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Luis Tosar attends 'El Nino' photocall

Luis Tosar - Ahead of the release of the upcoming film, ‘El Nino’, actor Luis Tosar attends a photo-shoot wearing a simple blue polo shirt. Tosar is a legend in Spanish films, although his only American film credit to date is 2006’s ‘Miami Vice’., Spain - Madrid, Spain - Tuesday 26th August 2014

Luis Tosar
Luis Tosar
Luis Tosar

Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Review


Excellent

Even though the central character is somewhat undefined, this film is a thorough creep-out, playing on our vulnerabilities while making the villain the most sympathetic person on-screen. Balaguero is one of the directors behind the [Rec] series, and knows how to unsettle his audience with atmospheric, skin-crawling sequences that are made especially visceral due to the realistic acting.

An impressive presence in the prison thriller Cell 211, the Bolivian political drama Even the Rain and as a drug kingpin in the Miami Vice movie, Spanish actor Tosar stars as Cesar, the likeable doorman at a creaky Madrid apartment block. But he secretly despises the residents, and is quietly destroying their lives, tormenting an elderly woman (Martinez) and her two beloved dogs, brutally threatening a young girl (Almeida Molina), and casting suspicion on mother-and-son cleaners (Fernandez and Morilla). But his biggest plan is for Clara (Etura), the sexy young woman in flat 5B. And while her boyfriend (San Juan) is away on business, he lurks in the shadows of her apartment plotting something unspeakable.

Director Balaguero keeps the film on low boil, refusing to explain everything in the plot while quietly twisting the moody tone. Every scene is a bundle of insinuation that suggests something truly nasty, and it's refreshing that Tosar never tries to make us understand what Cesar is up to: we see why everyone likes him, and also why they should be terrified of him. We only ever get a vague idea of his overall plan, but the things he does along the way are sinister enough to keep us nervous. As are hints that he may have done this before.

Continue reading: Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Review

Even The Rain Review


Extraordinary
This ambitious film weaves three plot elements into an overall narrative about colonialism and greed. And it's rather startling how well it comes together, daring to set a historical story straight while revealing telling aspects of our world today.

Costa (Tosar) is producing a Spanish film that's shooting on location in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Writer-director Sebastian (Garcia Bernal) is insisting on raw authenticity to recount the story of Christopher Columbus' first encounter with Native Americans, and subsequent dealings between locals and the priests and conquistadores. For a lead role, he casts the indigenous Daniel (Aduviri), who spends his spare time campaigning against a British-American corporation that controls Bolivia's water, including poor people's right to collect rain water. And the brewing riot could disrupt the film's schedule.

Continue reading: Even The Rain Review

Cell 211 Review


Excellent
This fierce and inventive Spanish prison drama combines strong internal emotion with a sense of righteous indignation at the corruption in the nation's prison system. No wonder it has swept up most of the film awards in its home country.

Juan (Ammann) is a 30-year-old who has taken a job as a prison guard to support his pregnant wife Elena (Etura). But during his first tour of the cellblocks, a riot breaks out and he's stuck in a cell that has a dark history. Now surrounded by marauding inmates led by the charismatic Malamadre (Tosar), Juan pretends to be a prisoner himself. And as a violent guard (Resines) and a weaselly government official (Moron) show their true colours, Juan starts to take the prisoners' side. Then the situation takes some violent turns.

Continue reading: Cell 211 Review

Mr Nice Review


Excellent
The life of notorious drug smuggler Howard Marks hits the big screen in a lively, fiercely well-made biopic that never condemns drugs as its story spirals through the decades. It also features Ifans' best-ever performance.

Born in a rugby-mad Welsh mining town, Howard Marks (Ifans) knew he didn't fit in and proved it by getting into Oxford against the odds. There he immediately falls into the early-1960s brainy/druggy crowd, dealing marijuana but never anything harder. Despite efforts to go straight, he continually returns to trafficking, arguing that it's not a crime to break an immoral law. But his associations with a notorious IRA terrorist (Thewlis) and a rule-bending Indian businessman (Djalili) attract the attentions of a tenacious American agent (Tosar).

Continue reading: Mr Nice Review

Mr. Nice Trailer


In the 1970's Howard Marks was one of the biggest weed smugglers in the world but the Welshman from the small town of Kenfig never indented to become such a major player in the industry. In the beginning Marks started out as a relatively minor drug dealer, supplying small amounts of dope but as his connections began to grow more opportunities became available.

