The heartbreak of illegal immigration is vividly displayed in this poignant story of nine year old Carlos (Adrian Alonso) a boy living in Mexico with his grandmother while his mother (Kate del Castillo) works as an illegal domestic in Los Angeles trying to make enough money to send home so the son she has been separated from can live a good life--even if it means being without her. When the grandmother suddenly dies Carlos decides to cross the border and look for mom. As his journey continues he encounters a woman (America Ferrera) and her brother (Jesse Garcia) who make tuition money taking babies into the U.S. In this instance she decides to help smuggle Carlos across by hiding him in her van. Once he lands in Tuscon he meets a sympathetic middle- aged migrant worker named Enrique (Eugenio Derbez) who accompanies him to East L.A. Once there they try to locate his mother--their only clue being a vague description of the area around a pay phone she used in her weekly calls home to Carlos. The film which is shot mostly in Spanish with some English language scenes as well offers great big screen opportunities to some of Mexico’s biggest television stars including telenovela favorite Kate del Castillo. She delivers a moving performance as a mother living separated by borders with her only son but living “under the same moon.” The film really belongs however to young Alonso--a natural in front of the cameras who impressed American audiences as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas’ son in The Legend of Zorro but breaks out here as the determined Carlos. Both create a touching mother-son relationship even though they are never in any scenes together. Also playing against type is superstar Derbez unquestionably one of Latin America’s most popular actors who develops a winning chemistry with Alonso making every moment of their screen time count. Ugly Betty’s Ferrera also turns up for some effective moments including a heart-stopping sequence in which she is questioned by border guards while the van carrying the hidden Carlos is searched. Although she has made some award winning shorts Under the Same Moon represents the first feature length film for Mexican-born Patricia Riggen. She succeeds on all levels emphasizing the characters in the story over the potentially political hot button topic of immigration which her film so eloquently humanizes. Working with screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos the two women give urgency to the tragic separation of mother and son caught between two disparate cultures. Given the time restraints and low budget Riggen’s command of the camera is impressive particularly in the inventive and almost spiritual ways she manages to bring mother and son together on screen even though they never share a shot. Use of music is also hugely effective with Carlos Silotto’s melodic score recalling a similar film about a young dreamer Cinema Paradiso. Ultimately though Under the Same Moon lives or dies with the actors and Riggen’ spot-on casting decisions--particularly in the case of Alonso--really lift it to new levels. Most of the actors have extensive TV followings and Riggen knew by casting them she would risk the wrath of Mexican film critics who uniformly look down on television. Doesn’t matter. Under the Same Moon has universal appeal and should find approving audiences around the world.
On the surface Stay seems to be a straightforward psychological drama about a psychiatrist Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor) who is trying to keep a mysterious patient Henry (Ryan Gosling) from killing himself. But the deeper we get into it the decidedly weirder it gets. And not necessarily in a good way. Sam and Henry seemed to be inexplicably connected. While his girlfriend and former patient Lila (Naomi Watts) looks haplessly on Sam’s lightly held grip on the rational world begins to melt away. He can no longer figure out what is true and what is happening only in his head--all climaxing in a titular confrontation between life and death. Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling would have loved this one. Although he was surprisingly good as the romantic lead in The Notebook the usually somber Gosling is best known for playing quiet psychotics in such films as The United States of Leland and Murder By Numbers. In Stay he’s back to his old tricks as the suicidal Henry. Pale with mournful eyes and a perpetual cigarette in his mouth Henry is certainly a tortured soul looking for some relief. On the flip side Watts brightens the otherwise dismal surroundings as Lila but there’s also a tinge of sadness about her. The only weak link is McGregor. He can’t quite pull off playing the dedicated psychiatrist slowly losing his mind--but the Scottish actor sure has mastered the American accent (ditto for the Australian Watts). Director Marc Forster (Monsters Ball Finding Neverland) seems a bit out of his league with this jumbled-up hard-to-understand psychological fare. Granted the visuals are arresting. Forster strives to create a world which at first seems real but then little by little turns into a wildly shifting dreamscape in which scenes blend into one another seamlessly. The real problem here is the script by David Benioff (25th Hour). It tries to say “Look how clever!” by throwing you for loop after loop--except the loops don’t make much sense. You eventually stop saying “What the hell?” and start to get a pretty good idea how Stay is going to end up. And when the final twist is handed down it’s surprisingly not all that disappointing.
