Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Illegal Tender: Red hot mama(cita) knows best

As I say in my Variety review, Wanda De Jesus is a knockout in Illegal Tender as Millie DeLeon, a Latina lioness who's determined to keep her two sons safe from the vengeful drug lord who betrayed and murdered her husband two decades earlier. The movie itself is just so-so, but it does feature -- in addition to De Jesus' strong performance -- a muy bueno soundtrack that effectively fuses hip-hop, salsa and Reggaetón. I suppose I should note that Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter likes the flick more than I do. But, then again, maybe I should also note that Rechtshaffen misidentifies Reggaetón great Tego Calderon as the chief villain of the piece. (Actually, Calderon plays an ambitious underling who figures prominently in a final plot twist. Gary Perez -- who's a tad bit more, um, light-complexioned -- is the badass drug lord named Javier Cordero) Yeah, I know: That's a pretty petty thing for me to call another writer on. But what the hell, if even a hopelessly rhythm-challenged gringo like me can tell the difference... (In Rechtshaffen's defense, however, the info available on the movie's offical website is a bit, how we say, skimpy.)

(Note: This is Tego Calderon.)

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