San Diego Latino Film Festival Highlights

I had the opportunity to check out some of the films being showcased at the 23rd annual San Diego Latino Film Festival and I have to say they were all awesome. I have had a great experience so far, after each film there has been a Question and Answer panel with directors, producers, and actors of the films, where they dive deeper into the films I had just seen. Rarely do we get the chance to speak to the makers of the films we see and be able to ask them the probing questions that are on our minds. I found it to be a very enriching experience and I suggest any movie lover to come check out the festival before it ends. Here are some of my suggestions of films I enjoyed and ones I recommend that you see. You can browse the schedule and purchase your tickets online or you can get them at the box office when you get there.

Puerto Ricans in Paris

I chose this one as my opening night film to watch and wow did it deliver. I had so much fun watching this movie and it was a real treat to have the director of the film Ian Edelman sitting right behind me. I guess I am a movie nerd, but I find that exciting! The film stars Luis Guzman and Edgar Garcia as New York City detectives who are put on a case by Collete, a French handbag designer. One of her most famous original pieces goes missing and she puts them on the case to find her bag in Paris. Now these two guys as the title suggests have never been to Paris and what ensues from there is hilarious. The jokes were funny, but never crass or mocking latinos like some movies do, the humor was just right. Rosie Perez and Rosario Dawson are also in the film and they only add to the hilarity of the scenes. The director mentioned that Guzman and Garcia have been friends for over 30 years and it is obvious because they play so well off of each other. If you are in the mood for a comedy, this one is just right.


Las Aparicio

I took two of my girlfriends to see this one and we all enjoyed it. This movie is perfect for a girl’s night out or a date night. The film is derived from the novella of the same name. It is about a female family that has a curse on them, all of their husbands die off and they cannot bear male children. None of them know why, but when their great-grandfather’s body is found in the wall of their family home, the women come together to pay their respects and bury him. Believing that by doing so, they will be removing the curse. The film stars Ana de la Reguera, Iliana Fox, Tenoch Huerta, Damián Alcázar, and Paulina Gaitan. I had a great time watching this movie and I encourage people to go out and see this one. This film is a mixture of funny, sexy, endearing, and overall showed the strength that women have inherently in them and that is what made it great.

Las Aparicio

Viva Mujeres! Shorts

I got a chance to see this short films showcase over the weekend and it was amazing. Seven movies in total were shown and honestly I don’t know how it is possible how each director does so much in a short amount of time. Many of the directors and actors in the films were present and it was enjoyable to hear them talk about their motivations behind the films, how they get them funded, and the experiences they had in making them. One of my favorites was the documentary short Homegirls, which showed how two former female gang members from different paths came to the Homeboy Organization and their stories that led them there. The organization is a civic-minded center in Los Angeles that helps men and women out of prison and gangs find jobs and offers them a chance to work in their bakery and café. I was blown away by the stories and immensely moved. Every film that was shown was well thought out and featured a story about women that needed to be told. I definitely recommend everyone to go see these films and support them, as these rarely get as much exposure as Hollywood films, but they are equally as good as any big budget feature.


The San Diego Latino Film Festival ends on March 20th. Check out the schedule and get your tickets before it’s over.


San Diego Latino Film Festival

The 23rd annual San Diego Latino Film Festival will take place from March 10-20, 2016 and will be held at both AMC Fashion Valley 18 and Digital Gym CINEMA North Park. The Media Kick-Off party was held at the Quad Ale House in downtown San Diego on February 25th and everyone had a blast catching up with filmmakers and movers and shakers of the film community. A great event to have in San Diego, especially being that San Diegans reside next to a border town that is rich in culture.


The films to be shown include a line-up filled with something to satisfy everyone’s tastes from features starring highly-acclaimed actors like Salma Hayek, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Rosario Dawson; also documentary films, short films and special showcases with focused films such as Cine Gay, Columbia!, and Frontera Filmmakers.

I had the opportunity to speak with Ed Cahan, the producer of one of the featured documentaries Club Frontera, which follows the players, fans, political figures and more of the Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles professional Mexican soccer team. He mentioned that this film will not only “shine a positive light on Tijuana,” but it will show people what a phenomenal impact this team has had on its city from economical to cultural. As someone who has grown up going to Tijuana on a regular basis, I am excited for other people to finally see and learn more about the great aspects of the city many people call home.

Club Frontera

There will also be lots of extra events going on that coincide with the festival like the Sabor Latino! Food, Wine, & Beer Festival on March 19th. The acclaimed chefs and vineyard owners were presented at the kick-off party and announced the Latin cuisine that will be served and the beers and wine that will accompany the food. Your ticket  includes unlimited tastings of beer, that’s enough to entice anyone to go!


Your encouraged to come out and check out the festival and catch a few films. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance, many are already creating buzz  and will more than likely sell out. See ya at the film fest!

Tickets and passes to the San Diego Latino Film Festival:

Sisters – Film Review


Film Title: SistersThe movie genre of forty something women coming of age has hardly been touched in Hollywood. Wait… that’s because older women should have their lives figured out while living in their white-picket fenced homes along with their beautiful Christmas card worthy family. Therefore the movies that could fall into that category are almost absolute. Sisters takes that notion and flips it on its’ head, giving viewers a funny, authentic and fresh look at women trying to find themselves while having a blast on top of it.

The premise of the film is simple, sisters Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Tina Fey); go back to their hometown of Florida when they learn that their parents Bucky (James Brolin) and Deana (Dianne Wiest) have sold their childhood home. They get upset that their parent’s never consulted them and must now go through their old rooms full of “priceless” 80’s items such as Care Bear pajamas, fuzzy slippers and pink dial-tone phone and boom box.

