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Angelique Flores is the executive editor of Home Media Magazine. Her two home entertainment passions are Latino film and fitness. Flores has executive produced Home Media Magazine’s Latino DVD Conference and Latino DVD Awards. As a freelance journalist, her work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Hispanic magazine, the Los Angeles Times, as well as other regional publications in Southern California. She is a graduate of Stanford University.


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12 Jun, 2012

Entering “The No OM Zone”

I recently went on a Kimberly Fowler yoga kick. I pulled out her Yoga + Weights and The No OM Zone yoga workouts.

Kimberly is great for newbie yoga practitioners and for those, like me, who just want the straightforward basics. “There’s no chanting, no granola and no Sanskrit,” she says about her ongoing agenda in the DVD insert.

Yoga + Weights was right up my alley. The 30-minute session is just that: yoga with hand weights. Adding the dumb bells pushes the yoga practice to the next level. I prefer more intense workouts such as this because I feel like I’m maximizing the time I spend doing them. And I’m one of those who doesn’t feel like I got a workout unless I got a good sweat out of it.

I appreciate Kimberly’s simple, no-nonsense approach to yoga. She’s easy to understand and follow. She also has a quick Q&A section for a deeper understanding of the workout in order to best maximize it.

The No OM Zone is a little different. It has an upper body, lower body and core workouts that are each 15 minutes. This DVD comes with introductions for each section as well as a general intro that offer a number of helpful tips for beginners. It’s the perfect disc to get your feet wet with yoga. Her goal here seems to be to present yoga in an accessible, adaptable way so that everyone will be able to find something they like about yoga and stick with it. I think she’s pretty successful.

The No OM Zone is low stress and highly flexible (no pun intended) in various ways. For example, she plays no music so that you can play your own music that inspires you. (Yoga + Weights does this as well.) Also, the poses are held for a short amount of time so that you can pause only the ones that you want to hold for longer.

While I really dig Kimberly’s down-to-earth approach, I’m a bit too lazy for all the adjusting. I don’t want to play DJ nor do I want to stop in the middle of my downward dog to press pause. I want to be able to zone out and just follow.

For now, I think I’ll stick with Yoga + Weights.


5 Jun, 2012

The Latest From Fox World

Among the latest wave of 20th Century Fox’s World Cinema releases were Miss Bala from Mexico and La Cara Oculta/The Hidden Face from Spain.

Most of you have probably seen or at least heard of Miss Bala due to its theatrical release. Recently I spoke with actress Stephanie Sigman, who really shined in this heavy film Miss Bala. But you can read about that here.

Right now, I’d rather focus on La Cara Oculta, which never got a theatrical release stateside. This thriller has stayed under the radar, and that’s really a shame. I hope that changes with the home video releases. The film, along with Miss Bala, is available on DVD and on Amazon Instant. It’s among the best Spanish-language films I’ve seen on DVD this year.

Directed by Andrés Baiz (Satanás), this tightly written thriller stars Martina García (Rabia, Satanás), Quim Gutiérrez (Azul Oscuro Casi Negro) and Clara Lago (Carol’s Journey).

Few thrillers have any suspense, intrigue or originality these days, but La Cara Oculta certainly does. I don’t want to give away the plot because it would take away from the all the twists, but it’s a great storyline. It’s told from the point of view of two characters at first, then unexpectedly from the third, and all three come together toward the end.

My boyfriend was disatisfied with the ending only because he wanted more of a Hollywood ending, with everything tied up neatly and everyone happy. But if you’re like me and captivated by a more realistic or dark ending, then you’ll be as pleased as I was.


15 May, 2012

‘The Beast’ Passes Through Again

The other day I was listening to a report on “The World” about certain Catholic priests in Mexico protecting migrants passing through from Central and South America. They mentioned “La Bestia,” a treacherous cargo train that runs through Mexico to the United States, leaving many dead, maimed or dismembered. 

It immediately reminded me of the 2010 documentary La Bestia (The Beast), which is about that dangerous cargo train. At the time of the DVD’s release, I spoke with filmmaker Pedro Ultreras about his film and his harrowing stories about riding the train himself in order to capture what it truly was like for these migrants who ride La Bestia. It left quite an impression on me to see and hear about what these migrants suffer through just because they want a better life for themselves

Having watched La Bestia and spoken with Pedro really brought this news segment to life for me, and it painted pictures and details in a way that radio cannot. I sat in my car for a few seconds thinking about how wonderful movies can be no just in entertaining us but in educating us and bringing global issues home as well.

Here, Pedro has documented a situation that few, if any, have been able to. And unfortunately, the film is still relevant today.


3 May, 2012

A Purrrfectly Fun Workout

Pussycats have been everywhere in my life lately. I recently took in an abandoned cat. And I also pulled out Robin Antin’s Pussycat Dolls Dancer’s Body Workout to help burn some calories in a more fun way.

The DVD came out last October from Anchor Bay Entertainment (I’m still catching up on the great fitness titles from Q4 last year). In it, Robin, one of the Pussycat Dolls’ burlesque troop creators, teaches two dance routines for the songs “When I Grow Up” and “Wait a Minute.”

