Luis Tosar

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Ma Ma Review

Very Good

From Spain, this drama grapples with some enormous issues without getting too heavy about them. It's emotionally wrenching without ever feeling sentimental, because inventive filmmaker Julio Medem (Sex & Lucia) keeps the tone funny and full of life. He also gets sparkling performances from Penelope Cruz and Luis Tosar, who keep the movie bright and hopeful even as the characters face mortality and death.

Cruz plays Magda, a feisty woman who turns all of her energy toward her lively teen son Dani (Teo Planell) after ditching her womanising husband Raul (Alex Brendemuhl). Dani is a star player on his school football team, attracting the attention of top scout Arturo (Tosar), whose life is shaken to the core when his daughter is killed in a car crash that leaves his wife in a coma. Secretly, Magda has been dealing with issues of her own, going through treatment for advanced breast cancer with her attentive doctor Julian (Asier Etxeandia). When things get more serious, she sends Dani away to stay with his aunt (Monica Sagrera). And while he's away, she and Arturo help each other through their darkest moments.

The film is a rollercoaster of emotions, from soaring happiness to deep despair, and Medem's approach is so honest that this never feels jarring. It's a look at the resilience of the human spirit, which can remain optimistic even when things get tough. Using dry humour and truthful emotions, he explores the importance of choosing joy, seamlessly mixing comedy and tragedy while refusing to let this become a traditional weepy drama. Within this open-handed approach, Cruz shines as a radiant woman who faces life head-on. Her interaction with each of the other characters is complex and engaging, especially in the surprising journey Magda takes with Arturo. Tosar is excellent, as always, with equally layered side roles beautifully played by Planell and Exteandia.

Continue reading: Ma Ma Review

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

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
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


Bad
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!
Luis Tosar

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Luis Tosar Movies

Ma Ma Movie Review

Ma Ma Movie Review

From Spain, this drama grapples with some enormous issues without getting too heavy about them....

Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Movie Review

Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Movie Review

Even though the central character is somewhat undefined, this film is a thorough creep-out, playing...

Mr. Nice Trailer

Mr. Nice Trailer

In the 1970's Howard Marks was one of the biggest weed smugglers in the world...

Miami Vice Movie Review

Miami Vice Movie Review

You can learn a lot about Michael Mann's updated Miami Vice by listening to Glenn...

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