Colombian folk singer Carlos Vives topped the Latin Grammy nominations with six nods Wednesday, including album, record and song of the year.
Vives, who also won a Grammy this year for best traditional tropical Latin album, performs in the style of Vallenato, the traditional music of Colombia's northern plains, which is known for its simple lyrics about village life, The Associated Press reports.
"Me and my people are very happy," Vives told AP through a translator. "This shows that traditional music and rhythms that come from the heart can have appeal no matter the language."
The third annual Latin Grammys ceremony will take place Sept. 18 at the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, airing live on CBS.
Here is a list of nominations in some of the top categories:
Record of the Year
La Negra Tiene Tumbao, Celia Cruz; Sergio George, producer; Jon Fausty, engineer/mixer
Mentira, La Ley; Humberto Gatica and Kenny O'Brien, producers; Humberto Gatica, Cristian Robles and Eric Schilling, engineers/mixers
Se Me Olvido, Gian Marco; Emilio Estefan Jr. and Archie Pena, producers; Javier Garza, engineer/mixer
Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte, Alejandro Sanz; Humberto Gatica and Kenny O'Brien, producers; Chris Brooke, Humberto Gatica and Eric Schilling, engineers/mixers
Dejame Entrar, Carlos Vives; Andres Castro, Emilio Estefan Jr., Sebastian Krys and Carlos Vives, producers; Javier Garza, engineer/mixer
Album of the Year
Sereno, Miguel Bose; Peter Walsh, producer; Alessandro Benedetti and Peter Walsh, engineers/mixers
La Negra Tiene Tumbao, Celia Cruz; Sergio George, Isidro Infante and Johnny Pacheco, producers; Mario deJesus and Jon Fausty, engineers/mixers
Jobiniando, Ivan Lins; Roberto Menescal, producer; Guilherme Reis, engineer/mixer
MTV Unplugged, Alejandro Sanz; Humberto Gatica and Kenny O'Brien, producers; Humberto Gatica, engineer/mixer
Dejame Entrar, Carlos Vives; Andres Castro, Emilio Estefan Jr., Sebastian Krys and Carlos Vives, producers; Javier Garza and Sebastian Krys, engineers/mixers
Song of the Year
A Dios Le Pido, Juanes; Juanes, songwriter
Dejame Entrar, Carlos Vives; Andres Castro, Martin Madera and Carlos Vives, songwriters
La Negra Tiene Tumbao, Celia Cruz; Sergio George and Fernando Osorio, songwriters
Morenamia, Miguel Bose; Miguel Bose, Lanfranco Ferrario and Massimo Grilli, songwriters
Y Solo Se Me Ocurre Amarte, Alejandro Sanz; Alejandro Sanz, songwriter
Best New Artist
Best Female Pop Vocal Album
Peces De Ciudad, Ana Belen
Secreta Intimidad, Cecilia Echenique
Vuela, Monica Molina
Viaje Infinito, Nicole
Muchas Flores, Rosario
Best Male Pop Vocal Album
Sereno, Miguel Bose
Sea, Jorge Drexler
Lerner Vivo, Alejandro Lerner
A Tiempo, Gian Marco
Mas De Mi Alma, Marco Antonio Solis
Producer Of The Year
Geronimo Labrada Jr., X Alfonso
Ana Lourdes Martinez Nodarse
Actress Jennifer Grey married actor-screenwriter Clark Gregg on the Martha's Vineyard beach on Saturday, People.com reports. Grey, 41, is best known for her role as Baby in the 1987 dance drama Dirty Dancing alongside Patrick Swayze. The two have been dating for about one year and are expecting their first child in December. Grey is the daughter of Joel Grey, who won an Oscar for Cabaret in 1972. Gregg's father, who is an Episcopal minister, performed the ceremony, which was an interdenominational mix of Jewish and Christian customs.
