Category Archives: Entertainment

A Dog’s Purpose (Film review): B-

a-dogs-purpose

I saw the recently controversial film “A Dog’s Purpose”, despite repeated calls from PETA to boycott the movie.  The day that the TMZ clips emerged, I decided I was going to see the film anyway because I felt the overall message of the movie (based on the book from the same title) was much more important than what had actually taken place behind the set.

Don’t get me wrong, it was despicable for the German Shepherd’s trainer  to even attempt to put him in the water, despite “Hercules” not wanting to go in.  Production was apparently stopped on that day because of his refusal to go in the water, but the fact that one of the production crew members yelled “just thrown him in” made me want to THROW HIM IN (The Human) instead!

A week after its premiere, on a typical workday for most folks and at a time where most people are at work, I snuck in quietly and watched it – promising myself to be objective.  Well…  I was BAWLING almost throughout the entire movie!  Sure the movie was predictable.  You pretty much knew what would happen next and which parts to cry but because of the PETA-led controversy, I also found myself crying during the German Shepherd’s water scene.  Honestly, there was nothing “sad” about that part in the film (story-wise) but I could not take my mind off of the TMZ clip where Hercules clearly was not feeling like going in the water. I mean, REALLY!

For those who are animal lovers, this film will be good although I felt it could have been much more powerful than what it was.  There were many other avenues to explore, such as animal abandonment and shelter-life that were merely touched upon by the film producers who clearly wanted to steer away from becoming an ASPCA sponsored hour and half film. Overall a good but predictable film:  B-

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Film review): A+

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-movie-poster-homepage-size When the movie first came out in theaters last November, I heard great things about it (especially from fellow Harry Potter fans).  The thing is, I thought it was a fandom “thing”, as in only obsessive Harry Potter fans would love it. And ummm… well, I’m one of them.  And being one, I did not want to spoil the Harry Potter series by watching “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.  Get it?  Well, neither did I.

So after resisting for more than a few months, I finally got the nerve to watch it and promised myself that I would not be judgmental about it.  OMG!  Was that ever the easiest thing to do with this movie. And yes, for those who are not Harry Potter fans, this movie WILL sweep you off your feet.  For those of you who are, well… need I say more?  ;)

“I need to get going. Find everyone who’s escaped before they get hurt… They’re currently in alien terrain surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet: HUMANS.” ~ Newt Scamander

I absolutely LOVED this movie!  It had everything you’d want in a great action-packed film!  A great story line, some great backdrop information, the importance of caring for animals and of course, some Harry Potter characters are mentioned.  For Harry Potter fans, there are plenty of familiar names to wiggle your brain throughout the movie. For those who are not, you’ll be fine as well.

I honestly did not expect to like this film, thus the reason it took me this long to watch it (several months after the movie premiered). And even after my nephew RAVED about the movie, I was hesitant. Perhaps it was my utter disgust with film companies trying to “milk” as much of a franchise out, regardless of quality.

Flashbacks of how New Line Cinema managed to butcher “The Hobbit” into a “trilogy”, merely for their own personal gain at the expense of the stupidity of the people who bought into it, came to mind. I certainly did NOT want that to happen to the beloved Harry Potter franchise even though Warner Brothers got away with it in “Deathly Hallows”.

However, the film “Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them” clearly had more up its sleeve than a mere adventure-packed movie. In large part, it’s love for creatures and the back story regarding the importance of nurturing and caring for animals in need through Newt Scamander’s animal rescue mission is what has made this the BEST Movie I have seen in a very long time! This movie gets an A+ in my book!

 

Univision finally debuts Quiero Amarte September 22nd, telenovela tackles autism

After a very long and agonizing wait, it seems that Univision will finally premiere one of the most beloved stories of 2014. Quiero Amarte has been one of the most talked about telenovelas on social media to date. From the scandals on and off the set to the extraordinary and powerful performance of newcomer Hernan Canto, who portrayed a character with autism.

Quiero Amarte, starring Christian de la Fuente and Karyme Lozano
Televisa
Many argue that it was also one of the best telenovelas of 2014, along with two other recent successes, Que Pobres Tan Ricos and Lo Que La Vida Me Robo.

The main stars of Quiero Amarte include Chilean heartthrob Christian de la Fuente and Mexican actresses, Karyme Lozano and relative newcomer to Televisa (although not to the Mexican telenovela scene), Adriana Louvier.

