Los Olvidados (1950)

Los Olvidados Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

Los Olvidados Movie Review

Los Olvidados is a 1950 Mexican crime film directed by Luis Bunuel. It is a very good and important film, but not without its flaws.

The film is a depiction of poverty and crime in the slums of Mexico City and it focuses on children in particular. I found its subject matter to be very important and it is a great history lesson as the film is realistic and depicts everything as it really was back in the day in Mexico. Also, this is one of the rare crime films that I actually enjoyed as the film isn’t violent and it is pretty engaging to watch.

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Just now you remember that I’m your son

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Los Olvidados Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

Pedro’s character is a deeply tragic one. Everything about him is heartbreaking from his relationship with his mother to his reluctant involvement in a crime to his evident doom. His mother is also an interesting character and of course El Jaibo is despicable, but well depicted. The acting is also pretty good and all of the children gave quite stupendous performances for their age.

Los Olvidados is far from a great movie and now is the perfect time to pinpoint some of its obvious flaws. Let’s just say that this is the type of film that is great in substance, but lacks in style which is weird having in mind the director here is Luis Bunuel. But unfortunately the technical aspects are pretty mediocre and they significantly reduced the quality of this movie.

The cinematography is weak, there isn’t anything remotely memorable here in terms of the imagery and the directing from Luis Bunuel is also quite troublesome. I particularly fault his willingness to go into surrealist territory here. The film is realistic for the most part, but there are some scenes including that prolonged dream sequence that are surrealist in the director’s typical fashion. But the problem is that this movie did not need any of that and that just becomes a bit of a distraction. Those scenes felt like they belong in an entirely different movie.

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Los Olvidados Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

But thankfully the editing in Los Olvidados is really good and the film is entertaining from beginning to end and its three act structure is well executed. The tone is suitably serious and mature and the dialogue is very good and grounded in reality. I would have liked a more emotional approach, but the movie still has its tragic tone. And I liked its almost documentary like approach as it is essential in painting this real and important issue. Overall, it isn’t great, but I still liked it a lot.

Los Olvidados is far from a great movie as the technical aspects are rather mediocre and Bunuel’s direction is troublesome as his inclusion of surrealist scenes was entirely unnecessary for this movie, but this is still an important and very realistic crime film with an engaging, well crafted plot, realistic characters, good acting and such a tragic ending.

My Rating – 4

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Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Y Tu Mamá También Movie Review

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Y Tu Mamá También Movie Review

Y Tu Mamá También is a 2001 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuaron and starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. It is quite a good, albeit problematic flick.

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Life is like the surf,

so give yourself away like the sea

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The film is about two immature teenage boys who take a road trip with an older woman. The film is very interesting in its tone as it does have its charm and fun factor to it. But it is one of the most sexual films I’ve ever seen as it basically contains an explicit scene for every ten minutes or so. And yes, that bothered me as I do not like such an explicit approach. But on the other hand, I did find it suitable for this particular movie as the entire film deals with the subject of sex which is why it was necessary to portray it realistically.

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Y Tu Mamá También Movie Review

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Speaking of realism, there lies my problem. This film just isn’t realistic to me as it feels false in its ending. Everything that came before the ending was mostly okay, if a bit too hard to buy at times. But that ending, although definitely sad and memorable, is still totally ridiculous as I never really bought the choice from its two main characters to never see each other again as they were such great friends. And that entire homoerotic moment was also a bit difficult to believe.

The characters are fine. Neither of them is particularly memorable with the exception of Luisa. I predicted that ending and her role in the film much earlier which is a testament to the film’s unfortunate predictability, but I still found her to be a very interesting and likable character. And the two guys are fine and although annoying at times, they are mostly realistic in their depiction.

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Y Tu Mamá También Movie Review

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The performances are excellent in Y Tu Mamá También. Maribel Verdu gave such a good performance. Diego Luna isn’t as great, but Gael Garcia Bernal is quite good. But all three of them were great together. As for Alfonso Cuaron, this isn’t my favorite movie from him, but I still found it to be good and he did a great job directing it.

Y Tu Mamá También is really well paced with never a dull moment. It is very engaging to follow and mostly an incredibly entertaining and fun movie. I wouldn’t call it funny, it is somewhat funny at times, but not that funny. It is well filmed and it does have a sometimes annoying, but still realistic dialogue. It is professional both in its acting and directing.

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Y Tu Mamá También Movie Review

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It isn’t particularly emotional which was a flaw to me as the ending was forced in its emotion and heartbreak mostly because it didn’t feel natural or real. And the beginning is forgettable as it took me some time to get invested in its characters and its storyline. But the middle parts of the film are the finest and the film does succeed as a road flick as it has some fine scenery and a nice adventurous tone to it. The score is also solid.

Overall, Y Tu Mamá También did not wow me, never if I’m to be honest. And it annoyed me quite a bit with its sexual sequences, but I still found it to be different and memorable enough to be a good film and another strong turn from a very good director.

Y Tu Mamá También is too annoying and too explicit at times and its ending is definitely unrealistic and overly predictable, but it is overall a good and very memorable Cuaron movie filled with realistic characters, an interesting tone to it and some fine scenery. It is a problematic, but still quite a good Mexican film that succeeds as a solid road movie.

My Rating – 4

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The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

The Devil's Backbone

The Devil’s Backbone Review

The Devil’s Backbone is a 2001 Spanish-Mexican drama horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro and it is one of the director’s most acclaimed works.

