Tag Archives: merida movies

Casual Movie Critic – Cell 211

This is a Spanish movie (ie from Spain) that has been suggested as a winner for several movie categories and people are talking about it. I went to see it and was, again, among a small group of about 10 people in the Gran Plaza movie theater.

The movie itself has myriad online reviews ranging from ‘absolutely brilliant’ to ‘whatever’ and my opinion falls somewhere in the middle. Certainly it’s better than the other two movies reviewed earlier, but that is not much of a challenge, although some of the so-called twists in the plot were expected and predictable.

It was, however, enormous fun to hear the original Spanish dialogue – especially all the colorful swearing! – and often required some real concentration because they speak so fast! If you don’t speak Spanish that well, you will most assuredly get nothing from this movie; and there are no subtitles, English, Spanish or otherwise, to fall back on.

Watch the trailer here.

Casual Movie Critic – The Expendables (Including The Movie)

Another film in theaters now here in sunny Merida.

When I was younger, I always thought it would be great to have all the action movie guys together in one movie. When I was younger.

Now that it has finally happened, the result is so bad as to be unwatchable. Unless you are one of those people who say ‘I paid to sit here and I am damn well going to stay here until the bitter end’, you will probably get up about 1/3 of the way through to just plain leave the theater.

I suspect that the fact that Sylvester Stallone directed, and I use the term loosely and generously, this rotten piece of celluloid, as well as receiving writing credit for it, is the reason it is so very very crappy. From the ridiculous gratuitous violence and the Rambo style shootouts where the good guys hit everyone and the bad guys can’t aim to the cartoonish and cliche South American dictator and his minions who speak Spanish with an American accent to the ‘beautiful’ latina heroine who single-handedly leads the oppressed villagers, to the ancient (how old ARE these actors now??) Stallone, Willis, Lundgren et al acting like they are in their 20’s, The Expendables is so stupidly bad on so many levels that it is difficult to process.

Unfortunately it is not funny bad, where you could at least laugh uproariously at the screen, but bad bad, where you just sit numbly until your brain explodes and you have to leave.

This movie is entirely expendable. Do not waste your money, time or neurons on this one. It is truly the worst movie I have been in the presence of in a long, long time.

Casual Movie Critic – Wall Street 2, Money Never Sleeps (But You Will)

Once again, the Better Half is away and I have decided to see what’s going on at Meridas movie theaters.

Among the movies that are new in theaters in Merida this week is this Oliver Stone film that revisits Wall Street and Gordon Gecko played once again by Michael Douglas. As usual, regular movie critiques have already been written about this movie so I will spare you the details and give you my short opinion.

The film, IMHO, falls into the “nothing to write home about” category and to me just sort of plods along in a predictable way until the two hours or so are up. Nothing really surprising, the acting is fine but certainly not inspired and personally I found the financial shenanigans as cancer references slightly disturbing in light of Michael Douglas’ being diagnosed as having the disease. I suspect the film was completed before anyone knew he had it? Shia Lebeouf is more or less believable and the girlfriend character as well but I could not really sympathize with their situation at any point in the film. Not even the usually great Susan Sarandon had any spark in this movie. Oliver Stone himself is in there as a Wall Street dude and that Sheen guy from the last film pops in as well.

The fact that this is not a particularly exciting movie was reflected in the attendance at the giant Sala 6 of the the Gran Plaza movie theater, which contained an audience comprised of exactly 4 other people besides yours truly. I expect this movie will be taken out of Merida circulation within less than a week to be replaced with something a little more crowd pleasing.

Go see it if there is nothing better on and you are desperate for air conditioning on a hot afternoon. Otherwise, stick to a good telenovela on TV. Or better yet, have a nap.

Casual Movie Critic is Home Alone

Being as the rest of the family is dispersed around the globe and I am home alone, I have dedicated the last week or so to watching mostly crappy movies. In the cine and at home.