She, along with her beautiful dancers, break down the sexy choreography in a slow and repetitive manner, which, if you’re both forgetful and uncoordinated like me, is quite helpful. After each breakdown is the performance segment, in which you get a chance to perform your newly learned dance routine several times. The two dance breakdowns are a fun cardio workout, and the performance is more just for fun.

The DVD also includes a cool down and a bonus “Purrfect 4-Minute Workout.”

The sexiest part of the DVD, however, is the Burlesque Chair Dance, where Robin and the ladies lead both a breakdown and a performance segment. Besides a chair, Robin says to get your heels and a hat and find your inner doll. One night, my boyfriend came over just in time for that segment, and his widened eyes were glued to the TV (and not me!). Perhaps I should’ve listened to Robin and swapped my Nikes for some heels and grabbed a sexier hat than my Padres baseball cap. But who could really compete against those hot Pussycall Doll dancers?

Admittedly, I’m terrible at dance workouts. I forget the moves. I’m not graceful. And I end up tripping over my sneakered feet on my carpet — totally not sexy. But Robin’s moves were simple, and her instruction made it easy for me to remember the steps.

I’m not sure I found my inner doll, but I certainly had fun trying.
 


25 Apr, 2012

Bob Harper DVDs Sale

My favorite trainer, Bob Harper, is having a huge DVD sale on his website. The DVDs are going for only $5 each. Yes, only FIVE DOLLARS! Most of these discs regularly sell for $19.99. His DVDs are:

• Inside Out Method: Pure Burn
• Inside Out Method: Yoga for the Warrior
• Inside Out Method: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning
• Inside Out Method: Bob’s Workout
• Beginner’s Weight Loss Transformation
Total Body Transformation
Ultimate Cardio Body
Totally Ripped Core
Kettlebell Cardio Shred
Kettlebell Sculpted Body

He’s also grouped some of the titles together in two four-DVD sets for $20 each. The “My Trainer Bob Complete Collection” has Total Body Transformation, Totally Ripped Core, Ultimate Cardio Body and Beginner’s Weight Loss Transformation. The “Inside Out Method: Complete Collection” has Inside Out Method: Bob’s Workout, Inside Out Method: Pure Burn, Inside Out Method: Yoga for the Warrior and Inside Out Method: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning.

AND, according to his Facebook page and his Twitter, Bob says, “Starting May 1st I will create a FREE DVD workout calendar EVERY MONTH to help you organize my workouts!”

If you haven’t worked out with these DVDs before, I highly recommend taking advantage of this sale. In my opinion, each disc is a must-have, but if you have to narrow it down, I’d start with the “Inside Out Method” collection. It’s a well-rounded set with yoga, strength and cardio. Note that Bob’s Workout is exclusive to his website for now. I just learned that Anchor Bay Entertainment, which distributes all of Bob’s other discs, will release the title later this year.

I’ve worked out to several of these DVDs already, and I plan to get Bob’s Workout, which I don’t already have in my collection. At $5, I know I’ll get more than my money’s worth. With bikini season right around the corner, working out with these discs will help ensure I won’t be mistaken for a beached whale.


 


18 Apr, 2012

Yoga DVD Stars at the Beach

The Tadasana International Festival of Yoga & Music debuts this coming Earth Day weekend.

The three-day event sounds amazing. It boasts 60 top yoga instructors leading more than 75 classes and workshops, 32 musical acts performing in the classes and at night, 40 speakers, booths, artists and food. What more could you ask for?

It’s the first major yoga festival in Los Angeles and the first to focus on music and yoga in a unified way, the festival spokesperson told me over e-mail.

A number of the instructors scheduled to be there are familiar to those like me, who mostly do yoga at home with DVDs. Among the faces familiar to me are Kathryn Budig, Seane Corne, Tamal Dodge, Hemalayaa, Shiva Rea and Ashley Turner. Other instructors who have appeared on DVDs include Baron Baptiste, Elena Brower, Matthew Cohen, Maya Fiennes, Sara Ivanhoe, Bryan Kest, Hala Khouri, Kia Miller and Felicia Tomasco.

The festival will be held April 20-22 at the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. It’s no surprise the event is being held in this city, which is considered by many to be the mecca of modern American yoga.

If you can't afford tickets ($99 per day), fear not. My nose for online deals have found tickets at half the cost on goldstar.com.

As the event organizers say on their website “Yoga supports your ability to be awesome.” If that isn’t reason enough to do yoga, I don’t know what is.
 


17 Apr, 2012

I Spy ‘Garbo’ on DVD

One of the most intriguing figures from World War II is Juan Pujol García from Spain.

The fascinating documentary Garbo the Spy details the life of this double agent who worked for both the Allies and the Axis, becoming the only person awarded by both sides for service during World War II.

The movie hits DVD ($27.95) April 17 from First Run Features, and I recommend you see this — especially if you’re a history or war buff. The film won Best Documentary Film at the 2010 Goyas.

