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Usher performing at the Global Citizen Festival 2016 held in Central Park, New York, United States - Saturday 24th September 2016

Usher and Rubén Blades
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Hands Of Stone Trailer


Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Duran was fierce in the ring, his poor upbringing on the streets of Panama all contributed to the man he became. He's extremely tough but his wild streak stops him from becoming the champion he ought to be.

Enter Ray Arcel, Arcel was an old pro, the best of the best and had taken many boxers into the ring and seen them come out the champion. Arcel could clearly see that Duran had a gift and though technically the trainer was retired, Duran's talent made him take his place back at the side of the ring.

 

Continue: Hands Of Stone Trailer

Ruben Blades - Premiere of AMC's 'Fear The Walking Dead' Season 2 at Cinemark Playa Vista - Arrivals at The Walking Dead - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 29th March 2016

Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades
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Ruben Blades - Premiere of AMC's 'Fear The Walking Dead' Season 2 at Cinemark Playa Vista - Arrivals at The Walking Dead - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 29th March 2016

Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades

Ruben Blades - 33rd annual PaleyFest Los Angeles - 'Fear the Walking Dead' at The Dolby Theater at The Dolby Theater - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 19th March 2016

Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades
Ruben Blades

Luba Mason , Ruben Blades - Opening night of the Broadway musical 'Hamilton' held at the Richard Rodgers Theatre - Arrivals at Richard Rodgers Theatre - New York City, New York, United States - Thursday 6th August 2015

Luba Mason and Ruben Blades

The Counselor Review


OK

This film proves that all the right ingredients don't necessarily make a movie work. Even with top-drawer filmmakers and actors, this dramatic thriller simply never grabs our interest. It looks great, and everyone is giving it their all, but the story and characters remain so badly undefined that we can't identify with either.

The story's set on the US-Mexico border, where a slick lawyer (Fassbender) known as "the Counsellor" has slightly too much going on in his life. He has just proposed to his dream woman Laura (Cruz), while he's planning to open a nightclub with Reiner (Bardem). For extra cash, he's organising a massive cocaine shipment with Westray (Pitt). And it's this drug deal that goes wrong, creating a mess that engulfs Reiner and Laura, as well as Reiner's shrewd girlfriend Malkina (Diaz). As his life collapses around him, the Counsellor scrambles to salvage what he can, even as he realises that it'll be a miracle if anyone survives.

There are problems at every level of this production. McCarthy's first original script is simply too literary, putting verbose dialog into the actors mouths that never sounds like people talking to each other. Fassbender and Bardem are good enough to get away with this, but Pitt and Diaz struggle. Both Fassbender and Cruz bring out some wrenching emotions in their scenes, but their characters are never much more than cardboard cutouts. In fact, no one in this story feels like a fully fleshed-out person. And the little we know about each character makes most of them fairly unlikeable.

Continue reading: The Counselor Review

The Counsellor Trailer


'The Counsellor' tells the story of a naive lawyer who holds the belief that dabbling in drug-trafficking is the best way to earn a little extra cash. However, that dabbling evolves into full-blown dealing which consumes his life and infects with all the corruption, betrayal and pain he thought he could avoid. Now with some seriously ruthless criminals on his tail, he begins to realise that there is nothing that these people will not do to get what they want and the odds on his life begin to get higher and higher. Unless he can work out who his friends are, he has no hope of returning to his normal life, but in a world where disloyalty affects everyone's relationships, he begins to wonder if he really has anyone there for him at all.

Directed by the triple Oscar nominated Sir Ridley Scott ('Prometheus', 'Gladiator', 'Alien'), this high-energy, gritty thriller is all about corruption and how smalls mistakes can lead to major consequences. The screenplay has been written by novellist Cormac McCarthy ('No Country for Old Men', 'All the Pretty Horses') and it features an exciting, star-studded cast ensemble. It is set to reach UK cinemas everywhere on November 15th 2013.

Click here to read The Counselor Movie Review

Safe House Review


Good
With a cool Cape Town setting and constant sweaty, kinetic violence, this entire film plays like a wildly thrilling segment from a Bourne movie. It's sharply well-made and acted, but nothing about it remotely scratches beneath the surface.

Matt (Reynolds) is a low-level operative watching over the CIA's Cape Town safe house. After months of sitting around waiting, he finally gets to host a notorious guest: most-wanted rogue agent Tobin (Washington). Then violent thugs assault the place and Matt takes Tobin on the run, calling his handler (Gleeson) in Langley to get help from senior agents (Farmiga and Shepard). But there's clearly a leak in the ranks, and Tobin is obviously carrying something both the good guys and bad guys want.