There are a lot of movie theaters in Merida but like everywhere else, they like to all show the same movies at the same time. And with the price of a pirate DVD in el centro running around $20 pesos ($2.00 USD) there are fewer and fewer bums in seats these days. There is not a lot to choose from in the cine since the movies that make it to Merida are mostly formulaic pictures that theater owners are convinced Mexican audiences will want to see. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights I watched during the two week period (they change 2-4 movies from their lineup every Friday here in Merida):

Babylon, A.D. (Mision Babilonia)

Yet another Vin Diesel movie that I would never take my wife to see, this one features that occasionally watchable actor with the rough voice in his cliche role – the tough, cynical guy whose heart grows three sizes that day thanks to an innocent girl. Aww. Lots of insane violence, crappy chase scenes in snowy environments where you can’t make out what’s happening, a pessimistic future and the unknown actress playing the heart-warming innocent. Appearances by Michelle Yeoh who does some kung fu (surprise!) and even Gerard Depardieu, who obviously had rent payments to make when he signed on to make this dud. Bad bad bad. Don’t even rent this one.


Bangkok Dangerous (Peligro en Bangkok)

After the Vin Diesel fiasco, this movie came out the next week and I thought, Nic Cage can’t be all that bad right?


Directed by the Pang brothers who have a long road ahead of them before reaching Coen brother status, this shows Nic Cage at his worst, walking through the blandest movie with lots of graphic violence and a cast of paper cut out oriental actors. Of all the Thai women in the world, Nic falls for the most insipid of them all, while his newly acquired sidekick couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag. Bad bad bad. Avoid at all costs.


Eagle Eye (Control Total)

In spite of the fact that the cinema had no poster for this movie, no reseña (a little blurb explaining what the movie is all about) I looked it up on the internet and found that it had Shia WhateverHisLastNameIs in it and decided what the hell.

Oh surprise. This is an excellent action thriller kind of movie; kind of like a Bourne movie. Excellent action sequences and Shia is convincing as the main character, as is Michelle Monaghan.

If you liked the Jason Bourne movies, you will like this one.


Arrancame La Vida

OK I am desperate and feeling particularly tolerant. I will go see this movie that normally I would never bother to give the time of day. People talk about the nuevo cine mexicano all the time so maybe I should check this film out, made in 2008 and based on the novel of the same name by Angeles Mastretta.

Do you enjoy Mexican soap operas? Then you may like this plodding movie, full of one-dimensional cardboard characters that leave no mark at all on this viewer. The film takes place in Puebla and Mexico City in the 30’s and 40’s and miraculously the main character, a poor girl who becomes the wife of an older politician and first lady of a state (classic soap opera plotline) doesn’t age a bit during her transition from virginal 15 year old to a woman in her late 20’s near the end. Oh well.

Nuevo Cine Mexicano – it’s Mexicano and it’s Cine, but there is nothing Nuevo about this pablum.


On TV, I was able to watch a plethora of horrendous movies, one of which was Kevin Bacon’s latest revenge movie, filled with arms being ripped off and blood spurting here and there; what is Kevincito buying these days that he has to be making this shit to pay for it?

The best movie on TV was Rendition, with Jake Gyllenhall and Reese Witherspoon, which will put the fear of Allah in you if you travel to the US of A, land of the free and all that. Excellent movie, that.

And so I conclude my movie post this morning; hopefully some of you will take my advice and avoid some of those Raspberry Award candidates and save yourself some money.

Speaking of money, MM Cinemas, who are based in Monterrey, have bought out the Yucatecan movie chain Cines Hollywood and have made a few changes. One new feature penny pinchers might be interested in is their MM Card, which is like a frequent flier card, where you collect points/pesos for going to the movies and buying stuff in their dulceria. It will set you back $20 pesos and for that you get a coupon for a small popcorn ($23 peso value) as well as a discount ticket for any showing on a Monday (instead of $50 pesos you will pay $33 pesos). Each time you buy a movie ticket on a regular day, you get another of these discount Monday tickets. Pretty cool.

Movies on now in Merida