Ana Claudia Talancon

Ana Claudia Talancon

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One Missed Call Review


Unbearable
People are obsessed with cell phones. They talk while shopping for groceries, getting their hair done, even running on treadmills at the gym. Hell, I've seen a person talk on their cell phone while swimming in a pool. With this in mind, it isn't surprising that there's now a horror movie about ghosts traveling through cell phones. Want to witness the exorcism of a cell phone? Behold One Missed Call.

The cell phone-jumping ghost plays by unique rules. Sometimes, it's a physical creature and attacks people like the ghost from The Ring. Other times, it causes fatal freak accidents like the ghost in Final Destination. Often, it finds victims by searching through the former victim's cell phone address book. It gives a few days notice by leaving a post-dated voicemail of the victim's voice right before death. The ghost is kind enough to leave red candies in the deceased's mouth, too.

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Alone With Her Review


OK
The voyeurism of the film camera has been a handy device in queasy-stomach thrillers from Peeping Tom to Halloween, bringing the audience into the position of the attacker as he steadily advanced on a victim (female and nubile, of course) and practically making them a part of the assault that followed. While some directors (like Powell in Peeping Tom) may have used this device as a Hitchcockian method of indicting the viewers for their sweaty-palmed need to watch, in the hands of John Carpenter and his followers it was something much more basic: the vicarious thrill. It's the resolute abandonment of any such thrill-seeking that makes Eric Nicholas' indie stalker experiment Alone with Her so brave. This is the rare film of its kind that dares to not give the pervs in the audience what they really want: a helpless, dehumanized female victim offered up for the slaughter.

This is doubly impressive, given how stacked the deck is against the woman being stalked in Alone with Her, as Nicholas has constructed his film so that every single shot is from the lens of a camera either carried or worn by the stalker, or planted in the woman's apartment. Amy (Ana Claudia Talancón) is never seen from anybody's perspective but that of Doug (Colin Hanks), who first spots her in a park while he's out gathering footage of women. Once his lens locks onto her, it never leaves, circling in closer and closer. It isn't long before Doug has broken into Amy's apartment and hidden small cameras everywhere, all of them feeding continuously back to his computer. And so we watch as he creeps incrementally into her life, striking up a conversation at the coffee shop she frequents about a film he just saw (knowing that she had just rented it the night before). To Amy's eye, Doug's just a harmlessly cute and geeky guy who she happens to have surprisingly a lot in common with, and Nicholas builds the story so painstakingly that there are times when the audience is almost able to believe the same.

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Fast Food Nation Review


Good
A few weeks ago, it was announced by McDonald's that it would be making an unprecedented push towards "class." Amongst other things, it will be installing wireless internet in a large amount of its restaurants and changing décor into a mellow, art-friendly utopia for college students. Basically, it's tired of Starbucks being the only double-edged sword in the drawer. Sounds nice, but these aesthetic changes won't matter much in the face of the horrors depicted in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

Adapted from the inadaptable investigative best-seller by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation sets a whirlwind of brouhaha in a small Colorado town. The town in question, Cody, doesn't really exist but neither does the fast food chain that started there, Mickey's (God that sounds familiar). Mickey's flagship meal is The Big One, an extra-large patty processed and shipped at a local meatpacking plant that employs illegal aliens like young couple Sylvia (the excellent Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Raul (a shockingly restrained Wilmer Valderrama). The Big One was thought up by Mickey's marketing whiz-kid Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear), who has been sent to Cody to investigate a high amount of fecal matter being found in the product that made him a success.

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El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review


Weak
Whether appearing on the front page of the morning paper or being the butt of a Late Night joke, Catholic priests just can't seem to catch a break. These days, knocking the Church is in vogue -- and director Carlos Carrera isn't about to let this opportunity pass him by. Carrera's latest film, El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, so brazenly criticizes the priesthood that it had bishops all over Mexico calling for a boycott. Instead, the film took in more at the box office than any other movie in the country's history.

Now showing to U.S. audiences, Padre Amaro tells the tale of a newly ordained priest who falls from grace with a little help from a rural Mexican community. The handsome Padre, played by Gael García Bernal of Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También, begins his stay in Los Reyes as the sort of kind spirit who gives his money to an old man after being robbed on a bus. By the end, though, he's no better -- and perhaps quite a bit worse -- than the corrupt elders who surround him.

Continue reading: El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review


OK

Bearing subtle but uncanny structural similarities to American mob movies like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas," Mexico's highest grossing homegrown film of all time is a substantive parable about an honorable young priest corrupted by desire, temptation, ego and ethical turpitude within the Catholic Church.

"El crimen del Padre Amaro" stars sharply handsome Gael García Bernal (ubiquitous of late in the Mexican imports "Amores Perros" and "Y Tu Mamá También") as Father Amaro, an eager, newly ordained, 24-year-old priest whose ideals are tested and found wanting when he's assigned to a small-town parish run by an canon-transgressing elder clergyman.

Father Benito (Sancho Gracia) may be dedicated to his congregation, but he's also in bed figuratively with local drug cartels -- their donations are funding construction of a new church-run hospital -- and literally with a local widow (Angélica Aragón). Coincidentally, it is this woman's eye-catchingly angelic, devout but extremely sensual teenage daughter Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón) who is the initial catalyst for Father Amaro's downfall.

Continue reading: El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review

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