Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: John Leguizamo, José María Yazpik
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Anchorman manolo bonilla works for a show that broadcasts the hardest sensationalistic stories it can find. After he begins to break the rules to get the story of a serial child killer & rapist we are left to wonder who th... more »
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JoAnn B. from PAWTUCKET, RI
Reviewed on 12/21/2011...
Todos los actores son buenos. Suspenso total. suspenseful. Very well done.
(3.5 STARS) No News about the Media, But Still Intriguing fo
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`Crónicas' (2004) written and directed by Sebastián Cordero has authentic look of the countryside of Ecuador, and very strong performances from the three leading actors. The content of the film itself, part thriller about a serial killer, and part social satire about the media, looks more American than you might expect from the Ecuadorian-born director, who went to France at the age of 9, and studied filmmaking at university in California. But his semi-documentary touch proves he has originality, with realistic atmosphere that sometimes bring to us the smell of the places like seedy prison or humid swamps.
John Leguizamo plays a Miami-based TV-reporter who stumbles upon a big story about the heinous serial killer "the Monster of Babahoyo." Manolo, star reporter of Tabloid TV show (host played cameo Alfred Molina), believes that this timid middle-aged man Vinicio, who is now in prison because of one fatal hit-and-run accident, knows something about the killer that scares the local people.
While Vinicio offers a deal, there is another question - is he telling Manolo the truth? Or is he himself the Monster?
`Crónicas' has suspenseful moments, but it is not a murder mystery. If you're an avid reader of crime novels, you can predict the story fairly well, and the main characters - fame-hungry TV reporter, his female assistant (Leonor Watling, `Talk to Her'), and the portrait of the killer itself - are pretty stereotyped ones. Its oversimplified statement about the media, as is shown in its tagline (`If it's on TV, it must be the truth') looks old to me, having been repeated again and again in the films like `Mad City.' Today people don't believe the `story' so easily as the film thinks.
But the sinister, brooding mood of the places director Sebastián Cordero shoots with keen eyes, and the riveting acting from underrated Leguizamo, and creepy but convincing acting from Damián Alcázar is another thing. The director did a fantastic job of capturing the air of the small community.
Perhaps the film gets most chilling when it shows the darker (or I should say complicated) side of the people in this small town. Actually, the most impressive moment does not involve the serial killer, nor the media circus. I am talking about one long sequence, in which one dies and another is nearly killed after being brutally treated. Here Cordero shows his undeniable talent as director. The film is well worth watching for these terrific moments, not for the simplified commentary on the media that you might have already heard before."
Worth Hurdling the Language Barrier
R. Schultz | Chicago | 10/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cover of this DVD says the movie is in "Spanish and English." However, at least on the DVD version I got, the "English" consists of just a couple of sentences John Leguizamo inexplicably throws into his conversation, and then a few of the bonus interviews. Other than that, you will have to rely on the English subtitles, unless you are fluent in Spanish. And since some of the characters play reporters who speak rapidly, with a Ben Hecht "Front Page" urgency - that means you will have to quickly read a fair amount of material. But believe me, this movie is worth the effort.
Like me, you might find yourself watching the movie twice - once to get the gist by reading the subtitles - then again to concentrate more on the actors and to fill in some details.
John Leguizamo does a good job playing the cocky, ambitious reporter intent on developing and breaking the story of the child killer himself, without tipping off the police. But the really memorable performance is turned in by Damian Alcazar. He plays his part with a brilliant mix of meek supplication and soft, compelling manipulative guile. Whatever equivalent of the Academy Award the South American movie industry may present - should go to him.
This movie also gives us a look into settings most of us will (thankfully) never experience in person. We are taken into the center of mob violence. We see what the interior of a South American jail is like, with its peeling paint and exposed, dripping water pipes and its encouragement of inmate violence. We see the resourceful, stilted shantytowns people in those small towns build with whatever materials they find at hand.
This movie may also provoke deep debate among you and your friends about who the real villain of the story is. Of course there is the child killer himself. But many have found the reporters equally culpable in their eagerness to take credit for unmasking the killer. I have an additional candidate to nominate for villain. It's not so much Damian's wife, who urged her husband to keep silent about his presumed knowledge of the killer's identity. But it is her desperate spirit of "let's not get involved" that I blame. Even for someone who is poor and struggling, that attitude should not be given a pass. It is the root of so much evil.
Whichever characters you end up convicting of the horror though, you will probably be haunted by the dark places this movie takes you to - long after you finish watching it.
[3.5]--The Responsibilities of Tabloid Journalism
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 09/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At first, this film is difficult to watch, given the subject matter of violence against children. Soon it becomes obvious that there is more to it than that, and that is where the hook comes in. `Crónicas' is a movie that begins with a terrific concept but sort of dwindles along the way.
It's a good move with a very good performances, especially on the part of John Leguizamo, as a popular and ambitious reporter Manolo Bonilla doing a story about a notorious serial killer, and Damián Alcázar as Vinicio Cepeda, a man that by accident runs over and kills a local kid (whose brother was killed by the serial killer), and is saved by Manolo Bonilla from a lynching mob. Vinicio Cepeda wants the reporter to do a favorable story about him, and possibly, by doing so, help him get out of jail, where his life might be in danger. In exchange he offers him some information on "Monster of Babahoyo", the pedophile serial killer.
Damián Alcázar gives an incredible performance as a kind, humble, god-loving man with some uneasy, disturbing quality. The only real shortcoming of this movie, in my opinion, is that it is undeveloped. The movie could use another half an hour of plot towards the end and it felt bleak and was a bit slow in some areas.
Even though I was a bit disappointed `Crónicas' is a powerful film that certainly puts a brutal spin on the issue of a reporter protecting his sources and ethics, even when the worst of the implications happens off camera.