Michael Peña and Eva Longoria in Frontera (Magnolia Pictures)
Director Michael Berry unleashes Frontera, a powerful story that entangles two families from each side of the Mexican border in a web of corruption that leaves both on a hunt for answers. Michael Peña plays a Mexican immigrant wrongfully accused of shooting the wife of a retired Arizona sheriff (Ed Harris) while crossing the border illegally. As Peña’s character is being charged for the first-degree murder he did not commit, his pregnant wife (Eva Longoria) sets off to America to aid her husband but falls into the hands of malevolent coyotes that hold her for ransom. Meanwhile, Roy (Harris) takes the law into his own hands in search for his wife’s true murderer.
Harris and Peña are perfectly cast for this bold film, creating a sense of realness to the characters developed. Harris’ Lone Ranger-like demeanor adds a dramatic western overtone that seems to come with his experience in acting. It is also refreshing to see Longoria play a role where she isn’t flaunting her more attractive aspects and is actually doing a good job acting.
As a true work of art, Frontera conceptualizes the reality of immigration and the grim life that revolves around it by encompassing different perspectives from everyone involved in these experiences. This dramatic tale holds no boundaries and is sure to provide an empathetic insight of life on both sides of the border. Catch Frontera in select theaters Sept. 5.
Hipster fashion, sync dancing, pop music and Emily Browning – we have ourselves the indie-musical, God Help the Girl. Although the preview to GHTG looks more like a Levi’s commercial, the directorial debut of Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch looks to be a fun, hopeless-romantic flick.
Set in Glasgow, Scotland, GHTG focuses on the emotionally distraught Eve (Browning) who begins writing songs to get out of her depression. When Eve befriends up-and-coming musicians James (Olly Alexander) and Cassie (Hannah Murray), they help form a pop band and bring Eve’s songs into a whimsical reality.
God Help the Girl appears to be aimed at the younger, confused-hormones type of audience, which wouldn’t make this movie for everyone. However, this film looks aesthetically pleasing (almost early Wes Anderson-like) and not just because of Browning’s beauty, but because of the attention to specific camera work, wardrobe, setting and music. If you happen to be in the 16-25 range, like “Glee“ and trendy fashion fads, boogie on down to the theaters this Friday and see God Help the Girl.
Having made its debut at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Kelly & Cal presents a Harold and Maude-like scenario topped off with contemporary, first-world problems. After getting married, giving birth and settling down in an uptight suburban town, Kelly (Juliette Lewis) finds herself the odd woman out in her community and longing for the free rebellious life she once lived. When Kelly meets her wheelchair entrapped 17-year-old neighbor, Cal (Jonny Weston), she finds herself gravitating towards his young, audacious spirit.
Kelly & Cal might have an overall moral to its story about love, individualism and whatnot, but when leading characters pity themselves while surrounded by their not-so-rough suburban lifestyles it becomes difficult to relate to characters that find something to be unhappy about. I think Kelly & Cal has more to say about the dissatisfaction of living a conservative, consumerist, cookie-cutter life, but that aspect is lost in the folds of the inept relationship built between two sad people looking to release their sexual frustrations. Kelly & Cal releases in theaters Friday, Sept. 5.
Also in theaters: But Always; The Identical; Innocence; Last Days in Vietnam; Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer’s Monolithic Sculpture; The Longest Week; The Remaining