Saturday Night Live just added its first-ever Latina cast member. Here are some of Melissa Villaseñor’s most impressive impressions.
Saturday Night Live just added its first-ever Latina cast member. Here are some of Melissa Villaseñor’s most impressive impressions.
The first time I remember being disappointed at the Academy was back in 1997. Let me refresh your memory, the best picture nominations were: The English Patient, Jerry McGuire (Yes, Jerry McGuire, sigh), Fargo, Secrets and Lies, and Shine. The English Patient won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. I was sure Shine was going to take it, and if you have not seen Shine with Geoffrey Rush you need to add that to your “to do” list. I was not a professional up-and-coming amateur critic at that time, so I had not seen The English Patient. I thought to myself, “Surely a movie that gets seven awards has got to be amazing” and so I rushed to rent it. I erased that movie so quickly from the archives of my memory after watching it and wish I had my Blockbuster Video rental fee back to this day! It was then that I realized that there are politics in everything, that “good” is subjective and that minorities did not win best actor awards, if they were even nominated at all (Cuba Gooding Jr. won Best Supporting Actor for Jerry MacGuire that year playing a football player). Fast forward to almost twenty years later now, and it looks like we can’t even get nominated for a damn thing in the new millennium unless we are playing slaves, drug dealers, tyrants or thugs… what century are we in again?
Let me be the first to say that I can’t stand it when minorities overplay the race card. Yes, there is inequality in this world and yes if you are a minority you have a tougher statistical chance at achieving the same level of success in many situations than somebody who is white in the United States. However, the calling of a boycott of the Academy Awards for 2016 by many minority actors and directors is totally justified! It is insulting to think that not one African American or Latino actor came close to the acting performance of some of the nominees this year. Furthermore, have you even seen a trailer to Room, one of the best picture nominations? I stay at the movie theaters and I don’t remember seeing when the hell this movie came out. Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a hell of a movie, but shouldn’t people at least have seen the movies that are being nominated? Furthermore, you mean to tell me that Matt Damon’s role in The Martian was equivalent to Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in The Revenant? Matt Damon is my man, but homeboy ate potatoes to prepare for his role, Leonardo ate raw livers with Native Indians, there’s a reason the fool won a Golden Globe!
So which minority actors or movies should have gotten some kind of recognition are you asking? I am so glad that you did! First of all, it’s not like Hollywood has minorities crawling out of the woodwork in Academy worthy performances. Just because you see Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman in just about everything when you turn on your television doesn’t mean that minorities get mad roles either. But damn it, shouldn’t that make it easier to see what black and brown actors are standing out in the few really good roles? Did you see Creed? Creed was a great movie, but if you are going to give Sylvester Stallone a well merited nomination for Supporting Actor then what about my man Michael B. Jordan? Did Stallone just knock it out of the ballpark on his own? The movie was not great just because of Stallone, Jordan was amazing in it and the reason the movie kicks ass!
I am glad Benicio del Toro got an Oscar for Traffic back in 2001, and maybe that’s why he was snubbed this year for his role in Sicario, but if Tom Hardy gets nominated for best supporting actor in The Revenant, which I thought he did a good job in, then please give Benicio del Toro at least tickets to the Academy after party or something for his outstanding job in Sicario! I honestly have never seen a mo’ badder dude in a movie than del Toro in Sicario, but clearly I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about!
