10 Best Latino-Centric Movies From Pantelion Films

By Editor April 26, 2017 21:30

10 Best Latino-Centric Movies From Pantelion Films

By Randy Cordova, The Arizona Republic

In Hollywood’s golden era, studios had an identity. Warner Bros. was the place for gangster flicks. MGM was the home of colorful musicals. Horror fans knew that a Universal monster movie would scare them silly.

These days, Pantelion Films has its own profitable niche. The company, formed in 2010, targets Hispanic audiences with a wide variety of movies. Its latest, How to Be a Latin Lover, is its highest-profile release yet, opening on close to 1,000 screens Friday, and featuring a starry cast headed by Eugenio Derbez and Salma Hayek.

If the comedic farce is your first exposure to Pantelion, it shouldn’t be your last. The company has presented a wildly diverse slate of films: You’ll find documentaries, comedies, biopics, indie-style thrillers, even a Will Ferrell vehicle.

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Here are 10 of the studio’s finest:

  1. Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer(2016)

Paco, a sad-sack car salesman, feels trapped in his marriage to a caustic, constantly snippy woman. His solution? Hire “El Taiger,” a middle-aged, overweight pickup artist to woo her away; legend has it that the guy once broke Salma Hayek’s heart, so he must be good. The charming remake of a 2008 Argentine film (the title means “Looking for a Boyfriend for My Wife”) features a terrific performance by winsome Arath de la Torre as the desperate hubby, here channeling the soul of Martin Freeman.

   9.  Más Negro Que La Noche (2014) 

This remake of a 1975 drive-in favorite is a straightforward haunted-house story that embraces the genre’s cliches and has a ball with them. Greta (Zuria Vega) inherits a huge country home after the death of her aunt. There is one catch: Greta needs to take care of the woman’s beloved cat, who roams the house and the grounds. Director Henry Bedwell favors creepy atmosphere and visual flair (the film was released in 3-D) over character development and logic, but the mix works.

  1. Un Padre No Tan Padre(2017)

The title, a bit of wordplay that roughly means A Not-Very-Good Father, certainly fits: Servando (Hector Bonilla) is a terminally grouchy 85-year-old man who is evicted from his assisted-living facility for bad behavior. He winds up staying with his son (pop star Benny Ibarra), who fancies himself a modern-day bohemian. The gentle, quirky comedy is more layered than it initially appears, which is one reason why the film’s emotional moments are surprisingly effective.

  1. Summer Camp(2015)

The title sounds like a long-lost drive-in flick from the ‘80s. Close, but not quite. Three Americans get jobs working as counselors at a summer camp in Spain. Before you’re exactly sure where the film is heading, it’s suddenly off and running: Is it a slasher flick? A ghost story? A zombie thriller? No spoilers here; it’s one of those films that works better the less you know.

  1. Instructions Not Included(2013)

This release became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in the United States. That’s not surprising — it’s a vibrant, sentimental comedy and features a delightful auteur turn by rubber-faced Eugenio Derbez, writing, directing, producing and starring as a playboy who suddenly becomes a single father to a young girl. The movie takes a serious turn in the last act, when the girl’s mother reappears and wants to regain custody. The film’s tonal shifts are occasionally jarring — there are even hints of magical realism littered about — and the ending is designed to yank tears pretty forcefully, but it’s hard not to be engaged. Particularly funny: Notice the courtroom scene in which Derbez starts reciting the Mexican standard Cuando Calienta el Sol as part of his testimony.

    5.  Casa de Mi Padre (2012) 

This all-Spanish comedy stars Will Ferrell as the son of a wealthy Mexican rancher who must save his family’s business from a drug kingpin. You expect one of the gags to involve how badly Ferrell speaks the language. Surprise! The joke is just how commendable the actor’s Spanish actually is. The unpredictable spoof takes a Grindhouse approach to telenovelas, Mexican variety shows and south-of-the-border drug-smuggling flicks, spitting out the results in delightful fashion. Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal join in the fun; so does “El Puma” himself, famous singer Jose Luis Rodriguez, in an outrageous cameo.

  1. Nosotros Los Nobles(2013)

German (Gonzalo Vega), a wealthy Mexico City businessman, is disgusted by the shallow values of his three spoiled adult children. To teach them a lesson, he pretends the family has lost its fortune, and now his offspring must fend for themselves. Warmhearted satire also makes some pointed digs at the economic divide in Mexico. For example, his daughter (hilarious Karla Souza) blanches when she has to visit a store. “What are we, in Thailand?” she barks.

  1. Everybody Loves Somebody(2017)

You know the kind of person who is bad for you, but the sparks just fly when you’re together? That’s Daniel (José María Yazpik) in Everybody Loves Somebody. He’s a charming rogue of a doctor who once broke the heart of Los Angeles obstetrician Clara (Karla Souza). He shows up again, just when she’s on the verge of cleaning up her messy life and starting a promising new relationship with a medical resident (Ben O’Toole). Catalina Aguilar Mastretta writes and directs this smart and snappy rom-com; one of its neatest traits is you’re not sure who, if anyone, Clara will wind up with.

  1. No Eres Tú, Soy Yo(2010)

Has a man ever cried onscreen as much as Derbez does here? He plays Javier, a Mexico City cardiologist whose wife suddenly leaves him, citing the film’s title (It’s Not You, It’s Me) as an explanation. That starts a downward spiral, as he loses his job, moves in with his parents and starts therapy. In a lesser actor’s hands, the guy could be a major annoyance (his self-involved moping starts to wear down the film’s characters), but Derbez manages to be hilarious and still retain his humanity. This is one pity party you’ll want to attend.

  1. 600 Miles(2015)

Gabriel Ripstein directs a quietly harrowing tale set on the Arizona-Mexico border. After a confrontation goes bad, an ATF agent (Tim Roth) winds up bound and gagged in the backseat of an SUV belonging to a young Mexican gun runner (Kristyan Ferrer), who is driving farther away from the United States. Do not expect a Hollywood-style thriller; this is more of a bracing character study, as we see the two men feel each other out. Stark and strangely haunting, almost in the same way No Country for Old Men is. Stay through the end credits, which will make you re-examine one of the character’s actions and motives.


Source: USAToday.com


By Editor April 26, 2017 21:30

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