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.
Netflix Loves Latinos
If you read my July 8 blog, Latinos Love Netflix, you may have caught my suggestion at the end for Netflix to create original Spanish-Language content. Well, I apparently (and unknowingly) was reading their minds.
A few weeks ago, BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield tweeted: “Netflix takes 1st “baby” steps toward creating original content outside US, “The Burrow” in Brazil.” See my colleague Erik Gruenwedel’s report.
Greenfield included a link to an from Jornal O Globo with more info, if you can read Portuguese. According to O Globo (with some help from freetranslation.com), I learned the show is called “A Toca” (The Touch) and is a comedy comprised of skits, based on “The Office.”
The show is written and produced by Felipe Neto, a popular comedian on YouTube from the channel Parafernalha.
Neto told O Globo he had complete creative freedom — sounds similar to what “The Arrested Development” and “House of Cards” producers said of Netflix — and the program touches on subjects traditionally taboo on TV, similar to Neto’s YouTube show “Não Faz Sentido.”
“A Toca” is new content adapted from Parafernalha, and according to Andrew Wallenstein’s from Variety, the show appears exclusively on Netflix, which licenses the series.
The program debuted Aug. 9 with three 30-minute episodes on Netflix, which has been available in Brazil for two years now.
Unlike Netflix’s other shows, "A Toca" will be available only in Brazil. Jonathan Friedland, chief communications officer for Netflix, told O Globo that the show is “very Brazilian” and that comedies don’t translate to other countries as well as dramas do. He pointed to “Arrested Development,” which is doing great in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, but not so well in Latin America.
“A Tocar” marks Netflix’s first original programming outside of the United States. I think it’s pretty cool the service chose a Latin American country for this milestone.
A Peek at Recent Chilean Cinema
Last year’s No, starring Gael García Bernal, garnered much critical acclaim, becoming the first Chilean film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. I had seen director Pablo Larraín’s other film, Tony Manero (a good and most creepy drama), and so I was curious about another recent film from Chilean director and writer Sebastián Silva (The Maid).
Silva’s Magic Magic, recently released on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, takes place in Chile and stars an interesting cast: Emily Browning, Juno Temple, Michael Cera, Agustín Silva (Sebastián’s brother) and Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace).
The film is beautifully shot, and the acting without any complaints here. But to be honest, I’m still scratching my head on this one. It’s a thriller with some sorta creepy parts that might seem mysterious and nefarious, but in the end are not. On top of that, the characters are mostly pretty unlikable too.
So onward with my quest for more good Chilean films.
Latinos Love Netflix
For years and years … and years, we’ve all been hearing about the rising power of Latinos. This isn’t new. But what is new is the recent report from Centris Marketing Science, which is yet more evidence of our rising power in entertainment.
The U.S. Communications and Entertainment Insights report shows that Latinos are watching more videos online than the rest of the U.S. population. But the finding that I found interesting was this: Thirty-three percent of Latino households subscribe to Netflix, versus 25% of U.S. households overall.
Netflix doesn’t have a lot of “Latino” movies or even that many Spanish-language films. And what the service has is filed under regular genres or foreign films. You have to really dig to find them. The company has even fewer films dubbed in Spanish, and it’s mostly animated movies. And as far as I know, there haven’t been any major marketing campaigns aimed at U.S. Latinos.
I would like to note that for its Latin American subscribers, Netflix does have a , a page and a Twitter (@NetflixLAT).
Some might think Netflix is leaving money on the table by not marketing to Latinos in the United States, which historically overindex in entertainment consumption in general. But I tend to think Netflix would be spending money frivolously if they did do a huge campaign. Blockbuster has long had their Latino sections and marketing, but did they ever work out that well? It’s pretty well known that Latinos prefer to watch the mainstream blockbusters.
While I do wish Netflix offered more Spanish-language movies and Latino fare, I don’t think a move like this would necessarily boost Latino subscribership. Latino films, if well made, would appeal to anyone, just as the good non-Latino films appeal to Latinos.
And speaking of well-made content, maybe Netflix in the future will create original Spanish-language content, which could also appeal to their subscribers in Latin American countries. With Netflix trying to compete with HBO, it would be nice to see the company compete with HBO in its HBO Latino programming such as “Epitafios” and “Capadocia” — both of which I absolutely loved and own on DVD.
Enter Our Fitness Sweepstakes
Is anyone in a fitness slump? Do you need a new fitness routine to keep you motivated?
Well, I just may have the answer.
Home Media Magazine is hosting a sweepstakes for a free copy of nine different fitness DVDs from Lionsgate.
The winner will receive a copy of Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast with Mary Helen Bowers, The Biggest Loser: Power Ab Blast with Bob Harper and Dolvette Quince, Billy Blanks Jr.: Dance Party Boot Camp, Denise Austin: Fit in a Flash — 7-Minute Solutions, Jane Fonda: AM/PM Yoga for Beginners, PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System with Jimmy Peña, Step Up Revolution: Dance Workout with Bryan Tanaka and Micki Duran, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Yoga Transformation: Weight Loss & Balance with Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles, valued together at $134.82.
