart business move? It doesn’t make sense to mess with your loyal customers.

Read it here: “Once high flying Netflix is now stumbling.” (LAT, Sept. 20. 2011)

Maybe Netflix empezó a descuidar a su consumer base ever since they announced they were expanding into Latin America and other parts of the world. I know my friends and family in México were so excited. Of course they wouldn’t be receiving DVDs through the mail y con el cartero (el correo parece que se quedo en el siglo pasado en algunos lugares) but they’re all down for getting the service online. Hmm, maybe I should alert them to think twice before subscribing. It’s hard to recommend them after this fiasco.

Pero si no es Netflix, ahora con quien nos vamos? Se acabaron los video rental places. Maybe now the local Blockbuster store wishes they had stuck around just a bit longer, right?

A new must see movie: “A Better Life”

22 Aug

Happy Monday….

These are the dog days of summer, where you start pondering how it all went by so fast, right?

I did not watch many movies these summer, but the ones I did had a profound effect.  I have still to catch up on so many of them, but for right now, let me tell you about this one that has received wonderful reviews and has hit close to home.

We've seen him in novelas, theater, tv series and now more frequently in films in the US. Demian Bichir is an amazing actor. Photo from the NY Times.

“A Better Life” stars Demian Bichir, yes the same Demian we all grew up with from Mexico, in a powerful role as a character we all see here in Los Angeles everyday: the honest day worker, gardener and immigrant who wants a chance at “a better life.” It is a beautiful character and performance, directed by Chris Weitz (director of About a Boy, which is another great film.) Even though immigration is a complicated political subject these days, they’ve presented a story that’s all about humanity, family, and heart.

Here’s an interesting fact: Chris Weitz is the grandson of Lupita Tovar, the famous Mexican actress who came to Hollywood in the 1930′s. No wonder he gets the sensibilities right, you can see there’s a certain honor and respect for immigrants and the culture. He was on NPR recently, speaking of his movie and his experience researching the subject with actual illegal immigrants in LA. (This interview is totally worth 20 minutes of your time: Click here to listen: Chris Weitz, from New Moon to A Better Life.

Here’s the the link to the New York Times article just published this weekend on Demian “The Devil and Demian Bichir” – a great profile on a great actor you’ll be seeing more of.

And here’s the trailer for “A Better Life” which played in theaters briefly. Check your listings and go support it if you can.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Chato! Cantinflas cumple 100 años

4 Aug

Uno de los mexicanos más brillantes, talentosos y famosos de la historia, Mario Moreno “Cantinflas” cumple 100 años de nacimiento el 12 de Agosto. Happy Birthday Cantinflas!!

Cantinflas cumple 100 años y lo festejarán desde hoy hasta el 11 de agosto en la Cineteca Nacional, México D.F. (Foto via revista Chilango.com) Las funciones empiezan a las 7Pm en la Sala 3.

Para celebrar, la Cineteca Nacional (el mejor cine en México, D.F., si me preguntan) está organizando festejos y screenings de sus mejores películas a partir de hoy, 4 de agosto, para conmemorar el nacimiento de Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes (su nombre completo, via el IMDB)

Si están en el DF esta semana, no se pierdan la oportunidad de irse a disfrutar de estas funciones en la Cineteca y de irse a cantinflear.

La portada del DVD "El Bolero de Raquel."

Cantinflas era único y basta con ver algunos minutos de cualquiera de sus películas para empezar a reir a carcajadas. Aquí está un clip de “El Bolero de Raquel” con la famosa escena de baile. Es un poquito largo pero está fabuloso.

A pesar de que pasó a mejor vida en 1993, la gente todavía le tiene muchísimo cariño. Aqui en Hollywood hizo “Around the World in 80 days” con mucho éxito en 1955 y en su momento fue reconocido también por Charlie Chaplin como “the world’s greatest comedian.” (That’s a wonderful endorsement!) Alguna vez me tocó ver una entrevista en que le preguntaron a Dustin Hoffman quien es su actor favorito y respondió, “Cantinflas! I don’t understand a word he’s saying, but I know it’s fabulous acting.”

Mario Moreno "Cantinflas" en "Si yo fuera diputado" (1952)

Popcorn movies y cine snob

17 Jun

It’s that time of year again, time to enjoy summer weather and mindless entertainment. Póngale mantequilla a las palomitas please!

Here we go. Summer's here with all the popcorn movies.

I have yet to see Bridesmides and the other fun stuff that’s out there right now. But I’m more excited about other non commercial nor maintream movies which look much more interesting.