Quiero Amarte is a great love story that takes place in the beautiful Mexican state of Chiapas. What was so different about this novela, aside from not shying away from depicting the gorgeous indigenous community of Chiapas during their commercial break promos, is the beautiful love story that took place some thirty years before the main characters of the telenovela come into the picture.

However, the modern-era love story between Max (Christian de la Fuente) and Amaya (Karyme Lozano) does lose some lackluster. Particularly after the writers decided that Amaya’s character was to marry the villain of the story, Cesar, played extraordinarily by Flavio Medina. He is someone to watch for as the best villain during the awards season next year.

Because of this, many fans of the telenovela wanted Max’s character to stay with his former girlfriend Constanza (Adriana Louvier). They even caused a riot outside of Televisa’s headquarters earlier this year, to plead their case with banners that included the twitter hashtag #PorUnFinalDeMaxConConstanza.

Quiero Amarte also introduces Max’s brother, Lucio, who suffers from autism and is the beacon of light throughout the telenovela. Lucio’s powerful performance is portrayed magnificently by young actor, Hernan Canto, who adds character and hope to the story. He practically steals every scene and many in the media are speculating that he will win the newcomer of the year award during Premios TV y Novelas in 2015.

While Televisa did not budge and decided that Max and Amaya were meant to be, it is still a telenovela worth watching. Riveting from the first chapter and beautifully crafted by the writers towards its finale, Quiero Amarte premieres Monday, September 22nd at 3pm ET & PT/2pm CT on the Univision network.

Televisa’s worst telenovela La Malquerida, debuts on Univision

Despite the hype, despite the well-respected actors in Televisa’s new telenovela, La Malquerida, it is a flop. The ratings in Mexico, where it premiered about two months ago, are well below average. So one must wonder why Univision gambled with this one and left other great telenovelas out?

Victoria Ruffo is one of the best, well-known and respected actresses that the Mexican television network, Televisa, has ever had. She is a household name and any novela with her in it, is usually golden. However, this telenovela’s story line leaves a lot to be desired.

Her daughter in La Malquerida, played by Ariadne Diaz, apparently falls in love with her mother’s husband (Christian Meier). That in itself is enough to turn most people off. One could argue that audiences are looking for something new, with twists and turns to add some suspense. Perhaps something a little different than the traditional Cinderella story (Lo Que La Vida Me Robo excelled in this) but La Malquerida was taken too far and may prove too much for the traditionally conservative Hispanic community. In Mexico, ratings have plummeted despite various attempts by Televisa to assure the public that ratings are good.

Univision also premiered Maite Perroni’s La Gata, whose typical fairytale story has also seen its ratings drop since it began in Mexico. However, her mass following and Daniel Arenas’ recent success, may help pull this novela through.

There were much better selections for the Univision network to broadcast, including El Color de La Pasion, which just ended in Mexico last Sunday. Another great telenovela was Quiero Amarte which was one of the most talked about on social media, frankly the best telenovela that Televisa has had this year and the one that preceded La Malquerida. Televisa’s Quiero Amarte would have been a much safer choice for Univision’s primetime audience.

If La Malquerida’s ratings continue to drop in the U.S., it will be a matter of time before Victoria Ruffo’s new telenovela is switched to a more suitable time frame or the Univision network might abridge it to end it sooner. It would not be the first time Univision has edited acquired telenovelas that have flopped in recent years.

Televisa’s Quiero Amarte telenovela fans cause a flurry on social media

In a few weeks, Televisa’s telenovela Quiero Amarte, starring Christian de la Fuente and Karyme Lozano, will be coming to an end in Mexico. Good will triumph over evil, boy gets girl and everyone will be happy right?

Last month, a banner supporting the #PorUnFinalDeMaxConConstanza cause of Televisa’s telenovela Quiero Amarte, appeared in front of the TV network’s studio in Mexico City. The banner was made by fans supporting the couple.

Wrong. Some fans want the fairy tale ending to end with a slight twist.

Fans have been flocking social media, sending tweets and comments to the writers and the producer to change the ending. Many would love to see the fairytale ending but with the antagonist, Constanza.