Continue: Mr. Nice Trailer

The Limits of Control Review


Excellent
While it's probably too meandering and vague for mainstream cinemagoers, this offbeat thriller is a terrific example of Jarmusch's subtly cheeky tone, plus gorgeous Christopher Doyle cinematography and a terrific cast.

A lone man (De Bankole) is on a mysterious mission, flying into Madrid then travelling to Seville and Alicante. Along the way, he has a series of clandestine meetings with a nervous violinist (Tosar), an enigmatic blonde (Swinton), a naked seductress (de la Huerta), a British guitarist (Hurt), an edgy Mexican (Garcia Bernal), a silent driver (Abbas) and an arrogant American (Murray). But he's all business, never distracted from his assignment and quietly hearing the philosophy that seems to swirl around his every move.

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The Limits of Control Review


Excellent
It was about three years ago when, emerging from a press screening of Pedro Almodóvar's Volver, a good friend said to me, "You just can't argue with Almodóvar," referring to the idiosyncratic style that the great Spanish director has held steady for nearly three decades now. It didn't matter that Volver was, arguably, one of the director's more languid entries in terms of story, thematic content, and ambition. It simply mattered that it was undeniably Almodóvar.

The Limits of Control, the 11th feature by the New York-born auteur Jim Jarmusch, is another work that is inarguably stamped by its director's idiosyncrasies and, like Volver, there have been several critics who have questioned if its artistic success is not so much a result of it being a Jarmusch film rather than simply a good film. It emits a dark-shade cool, as befits any Jarmusch joint, and it features several of the director's usual performers, including the Ivorian-born actor Isaach De Bankolé in the lead.

Continue reading: The Limits of Control Review

Miami Vice Review


Terrible
You can learn a lot about Michael Mann's updated Miami Vice by listening to Glenn Frey. It's true. Many questions surrounding this remake are answered using the lyrics to Frey's prophetic "Smuggler's Blues," a song made famous by the seminal 1980s buddy-cop drama that sold sex and sidearms on South Beach.For instance, why would Mann - a respected filmmaker riding a decade-long creative hot streak - blow the dust off a hopelessly dated property he last executive-produced almost 20 years ago? As Frey sings, "It's the lure of easy money. It's got a very strong appeal." And why would a studio support Mann's impulsive let's-get-the-band-back-together decision after projects from Bewitched to The Dukes of Hazzard demonstrate that audiences don't care to relive the past? Frey confesses, "It's a losing proposition. But one you can't refuse."In its prime, the television-sized Vice influenced the fashion industry, peddled synthesizer-laden soundtracks, and made Don Johnson a household name. This realistically superficial recycling, however, will cure insomnia, set the advancement of digital cinematography back a few years, and unsuccessfully argue in favor of the mullet as an acceptable coif style.The story lost me almost immediately, but looked cool doing it. Undercover detectives James "Sonny" Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are deep into one case when a former informant contacts them claiming that a deal he was working went bad. To clean up the mess, Crockett and Tubbs must infiltrate a sprawling drug cartel lorded over by menacing Jose Yero (John Ortiz, mimicking Al Pacino's Tony Montana character) and sultry Isabella (Gong Li, her broken English disrupting half of her lines).Vice marks a return for Mann in multiple ways. He's back on the beach with Crockett and Tubbs, characters he last manipulated in 1989. More importantly, it's the director's first mature cops-and-robbers thriller since 1995's Heat, a modern classic which also presented an in-depth analysis of individuals operating on opposite sides of the law. Part of Heat's allure, though, was the intimate knowledge we collected about Pacino's bulldog detective and Robert De Niro's elusive thief. Watching the former sacrifice his marriage and family life for the sake of the job added juicy drama to his otherwise routine investigation.Vice lacks that human touch, those insights into the men away from their beats. Mann ladles on ample attitude, while his chiseled leading men provide plenty of posturing. Mannequin Vice might have made for a better title. Foxx and Farrell buy into the shout-and-scowl method, with an emphasis on the latter. But the script neglects to fill in details about Sonny and Ricardo beyond quick peeks into their active bedrooms. It's a fault built into the premise. These men exist deep undercover, so the lives they lead are smokescreens - which makes it difficult to care whether they continue to blow smoke or not.As a whole, the stiff and procedural Vice moves too slowly to hold our interests. It's a thinking-man's summer picture, code for "no action, plenty of conversation." Normally that's fine, but Mann pens lines that would have been too cheesy even for the '80s program. Crockett repeatedly claims, "No one has ever treaded where we are now." We just don't believe him. One villain barks, "He wants to promise them silver, but pay them in lead!" James Bond's foes made more effective threats.Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe continues to experiment with digital technology at Mann's request. It works when the action shifts to the open seas, but his night shoots produce muddy visuals that - while realistic - are ugly and drab. I guess when compared to the original Vice's pastel color scheme, it's an improvement.Frey once again gets the last words. I'm paraphrasing a few of his somber lyrics so that they properly sum up how I felt leaving my screening. I'm sorry it went down like this, and the audience had to lose. It's the nature of this business. It's the critic's blues.Watch that wake!