Maura is the more responsible one of the two sisters and walks around with inspirational note cards as a way to lift herself up from her divorce. On the other hand Kate, an aesthetician and hairdresser, can barely hold down a job and her own college-aged daughter, Haley (Madison Davenport), can barely trust her to be a dependable mother.

Film Title: SistersIn their childhood rooms, they drink copious amounts of wine out of teacups (naturally) and in reading out loud their old diary entries realize that the they had the exact opposite experience in high school from each other. Maura worried way too much about other people, she was the girl who held people’s hair while they puked at parties, while Kate was the life of the party, the girl who once scaled her parents’ fireplace in a drunken night. In that moment, they realize what they have to do; they need to throw one last Ellis Island epic party at their home.

Maura gathers up the nerve and invites over her cute neighbor James (Ike Barinholtz) and decides she will try to flirt with him and have a wild night for once. She also appoints Kate as the “party mom,” meaning she will have to make sure the house stays clean, no fires, no running through walls and will have to hold people’s hair while they puke, just like she did when they were teenagers.

Film Title: SistersPoehler and Fey are our generations Laurel and Hardy, they work so funnily against each other, that having one without the other seems unfathomable. Their comedic timing is right on the mark and I found myself literally laughing out loud through many scenes from beginning to end. The jokes worked well, they weren’t too crude nor were they too safe, they were just right for this type of movie. Had it gone either way, it would have felt either awkward or boring.

The cameos were excellent from Maya Rudolph, the high school mean girl to John Leguizamo, the ex-hot cool guy who now just hangs out by the liquor store and John Cena, the stone faced drug dealer. Bobby Moynihan stole many of the best scenes as the guy who tries really hard to be funny and liked but can’t seem to get it right. I can see him transitioning from Saturday Night Live to film sometime soon.

Film Title: SistersWhat I liked about the film was that these two women never needed to find a man to complete their lives, all they needed was the love and support of their sister. They were also never dumb-downed; instead they were smart, funny and witty.

This is not an Oscar-worthy movie of course, but it is the kind of movie that whenever it is on TV I am sure I will watch. Sometimes those are the best kinds of movies because they withstand the test of time and can always make us laugh. If you are not in the mood to wait in a huge line for Star Wars this weekend, then go see Sisters, you won’t regret it.


Film Title: SistersStarring:  Amy Poehler (Maura Ellis)Tina Fey (Kate Ellis)Maya Rudolph (Brinda)

Directed by: Jason Moore

Written by: Paula Pell (screenplay)

MPAA rating: R

Running time: 118 min

Rating: 4/5




Brooklyn – Film Review

3starsBrooklyn tells the story of Ellis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), an Irish immigrant and her journey to find a place to call home. She leaves Ireland and sets off to the United States in the early 1950s, naïve and untouched by the world, she looks out to make a better life for herself in America.

BROOKLYN - TonyBack home she leaves her mother Mary Lacey (Jane Brennan) and older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) behind, both of whom are sad to see her leave, but they understand that she must go. Ellis takes up residence at a boarding house in Brooklyn, filled with other Irish girls and run by land lady Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters) who adds in a lot of comical moments with her gritty humor. She also gets a job at a department store where she must quickly adapt to the ways of New York City life. Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) an Irish priest from her hometown helps her out by giving her advice and paying for her to attend bookkeeping school so she can start a new career.

At first Ellis is extremely homesick, but soon that dissipates when she starts to find her own path. She learns how to be more social and then meets Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian plumber at a dance and quickly the two hit it off. Their romance flies quickly and they fall in love, but then Ellis is called to go back home when tragedy strikes.

When she returns to Ireland, she gets right back to where she left off, but this time things are better for her. There are more opportunities and she starts to grow fond of one of her guy friends Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) He is an eligible bachelor and considered a catch in her town. Everyone wants her to stay home and not go back, she must decide between the comforts of home or the endless opportunities that are afforded to her in the US.BROOK4 - Jim

The film is sentimental and compassionate and offers viewers a simple story. There are no bells and whistles or action sequences, but there are beautiful backdrops of Ireland and New York City in the fall. Ronan does a beautiful job at capturing emotion and always brings warmth and excitement when she is on screen. It is wonderful to see the evolution of her as an actress and I look forward to only seeing her get better. Gleeson also stood out to me; he brought so much depth and feeling to his role and added the complexity it needed.

BROOK2What annoyed me about this film is that we have such a strong female lead, one where we see her take on obstacles in the new world and face many hardships head on. We see her grow and mature into her own skin, she is smart and tough all in one, but then the film depicts all of her problems being solved once she meets her boyfriend Tony. Life only got easier for her and everything about her quickly ends up revolving around him. She is happier and stops missing home when she’s with him and all the other girls are envious of her ability to catch a man. Even in Ireland, much of the story was centered on the possibility of getting together with Jim and everyone around her telling her what a great match he would be for her. The story would have been much more powerful had it stopped relying on so many of those fussy clichés.

Overall, I thought it was a sweet movie with beautiful acting, it felt like I was watching my grandparents tell the story of how they met. The costumes and landscapes were gorgeous and the entire movie had an old-fashioned tone to it. If you are a fan of romance and heart-felt dramas, then this is for you, if not, I would suggest renting this one.

Brooklyn Movie PosterStarring:  Saoirse Ronan (Eilis Lacey)Emory Cohen (Tony), Domhall Gleeson (Jim Farrell), Jane Brennan (Mary Lacey), Fiona Glascott (Rose), Julie Walters (Mrs. Kehoe), Jim Broadbent (Father Flood)

Directed by: John Crowley

Written by: Nick Hornby (screenplay), Colm Tóibín (novel)

MPAA rating: PG-13

Running time: 111 min

Rating: 3/5