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Flash Movie Review: El Chicano

I DID NOT KNOW THE TWO brothers when they were growing up. All I can assume from what I have been told was they grew up in the same home, in the same environment. If I was not privy to this bit of information I would never guess they were brothers, except they did share some common physical features. Two men who were so opposite of each other, I have no idea what happened to make them so different in many ways. One brother was jovial, the other was mostly serious. One easygoing who didn’t hold a grudge, while the other one was stubborn and hostile. They were not the only example I had of family members being so different from the same household; but I have to say they were an extreme example for me. Over time I have given thought and studies to the general psychological characteristics, feelings and behavioral traits of humankind; in fact, I thought I would have had a career out of it. Looking at these two brothers besides genetics, there must have been something going on in their environment that made them drastically different. Maybe a parent favored one over the other or one was being abused or bullied outside of the home; in either case, their differences caused a major rift between them that still lasts to this day.     I AM NOT IMPLYING THAT THERE is something wrong with being different; I find it to be healthy and celebrate it. Imagine if each family’s members acted the same. The first thing that comes to mind is there would be no surprises. With everyone being the same, everyone would know what to expect. I also believe the family would have a narrower view of the world around them. I know a couple who live in such a self-built confined world, that they have become fearful of anything new. Now you could argue if they are happy and content then what is the big deal; however, I do not know if they are happy because I have never seen them display it. What I do know is they have missed out on so many events that I believe would have brought them joy. The bottom line for all of this is unless one lives and observes what takes place every day, one cannot truly know the reasons why people turn out the way they do. You can see for yourself if you choose to watch the two brothers in this film festival winning drama.      GETTING ASSIGNED TO THE BIGGEST CASE of his career L.A.P.D. detective Diego Hernandez, played by Raul Castillo (We the Animals), was thrown a loop when the case included information about his dead brother. With Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank franchise, Elysium) as Detective Martinez, George Lopez (Valentine’s Day, Spare Parts) as Captain Gomez, David Castaneda (Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Standing Up, Falling Down) as Shotgun and Marlene Forte (A Haunted House, Real Women have Curves) as Susana; this movie screamed hope and desperation. I truly get it; the writers and studio wanted to create a franchise around a Latino avenger which would be fine. However, to create a poor script loaded with clichés and predictability was a major roadblock. The acting was nothing to talk about either. This type of story has been done many times before; I do not understand why the writers chose to go down such a conventional path. One guess I have would be the lack of funding for this picture. Every scene looked sparse like it was borrowed or already picked over from previous movies. The fight scenes were staged okay but here too they were kept to a brief, bloody moment. I felt bad for this film; besides poor sales, I cannot see any reason why someone would want to attempt a sequel.

 

1 ½ stars    

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Flash Movie Review: Spare Parts

It would be easy for me to say the word “no” is a restrictive word. Instead, I will say it can be constrictive. I am not referring to times where the word “no” is used for safety concerns, like telling the driver not to go down a particular road because the bridge is out or telling a child they cannot play on the outdoor jungle gym because of its rotting wood. When it comes to telling a child or an adult they cannot do something because of someone else’s preconceived notions, I then have an issue with it. I learn by making mistakes; in addition, I feel failing a task provides a blueprint on how to deal with consequences. Let us face it; part of living is dealing with consequences. Why shouldn’t we get practice in dealing with failures and successes? If I piled up all the noes I have been told in my life, like bricks at a construction site, I could build a rather large addition onto my house. In my opinion as long as the possibilities are spelled out, let the individual discover for themselves what their true potential can be.    WITH no money, no training, nor legal documentation; four Hispanic high school students formed a robotics club to enter a nationwide NASA sponsored contest. Even though the previous winners came from some of the best Ivy League schools in the country, the 4 students would wind up building something better than just a robot. This movie was based on a true story and had all the markings to be a real inspirational story. I found the casting to be an interesting mix with George Lopez (Valentine’s Day, Balls of Fury) as Fredi Cameron, Marisa Tomei (The Lincoln Lawyer, Parental Guidance) as Gwen and Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, True Lies) as the Principal. Including the actors cast as the students, everyone did a decent job of acting. The weak link of this film was the script. I figured there was going to be some humor interjected into the story since George was in it. However, the humor for the most part fell flat. There were times where it was easy to figure out what was going to happen to some of the characters. I even wondered if some of the things really did happen or were they written into the story for dramatic effect. It was a real shame because the true story appeared to be so good; I just wished the writers would have given the characters more levels to delve into and develop. As photos of the real individuals flashed onto the screen I have to tell you I was a bit awestruck. Here were people who despite hearing the word “no” so often in life, did not let it stop them from dreaming.

 

2 stars

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