It is set in a badly operated orphanage and it follows an orphan boy during the Spanish Civil War. The story itself is very well written and it is such a dramatic movie. It is professionally scripted and it is emotionally resonant. However, my major issue with it is that it is not a horror film. It is just not that. It has a ghost and some horror elements, but it is mostly just a straight drama and I can’t understand how anyone would classify this as a horror film. My second issue with the plot itself is that it lacks focus and with too many characters in here, it doesn’t quite know which one to follow and the whole movie somehow doesn’t know its identity and never establishes it unfortunately.

The characters are well developed. Carlos is such a likable kid and your really root for him. The sequence near the beginning where he is left in the orphanage is just so devastating to witness. And the other kids are all really well depicted with Jaime being the most memorable. Carmen is great and Jacinto is such a menacing creation, but it is Casares who is the standout of the adults and the scene with him and Carmen near the end is such a heartbreaking scene.

The acting is also really good and professional. Eduardo Noriega is quite good and Marisa Paredes is fine as well, but again it is Federico Luppi who shines the most in a difficult role and he is the highlight.

It is a technically polished work, as expected from the director. The cinematography is really good and although the scenery isn’t as memorable as in his other films, it is still quite good. The costumes are good, the acting is great and the direction is superb. It is also a really well paced movie and never boring or too fast. It is also a smart film and really well executed overall with the action being really well done. I wished to see more dialogue in it, but it is visually arresting with some incredibly moving scenes not just emotionally but also in looks. It really is such an emotional movie.

The Devil’s Backbone is never scary and it isn’t particularly atmospheric which was a big problem for me. Not only is it not a horror film as everyone says it is, but those rare horror moments aren’t particularly memorable and the dramatic moments are much better realized. The ghost is an interesting creation and the final sequence with him is terrific, but he was still a lost potential and never properly explored or executed.

But it is a sophisticated and well crafted film that is undoubtedly the director’s best early effort and much better than both ‘Cronos‘ and ‘Mimic‘. It has his signature style and professional approach to it, but it is still miles away from the quality of his future ‘Pan’s Labyrinth‘, but it is still an evident progress for him.

The Devil’s Backbone is very well acted and directed with fine characters, great visuals, some memorable sequences and evident emotional resonance. It isn’t a horror film and the horror elements aren’t as good as the dramatic ones, but it is still the director’s best early effort and overall a very well crafted movie.

My Rating – 4

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Interior & Exterior Stills from The Devil’s Backbone

[wppa type=”slide” album=”5″ size=”1200″ align=”center”]Any comment[/wppa]

 

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Cronos (1993)

Cronos

Cronos Movie Review

Cronos is a 1993 horror film which is a unique albeit flawed take on vampire fiction and is most importantly the directorial debut for the acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro.

It is about the ancient device that can give eternal life which was developed by an alchemist in the 16th century and is now discovered by an antique dealer. The concept for this movie is phenomenal, so offbeat and incredibly authentic. It also revives the vampire film with a rather unique take on it. However, it is unfortunately a great concept executed poorly. I am talking about the eventual tendency from the movie to succumb into usual horror cliches which I found incredibly disappointing.

The first act of the film, half an hour approximately, is splendid. It is riveting, it is original and it is above all a very intriguing story. It also ends on a warm note. But the whole middle part of the movie does not work as it has too many familiar plot points that contrast the movie’s otherwise creative nature. That is why overall it disappointed me in the end.

The characters are solidly developed as are their relationships. It is also a solidly acted film, albeit nothing too special. But overall most of the characters are well realized for the genre and they serve their purpose.

Technically, Cronos is okay. It has memorable imagery and the effects are definitely the highlight with the make-up being incredibly well done. The score is forgettable and the dialogue is unfortunately problematic. It is never as sophisticated as the script commands and some of the lines are just too typical and took me out of the film. It is a solidly paced, tight movie. The tone is well handled with some gory and atmospheric thrills, but also with some warm and emotional, even effervescent moments. But it is never particularly scary, the atmosphere is okay but it too much relies on gore instead of the actual scares and atmosphere.

 Cronos is certainly memorable and very authentic in concept, but weak in execution. I liked that it has a heart with some quite heartwarming moments, especially near the end. But the action and the climax are too dressed in blockbuster clothing to be enjoyed more. And I have to talk about the gore. It was overwhelming at times to me personally, but they did not go too far with it thankfully. It was sometimes too much to handle, but it is mostly not that bad. But the script, no matter how unsuccessfully executed it is, is incredibly sophisticated and just something new. It breathes fresh new life to a tired subgenre of vampire horror.

The directing from Guillermo del Toro is definitely good and it has his signature touch, but this is still his feature debut and he was much better later down his career. But this film established him as a terrific new director and showed what he could do and how creative he could be. Yes, it is a very low-budget movie, but he with so little money did the best he could and created a really professional film which is an incredible achievement and the rise of a new talent in cinema.

Cronos is a polarizing experience. It is a great concept weakly executed. It is well made and well directed and it is such an original take on the tired genre with a very sophisticated script, but the dialogue is everything but and the film eventually succumbs to the usual horror trappings which was immensely disappointing. It is a solid directorial debut for Guillermo del Toro, but this is still far from his best work.

My Rating – 3.5

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