In conclusion, this is the list of black Americans and Latinos who have won Oscars in Hollywood during this century: 2000 Benicio del Toro – Supporting Actor Traffic, 2001 Denzel Washintgon – Best Actor Training Day, 2001 Halle Berry – Best Actress Monster’s Ball, 2004 Jamie Foxx – Best Actor Ray, 2004 Morgan Freeman – Supporting Actor Million Dollar Baby, 2006 Forest Whitaker – Best Actor Last King of Scotland, 2006 Jennifer Hudson – Supporting Actress Dreamgirls, 2008 Javier Bardem – Supporting Actor No Country for Old Men, 2009 Mo’Nique – Supporting Actress Precious, 2014 Lupita Nyong’o – Supporting Actress 12 Years a Slave. Out of that list of ten which is not a bad list if you think about it, half of those roles have to do with drugs, psycho killers, tyrants, slavery or entertainment figures. I am not by any means taking anything away from those actors or those movies, they truly are great movies, I just want you to see if you notice a pattern? If you don’t see a pattern then maybe I am just looking too deep into this. I’ll just end by saying I would love to see Don Cheadle win an Oscar for a role like in Hotel Rwanda and not for a future role as a pimp or a singer or a criminal. And if the Academy is going to nominate Eddie Redmayne, who is a hell of an actor, for his role as a transgender in The Danish Girl, then maybe in the future someone like Will Smith can get nominated for playing, uhmm, I don’t know, something crazy like an African doctor! As far as the Academy Awards this year, Will Smith, text me playboy and I’ll come over and chill with you and Jada, I’ll bring beer and tacos!
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This year will be very busy for the Puerto Rican superstar, Jennifer Lopez. January has become #JENuary, with her new series Shades of Blue premiering and also the beginning of her Las Vegas residency at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood, for her new show Jennifer Lopez – All I Have.
In JENuary J. Lo will also be part of the final season of American Idol, The Farewell Season premieres on January 6th.
Looks like it’s J. Lo’s world!
Shades of Blue premieres on January 7th. Check her out on the cover of January’s TV Guide Magazine.
A photo posted by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on
She will also be in January’s AMERICAN WAY:
A photo posted by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on
… And in February don’t miss her on the Cover of InStyle Magazine:
Director – Alejandro González Iñárritu
Protagonists – Leonardo Decaprio – Hugh Glass, a frontier fur trapper who gets mauled by a bear, left for dead by his men and has to survive by any means possible as he seeks revenge on John Fitzgerald
Domhnall Gleeson – Captain Andrew Henry – The main boss in the fur trapping expedition who trusts Hugh Glass in getting them out of peril
The Honey –Grace Dove – Hugh’s wife who has now passed on but serves as a form of inspiration as he clings to life during his ordeal
Antagonist – Tom Hardy – John Fitzgerald, fellow colleague in the expedition who is not too fond of Hugh and ends up burying him alive after Hugh gets mauled by a bear
Why hasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio won a damn Oscar yet? If his amazing performance in “The Revenant,” along with the equally impressive direction and storytelling of Mexican director Alejandro Iñárritu do not get him recognized for this one then there is definitely a disturbance in the force (I’m still riding the damn Star Wars high)! “The Revenant” is not for the faint of heart. Based on the true story and novel by the same name, it is the story of a frontier man in the 1800’s who encounters just about everything that can be thrown at him and still perseveres through all his adversity. And by adversity I mean Indians trying to scalp his ass, the freezing cold during the winter, a bear mauling him, his own men betraying him, etc. It is such a good movie that it will leave you glued to your seat wondering how in the world he is going to overcome each new obstacle, let’s check it out!
Hugh Glass is a wild game trapper who is an expert tracker and outdoorsman during the early 1800’s. He is dirty, scraggly, and bearded, kind of like the average professional baseball player nowadays, and the lead scout on a trapping expedition. He knows that terrain like most Latinos know Home Depot, and he is in charge of getting the men in and out of that unforgiving wilderness safe and sound. One day, while out hunting for big game with his son who is also on this expedition with him, his camp is attacked by some pretty pissed off Indians looking for the kidnapped daughter of one of the chiefs. Jack and his son, who happens to be half Native Indian by the name of “Hawk,” barely escape with a handful of men on a boat and head downriver with the angry tribe still after them.
In the days that follow, Captain Henry, who is the lead of this trapping expedition puts all his faith in Hugh to find the fastest route to safety. Unfortunately, while scouting the territory Hugh runs into a big ass grizzly bear protecting her cubs, and he gets mauled damn near to death. What was the worst week you ever had? Did you get chased by an angry ass tribe and mauled by a bear? I didn’t think so! By some miracle, Hugh survives but he is clinging to life, and the rest of the men have to literally carry him like they carry your tio when he gets too drunk and passes out at the quinceañera. The terrain is too mountainous though and Hugh is slowing them down, so they decide to leave Hugh with his son, and two more volunteers who are promised a good chunk of change to watch him as he recuperates from his wounds, if at all. John Fitzgerald, one of the volunteers who stays behind decides that it is better to bury Hugh alive, kill his son, and go collect his skrilla then to stick around in the freezing cold waiting for that angry ass tribe to come get them. And this boys and girls, is where Hugh’s adventure to self-rehabilitate himself to strength and seek vengeance on Fitzgerald begins.
