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: Michael Peña Leads The Protest In New Trailer For Berlin Bound 'Cesar Chavez'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 17, 2014 3:36 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Chavez Micheal Pena
You might have missed it, but earlier today the Berlin Film Festival added even more titles to their already impressive 2014 slate, and in addition to "American Hustle," "The Two Faces Of January" and "A Long Way Down" (new images from the latter two right here), Diego Luna's latest directorial effort "Cesar Chavez" will be screening as well. And a brand new trailer is here to highlight what he's put together.

10 Strong Directorial Debuts From Actors-Turned-Directors

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 13, 2013 5:05 PM
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  • 41 Comments
Debuts From Actors-Turned-Directors
This week, after a limited but promising initial release, Lake Bell’s directorial debut “In A World” is due to expand and distributors Roadside Attractions have good reason to hope that it will mirror the success of other Sundance breakouts like “Fruitvale Station” and “The Way, Way Back.” Regardless of how it performs financially it’s already firmly a critical favorite, with our own [A-] review suggesting that “while the film is hysterical, its real strength lies in the way it is able to deal with an issue like sexism in the [Hollywood voiceover] industry and work it out in a funny, honest and very real way.” And 34-year-old triple threat writer/director/star Bell can count it as a more or less unmitigated triumph on all three fronts, most impressive considering that after just a couple of short films this is her very first directorial feature.

‘Elysium’: 5 Key Moments In The New Trailer

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • April 10, 2013 1:00 PM
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  • 18 Comments
Elysium trailer
In case you missed it, yesterday evening Sony finally unveiled the long-awaited trailer for "Elysium," Neill Blomkamp's rather ambitious sci-fi follow-up to the dazzling and creative, "District 9." Starring Matt Damon and set in 2154, "Elysium" looks like a direct commentary on "the haves and have-nots." It's set in a future where the ruling class are on Elysium, an elite luxury space station above the planet, while the 99% are stuck on a ravaged and resource-drained Earth, both brutally overpopulated and polluted. And we've got to say: the trailer looks tantalizing and incredible, with some spectacular effects that point to some potential next-level shit.

Mark Neveldine Drops Brian Taylor To Direct 'The Vatican Tapes,' Diego Luna Sets Third Directorial Pic 'Mr. Pig'

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • February 14, 2013 12:21 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Some directorial partners, like Joel and Ethan Coen for example, seem inseparable. For others, though, it’s only a matter of time before they start pursuing projects individually – that’s something we saw evidenced just last month when Allen Hughes went solo to direct “Broken City.”

Watch: Diego Luna's English Language Directorial Debut 'Drifting'

  • By Tess Hofmann
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  • January 31, 2013 12:43 PM
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Actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal have a lot in common. In addition to being Mexican heartthrobs and best friends since birth, they are also both budding directors who co-own Canana Productions, a company that has produced projects helmed by each. Most recently, the company co-produced a two-part short film project for Chivas Regal, with Luna directing the first segment, released earlier this week, and Bernal directing the second, as-of-yet-unreleased segment. And now you can take a look at what they've made.

Diego Luna To Direct, Produce & Star In 26-Hour Mini-Series 'La Niña Mala'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 16, 2012 12:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
In addition to being an excellent actor, Diego Luna has quietly been carving out a directorial career as well, with one feature film under his belt ("Abel") and another on the way (the biopic "Chavez"). However, his next move might his most ambitious yet.

Diego Luna Adds Wes Bentley, Mark Moses & More For 'Chavez'

  • By Simon Dang
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  • May 3, 2012 9:43 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The Wes Bentley comeback train keeps on rolling! The "American Beauty" star whose life was nearly ruined by his own overnight success/drug addiction is building on the momentum of "The Hunger Games," and has joined Diego Luna's next directorial effort with Mark Moses ("Mad Men"), Michael Cudlitz ("Southland"), Jacob Vargas ("Traffic") and Yancey Arias ("Legion") also on board for the story of labor-activist Cesar E. Chavez.

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."

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