Continue reading: Safe House Review

Safe House Trailer


Matt Weston is a young CIA agent who, for the past year, has been bored by his inactive post in Cape Town. Matt is a "housekeeper" who aspires to be a full-fledged agent, a loyal company man who is waiting for an opportunity to prove himself. That opportunity seems to present itself when Matt's new 'guest' proves to be the most dangerous man he's ever met.

Continue: Safe House Trailer

The Milagro Beanfield War Review


Excellent
Who'd of thought that a battle over water rights would make for such an interesting tale? This small movie, Robert Redford's second directorial endeavor after Ordinary People, is surprisingly watchable and gripping, despite a terrible title and a setup that would have mainstream audiences running for the exits. In a tiny New Mexico town, a huge resort development is getting underway, and the locals are getting trampled underfoot. But not Joe Mondragon (Chick Vennera, the spitting image of Bruno Kirby), who diverts water from the resort project onto his small bean field. Naturally, the titular war develops: Corporate America vs. the little guy -- with the media thrown in for a kick. Surprisingly lively stuff, full of local character, fun performances, and a plot that builds up steam faster than you'd think. It's Jean de Florette, Western style, and the kind of movie John Sayles wishes he could make.

Secuestro Express Review


Bad
Someday filmmakers will tire of the sound of hammers clicking into the chambers of handguns and the sight of amped-up thugs terrorizing their victims. Until that day, though, we're stuck with films like Secuestro Express. A routine kidnap thriller from Venezuela gussied up in some socially relevant finery, it manages to take a setting of volcanic unrest and reduce it to the most banal of stories. If one were to find something good to say about it, then that thing would be: It's nice for variety's sake to at least see the same old effluvia coming from a different country than usual.The title of Secuestro Express ("Express Kidnapping") comes from the trend of quickie kidnappings in Latin America, and the film's look aims to capture the rapid-fire nature of these endeavors. Shot with DV cameras on the streets of Caracas, the film - written and directed by first-timer Jonathan Jacubowicz, who was himself briefly kidnapped a few years back - starts in the early morning hours and is over in time for the surviving principals to grab lunch. A quick montage of news footage establishes Caracas as a roiling cauldron of discontent where anything can happen. Given its ostensible interest in the plight of the city's poor, however, the same point would have been gotten across if they'd just played "Welcome to the Jungle" over the credits. Then there's the camera-in-overdrive visual style familiar from TV crime procedurals.In true post-noir style, Jacubowicz bangs out the film's principal characters, giving them each their own identifying stylized freeze-frame (example: "BUDU-Painter. Rapist. Sentimental Father"). The kidnapping crew, a hopped-up trio of gunslingers, takes their targets at 5:30am and then drive around for a while, trying to get a quick pile of cash out of their (hopefully) rich parents. Carla and Martin, stylish engaged yuppies who like clubbing and cocaine, seem to be good targets, and it looks like their fathers will cough up the ransom before more than a few hours have passed.In between, the kidnap crew rolls around Caracas, smoking up, having Martin get money out of the ATM, and shoving their guns into the abductees' heads (they do that a lot). Like the filmmakers, they seem somewhat at a loss for what to do. Before long, things will have come to a conclusion of sorts, but only after more guns have been shoved in more faces (that happens a lot). As a kidnap thriller, Secuestro Express is a complete bore, but what's worse is that it occasionally seems to imagine it's making a point.Class warfare underpins the story, with the kidnapped being harangued endlessly about flaunting their privilege in a city where "half the population is starving." "You rich are just asking to get killed," they're told at one point. But Jacubowicz seems to just be trying to find an easy reason to give audience sympathy to his kidnappers and to deprive the kidnapped of any. It's hard to explain away the film's sadistic delight in the torture and debasement of the kidnapped when none of the kidnappers seem that badly off, and one (Trece) is even identified as middle-class. The film even undercuts its own class warrior status by assigning all the traits of the thoughtful and reluctant criminal - there's always one in a film like this - to the middle-class character, showing the other two lower-class ones as little better than animals.Supposedly, Secuestro Express (the first Venezuelan film to be distributed by a Hollywood studio) was to open our eyes to the reality of the situation in Caracas. Point taken, crime there is out of control. But it's hard not to think - especially after the film's crass, cheap, and manipulative conclusion - that a film which actually showed the horrid conditions of the city would have been more effective than one which simply wallowed in bloody gangster posing.