Beginners:

"Beginners" stars 2 of my favorite actors: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor. Looks very interesting.

(Synopsis from website:) From writer/director Mike Mills comes a comedy/drama about how deeply funny and transformative life can be, even at its most serious moments. -Beginners- imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Golden Globe Award nominee Ewan McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Melanie Laurent of Inglourious Basterds) only months after his father Hal (Academy Award nominee Christopher Plummer) has passed away. This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father who – following 44 years of marriage – came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. The upheavals of Hal’s new honesty, by turns funny and moving, brought father and son closer than they’d ever been able to be. Now Oliver endeavors to love Anna with all the bravery, humor, and hope that his father taught him.

Buck: (Documentary)

Buck looks like an amazing documentary and was a hit at Sundance this year.

(Synopsis:) “Buck” follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life “horse-whisperer”, he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses – and people – with his understanding, compassion and respect. In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life.

And now to my favorite movie I’ve seen this year, so far,  “Midnight in Paris” from Woody Allen. If you love intelligent movies with dialogue (remember those?) and love to read the literary American classics, or if you just plain love Paris, then this is the movie for you. I won’t give it away but I sincerely hope you get a chance to see it. It’s so original, I can’t describe it without giving out too much information. Just go see it! (Plus the poster is really nice.)

Great movie, one of the best from the recent work of Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris."

Hola México Film Fest hits NY! Don’t miss this movie.

24 May

And the Spanglish trailer of the day goes to “Salvando al Soldado Pérez,” which is a little homage to a Steven Spielberg movie from 1998. (I’m sure you’ll remember which one it is.) The concept is so silly and far out, it actually works.

“Salvando al Soldado Pérez” is the opening night film at the Hola México Film Fest which moves to New York City from June 2 – 5th, after a great run in LA. We still have a few good movies today and tomorrow in LA, so let’s go to the Montalbán.

In the meantime, here’s the trailer. Love the cast names in Spanglish at the end!

Empezando bien el “Hola México” Film Fest

20 May

Anoche en el “Opening Night” del Hola Mexico Film Fest hubo de todo: Buen cine, mucho ambiente, musica, tequila, mole oaxaqueño, y paparazzis, todos reunidos en el teatro Ricardo Montalbán. Felicidades a Samuel Douek y a todos los organizadores por lograr reunir a tanta gente (700 plus) y traernos buen cine.

“Acorazado” fue una excelente película para abrir el festival. Creo que todos salimos encantados. Hace mucho que no veíamos una película con humor tan inteligente, con elementos de realismo mágico, y con un tema actual (como la migración al norte) en una comedia.  Además incluye una autocrítica mexicana al final que nos dejó pensando y riendo a la vez. Bravo!!! Y muchas felicidades para el director Alvaro Curiel, el productor Billy Rovzar (ahi estuvieron para presentar el filme y después para un Q & A) y todo el cast que estuvo fabuloso en su papel.

Nos reimos muchísimo y la disfrutamos taaanto, a pesar de un sound system un poco deficiente (a veces entendíamos mejor si leíamos los subtitles en inglés) pero era tanta la risa que se nos olvidó  un poco este detalle.

El festival continúa hasta el próximo miércoles 25 de mayo. Deberían darse una vuelta, porque todas las películas valen la pena y porque difícilmente las van a poder ver en otro lugar aquí en LA.

Hoy viernes están “Te Presento a Laura” con Martha Higareda a las 7pm y la premiere del documental “Presunto Culpable” a las 9:30 de la noche. Este documental habla del sistema judicial mexicano y ha dado mucho de que hablar en México.

Aquí esta el website para más información y horarios: http://www.holamexicoff.com/schedule

Gracias especiales a Bricia López y La Guelaguetza. Those mole tamales and Oaxacan goodies really hit the spot after the movie.

Samuel Douek, organizador y director del Hola México Film Festival.

Paparazzi shots.

Xesus, Martha y Bricia, de los primeros en llegar. Bricia nos trajo lo mejor de La Guelaguetza, comida oaxaqueña. Delicioso!!

One of the marquees at the Montalbán.

Después se fue llenando más el cine...hasta que fuimos como 700!

Cuándo han visto que empiece un film fest con Banda? Only the Hola Mexican Film Fest does it, thank you very much.

La Guelaguetza, the best Oaxacan food restaurant in LA, was among the sponsors. Thank you Bricia for feeding us! Esta foto fue antes de que llegaramos todos a comer.

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