These are some of my favorite fitness instructors, and I think there’s something in here for everyone at every level and any fitness preference.
To enter the sweepstakes, readers must go and "like" Home Media Magazine’s Facebook page and enter a valid email address. Entrants can invite friends and receive five more entries per friend that enters.
The sweepstakes runs through noon April 8. A winner will be chosen at random that day.
It doesn’t cost you a thing to enter.
Do it now!
Cast Your Vote!
It’s that time of year again for consumers to vote for your favorite DVDs and Blu-rays of last year.
This year’s fitness category has some great nominees:
• Colleen Saidman's Yoga for Weight Loss (Gaiam Vivendi)
• Denise Austin: Fit in a Flash (Lionsgate)
• Jane Fonda: AM/PM Yoga (Lionsgate)
• SparkPeople: Total Body Sculpting (Acacia)
• Step Up Revolution Dance Workout (Lionsgate)
• Transform Your Body With Brooke Burke: Tone & Tighten (Sony Pictures)
• Rodney Yee's AM & PM Yoga for Beginners (Gaiam Vivendi)
• What to Expect When You're Expecting Workout (Lionsgate)
Visit www.HomeMediaAwards.com through April 14 to select your favorite title in this and many other categories for the Home Media Awards.
The results of the consumer vote will be combined with ballots submitted by a panel of journalist and blogger judges. Winners will be announced April 29 in Home Media Magazine.
Pick Your Battles
I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for what I’m about to write, but here it goes.
I finally watched the Best Picture winner Argo on Blu-ray the other night, and I was impressed with producer-director-star Ben Affleck’s film. The multi-Oscar winning movie tells about CIA operative Antonio “Tony” Mendez’ rescue of six American diplomats in Tehran, Iran in 1979 during the hostage crisis. Pictured at right is Mendez (left) with Affleck (photo by Kris Connor).
Much of what I had read from pundits in the Latino community was a list of complaints: Affleck should’ve cast a Latino in the role, Affleck doesn’t look Latino, Mendez’ character was whitewashed and on and on.
I have to say that I disagree with much of these whiny grumbles.
As the producer, Affleck had the right to cast whomever he wanted, especially himself. If it wasn’t for him, the film wouldn’t have been made, and most of us wouldn't even know who Tony Mendez is or what he did.
I don’t see this situation as Affleck choosing to not cast a Latino, but rather as Affleck choosing to cast himself. If he had cast a non-Latino other than himself, then I’d probably say, yes, it was the “missed opportunity” that everybody claims it is. But this is Hollywood — who doesn’t want to keep the meaty roles for themselves, given the chance?
Not everyone is like Johnny Depp, who as Ruben Navarette Jr. points out in turned down the role of Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa, saying it should go to a Latino. Another difference here though is Villa was 100% Mexican, while Mendez is only part Mexican-American.
As far as Affleck not looking Latino, have you pundits looked at what the real Tony Mendez looks like? He looks like famed film critic and historian Leonard Maltin, who as far as I know is not Latino and has never been mistaken for one. Honestly, I don’t think Affleck looks any less Latino than the real Mendez. We come in all colors, remember? You critics are quick to point that out when it’s convenient.
Now this whole business about Mendez’ character being whitewashed and his ethnicity being ignored — really, gente? How is he being portrayed as white? To me, he is being portrayed as an American — and again, like Latinos, Americans come in all colors and ethnicities.
Argo is a film about an American hero — not a Mexican hero. Tony’s achievements were done while working for the United States, not Mexico. He was honored by the U.S. government, not the Mexican government. His ethnicity had nothing to do with his triumph in Iran, which is the focus of this movie. So why does it matter if it was pointed out that he was Mexican?
If anything, in the most important part of the film where Mendez shares intimate details of his life with the houseguests (hostages), he says his full name: Tony Mendez. Anyone with a brain would deduce the guy probably has some Latino in him. And I stress the word some, because Mendez is also part Irish, Italian and French. Has anyone complained that he isn’t Irish or Italian or French enough in the film or that these parts of his heritage were ignored? Not as far as I’ve heard.
Now, I’m not denying that Hollywood has a long, terrible history of casting non-Latinos in roles with real-life counterparts or characters who are Latinos and should have been cast as such (see La Bamba, West Side Story, Hell to Eternity). But I just don’t think that this is quite the “missed opportunity” that so many critics and journalists say it is.
Mendez is even quoted as saying “I don’t think of myself as a Hispanic” to ! So if the man himself doesn’t see himself as Hispanic, why are other Latinos trying to force this Hispanic-ness on him?
Latinos, look at the big picture, and do your research. This sort of bellyaching is just ridiculous and makes us look like a bunch of complainers. It sets us back with a “boy who cried wolf” syndrome for when we want to address more important issues. Let’s put our effort toward real missed opportunities.
George Lopez’s Third HBO Special Out on DVD
Comedian George Lopez is touring the country with his latest stand-up show. My brother caught him at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, Calif., for what he said was a pretty amazing set.
But if you’re like me and missed it, you can still get your fix of G.Lo on DVD, thanks to HBO Home Entertainment. This recently released DVD contains the It’s Not Me, It’s You show taped at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The popular comedian has sold out this venue 24 times, which is a record for Nokia. Órale, George!