I am now a true fan of director Alejandro Iñárritu, he is a storytelling genius! I was impressed with “Birdman,” although I did not really care overall for the movie, I definitely appreciated his talent. He has become the continuous extended shot wizard, making you feel like the story is actually being told in real time, which gives you a sense of being an actual spectator in the action. The cinematography in this flick is phenomenal, but brace yourselves because it is not an easy movie to watch. It is very intense, very graphic, and it will make you cringe at several key parts throughout the entire length. Leonardo DiCaprio was ridiculously good in this one, he has become one of the best actors in Hollywood and I hope they recognize what an incredible job he did. Tom Hardy as Fitzgerald was the villain you love to hate, and deserves praise for his role as well.
There is absolutely nothing I can say negative about the acting, directing, or anything for that matter about “The Revenant.” The word “revenant” means someone who returns from the dead or a long absence, and DiCaprio proved that definition perfectly as Hugh Glass. Although Hollywood is always going to take artistic liberties, the fact that this movie was based on the real story of Hugh Glass and his quest to seek revenge on those who left him for dead is mind boggling. I could not think of a better way to end the year and to start 2016 than with this movie which should definitely be raising some eyebrows at the academy!
Director – J.J. Abrams
Protagonists – John Boyega – Finn, a Stormtrooper to the First Order with a good heart who escapes the evil army
Harrison Ford – Han Solo – our favorite smuggler from outer space is back again with his pal Chewbacca
The Honey – Daisy Ridley – Rey, a young lady on a desert planet who is destined for greatness in the fight against evil
Antagonist – Kylo Ren – the new leader of the evil empire called the First Order, and on a mission to find the last Jedi knight Luke Skywalker
Stop everything that you are doing right now and go watch “The Force Awakens” this very second! I mean it, after you finish reading this kick ass review go and purchase your tickets and get your ass to the movies! The long awaited episode VII of the Star Wars franchise is worth all the hype that is has gotten and it is totally worth the wait! This movie is so damn good, I may actually go watch it again before my hookup gives me the bootleg version on DVD next week. Let’s break it down to see why this very well may be the biggest blockbuster ever!
“The Force Awakens” picks up decades after the Dark Side and Darth Vader have been defeated by Luke Skywalker, the Jedi knight destined to bring peace to the galaxy. If you do not understand any of these terms then you are really ass out and need to go watch at minimum episode VI, “Return of the Jedi.” Luke Skywalker has now vanished for some unknown reason, kind of like when you go to the shopping mall with a woman and next thing you know they are long gone in a store far, far away. The new evil empire that arose after the Dark Side was defeated is called the First Order, and its leader Kylo Ren is desperately looking for a map that will lead to Skywalker. With Skywalker alive as the last Jedi knight in the galaxy, there is still hope for the good rebellion troops who are led by Princess Leia, now General Leia Organa, and also twin sister of Skywalker.
Finn is a Stormtrooper for the First Order who gets a change of heart during one of his missions and decides to bounce. By committing treason in helping a captured rebel pilot escape he becomes a wanted man as well, and must flee for his life. It is during his escape that he runs into Rey, a nomadic scavenger on the planet of Jakku who happens to have a droid in her possession that has valuable information on the possible whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. Did I also mention that Rey is fine as hell too, my man Finn peeps that with the quickness! Although their immediate plan is to save themselves from the First Order Stormtroopers who are chasing them, their paths crossing turns out to be a destined plot to help the rebellion save the galaxy.
