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At the movies with Covo & Ayotte: The Austin Film Fest and “Alex Cross”

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. | 19 de octubre de 2012

Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews online whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, Covo talks about AFF which opened Oct. 18 and runs through Oct. 25 and Ayotte covers “ Alex Cross ” which also opens nationwide Oct. 19. Next week the two movie critics will be covering standard fare and more gems coming out of the Austin Film Festival (AFF) – stay tuned for great coverage of the newest Indies.

San Antonio.- Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews online whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, Covo talks about AFF which opened Oct. 18 and runs through Oct. 25 and Ayotte covers “Alex Crosswhich also opens nationwide Oct. 19. Next week the two movie critics will be covering standard fare and more gems coming out of the Austin Film Festival (AFF) – stay tuned for great coverage of the newest Indies.

Covo’s take: AFF spotlight - Amber Cordova

The week-long Austin Film Festival opened Thursday with great feature films, Indies and shorts. And over the weekend, AFF will screen 16 special short films – special because these are exceptional films selected by AFF from films submitted to their student short films competition.

One of the films that made the very competitive cut comes from a young woman and native San Antonian, Amber Cordova, currently a computer engineering freshman at the University of Texas-San Antonio. She made the short last year – as a Jefferson High School student.

Her high school film teacher, Adam Rocha, submitted the film to AFF because it was, in a word, “brilliant.”

“She didn’t have any budget, she didn’t have any actors, she had her imagination – and it ran wild,” Rocha explained.

Cordova, just 18 years old, actually shies away from the spotlight – she explains she loved her film class, but this little film really sprang from boredom.

“It was winter break, and I had all the equipment to make a movie … and I was at home with nothing to do,” she said.

Rafael, her 12-year-old brother, was enlisted and played a part in her movie.

Her film, “Billy Lesko Cromwell,” is the story of a water bottle, narrated by a fanciful deep British-sounding voice Cordova created from stuff she found on the computer. She really wanted Morgan Freeman for the voice-over, but the computer-generated one was as close she could get, she said.

“I was looking for a kind of elite voice,” she explained.

Rocha said while watching the film, he had to check his emotions – he actually felt bad for the water bottle. “The film is that good,” he explained.

In the meantime, the fledgling filmmaker said there was no hidden message she was trying to deliver in her film.

“There’s no real message – I was just trying to tell a story. And I hope people enjoy it,” she said.

She also gave lots of credit to Rocha.

“Mr. Rocha entered the film, he is the producer. More important, he is a great teacher. Even now, I still go to him for everything, school, life. He is always there for us,” Cordova said.

Today, the college freshman goes to school, studies and works. But she did tell La Prensa she still wants to make more movies. We sure look forward to seeing more of her work – more than being accepted into AFF, Cordova has the secret of filmmaking down: it’s all about telling the story.

Another AFF SPECIAL MENTION: 

I had the opportunity to screen a feature length documentary that premieres this weekend at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Austin Film Festival and plays again at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct 22 called "The Missing Piece: The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa ..." 

I have to say this one is a true gem and worth your time. Engaging, properly paced and a fascinating journey through history - with all the tangents intact and relevant.

Writer/Director Joe Medeiros leaves no stone unturned in his search for the truth - and the satisfaction is delicious. This docu-film gets FOUR STARS from Covo & Ayotte.

Ayotte’s take: “Alex Cross” ONE STAR

Once you get the image of Tyler Perry dressed up as his signature character, Madea, out of your head only then can you begin to take him seriously in his new role as Dr. Alex Cross in his latest flick, “Alex Cross.”

This is not an easy task as I tried and had to continue to remind myself throughout the film that he was not about to appear as an old black woman in a floral dress. He was a for-real-crime-fighting-gun-toting man of the law. Still, it was hard to believe.

There is no doubt Perry is a good actor, but I’m not sure he translated well as this new type of character. When for years we watched him portraying something completely opposite, it’s hard to deprogram and believe he could actually be a hard core cop.

The premise of the film is nothing special, but the screenplay was well written nonetheless. It’s based on the James Patterson novel “Cross.”  Patterson also wrote “Kiss the Girls,” but this film doesn’t begin to approach what “Kiss the Girls” was in 1997.

The best part of the film was Matthew Fox’s character Picasso. This is one of the sickest and most demented characters you’ll see all year on screen. Picasso has deep mental issues and will shock you with his grotesque forms of torture and killing style.

The film revolves around catching the villain, Picasso, before he can kill any more people on his hit list. Cross (Perry) and his life-long friend, Tommy Kane, played by Edward Burns are tasked with bringing him in. It’s not easy for the two and they lose people who are very special to them throughout the chase.

This is one thing I credit “Alex Cross” for: the fact that no one is off-limits in the movie. You don’t know who is going to die and Picasso doesn’t care who he kills. It’s morbid in reality but refreshing in the film world. People die in this film who you don’t think would die.

The end is predictable, however, in spite of the slight twist that’s nothing to rave about. It is more of a weak attempt to try to make the film better than it really is, but the reality is that it’s not that great.

Decent describes this film at best. The acting is decent, the story is decent and the cinematography is decent — nothing more.

Like me, others likely won’t be able to take Perry seriously in this new role, and I can’t say they should.

"Alex Cross" is rated PG-13 and runs 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. have written hundreds of movie reviews for La Prensa San Antonio and online and covered several film festivals and many filmmakers. They can be reached at angela.covo@gmail.com & dennisayottejr@gmail.com. This version of "At the movies with Covo & Ayotte" is an updated version of the one printed in this weekend's edition of La Prensa San Antonio.

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