By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Now I know I am certainly not the target demographic of this film, nor is said film my cup of coffee, but I do hope to offer some insight as a male audience member and cinephile.  For Book Club, I will say this; the filmmakers have assembled a phenomenal cast of women whose careers in acting have some rather impressive contributions to cinema.  Of course, I wouldn’t say that Book Club is one of them.  Still, as I sat in the theater and watched an utterly predictable movie and actually laughed at some of the humor, I noticed that the mostly female audience members were having a great time.  Book Club should make for a fun ladies night out away from their troubles, but I would probably recommend that most men sit this one out. Read more »


By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

Award winning filmmaker Wim Wenders (Palme d’Or winner “Paris, Texas”/ “The Buena Vista Social Club”) directs the new documentary, “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” and it recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival this month. Wenders received access to the pontiff after his selection in 2013 to lead the Catholic Church. There are many interviews where the pope speaks direct into the camera, as well as a large amount of footage of Pope Francis as he has traveled around the world. The majority of the story is focused on Pope Francis’ views on love, compassion, tolerance, and more that have already been revealed in the worldwide media. In the sit-down interview segments that are sprinkled throughout the film, Pope Francis speaks in his native Spanish. The fact that he speaks Spanish in the film will most certainly attract worldwide interest and attention, especially for the bilingual and Spanish dominant speakers in the United States, as well as audiences in Latin America. Read more »

Cine Las Americas 2018 Review: KAYAK TO KLEMTU

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

The closing night film of the festival was an inspiring and beautiful, family friendly film that not only honors Native American traditions, but also offers some heartfelt environmental messages.  Written and directed by Zoe Hopkins, Kayak to Klemtu tells the story of 14 year-old Ella (Ta’kaiya Blaney), and her desire to pursue her late uncle’s goal of reaching out to other native people to join his cause of saving their beloved land.  Ella’s Uncle Dave (Evan Adams) may not have been a very practical man, but was someone driven by his heart and passions. Read more »

Cine Las Americas 2018 Review: ARÁBIA (ARABY)

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

I know it sounds cliché to say that youths often take things for granted when they don’t have to struggle to survive.  However, one cannot deny the truth in that statement.  Not only is this a situation that occurs in the United States, but one that occurs even in poorer places such as those of Latin America. Arábia, a Brazilian entry for this year’s Cine Las Americas tells one such (fictional) story where an aimless teen, who lives a reasonably comfortable life, discovers the story of a man who has had a difficult life, but also some remarkable experiences in it. Read more »

Cine Las Americas 2018 Review: POLVO DE ESTRELLAS (STARDUST)

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (4 Out of 4 Stars)

Because parents often have to be realistic and practical, and usually have their children’s best interests in mind, they are not always supportive of their children’s dreams and aspirations.  Such is the case with Hilario and his son Adan.  Everyday, Adan works along side his father collecting garbage to be taken to a landfill.  When Adan stops by a school to pick up their trash, he gets to briefly listen in on a lesson about our solar system and outer space.  This fuels Adan’s brain and imagination and sparks a desire to become more educated.  Read more »