13 Films Featuring Hispanic Talent in 2013
13. Parker (Jennifer Lopez – Jan 25th)
Anytime you have Jennifer Lopez in the cast of a movie, it is something to look forward to. ‘La Lopez’ bizarrely teams up with British B-actor Jason Statham in this crime caper flick about a thief with a unique code of professional ethics who is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Lopez plays the role of Leslie, who forms an unlikely alliance with Statham as they look to hijack the score of a gang’s latest heist. Quick reminders of “Out of Sight” and “Money Train” come to mind as Lopez returns to the action genre and leaves behind the syrupy romantic comedies of the early 2000’s. Will this be a hit? Probably not, since there is no way I can see Statham and Lopez sparking up the big screen with romantic fireworks, but having J-Lo on screen always brings out people in numbers… unless its “Gigli.”
12. Star Trek Into Darkness (Zoe Saldana – May 17th)
“Avatar 2” isn’t here just yet, but the Dominican/Puerto Rican star Zoe Saldana keeps working in blockbuster franchise films one after the other. Saldana returns as Uhura in the sequel to the reboot of 2009’s “Star Trek” which grossed almost $400 million dollars worldwide. After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. Up next for Saldana is “Nina,” about the life of jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone, and “Blood Ties” next to Mila Kunis. With a start like this, there’s no telling how far her career will take her.
11. Elysium (Sonia Braga, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Talisa Soto – August 9th)
Brazil’s cinematic mother/daughter combo of Sonia Braga and Alice Braga will send many Latin American fans straight to the movie theaters to see them both team up for their very first film together. Add on Mexican heartthrob Diego Luna and Benjamin Bratt’s Puerto Rican beguiling wife, Talisa Soto, and you have something to look forward to. But wait, the movie itself is icing on the cake. Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, Matt Damon takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. This is a sci-fi film full of intense performances, cutting-edge visual imagery and a compelling story. “Elysium” is one movie not to miss.
10. Fast and Furious 6 (Michelle Rodriguez – May 24th)
Puerto Rican/Dominican star Michelle Rodriguez is getting ready to make headlines once again in her very highly-anticipated return to the franchise that made her into a mainstream star – Universal Picture’s “Fast and Furious 6.” In 2009’s “Fast & Furious,” we saw our Caribbean star desert us, but seems that fans and producers alike couldn’t get enough of one of the most loved characters of the series in Rodriguez. Her return is sure to excite fans once again and drive big dollars to the box office.
9. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Robert Rodriguez directs, Jessica Alba, Alexa Vega, Rosario Dawson – October 4)
For anyone who saw Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City,” you knew that you were seeing something visually groundbreaking. Based on Frank Miller’s neo-noir comic book series, the premise will focus on a town’s most hard boiled citizens crossing paths with some of its more reviled inhabitants. If the sequel is remotely even close to the original, Rodriguez is to hand us a film experience for the ages. Expect for him to up the ante on the violence, CGI and the plot absorption. Jessica Alba returns in a leading role, Rosario Dawson in a supporting one and all behind Rodriguez’s visionary project seven years in the making.
8. Turbo (Michelle Rodriguez, Luis Guzman, Michael Peña – July 19th)
Pixar who? DreamWorks Animation has stepped up its game with films like “Kung Fu Panda,” “Shrek” and most recently, the jaw-dropping “The Rise of the Guardians,” executive produced by Guillermo del Toro. Now comes perhaps their most endearing story of the year with “Turbo,” about a snail, who through a freak accident, might just achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500. This type of adorable, underdog family story is what Pixar was known for, but Dreamworks has broken new ground here by including three of the biggest Latino names in Hollywood with Michelle Rodriguez, Luis Guzman and Michael Peña as some of the cast voices. Let’s hope other animation companies are learning and applying. Bank on “Turbo” to be one of the biggest box office films of the year.