I have not been this excited to see a movie in the longest time, probably not since the release of Episode I, “The Phantom Menace” seventeen years ago! Unlike “The Phantom Menace” though, “The Force Awakens” kicks ass in so many ways regardless if you are a Star Wars fan. But if you happen to be a Star Wars geek like me then you will probably love this movie in a religious manner. Director J.J. Abrams moves this story along from beginning to end. There are no lulls in plot, no boring scenes, and the new characters really do justice to the franchise. It is virtually impossible to replace the original crew of Han Solo, Chewbacca and the ones who started it all, but the passing of the baton to the new rebels who will continue the mission to save the galaxy was done perfectly. Furthermore, the fact that Harrison Ford was back as Solo with the same cockiness and the same chemistry with his homeboy Chewbacca made you realize that the franchise has been resurrected after Jar Jar Binks almost single handedly killed it decades ago.
“The Force Awakens” will make you feel nostalgic, excited, and hopeful all at the same time. Although the plot is very similar to previous episodes V, and VI in the sense that key leaders have become separated from loved ones by evil forces and the rebellion is still trying to win the war, it is done really well and it is meant to give you a “déjà vu” type of feel. My only complaint of course is, why the hell are there never any Latinos in space? The U.S. complains about illegal aliens on a daily basis, but Hollywood can’t find space for one Latino in a damn movie about aliens? Come on George Lucas, call me next time and consult with me homeboy! “The Force Awakens” is so well done but you do need to catch up on your previous episodes to fully understand the plot if you are new to the series, and you too will understand why this will definitely be the biggest blockbuster of all time!
Director – Michael Dougherty
Protagonists – Emjay Anthony – Max Engel, a young boy who still believes in the goodness of Christmas, but calls the evil entity of Krampus to his house unknowingly when he loses all hope for the holidays
Adam Scott – Tom Engel – Max’s dad who is too busy with work to do any cool holiday activities with the family
Toni Collette – Max’s mom who although not a scrooge herself, does not really go out of her way to ring in the holiday cheer
Antagonist – Krampus – the dark shadow of Santa Claus who comes after your sorry ass if you are ungrateful during the holidays
Just when you thought that only Latinos scare the hell out of their kids with tales of La Llorona, and El Chupacabra, our German brothers and sisters step it up a notch with the horrible holiday monster Krampus. “Krampus” the movie is the story about a family that has lost every ounce of Christmas spirit and therefore qualifies for a visit from Krampus like most Latinos qualify for ESOL. Krampus is the evil counterpart to Santa Claus, and if you have been naughty all year long, well, let’s just say that you got bigger problems coming at Christmas then getting that ugly ass sweater as a gift. It’s a hell of a concept, especially if you want to get the kids to act right around the holidays, but the movie unfortunately failed in what could have been a really cool story.
Young Max Engel and his family are preparing for Christmas just like many other Americans, doing the last minute shopping and battling the department store trenches for that perfect gift. Unfortunately, everyone in the family, his parents and older sister, have completely lost the holiday spirit. They are grumpy, obnoxious, distant, and could not be bothered anymore with any holiday preparations. To make matters worse, his Aunt Linda is coming with her weird ass family who nobody can stand to stay for a few days. Luckily for Max, his German grandma seems to be the only normal member of the family who still cares about Christmas and who also believes in Santa Claus.
As the days get closer to Christmas, the situation at home just gets worse. Max’s evil cousins constantly pick on him for still believing in Santa and make his life miserable. He ends up getting so frustrated that he tears his letter to Santa the same way American consulates in Latin America tear up visa applications in front of your face. Once he does this though, he wakes up the evil entity Krampus, and things start going downhill quick. A blizzard hits from nowhere and shuts down all the power to the neighborhood. What was looking to be a nice Christmas begins taking a dark gloomy feel. Really creepy things start happening around the house. Scary noises come from the attic, crazy ass looking snowmen pop up in the front yard, and Krampus’ minions begin picking family members off one by one. What they will soon find out from their German grandma is that their crappy attitudes have caused them their lives, and it is just a matter of time before Krampus himself takes their souls!