Twenty-one-year-old plus-size model Natasha Duncan reportedly committed suicide in her New York apartment on Saturday, ETonline.com reports. Duncan was discovered by her roommate, Johanna Edelberg, in the kitchen of their apartment lying face up in a pool of blood with a 12-inch kitchen knife near by. She apparently stabbed herself in the neck several times. A medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death. Though there was no suicide note, police found some indication that Duncan was depressed. Duncan's brother Alec told authorities he spoke to her just hours earlier and that she seemed upbeat but complained about her boyfriend, a kick boxing instructor.
Director Pedro Almodovar and his production company, El Deseo, are being accused by animal rights activists of violating an animal protection law during the filming Talk to Her in near Madrid, according to The Associated Press. The film is about a female bullfighter, played by Spanish singer Rosario Flores. El Deseo confirmed that Almodovar shot a scene and that four bulls died, but said that they have the necessary permits. A spokeswoman for the company said that the animals were killed in the least painful way possible. Animal Amnesty in Madrid told a news agency that an inexperienced bullfighter had made a slaughter with the animals in order to shoot a scene in the film. Almodovar could face a fine of up to $13,513.
A prisoner who escaped from jail with the help of an Eddie Murphy picture is back behind bars, Reuters reports. Kevin Pullum walked out of a Los Angeles jail on July 6 two hours after being convicted of attempted murder by presenting an identification card bearing a photo of Murphy. Pullum found an ad for the film Dr. Dolittle 2 and pasted Murphy's image on to an ID card. He walked out of the jailhouse wearing street clothes he had concealed under his prison uniform. Pullum was found sitting on a milk crate in the city's skid row area on Sunday. Police said he was a nervous Pullum produced another fake ID.
The trial for a man accused of burglarizing the home of model Jerry Hall in London has been delayed, Reuters reports. The burglary took place Sept. 27 while Hall was appearing in the London stage version of The Graduate. David Michael Bryce is accused of stealing jewelry, a candlestick and a laptop computer worth over $10,000. Hall is the former wife of Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger.
Conan O'Brien has apologized and said he takes full responsibility for not bleeping out a racial slur by a comedian on his NBC late-night talk show, Reuters reports. Sarah Silverman used a derogatory term for Chinese people while telling a joke about trying to avoid jury duty by making herself out to be a bigot. After Media Action Network for Asian Americans demanded an apology from the network, NBC issued a statement last week saying it erred in airing the epithet. Silverman also issued a statement, calling the joke a social satire that was not intended to offend.
Writer Stephen King is working on a television series for ABC that will feature tales of a haunted hospital built over a graveyard, The Associated Press Reports. The Kingdom, which is based on a Danish TV miniseries directed by Lars von Trier, will be aired during the 2002-2003 season. It will begin with a two-hour installment, followed by 13 one-hour episodes. The series is being described as Twin Peaks meets E.R..
Napster will replace its interim CEO Hank Barry with an executive from its German backer, Bertelsmann AG, The Associated Press reports. Konard Hilbers, who was executive vice president and chief administrative officer at BMG Entertainment, will become CEO. Barry will remain with the company, serving on Napster's board of directors. The song-swapping network has not resumed service since July 12 when U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel forced them to monitor its filtering system for pirated music more closely. No word yet on when the new legitimate pay-for-music Napster site will launch.
Actor Tom Hanks was elected governor to the actors branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the BBC News reports. Hanks will replace Gregory Peck, who could not complete the remaining year of his three-year term. The position will be up for re-election next year. Kathy Bates, who also serves as governor, was returned for a second three-year term. Other new board members include Curtis Hanson in the directors branch, Mark Johnson in the producers branch, and Freida Lee Mock in the new documentary branch.