Originally published at Se Fija!. Republished by permission.
Four very different and pretty worthwhile movies featuring outstanding Latino performances dropped Tuesday, January 15: "Counterpunch," "Won't Back Down," "To Rome with Love," and‘«Űof all things‘«Ű"Merlin: The Complete Fourth Season."
"Counterpunch" is probably the most interesting, and certainly the one with Latinos at the center. Danny Trejo, Steven Bauer, Alvaro Orlando and a host of other Latino actors populate this based-on-a-true-story about Emilio (Orlando), a young boxer from the wrong side of the tracks with big dreams of winning the Golden Gloves boxing championship. Suddenly he finds himself locked up and has to fight his way back into the winning circle and a second shot at the championship title. Written and directed by Kenneth Castillo. Here's a film that should have gotten a theatrical release, but missed it by "that much." Now, at least, you can get it on DVD.
Woody Allen has come back a bit after a very long dry spell with films like "Midnight in Paris." "To Rome with Love," however, would be considered "minor Woody" at best. Sony called it "a kaleidoscopic comedy movie set in one of the world's most enchanting cities." This time Jessie Eisenberg play the Woody-surrogate; there are actually four semi-linked stories who biggest common denominator is geography: they call take place in Rome. And Pen?ģlope Cruz is central to one of those stories.
Oscar Isaac ("The Bourne Legacy," "For Greater Glory") is far more central to the story of "Won't Back Down" , where Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers, one a teacher, who will stop at nothing to transform their children's failing inner city school. Perez is their value ally and a powerhouse (as usual) in her own right. Rosie Perez is a part of the struggle as well. And you can see Rosie talk about her role in "Won't Back Down" (here, where we talked about it when it was released (briefly) theatrically.
And then there's Santiago Cabrera, the ridiculously handsome young Latino whose international good looks have led him to some interesting places, like the precognitive painter (and early casualty) on Heroes and a too-close-for-comfort writer on "Dexter." This time, he plays the iconic handsome hero, Lancelot, in the British TV series "Merlin" that appeared here in the U.S. on BBC America. Season Four of the series is now available on DVD, and Cabrera's Camelot is central to the plot in some of those key episodes. It's a handsome and clever re-interpretation of the British classic tale.
Again: four very different performances in four very different kinds of movies. Which means a little something for everyone this Tuesday on DVD.