I was really excited to see this movie because I like twists in the usual cheery holiday plots. The trailers made this movie look really creepy, and I figured once Krampus came out and did his thing, taking the lives and souls of those who had lost the Christmas spirit, it was going to be awesome! To my dismay the movie ended up being more cheesy than creepy, and although I love a buildup of suspense before the full unveiling of the monster, Krampus’ minions really are the ones that take the spotlight away from the title character. As a matter of fact, if Krampus himself was on the screen for more than ten minutes I will be shocked. That’s a serious problem for me! Not to mention that the family members were so obnoxious in the movie that you almost kind of hoped Krampus would come get their ungrateful asses, but he never really showed up until almost too late.
The actors did a great job playing their roles, maybe too good, because they really did go out of their way at being truly miserable during what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year for many. Have you ever hoped that the monster gets that one annoying character in any random scary movie? Well, that’s how you feel about Krampus coming and wiping this whole family out because they really were that obnoxious, with the exception of little Max of course, who is really the only hope of the film. If you remember “Gremlins” back in the ‘80’s than this is the type of feel that you will have while watching “Krampus,” with the exception that “Gremlins” did it right. “Krampus,” was cheesy, the minions really out staged the main monster, it had its suspenseful moments but in the end it is something that the high school crowds will enjoy more than the adults. Wait for DVD or Netflix and save your money for my Christmas gift!
Last Sunday, NBC and Eva Longoria hosted an exclusive event on behalf of the upcoming comedy, TELENOVELA at Los Angeles Theatre Center.
Invited guests from Latino advocacy group MALDEF and the Dolores Huerta Foundation were treated to a special, two-episode screening of TELENOVELA. After an introduction by MALDEF’s President, Thomas Saenz, and a brief commentary from Gabriela Zabalúa, VP of multicultural marketing for Frontier Communications, the NBC comedy played to a cheering crowd.
Immediately following the screening, the cast of TELENOVELA (Eva Longoria, Jencarlos Canela, Amaury Nolasco, Diana Maria Riva, Izzy Diaz, Jadyn Douglas, Alex Meneses and Jose Moreno Brooks) gathered for a Q&A session moderated by TV and Radio host, Elizabeth Espinosa. The evening concluded with a cocktail reception where the cast and guests celebrated and Longoria was able to catch up with civil rights leader and activist, Dolores Huerta.
Check out the one-hour Premiere of Telenovela on www.NBC.com
Read the LA Times review here: Workplace sitcom ‘Telenovela’ shows promise
After a little initial stiffness, the show relaxes and becomes quickly compelling, in a sitcom way — that is, the absurdity of the situations and the extravagance of the characters do not keep you from fretting on their behalf. Some of this is just a show emerging from its pupae, or pilot stage. But it does feel, from the second episode on, that an executive decision has been made to invest in the vulnerability of the characters — a larger ensemble than is indicated here, and an able one — and what binds them together rather than what gets between them. The common joke is that behind whatever masks of glamour or machismo they wear on and offstage, they are goofy and basically powerless. Ana Sofia doesn’t understand Spanish; she can’t dance; she hates spicy food.
Photos courtesy of NBC
In case you missed Sofia Vergara on Ellen DeGeneres this week, check out these videos from Ellen Tube. The feisty Colombian let Ellen have it for not showing up to her wedding. Sofia even joked with her that she gave away her gift bag to one of her family members. Sofia’s wedding was an intimate gathering, only family and close friends were invited, 400 of them! Party went on until 6 a.m., it wouldn’t be a latin celebration without an after party.
The two friends also joked about working together on the Cover Girl photo shoot.
“They make her look pretty and make me say the important information” – Sofia Vergara
Director – Patricia Riggen
Protagonists – Antonio Banderas – Mario Sepulveda, miner who takes the lead in maintaining control of the group after they find themselves trapped more than 2,000 feet below ground
Lou Diamond Philipps – Don Lucho, the lead miner who is the supervisor of the mining project and technically responsible for the safety of the group
Rodrigo Santoro – Laurence Golborne – Minister of Mining for the Chilean government who is in charge of rescuing the miners
Gabriel Byrne – Andre Sougarret – the drill expert who is assigned to actually digging the miners out of their potential rock grave
Antagonists – Mother Nature on this one folks, the cave becomes the potential coffin for the poor miners because of the earth shifting
The Honeys – Kate del Castillo – Katty Sepulveda, wife of Mario Sepulveda
Juliette Binoche – Maria Segovia – sister of one of the trapped miners who becomes a vocal advocate to save the group
“The 33” is not going to win any academy awards, despite the fact that it has a hell of cast. But it is a great movie to watch especially because of the fact that it is based on the real life drama that 33 Chilean gold miners had to go through back in 2010. It will make you appreciate the real important aspects of life: love, family, and of course the most precious gift of all, life itself. Relying on to their faith, hope, and expertise to keep them alive while they waited for a potential rescue, director Patricia Riggen really captures and brings to the big screen the miners’ great story of survival. It will make you feel proud of the human spirit and the will to survive, let’s check it out!