Using the hashtag #PorUnFinalDeMaxConConstanza they have been able to sustain a following and are gaining more sympathizers for their cause; including Christian de la Fuente, who tweeted his support.

While the story began with a powerful message of love between the parents of the main characters, somewhere along the line, the love story of the main characters, Max and Amaya, was lost.

The story began with De la Fuente’s character, Max, in love and engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Constanza, played by Adriana Louvier. Constanza was confused not only by the lies that her professor instilled in her but by his obsessive love for her. He managed to break up their wedding, assuring Constanza that Max had been unfaithful to her with another woman, Amaya (played by Karyme Lozano).

Apparently Max becomes “in love” with Amaya after saving her from drowning and caring for her while she was trying to escape from her cheating husband. Nothing happens but apparently Max and Amaya are now in love.

Forward a few months later and Amaya marries Max’s brother in the name of “revenge”, sacrificing the “love” she said she had for Max. Amaya’s character lost a lot of credibility with many fans because of this.

Faithful telenovela watchers of Quiero Amarte, have taken to social media to have their voices heard. For weeks now, they have been stepping up the ante in their quest to have Max live happily ever after with his first girlfriend, Constanza.

Constanza, who has since moved in with Max and pregnant with his child, is not perceived as an actual villain. Most fans would agree that she was actually a victim of intrigue by her former lover and professor. A lie that separated the true love that Max and Constanza had for one another they claim.

We’ll soon find out if the writers and producers have a change of heart and gives them the fairytale ending they want to see.

The overall story of the telenovela, Quiero Amarte, is good. Some slow parts could be edited out to move it along but the storyline is very well written and the characters have been given proper depth.

Quiero Amarte boasts of an international cast and takes place in the beautiful and indigenous Mexican state of Chiapas. The production has done a marvelous task of depicting traditional dress-wear in Chiapas, it’s main agricultural influence (coffee) and has alluded to the issue of immigration with the neighboring country of Guatemala. All relatable elements with U.S. Hispanic audiences.

TV ratings for Quiero Amarte in Mexico may not reflect it entirely, but it is one of the best telenovelas of 2014. The telenovela ends June 1st in Mexico. No word yet as to when or if Univision will retransmit for U.S. audiences.

NBC commentary on Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremonies improves

Maleficent looks Excellent!!!

I LOVED THIS TRAILER!  I love Disney movies but I’m not a die hard Disney fan and I usually skip more than a few.  The last one I saw in theaters was Tangled.

I skipped the movie “Snow White and the Huntsman” precisely because of its dark undertones. It seemed more like an Elizabeth Bathory movie than Snow White if you ask me!  However, I definitely want to see “Maleficent” if this trailer is any indication of what the feature length is going to be. I am definitely no Angelina Jolie fan either (the only movie I liked her in was “Salt”) but I’m really liking her in this role.

Sleeping Beauty also happens to be my favorite Disney animated movie. I remember seeing it as a kid when it replayed in one of those majestic theaters in Downtown L.A.  So I’m looking forward to this version, mainly because it seems like it humanizes Maleficent though we won’t know until we actually see the movie.  ;)

And yes, as someone with no kids and a Generation X-er (I consider myself a Gruppy – as in NY Magz “Up With Grups” article), this is exactly the type of movie I expect to see.  :)

Despite the disappointing YouTube review given by user, “Beyond the Trailer” and her bandwagon of followers trashing the unreleased movie, I think Disney did an excellent job with this trailer.  I just hope the movie is as good as it looks.  :)

 

 

NBC not streaming live coverage of Olympics Opening Ceremony, flashbacks return

Telenovelas need stronger characters not more sex

Why is it that every time ratings fall, the answer is to heat it up with more skin exposure and sex scenes?

It happened when Televisa’s defunct telenovela “La Tempestad” was in trouble and now with the telenovela “Quiero Amarte” currently airing in Mexico. But unlike “La Tempestad”, the script for “Quiero Amarte” is actually very good.

What started out as an excellent novela is now lukewarm at this point. It is very well written but at times seems painstakingly slow. And now the producer, Carlos Moreno Laguillo, feels that he needs to heat things up between the co-stars to position himself in the never-ending ratings war.

Gone are the days when things were left to the imagination. Rashida Jones had it right when she wrote about the Pornification of Everything earlier this month… and Mexico’s telenovelas are not the exception.

