Miss Bala Review - Compelling, Intense, A Wild Ride

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Miss Bala, from Sony Pictures Entertainment, brings to the screen a wild, fast action, south of the border ride as a weekend with family turns into a life or death race as two rival cartels fight for dominance.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Miss Bala stars Gina Rodriguez, Christina Rodlo, Anthony Mackie, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Matt Laurie, Damian Alcazar, Ricardo Abarca, Lilian Guadalupe Tapia Robles, Aislinn Derbez, Omar Ayala, and Thomas Dekker.

The film begins with wide angle shots of Los Angeles, big, bright, the city of dreams and narrows to a room where Gloria, played by Gina Rodriguez, is finishing some make-up sketch work experimenting with new looks.


Alita: Battle Angel Review - Four Stars! Stunning Special Effects, Performance Driven Roles, Solid Story


Today she is working LA Fashion Week. Attempting to show the Makeup supervisor her work, he explained "you're not paid to think, you're paid to work."

No matter this weekend, as we find out, she is headed to Tijuana to help her Godson's sister, Suzu, played by Cristina Rodlo, prepare for the Miss Baja California Beauty Pageant. The two girls, who haven't seen each other in some time are reduced to giggling, giddy girls as they catch up.

Heading out to rub elbows with the powers behind the pageant they end up in a club, The Millennium, when all hell breaks loose and a rival cartel gang shots up the place. The two girls are separated.

Gloria ends up sitting in a diner all night waiting for her find to telephone her when she finally tries to get help from the local Mexican police. The tension continues to build as she is taken to some remote location by the cop who is on the take.

Forgetting she is in Mexico, where everyone has alliances she does the one thing she is warned againstas she begins to give a detailed statement of the shooters. Before she has a chance to react she is grabbed by Cartel members.

Finally she is delivered to a cartel safe house where Rosa, played by Lilian Guadalupe Tapia Robles, who doubles as both make-up artists and madam for this house.


Serenity Review – A Modernized Noir Thriller With All the Right Bait


This is the second time we meet, Lino, played by Ismael Cruz Cordova, as he explains to Gloria, her situation, as he gave her ten seconds to leave the club and forget she ever saw them, has dramatically changed.

Now, in order to save her friend she is forced to perform several tasks. The first one she is told to drive a car to a location, park very close to the curb, and leave. The car is loaded with explosives and the house is a DEA safehouse.

She ends up escaping her chaperone, Poyo, played by Ricardo Abarca, Lino's lieutenant and runs into an American DEA Agent Brian Reich, played by Matt Laurie, who shows her pictures of the bombing and explains as much as we want to believe you, unless you work for us, your headed to the US prison system.

With the ruthless cartel leader Lino on one side and the DEA on the other, Gloria is slowly being squeezed. Her next task is to run a shipment of cocaine across the border. She manages not to raise any suspicion and delivers the drugs and cash to Jimmy, played by Anthony Mackie, who explains she has to tell Lino there is a DEA mole in his organization.


Close Review - Fresh, Intense, Tangible Action, Solid


Long past the point of no return, Gloria, from Los Angeles, an American citizen who just wants to find her friend realizes if she wants to make it home alive she needs to depend on herself.

This is where Miss Bala shifts from victim to avenger.

As drug cartel movies go, and unless they are the epic urban legend films, they tend to be told from a male point of view and easily sliced into parts. Miss Bala, brings a strong protagonist to drive the narrative and while she tends to depend on the alpha males running the show for the first half of the film, when she does take charge the film explodes.

Set predominately in Tijuana, and filmed in locations surroudning the city, with the raging turf wars, drugs, free flowing US dollars and ongoing corruption, and as we are told in Tijuana war is in the streets, there are no good guys only those who pay more.

The story, written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, is solid. The unfortunate commonality surrounding mass shootings and other gang related violence is played with authenticity. It's almost as if going into the film one expect the cookie cutter version of drug cartel films and that is not what audiences will get.


Celebrity Interview: Vicky Jewson, Director of Close talks on Making the Film; Casting and The Process


The scenes are fresh, presenting a deeper more genuine look at life inside the cartel. The merciless life, where everyone is expendable, where the bala, the bullet, settles everything. The cast, which is predominately of Latin decent, and may not be household names, are world class. 

Even as so much is going on the story essentially revolves around the two main cartel figures, Ismael Cruz Cordova, (Lino), and Ricardo Abarca, (Poyo) and Gina Rodriguez (Gloria).

These three carry the story and the acting is authentic. Bringing the emotion to the screen, fear or calm in the face of a hostage situation, elation over the kill, the antithesis of normality, and the twisted mental stakes as the cartel duo lead double lives, (in their own mind) of hero and mercenary. While they may be typed for awhile, as even the best actors are, they'll break through it.