Take My Eyes Review


Good
It's a difficult charge to make a film about the struggle of someone we are supposed to hate off the bat. When Dylan Baker and Kevin Bacon stepped up to the plate to play pedophiles attempting to stop their habits, there was much flak. The idea for most is that these people are not well (or filled with the Devil, in secular terms) and therefore, we shouldn't try to see the humanity in them. It's not a healthy mindset, but it's the popular belief. Spousal abuse has been weeded out in the social eye but it still goes on all the time, it has just turned into mental abuse instead of physical (for the most part). So, you have to come prepared to Take My Eyes, for it is a film about trying to understand a man who beats his wife and a wife who believes in the goodness in him.

We meet Pilar (Laia Marull) as she is grabbing her child, clothes, and a few belongings. She escapes to her sister's house, who quickly understands the problem: Pilar's husband, Antonio (Luis Tosar). Pilar's sister, Ana (Candela Peña), confronts Antonio when he comes home to find his wife and son gone and his sister-in-law packing up some remaining items. Antonio tries to get back with Pilar and begins to go to group therapy for spousal abuse. Soon enough, they are back together, much to the chagrin of Ana. At first, their restarted life is full of passion and love, just like when they were dating. Pilar takes a job as an art museum tour guide and cashier with her friends Rosa and Lola (Kiti Manver and Elisabet Gelabert, respectively) and Antonio attempts to find the roots of his anger. Soon enough, however, Antonio's anger begins to show its ugly head.

Continue reading: Take My Eyes Review

Angel Of Death Review


Terrible
Nearly three years ago, my wife and I toured France for a week. In every Metro station was a poster for a film called Semana Santa, starring Mira Sorvino and Olivier Martinez.

I didn't see it in France, but I waited, and waited, and waited for it to come to the U.S.

Continue reading: Angel Of Death Review

Mondays in the Sun Review


OK
Unemployment is an emasculating predicament. This small scale social study of a few men coping with it shows the depression and general lassitude that fills their days and months and the strain on their Latin machismo, sense of dignity and resourcefulness.

Carlos "Santa" Santamaría (Javier Bardem), José Suárez (Luis Tosar), and Paulino "Lino" Ribas Casado (José Ángel Egido) congregate in fellow ex-worker Rico's (Joaquín Climent) makeshift bar for what might be group therapy among fellow ex-boatyard workers approaching 50 but with zero bank balances. They commiserate together, share woes and complaints, and listen to each other's rage at the circumstances of their discharge from the port city's now-defunct shipyard. It's a self-support group for the disenfranchised that occasionally becomes a "gang that couldn't shoot straight" for much needed comic relief. But there's not enough of that for this film to go the way of The Full Monty, which it may have aspired to.

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Mondays In The Sun Review


Weak

Inspired by real laid-off shipyard workers desperately clinging to a sense of personal dignity while entering their third year on the government dole, the melancholy Spanish import "Mondays in the Sun" is thick with powerful, understated, deeply empathetic performances -- and it needs them. It's hard to feel sorry for a bunch of welfare cases who sit around drinking and barely even trying to find new jobs.

Perhaps not being familiar with the particulars of the Spanish economy provides a major disadvantage to fully understanding the characters that populate this film, which swept the 2002 Goya awards. But writer-director Fernando Leon de Aranoa doesn't seem to provide any reason beyond pure frustration and lack of momentum for his handful of sad sack laborers to spend much of their lives in a bar.

Bearded, burly, somewhat unscrupulous but full of pride and wasted intelligence, Santa (played by the impeccably poignant Javier Bardem) is a cauldron of quietly boiling indignation who exhausts his energy tilting against the system and denying his own accountability. In the course of the movie, he applies for not one job, yet he continues to fight a vandalism charge years after smashing up a streetlight during a strike -- on the grounds that the violence was the company's fault for enraging him.

Continue reading: Mondays In The Sun Review

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