Delilah Cotto

Delilah Cotto

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Illegal Tender Review


Bad
When the production credits that open writer/director Franc. Reyes' (we don't understand the period, either) crime drama Illegal Tender appear in gloriously cheesy '70s blaxploitation font with an equally gaudy title graphic depicting a sexy silhouette inside a dollar sign, the anticipation of either a riveting throwback or tongue-in-cheek parody appears. Either of these options would have been better than the nothing that follows.

For the first 15 minutes we're treated to the back story of '80s gangster Wilson Deleon Sr. (Manny Perez), a hard-working, merciful Bronx drug dealer just trying to make his way in this crazy world. He has a child on the way; her shrewd mother, Millie (Wanda De Jesus) has just laundered all his street earnings into a sizeable nest egg. Of course, on the night she tells him to stay in, he goes out and, of course, that's the night she delivers and, of course, that's the night his crew betrays him and two ridiculously buxom assassins gun him down.

Continue reading: Illegal Tender Review

Delilah Cotto Monday 20th August 2007 World Premiere of 'Illegal Tender' at Chelsea West Cinema New York City, USA

Delilah Cotto
Delilah Cotto
Delilah Cotto

Empire Review


Good
When you stop and think about it, the similarities between Italian mobsters and urban gangsters -- as filmmakers commonly portray them -- are really quite astounding. For every gold chain stuck in a mobster's chest hair, there seems to be a corresponding gold medallion slung around some gangster's neck. For every Cadillac, there's a Lincoln Navigator. In place of the Tommy gun, there's the Glock. It's a comparison that writer and director Franc Reyes is all too keen on making in his debut film, Empire.

Played by John Leguizamo, Victor Rosa is a Latino gangsta with all the ambition of a young Godfather and all the attitude of a taller Joe Pesci. He spends his days violently whacking errant drug dealers and monitoring the sales of his own designer "street pharmaceutical" not so subtly labeled Empire -- which is exactly what Vic thinks he's building in his little bit of the South Bronx. But when his girlfriend (Delilah Cotto) announces that she's pregnant, he thinks it might be time to go legit.

Continue reading: Empire Review

Empire Review


Weak

Any chance that "Empire" might be all that different from other drug- dealer- trying- to- go- straight movies is lost with the opening voice-over, in which heroin mini-kingpin Victor Rosa (John Leguizamo) rattles off a dozen street life clichés in 60 seconds, starting with the line, "Damn, if I'd known then what I know now! It's all about making money, baby."

Never mind that the plot includes the hero losing his shirt and his boss's drug money in a Wall Street scam perpetrated by a savvy, Caucasian, uptown con artist. That only serves to prove that Victor is a sucker, not that his story is any different from those of drug dealers depicted in scads of other movies from the last 15 years -- October's "Paid In Full" or 1994's "Sugar Hill," for example.

Universal Pictures even admits as much in the film's press kit, which compares it "in theme and execution" to a "list of urban gangster films" but goes on to trumpet the fact that "Empire" is the first time this recycled story "has been told from the point of view of a Latino character."

Continue reading: Empire Review

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