7. The Place Beyond the Pines (Eva Mendes, Olga Merediz – March 29th)
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have been going out for quite some time and “The Place Beyond the Pines” is the movie that united them in romantic bliss. A motorcycle stunt rider (Gosling) considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife (Mendes) and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician played by Bradley Cooper. Eva Mendes goes back to the dramatic genre where she earned her respect in “Training Day,” and “We Own the Night.” Mendes is not just a pretty face and in “Pines” she’s out to prove that to critics. Also good to note is that this may be the first movie to commence the Oscar buzz, similar to the way the French film “The Intouchables” did this year.
6. Getaway (Selena Gomez – August 30th)
Hype and Selena Gomez go hand in hand. Anything she touches becomes an instant must-buy or must-see event. Her highly publicized transition form music to mainstream film in “Spring Breakers,” a movie about girls gone wild, as in criminally wild, has an unknown 2013 release and has been the talk of film festivals and her rabid fans. But there is another film that has many critics waiting with a watchful eye — “Getaway,” from directors Courtney Solomon and Yaron Levy, starring Ethan Hawke. Gomez plays a young hacker who joins a race car driver on a mission to save his kidnapped wife. If she is liked by the specialized cinema media, she will break the glass ceiling that Miley Cyrus and other young teen musicians have not been able to. Don’t expect memorable acting in this action thriller, but building box office leading lady status is a smart move by the very deft Mexican-American actress.
5. Gravity (Director Alfonso Cuarón, October 18th)
When your movie is being described as the most innovative film since “Avatar” and “The Hobbit,” you know you’re on your way to a legendary level. Mexican helmer Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mama También, Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) is about to bewilder the film industry and moviegoers alike with “Gravity,” a sci-fi thriller that has been compared to Kubrick’s “2001: Space Odyssey.” Serious words. Two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space. This revolutionary film will be shot in 3D and includes an opening scene that will dazzle spectators for months to come, if not years. Get ready for major Oscar talk and maybe even a win for Best Director.
4. Pacific Rim (Director Guillermo Del Toro – July 12th)
Just watch the trailer and let your mind be blown to shreds. Good giant robots fighting nefarious giant monsters? Who’d think of putting something as cool as that on the big screen? Only from the mind of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans (think Voltron) are deployed to fight off the mammoth beasts. Del Toro has become a master at visual effects, selecting gripping stories and providing thrilling cinematic experiences. If you sneeze at this film then you should never be allowed into a movie theater ever again.
3. Machete Kills (Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara, Antonio Banderas, Demián Bichir, Alexa Vega – 2013)
With a lawsuit prohibiting its 2013 release date for now, we might not be able to experience “Machete Kills,” pure violent hilarity at its twistedly best. Mexican-American Robert Rodriguez has once again assembled some of the biggest Latino mainstream names in the industry, including Sofía Vergara, and mixed them in with Hollywood anglo stars like Mel Gibson to repeat one of 2010’s funniest films — “Machete.” Laughing that hard should be outlawed, simply for the punishment one’s throat and ribs take from it. Only Rodriguez achieves makingLatino stories cool and make Latino actors even cooler. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for its release because “Machete Kills’ promises to deliver one of heck of a good time.
2. I’m So Excited (Pedro Almodóvar directs, Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Paz Vega – March 8th)
After his disturbing and deviantly enjoyable film “La Piel Que Habito,” the doyen of Spanish filmmaking and winner of two Oscars, Pedro Almodóvar, returns to his comedic roots to tell the tale of over-the-top passengers and crew who face death on board a plane flying to Mexico City. Hilarious confessions, musical interludes and special cameos from Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas only add to this comedic romp reminiscent of Jim Abraham’s 1980’s “Airplane.” Almodóvar’s last comedy was “Volver” which garnered Penélope Cruz a nomination for Best Actress in 2007. “I’m So Excited” looks to be a frolicking, gay ol’ time at the theater.
1. The Counselor (Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez – Nov 15th)
Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” is one of the most anticipated movies of 2013, period. That type of hype has the ability to burst forehead veins with just a mention. Michael Fassbender somehow managed to lead this cast, despite Brad Pitt and Bardem comfortably being able to do the same, in this story about a lawyer who finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking. Look for this movie to become an event-like motion picture and an immediate Best Picture contender for 2014 in almost every category. When the term “must-see” is used in the media spectrum, it is created for movies like this.