Predator 2 Review


OK
Every good monster movie deserves a sequel, and with few exceptions they get a crappy one. Predator 2 is right in line with that legacy, a lackluster (and Schwarzenegger-free) action flick that steals every page it can from the Aliens playbook.

Since Predator took place in the jungle, Hollywood's sense of irony dictates that the sequel should take place in the city: In this case, Los Angeles, where a bloody gang war is underway. But the cops (notably renegade do-gooder Danny Glover) can't quite reconcile the body count, and it isn't long until they start to realize that another force is at work, which might explain the metallic bits that no one can identify and the corpses missing all their vital organs.

Continue reading: Predator 2 Review

Once Upon A Time In Mexico Review


Weak

"Desperado," the second eye-poppingly stylish and unabashedly outlandish B-movie in Robert Rodriguez's "El Mariachi" shoot-'em-up trilogy, is one of my all-time favorite action movies, in part because it has its priorities straight: The plot was simple -- a nameless mariachi avenges his girlfriend's murder with a guitar case full of semi-automatic weapons and an endless supply of ammunition -- and the action was non-stop and over-the-top.

Antonio Banderas cut an imposing, mysterious, hell-bent, dangerous and dead sexy figure in his long hair, implacable glower and black suede bandito get-up -- complete with jangling spurs -- as he performed a limber slow-motion ballet of body-twisting, two-fisted gunfire while dodging hails of bullets from evil drug-runners. And all this was set to a steamy, dynamic south-of-the-border score by the great guitaristas of Los Lobos.

But in the new installment, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," writer-director-editor-composer Rodriguez pollutes the action -- which is uncharacteristically erratic, incongruous and over-edited -- with a needlessly convoluted plot involving 1) a thorny coup attempt against the Mexican president backed by a cartel kingpin (Willem Dafoe) and his turncoat henchman (Mickey Rourke), 2) a crooked and borderline-loco CIA agent (Johnny Depp) playing both sides against the middle, 3) a former FBI agent (Ruben Blades) frustrated with not nailing the kingpin before his retirement, 4) a curvaceous, gung-ho greenhorn federale (Eva Mendez) with ulterior motives, and 5) yet another murder, played out in fantasized-action flashbacks, that the mariachi is out to avenge.

Continue reading: Once Upon A Time In Mexico Review

Cradle Will Rock Review


Very Good

A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community to which it pays homage, "Cradle Will Rock" is a politically-undertoned dramedy about theater, censorship, ambition, apprehension, oppression, Orson Welles and the Great Depression.

Written and directed by Tim Robbins -- never one to shy away from cause-fueled entertainment -- this passionate labor of love celebrates and fictionalizes a legendary moment in American theater, when the government shut down the performance of a musical produced by the Works Progress Administration -- and the actors, at the risk of losing their jobs during the bleakest economic season in U.S. history, staged it anyway in a show of inspiring solidarity.

The play was entitled "The Cradle Will Rock" and its story of a greedy industrialist taken down by the organized working man made a lot of federal bureaucrats see red -- as in communism.

Continue reading: Cradle Will Rock Review

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Ruben Blades Movies

Hands Of Stone Trailer

Hands Of Stone Trailer

Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Duran was fierce in the ring, his poor upbringing on the...

The Counselor Movie Review

The Counselor Movie Review

This film proves that all the right ingredients don't necessarily make a movie work. Even...

The Counsellor Trailer

The Counsellor Trailer

'The Counsellor' tells the story of a naive lawyer who holds the belief that dabbling...

Safe House Movie Review

Safe House Movie Review

With a cool Cape Town setting and constant sweaty, kinetic violence, this entire film plays...

Safe House Trailer

Safe House Trailer

Matt Weston is a young CIA agent who, for the past year, has been bored...

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All The Pretty Horses Movie Review

All The Pretty Horses Movie Review

All the Pretty Horses reminds me of a bad comedian telling a joke. He...

Assassination Tango Movie Review

Assassination Tango Movie Review

Robert Duvall directs and stars in Assassination Tango, and since his gray moustache and ponytail...

Cradle Will Rock Movie Review

Cradle Will Rock Movie Review

Arguably, one of the best directors of the motion picture industry, Orson Welles was once...

Once Upon a Time in Mexico Movie Review

Once Upon a Time in Mexico Movie Review

Once Upon a Time in Mexico has everything it needs to rise to the grand...

Once Upon A Time In Mexico Movie Review

Once Upon A Time In Mexico Movie Review

"Desperado," the second eye-poppingly stylish and unabashedly outlandish B-movie in Robert Rodriguez's "El Mariachi" shoot-'em-up...

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