In the 70’s, lips barely touched in many telenovelas and sex scenes were left to the imagination of viewers. Many fondly remember telenovelas like “Los Ricos Tambien Lloran”, “La Colorina” and “Vanessa”.

A sex scene in the 80’s telenovela “Juana Iris” was the camera panning from the kissing couple to their hands squeezing tightly. Viewers never saw it but it was understood that they were having sex. No visuals needed and sex was not the centerpiece of the story. Now it seems that they must show more skin and scenes in bed in order to tell their story and elevate ratings.

The main actress of “Quiero Amarte”, Karyme Lozano, has threatened to quit if she is directed to be passionate and explicit in romantic scenes with co-star Christian de la Fuente just to elevate ratings.

Before Karyme was contracted to star in this novela, the producer Carlos Moreno Laguillo, agreed to respect Lozano’s religious beliefs. It seems that in order to play the ratings game, Moreno Laguillo is willing to dump that agreement. But Lozano will quit if the producer does not honor it.

The main argument is that her character is weak. And while Karyme’s acting may not seem strong, it is not entirely her fault.

In a scene where she is arguing with her ex-husband Horacio while their daughter is in the house, Lozano’s character was pathetic. Writers have made her character, Amaya, seem dumb and naïve as though she did not know that her husband was playing the victim and making her seem like the villain in an attempt to win over his daughter. Anyone with two senses would have noticed what was going on, including the character of Amaya.

In the telenovela, Amaya constantly protects her ex-husband and denies her situation to the man she truly loves instead of being honest and strong about it. With the old age excuse that she is protecting her daughter, writers have degraded her character. They have made Karyme Lozano’s character vulnerable, weak and well… dumb. Karyme Lozano’s character needs to be stronger, not sexier.

This is not to say that all telenovelas position women as weaklings.

In “Que Pobres Tan Ricos”, also currently airing in Mexico, the main actress is the complete opposite. Lupita, played by Zuria Vega, is a strong woman who is a single mother. She works hard and is not one to mince words. Ratings are much stronger for that telenovela and sex scenes are not at the heart of that story.

International news sites publish incorrect pictures of Pippi Longstocking

Over the weekend, the news broke that Tami Erin, an actress who portrayed Pippi Longstocking in the eponymous 1988 film, was arrested and charged with DUI.

However, the bigger story is not that Tami Erin was arrested, but that renowned international news sites published this story with incorrect images of the actress. Fans of the 1970’s cult classic Pippi TV movies have expressed disgust by the error made on behalf of so many news agencies, blogs and websites.

One of these was the UK’s Daily Mail, who mistakenly portrayed Swedish actress, Inger Nilsson in their article with a caption that reads: “Child star: Erin played the beloved children’s book character in the 1988 film The New Adventures Of Pippi Longstocking.”

A Canadian news site, eCanadaNow, made the same mistake and used the same image of Inger Nilsson the Daily Mail used in their article with a caption that reads: “tami erin arrested”.

To some, Pippi Longstocking is just Pippi Longstocking, right? Wrong!

To legions of fans of the original movies, the error is not acceptable. One fan expressed her sentiment with the following: “I feel INSULTED they confused INGER NILSSON for Tami Erin! There’s NO comparison!”

To add insult to injury, this is not the first time news sites have displayed the incorrect images of the actresses that have played Pippi. Most sites often confuse the two and more often than not, Inger Nilsson’s image gets plastered all over the media.

Earlier this year, Italian blogs PinkBlog and Miticult also published the incorrect Pippi Longstocking actress, mistaking Inger Nilsson for Tami Erin. As did AsianTown.net, an Asian web community site registered in Vietnam, that publishes blogs and news articles from all over the world.

The Argentinean news site MinutoUno, also featured Inger Nilsson in an article published last August regarding Tami Erin. In addition to that, they posted the 1970’s Swedish movie not the late 80’s U.S. version where Tami Erin starred.

Tami Erin only played Pippi Longstocking once, in the U.S. version in 1988 that was a box office disaster.

On the other hand, Swedish actress Inger Nilsson played Pippi Longstocking a record four times in the following TV movies: Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes on Board, Pippi and the South Seas and Pippi on the Run.

Other U.S. based entertainment websites, such as TMZ and the NY Daily News, displayed the correct images of Tami Erin as Pippi in their articles.