In It’s Not Me, It’s You, Lopez addresses everything from raising kids and visiting the White House to the differences between Mexicans and white people and so much more.
His comedy seems to be getting a little more raw, and even raunchy, each time I see his shows, but the veteran comic still lives up to his reputation for making people laugh.
This is Lopez’s third HBO special, and the DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette, “The Road to It’s Not Me, It’s You,” which looks at Lopez and the tour. This I found pretty insightful for sharing a little more about Lopez, the comedian who opened for him during the tour — Bryan Kellen — as well as the tireless work it takes to be as successful as Lopez is.
If you’re a fan of George Lopez, this disc is not to be missed.
TheFitExpo in L.A. This Weekend
TheFitExpo hits the Los Angeles Convention Center Jan. 19 and 20. Now in its 10th year, the event expects to draw 35,000 fitness enthusiasts, including fitness celebrities and industry veterans.
More than 300 companies will have booths, offering show discounts and give away complimentary samples, which is my favorite way to try before I buy. There’s also the California Armwrestling Championship!
Tickets cost $20 per day or $30 for the weekend. For more information, visit www.thefitexpo.com.
Here are some of the home video highlights expected at the event:
• Piloxing is a hybrid workout that fuses boxing and Pilates with an element of dance, created by Viveca Jensen, a professional dancer, Pilates instructor, bodybuilder, trained boxer and personal trainer to the stars. A new piloxing DVD that will be out at the end of January will be introduced at TheFitExpo.
• Pound is a full-body cardio jam session, combining light resistance with air drumming. It combines Pilates, isometric movements, plyometrics and yoga. Founders Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom will introduce new online classes for $14.95.
• Fitness trainer Stephanie Woods will be at the expo. She specializes in online personal training, with workouts and meal plans.
• Buti Fitness combines yoga, dance, plyometrics and conditioning. DVDs and online classes are available.
• Dr. Levi Harrison, author of The Art of Fitness, will have a booth at the expo and will give a lecture, “Sculpting Great Abs.” Levi has produced a DVD on cardio and core, with a scheduled release for March.
• Hit Richards, founder of Calisthenics Kingz, does high-intensity interval training (HIIT). He has several DVDs available and more coming soon.
Remembering the Mirabal Sisters
The United Nations in 1999 designated Nov. 25 as the International Day Against Violence Towards Women. For years before that, many women activists have earmarked that day as such, probably more so in Latin American countries.
The date came about after the brutal murders of the three Mirabal sisters on Nov. 25, 1960. Minerva, Mate and Patria were vocal political dissidents against the oppressive and bloody regime of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. They were savagely killed by Trujillo's men, and their deaths callously made to look like a car accident.
As we approach the anniversary of their death, it’s a good time to reflect on these brave and inspiring sisters and how they fought for justice and freedom in their country. If you don’t know much about these women, who were know as "Las Mariposas" (The Butterflies), I urge you to learn and watch two wonderful movies, available on DVD.
The 2002 feature In the Time of Butterflies stars Salma Hayek, Mia Maestro, Lumi Cavazos, Edward James Olmos, Demian Bechir, Marc Anthony and so many other talented actors. This film is adapted from the book of the same name by Julia Alvarez that tells a fictionalized account based on the true lives of the Mirabal sisters. (The book, too, is a wonderful read.)
The more recent Tropico de Sangre (2010) stars Michelle Rodriguez, Juan Fernandez, César Évora and others in a film that aims to stick more closely to history. While this film doesn’t have as much star power as In the Time of Butterflies, it does have the blessing of the surviving Mirabal sister, Dedé, who consulted on the film and even appears in it.
Both are worth a viewing.
... Have a happy, blessed and safe Thanksgiving.
Javier Bardem Times Three
I was talking with my friend the other night about Skyfall, and he remarked that Javier Bardem was ‘exquisite’ in this latest Bond movie and that he ‘nearly stole the film.’ Then my friend paused and amended that and said he actually did steal the film.
Though I haven’t seen Skyfall yet (I’m dying to), it didn’t surprise me to hear this about Bardem. The Spanish actor is one of my favorites, and with rugged good looks and the acting chops to match, who doesn’t love him?
With relish, I recently took at look at the Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection, which Lionsgate released last week. The three-DVD set features No Country for Old Men, Biutiful and Mondays in the Sun and is priced at $19.98 — a steal, if you ask me.
Bardem deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in No Country for Old Men (2007), and he was nominated for the same award for Biutiful (2010) — two wonderful movies in which Bardem is as exquisite as ever.
Most have probably seen or at least heard of those two films, but maybe not Mondays in the Sun (2002). This Spanish film won five Goya Awards, one of which was awarded to Bardem for Best Actor. The heartbreaking drama is about five unemployed shipyard workers in Spain, led by Santa (Bardem), a lonely ladies’ man. Together they search for work, love and the strength to hope for better days, while bickering like brothers in the process. This one is worth checking out to see a fully bearded Bardem, in a not-unusual role of a down-on-his-luck guy who still manages to keep a sparkle in his eye.