El Revenge [La Vingança]

(Argentina/Brazil 2016)

Sweet but not exactly savvy Brazilian stuntman Caco (Felipe Rocha) finds out the hard way that nice guys finish last. He surprises his girlfriend, Julia (Leandra Leal), at the restaurant where she works: all set to propose, he stumbles upon her and her boss in flagrante delicto in the pantry. Her boss, arrogant macho celebrity chef Facundo (Adrián Navarro), isn’t just hot, rich, and famous—he’s also Argentinian, which adds insult to injury.

Caco’s stunted party boy buddy Vadão (Daniel Furlan) does what any brah would under the circumstances: he takes Caco out to get wasted. While they’re out, Vadão surmises that what Caco needs to forget Julia is a roadtrip to Argentina to bag as many Argentinian babes as possible. It’s a weird way to get back at her and Facundo. Caco emphatically declines—that is, until he sees Julia’s Facebook post saying she’s moving to Buenos Aires with Facundo. He changes his mind but doesn’t tell Vadão why. They take off in a yellow Chevy Opala from the ’70s.

Honestly, I’ve seen this road movie many times before. Even so, I enjoyed El Revenge; director and cowriter Fernando Fraiha has a lot of fun with broken hearts, national pride, and fútbol (a.k.a. soccer) rivalries. The script isn’t the most original but the adventures are still entertaining: a customs agent who looks like Bruce Willis confiscates Vadão’s supply of Viagra, a beautiful woman (Aylin Prandi) walks in on Caco while his pants are in the washer in a motel laundry room, the car breaks down after the guys pick up a hitchhiking bride (Ana Pauls), and they share a competitive ride to the airport with a van full of condescending soccer fans. Raindrops can’t keep falling on Caco’s head forever, can they?

With Sebastián Presti, Gastón Ricaud

Production: Querosene Filmes, Globo Filmes, Bionica Films, Zarlek Producciones, Telecine Productions, Downtown Filmes

Distribution: Paris Filmes

90 minutes
Not rated

(AMC River East) C+

Chicago Latin International Film Festival



Pauline [La patota]

(Argentina/Brazil 2015)

I left Paulina perplexed. It starts off well: smart lawyer girl (Dolores Fonzi) unfulfilled with her budding cateer in law decides to leave Buenos Aires to teach in a remote underdeveloped village– much to the dismay of her elitist father (Oscar Martinez), a judge. Not only does she face culture shock and adjustment pains, but she is raped due to a case of mistaken identity. Paulina, however– as she tells her incredulous boyfriend (Esteban Lamothe)– must deal with it her way.

Paulina contains some great heated exchanges between her and her father, and Fonzi and Martinez both approach their roles with skill and gusto. That said, the story is broken up and not entirely chronological, which makes it confusing and a bit hard to follow. What really lost me was what happens after the rape; Paulina’s reaction goes beyond idealistic to weird and unbelieveable– I’ll leave it at that. Unfortunately, the audience was RUDE and DISTRACTING, compounding my frustrations. The whole experience warranted a great big “whatever.” I missed Project Runway for this?

(AMC River East) C

Chicago International Film Festival