Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony
In their dazzling first on-screen pairing, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony bring to life this riveting tale of romance and redemption based on the true story of salsa legend Hector Lavoe and the woman who kept him from fal... more »
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IVOR I. from CHICAGO, IL
Reviewed on 6/5/2011...
Although they look about as alike as Hitler and Rob Lowe, slight pocket-size actor-singer Marc Anthony does a half decent job of playing the big, life-chewing, slightly overweight dope-fiend salsa star Héctor Lavoe. Anthony has made a few creditable cinema appearances in 'Man on Fire,' 'Big Night' and 'Bringing out the Dead.' Had the film's writer/director Leon Ichiso owned any knowledge of the human condition, this part might have made Anthony the crossover superstar he longs to be. The title of El Cantante comes from a song Rubén Blades wrote for Lavoe. Lavoe would make it his signature song. Anthony's real life wife, Jennifer Lopez, plays Puchi,his foul-mouthed Nuyorican wife and stoned-lifestyle enabler. She, too, given little of depth to work with, does a fine professional job. Theoretically, her 'narrative' retelling of their story brings to life their 'true' story and was taken out of real-life interviews the film's writer/director Leon Ichiso did with Puchi just before she died in 2002. Her story is a self-serving pile of clichés as Ichiso--bereft of a single original idea when it comes to the real character of the pair--contrasts Lavoe's rise from Puerto Rican street singer to a Latin superstar with his parrallel fall from innocent 'jibaro' immigrant to heroin-addicted ladies man. The problem is that Lavoe was not ome dumb country bumpkin and that heroin, for anyone who might bothered to do the kind of appropriate, fundamental street research necessary, is not a drug condusive to feats of sexual excess. At any rate, Ichiso follows Lavoe's history as his popularity hit its peak in 1985, and we witness tragedy leads to tragedy in his final years: breaking with his partnerr, trombonist Willie Colón (John Ortiz), a sojourn in a mental ward, fatherhood, the death of his son, and the fatal contracting of AIDS, etc. The music is absolutely 100% superb and I couldn't help but recall attending so many great Fania All Stars concerts in the late 1970's and 80's. Ichiso really does know how to shoot mustc and dancing. Thus, although the movie looks and sounds authentic, Lavoe's story gets short shrift and might have been better served as fiction. Biographies that study the demons of a real-life genius are a tough road to drive with the ideal model being Milos Forman's 'Amadeus.' Why Lopez, as her own producer, choae this hack is probably a better story than the one written for the movie.
There is definitely a sense of something better being cut out, however. That comes, not from viewing the outtakes, but the brilliant, hilarious, wedding in Puerto Rico scenes that plays like Laurel and Hardy doing the wedding scene from 'Scarface' on crack. These scenes on 'La Isla' are light hearted and brilliant and seem very very spontaneous. Had more of the movie kept this feel, there's a sense it might have been a msterpiece. Nevertheless, as the music is fantastic, I urge you to to enjoy it as pure silly, entertainment.
Jorge S. (jorgito2001) from WESLEY CHAPEL, FL
Reviewed on 1/29/2010...
Words cannot describe the TRAVESTY that is 'El Cantante'...what is supposed to be a biopic of famous Salsa singer Hector Lavoe is nothing more then J.Lo's attempt to TRY to show off her acting chops (key word = TRY).
What I thought was going to be a movie about the life & times of Hector Lavoe (someone my parents grew up listening to) was more the life & times of PUCHY (J.Lo) around Hector...FAIL! J.Lo tries TOO hard & lays the dialogue TOO thick to be believable...she really hams it up! A shame cause she seldom gives hubby Marc a chance to shine as the titular character, but then again, she produced this turd, so no surprise there! Notice during every musical number by hubby Marc, the camera pans back to her every 5-12 seconds, either dancing, looking-on, angry, picking her nose, something, ANYTHING (annoying). At the end of the film all we know of Hector Lavoe is he sang & he did drugs...that's IT...not spoiling it for you...if you NEVER heard of Hector Lavoe, that's all you'll know when the credits start to roll. This is DEFINITELY not on par with 'Ray', 'Walk the Line' or even 'Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story' (lol)
One of the few redeeming qualities of this film is the SOUNDTRACK! Marc is no Hector Lavoe, but his voice & the new arrangements are simply astounding & (as a latin) I can't help but start dancing in my seat whenver I hear one of the songs. A shame the movie is a total stinker!
To add insult to injury, now that Oscar time is upon us, J.Lo openly admitted recently to a celebrity gossip magazine she was "snubbed" for an Oscar! Excuse me while I go upchuck.
if your curious to see J.Lo hog the spotlight & act like Rosie Perez on speed, THIS is your MOVIE!
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Danielle T. (sugarkane) from FITCHBURG, WI
Reviewed on 7/21/2008...
I really enjoyed this movie. I did not know very much about Hector's life before watching this movie, but I love his music. Marc Anthony did a great job portraying Lavoe. Jennifer Lopez was surprisingly good as his wife Puchi. The music was excellent. I recommend this movie, very entertaining.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Good insight into Hector's world
JRF | Hastings-on Hudson, NY | 10/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My wife and I watched the movie recently and we both enjoyed it very much. The film's excellent, period! Anyone curious to learn about this unique salsa singer should purchase the DVD. Though I must confess the biographical nature of it was sad for me to see. Of course it's unavoidable as he led such a tragic life. Hector must've had many wonderfully fun moments during his short life, but you couldn't really extract that from watching the film.
Having said that, I give high accolades to all involved in its production. Both Marc and Jennifer were excellent in their respective acting roles. I was particularly impressed with Jennifer and would agree with a commenter here that she should receive Oscar consideration.
Side notes: I wish the relationships between Hector and the other musicians like Willy Colon would've been explored even further. And that the director would've allowed the actor playing Ruben Blades to finish singing the song El Cantante on acoustic guitar - very cool."
A Tour de Force for Jennifer Lopez
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"EL CANTANTE missed in the theater run, perhaps because the public is growing weary of 'little person makes good, becomes a celebrity, and aborts a successful life in favor of drugs' stories. But now that the film is available for DVD viewing in the home, the public can appreciate the very fine qualities of this surprise work. And it may not be too late for an Oscar nod for Jennifer Lopez...
The film is based on the life of Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony), the Puerto Rican King of Salsa who gained fame and stardom in the 1970s and 1980s as not only a talented singer but also as a charismatic 'man of the people'. His rise to fame is related in a tremendously effective black and white late in life interview with Hector's wife Puchi (a brilliant role for Jennifer Lopez!) offering in flashback sequences the rise and fall of the King of Salsa, a life cut short by both drug abuse and AIDS. Much of the film is devoted to musical sequences that bristle with the excitement of Salsa music and Anthony carries his role as Lavoe very well. The cast is uniformly excellent with some fine new faces. Write/director Leon Ichaso lets the drama slip a bit in favor of the music, but still the performance of Jennifer Lopez as the smart but sleazy, tacky and wise Puchi is dynamite. The film is far more solid than expected: the opportunity for Lopez to demonstrate her talent is well worth watching. Grady Harp, November 07
A MUST SEE movie!!!
A. Macias | 09/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i must say at first i was kind of iffy about this movie. But this movie had me going from the begining until the end. The music and the roles that were played were EXCELLENT!!!! Jennifer and Marc played their roles to the fullest. Made me feel like i was part of the movie or wish i could part of that era."