Miss Bala, a fast action, kick ass and take hombres story, with enough compelling intrigue to last throughout the entire film. From beginning to end the film continues at a heightened pace, intensifying until the climatic ending.

Miss Bala opens February 1, 2019. See it.

Haute Tease

  • Hurricane Harvey Death Toll Rises to 35; Officials Expect Total to Climb

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hurricane Harvey, who shocked Houstonians with a double hit causing historic floods, has claimed the lives of at least 35 residents, including a family of six, and officials expect grim news of more deaths as waters recede.

     
  • Michelle Pfeiffer Interview: People Like Us Review - A Drama of Life, Death, Secrets and Lies

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    PEOPLE LIKE US, a true story from DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment, brings to the screen an inspiring drama of life, death, family lies, secrets, choices and hope.

     
  • Paris Fashion Week: Maria Aristidou Spring Summer 2018 Collection – Luxurious, Exotic, Mystical

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Close your eyes and fly to the Secret Gardens of Alexander. A utopia, a fantasy land that euphoria is the only feeling of existence. A land with unending gardens of delicate Japanese flowers, of beauty that begs for surrender.

     
  • World News: Stay Tuned For The Next Episode of Brexit, a true British Soap

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The demonstrations of support for pro-European sentiment in London also testify to the fear felt by many Britons to find themselves alone in a world of competition in which Britain would be placed in a weak position.

     
  • DreamWorks SKG presents The Help – A Riveting Journey of Change

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    THE HELP, a deeply moving journey through 1960’s Mississippi, from DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment recently previewed for members of the media on the Walt Disney Studio Lot in Burbank, California.

     
  • Judge in Stanford Rape Case Stops Hearing Criminal Cases

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced the Stanford convicted rapist to six months including time served, has stopped hearing felony cases due to the public outrage over his leniency in what has been deemed a travesty of justice.

     
  • Dozens Feared Dead in Taiwan Earthquake

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The death toll twenty-four hours after a 6.4 magnitude shallow quake hit the densely populated coastal city of Hualien stands at six with dozens still missing and rescue workers frantically working to find survivors amidst the rubble.

     
  • Celebrity Interview & Review: Least Among Saints - A Tough and Tender Tearjerker from Martin Papazian

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LEAST AMONG SAINTS, a moving drama of hope and compassion, recently held a private screening and screening for select members of the media, donars and film partners, at the ICM building in Century City, California.

     
  • Molly’s Game Review - Magnificent; Sharp; A Hands Down Winner

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Molly's Game, from STX Entertainment and Entertainment One, brings to the screen the true story of competitive Skier, Molly Bloom, who after losing a spot on the U.S. Ski team, she heads to sunny L.A. for a change.

     
  • The Upside Review - Superb Acting, A Genuine Feel Good Film

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Upside, from STX Entertainment, presents the story of a wealthy financier who becomes permanently paralyzed and hires a live-in caregiver with a criminal past that causes each to see the world differently with hilarious and enlightening results.

     
  • BOULEVARD Review – Robin Williams Gives a Master Class, Memorable, Honest Performance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BOULEVARD, from Starz Digital and Camellia Entertainment, brings to the screen a powerful moving life drama that resonates of living truthfully and is delivered with reserved unforgettable force taking the audience on a personal journey of self-discovery.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Gov Shut Down, Border/Immigrants, ISIS Attack, Women’s March, May/Brexit, El Chapo, Red Hat Hate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump and House Majority leader Representative Nancy Pelosi continue to spar over the terms to reopen the longest government shut down in history as more than 800,000 federal employees are poised to miss the payroll deadline again.

     
  • The Time Being Review – Finding the Driving Force of Life

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Time Being,” from FilmColony and Time Picture Company, connects two artists, at two distinct times, and with reserved intensity brings to the screen a deep examination into the soul of a man/artist.

     
  • UPDATED: 16 Dead in Mt. Everest Avalanche Kills; Climbing Season Halted

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A deadly avalanche on Mt. Everest claimed the lives of sixteen Sherpa’s in what has become the deadliest day in the history of mountain climbing expeditions, and the annual trekking season has not officially started.

     
  • Paris Fashion Week: Ziad Nakad, Spring/Summer 2019 Collection – Dazzling, Sexy, Ultra Glamorous

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Spring Summer 2019 Haute Couture collection from Ziad Nakad magically transforms into a constellation of delicate, bold, intoxicating, evening gowns, with gleaming silvers and shimmering gold patterns blending celestial designs with starry night patterns.