With no training but a need for a job, Pujol García offered to volunteer for British intelligence during WWII. Though he had noble intentions, the British were unsurprisingly suspicious of this unknown man and declined his offer. He then went to the German embassy, offering the same.

Eventually, he built a web of false agents across Europe, feeding fabricated information to Nazis. British intelligence finally offered him a job after they saw that he already was a freelance spy with information and influence on the German side. They code-named him Garbo.

Though Pujol García never fired a single shot, he helped save thousands of lives on both sides during the war. His most notable deed was giving the Germans bad information regarding the Normandy invasion, which led the Allies to a decisive victory.

Pujol García is an intriguing character, and the film creatively uses old feature film footage as well as historical war footage to illustrate the story. The doc also includes songs from Brian Eno and Sparklehorse in the film’s soundtrack, which I particularly liked.

The DVD extras include an interview with intelligence and espionage expert Nigel West, who was great in the film, as well as Sonic Deception: WWII Training Film.


12 Apr, 2012

Spring Training With the Claytons

Over this past Easter weekend, BeFit fitness trainer Samantha Clayton and her husband, former Major League Baseball player Royce Clayton, hosted a free baseball clinic in Malibu, Calif.

They taught kids basic to advanced fundamentals of numerous baseball skills, as well as how to prepare your body with the proper strength, agility training and nutrition.

With former MLB shortstop Royce and fitness trainer and former Olympian Samantha leading the afternoon’s activities, I’m sure these kids not only learned a great deal about baseball, fitness and nutrition, but also had a great time with the affable pair.

Kudos to Samantha and Royce for giving back to their community. Samantha seems quite busy with her fitness career and four children, yet she still is
generous in giving her time to others.

I’m sorry I missed what looks like a great day. (I was with out of town with family for the Easter weekend.)

Samantha’s publicist Leslie McClure of 411 Video Information and Jaason Roschke of 411 Development helped out the Claytons at the event, which drew more than 100 kids ages 6 to 14.

The clinic was held April 7 at Malibu Bluffs Park and was made possible by the NFL Play 60 Campaign and EA Sports and had support from the city of Malibu.


3 Apr, 2012

‘El Patrullero’ on DVD for First Time

Twenty years after El Patrullero debuted in Mexican theaters, the drama has become available on DVD from Microcinema International for the first time in North America. Sartorial elements aside, this film doesn’t feel the least bit dated. It’s still as relevant and poignant as ever.

The 1991 film stars Roberto Sosa as Pedro, a young man who has just finished training to be a highway patrol officer, against his father’s wishes. The smart rookie is sent to patrol in the middle of nowhere, but comes with a good reputation and high expectations from his superiors.

Though small in stature, Pedro still has the macho swagger of a large man of law. The laws, however, are, well, like most Mexican laws. For example, Pedro’s instructor says to pull someone over first and then figure out what law they’ve broken later.

But Pedro is a good, honest man with scruples and a heart. He meets a like-minded woman, Griselda, when he pulls her over for a violation. In exchange for letting her off, he asks to meet her for breakfast. The two immediately are attracted to each other and later marry.

But their marriage becomes strained as they realize his salary isn’t enough to sustain them. Things change when the locals, who know the bribery element of the system all too well, automatically give him money to avoid tickets and violations — without him even asking. To celebrate his newfound pay bump, Pedro goes out, gets drunk and ends up with a prostitute, Maribel (a very young Vanessa Bauche).

Griselda forgets all about Pedro coming home at 5 a.m. when he shows her the extra money he’s “earned.” She thinks he’s been working overtime the whole night. (Guys, this won’t work for all women.)

There’s no major plotline to this raw and gritty film, but don’t think it won’t pull you in all the same. It’s a character study of Pedro, and it almost feels voyeuristic watching him day in and day out, navigating his work and his complicated relationships with his Griselda, Maribel, his friend Anibal (Bruno Bichir, brother of Oscar-nominated Démian) and his father. His problems are real, and so his humanity.

It’s surprising Sosa was not nominated for an Ariel, as Bichir was for Best Supporting Actor. Sosa and director Alex Cox did, however, receive accolades at several film festivals at the time of its release.

The DVD comes with some great supplemental extras. The making-of featurette “Patrulleros & Patrulleras” features director Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy) as well as much of the key cast and crew. Shot in 2004, it offers a depth that only 10-plus years in hindsight can as well as credits that serve as a sort of “where are they now” for those in the featurette.

Also included is the short “Edge City,” which as Cox’s student film while at UCLA; the featurette “From Edge City to Mapimi,” on why Cox paired the short with this film; and a commentary by Cox and producer Lorenzo O’Brien.


27 Mar, 2012

Vote for Your Favorite Fitness DVD!

In case you haven’t already filled out your ballot, the polls are still open for this year’s Home Media Magazine Awards. A number of categories are up for voting, but my two favorite categories are Best Fitness Disc and Best Foreign Film on Disc.

Voting ends April 15, and winners will be announced April 30. Consumer votes will be tallied along with the judges’ scores to determine the winners.

So pick your favorite titles from 2011. See all the nominees and vote here