Mario Sepulveda is one of the miners at the Atacama Desert gold mine with a great wife and daughter in the northern region of Chile. On August 5, 2010, he and 32 other miners go to work just like on any other Thursday of the week not realizing that it would be the beginning of their quest for survival. Don Lucho, the supervisor of the group has concerns with the safety of the mine because he has seen evidence of massive rock shifting to potentially dangerous levels. But if you know anything about Latin America, you know that if there is a choice between you kissing your ass goodbye and the boss getting his money, well, let’s just say that unless you are related to King Midas you are pretty much ass out! Sure enough, the group goes down 2,000 feet below to start digging, with over an hour drive under the earth at 90 degree Fahrenheit average temperature just to start their day! And you had the audacity to complain about the 15 minute delay on I-95 the other day in your hybrid climate-controlled Prius, you gringo you! Shortly after their descent, Mother Nature decides to make life a little interesting for everyone and a massive cave-in traps all of them down below.
Miraculously enough, all of them survive the massive disaster, although they find themselves in the dark with only three days’ worth of food in the form of cookies, a little bit of milk and some canned tuna! And you had the audacity to complain about too much milk on your mochaccino at Starbuck’s and the Wi-Fi not working the other day, you gringo you! A great crisis makes for a great leader though, and Mario Sepulveda takes the reigns and begins to ration out the food on a daily basis and helps calm the group down by giving them hope. Slowly but surely though as the days go by their hope starts winding down not realizing that on the surface the Chilean government has started a rescue effort and it is only a matter of time before they make contact. That does not mean that it’s all biscuits and gravy from that point on though, they have to fight cabin fever, malnutrition, and an actual escape route to be realized before another possible massive rock shift that could make all the rescue efforts for naught. Of course we know what happens, but the retelling of the story through their eyes really captures you and keeps you glued until the last man is rescued and finally sees daylight again.
During my lifetime there is going to be one actor that will have made Latinos look good, sexy, and cool as hell! That actor of course is the Spaniard Antonio Banderas! “Desperado, The Mask of Zorro, Philadelphia,” does it get much smoother than my man? I wish I could whisper every single line that I uttered and still make a dramatic point! Once again Antonio Banderas gives a hell of a performance as the leader of the group who brings organization, direction and hope to a chaotic situation. Rodrigo Santoro as the Minister of Mining for Chile does a great job as well as the government representative who never gave up to save the men. Of course there are politics involved in the rescue mission but if it turns out that it saves lives than what the hell right?
Patricia Riggen as the director was awesome at telling the story of our crew. It is more difficult than you realize to tell a story like this in which everyone already knows the outcome. Yes we all know they were rescued, but to be able to build up the suspense in a manner that makes you wonder how they are going to do it and at the same time give you some kind of doubt on whether they will make it is a hell of a skill. The ladies in the movie did not have large parts since the focus was in fact on the men trapped in the mine, but still provided an emotional incentive for the men to hold on to every ounce of hope in seeing their loved ones again. Lastly, as one of the few films that I can remember in a while with an all-star Latino cast that tell a positive story of perseverance and make Latin America look great, this is a must watch for La Raza!
Jennifer Lopez debuted the trailer for her upcoming police drama Shades of Blue which premieres January 7th on NBC. In the series, Jennifer plays a corrupt cop who is forced to become an FBI informant and betray her boss and mentor, played by Ray Liotta.
Watch the trailer above!
FOR MORE INFO VISIT: http://www.nbc.com/shades-of-blue