The Playlist

Review: Diego Luna's Well-Intentioned, Respectable & Paint-By-Numbers 'Cesar Chavez' Starring Michael Peña

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • March 25, 2014 6:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Chavez Micheal Pena
An intermittently compelling overview of a movement, but only a cursory portrait of a man, “Cesar Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna, is a well-intentioned, respectable and respectful biopic. But the conservative format of the film, that never goes beyond the kind of paint-by-numbers approach that stultifies so many entries in this genre, was a disappointment, as Luna’s first directorial feature, the small-scale but affectingly odd “Abel” promised better things to come, and at the very least, showed that Luna had a knack for creating characters who were lovable as much for their flaws as for their strengths.

Berlin Review: ‘Cesar Chavez’ Starring Michael Pena, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson And John Malkovich

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • February 13, 2014 12:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
An intermittently compelling overview of a movement, but only a cursory portrait of a man, “Cesar Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna and premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival this week, is a well-intentioned, respectable and respectful biopic. But the conservative format of the film, that never goes beyond the kind of paint-by-numbers approach that stultifies so many entries in this genre, was a disappointment, as Luna’s first directorial feature, the small-scale but affectingly odd “Abel” promised better things to come, and at the very least, showed that Luna had a knack for creating characters who were lovable as much for their flaws as for their strengths. But the Chavez we get here has no flaws, unless his choice to nobly sacrifice time with his family on the altar of a higher cause is a flaw. And of course it’s not. Chavez was a true hero, spearheading the campaign to extend union rights to the exploited migrant worker class in 1960s California, and from there to the whole nation. But without the context of his inner struggle, the personal dragons that he must have had to slay in order be the shining knight for an unrepresented minority, all we get is heroism, and heroism of itself does not make for a particularly interesting tale.

Watch: New Trailer For 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Takes To The Skies

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 19, 2013 5:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment
How To Train Your Dragon 2
In the age of quick turnaround sequels, the four year wait for "How To Train Your Dragon 2" seems like an eon. But now a bonafide franchise—not only with a big screen followup, but a small screen offshoot too on Cartoon Network—DreamWorks is ready to cash in the success of the first movie. But can movie magic erupt like so much fire from the dragon's belly twice?

Michael Peña To Play Cesar E. Chavez In Diego Luna-Directed Pic Also Starring Rosario Dawson & America Ferrera

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • March 7, 2012 8:58 AM
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  • 21 Comments
After coming off a very busy 2011 in which he played four notable supporting roles in "Battle: Los Angeles," "The Lincoln Lawyer," "30 Minutes or Less," and "Tower Heist," Michael Peña is now set to take centre stage and play the lead in Diego Luna's "Chavez."

America Ferrera Joins Cop Drama 'End Of Watch' With Jake Gyllenhaal

  • By Benjamin Wright
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  • July 25, 2011 3:17 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Has anybody seen America Ferrera since "Ugly Betty" ended? Ever since the sitcom went off air in mid-2010, Ferrera has been seemingly off the radar in terms of projects we genuinely care about (though she did lend her voice to the beloved animated film "How To Train Your Dragon").

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