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800 Bullets Review


Good
There is a mythic quality to the western. It's buried in the images: a lone cowboy silhouetted against the setting sun, tumbleweeds rolling to nowhere, a Winchester spun slowly, boots kicking dust. In the 1960s, when European directors were mining film tropes, making hundreds of films a year, the Western had an élan that was nearly hypnotic. Italians, in particular, began producing western films that aped the iconic grandeur of the American west but had a zest that was undeniably Continental. There was something novel in the swagger of the man with no name. There was both a cool detachment and a hip aggression. The good guy from the Ford westerns wasn't as good anymore, now he was a beatnik with a sombrero and a twitchy trigger finger. By the time Leone released The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly the spaghetti westerns had surpassed, both stylistically and thematically, the ancestral Hollywood westerns to become what is now called, simply, the Western. (One cannot imagine an Oscar-winning film like Unforgiven without the influence of the spaghetti westerns.)

800 Bullets is Alex de la Igelsia's (the long neglected Spanish director responsible for the cult sci-fi satire Acción Mutante and the dark comedy La Communidad) ode to the eternal mystique of the spaghetti western. It is both a black comedy (de la Igelsia's forte) as well as a nostalgic look at the films that, for many, informed a generation.

Continue reading: 800 Bullets Review

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review


OK
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


Good

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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Sancho Gracia Movies

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Movie Review

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Movie Review

Whether appearing on the front page of the morning paper or being the butt of...

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Movie Review

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Movie Review

Bearing subtle but uncanny structural similarities to American mob movies like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas,"...

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