Acclaimed Argentine Writer/Director ALEJANDRO AGRESTI Draws
On His Own True-Life Experiences in "VALENTIN" From Miramax
Films Opening May 7
By: Gatsby Melodi'
In the opening scene a kid is asked to steal a
blind man's cane without getting caught, but
that's not a smart thing to do. Five of the
culprits quickly run away once they discover
the sight impaired old man isn't as helpless
and feeble as they'd thought. It's all about
blood and guts from here. BEWARE of the
Naruto Family. They demand protection
money -- daily and monthly. Guy runs around
the house like an idiot. These are all
ingredients that make the hilarious
comedy/action adventure a real winner.
That's what I said, comedy/action-adventure,
a film with more thrills than a rollercoaster.
ALEJANDRO AGRESTI draws on his own true-life experiences of
surviving a tumultuous childhood (and even stars as his abusive father) in
VALENTIN, a sometimes predictable but extremely compassionate look
at life, love and family as viewed through the eyes of a funny, loving, lonely
yet ultimately resilient little boy.
Nine year-old Valentin (RODRIGO NOYA) wants nothing more than a real
family, and he's willing to try just about anything to make one out of the
jumbled pieces of his broken home and parents failed marriage. All but
abandoned by his hot-tempered playboy father (ALEJANDRO AGRESTI)
and mysteriously absent mother, Valentin lives in an isolated Buenos
Aires apartment with his out-of-touch grandmother (CARMEN MAURA),
but that doesn't stop his relentless pursuits of big dreams for his future.
When his father begins dating the enchanting Leticia (JULIETA
CARDINALI), Valentin takes it upon himself to play Cupid - hoping his
father will remarry and give him the mother for whom he yearns.
Valentin's plans go awry, sparking even more trouble in his life, then
suddenly an unanticipated turn of evens reveals love's mysterious ways to
"VALENTIN" introduces a remarkable character who, no matter how tough
life gets, steadfastly refuses to give up on hope - or imagination.
ALEJANDRO AGRESTI is a product of the 1960's, with a Catholic father
and Jewish mother whose marriage failed, leaving him in the custody of
his angry and philandering father.
"The story of Valentin is based on one year of my life. It's about many
things, but at its center I believe it is about how a boy desperately
attempts to bring together his family, and overcomes the obstacles adults
see in front of them.", he comments.
AGRESTI wanted to make a film looking at the world through a child's
fiercely honest point of view in part because he believes the hopes of the
world rest on children. "The adult world can be one of hypocrisy,
indulgence and lies. Children are so often put into a world about which
they can do very little. Valentin might be alone but he tries to resolve
everything he can on his own." AGRESTI notes.
"Each time his father brings a new girlfriend home, Valentin's hopes are
raised that this one will become a mother to him, but no relationship lasts
because his father is a womanizer", AGRESTI explains.
AGRESTI says he found his Valentin in newcomer Rodrigo NOYA, out of
over 300 boys, because his "expressively cherubic face, alternately grave
and comic demeanor and high spirits seemed to evoke everything I
remembered about being a boy of that age in that very confusing time. "
"Originally I was not going to take a role in the movie, but as things turned
out I played the father", AGRESTI explains. "It was a very strange
experience for me playing my own father while Rodrigo was playing me.
Sometimes it was extremely difficult. In one scene the father is yelling at
Valentin, or really my father is yelling at me, and his words are very hurtful
and humiliating. I couldn't play the scene for a long time because of my
own emotional blocks. I remembered too vividly what my father did to me.
It took awhile before I could mange to do it."
Also joining the cast is veteran Spanish actress CARMEN MAURA, known
for her award-winning work with Pedro Almodovar, who takes on the role
of Valentin's ailing but fervently opinionated grandmother who believes
everyone has mental problems, especially Valentin's parents; JULIETA
CARDINALI (who previously starred in Agresti's "A Night With Sabrina
Love" ) as Leticia, the Buenos Aires beauty whom Valentin hopes to win
over to become his mother. Rounding out the cast is Argentine musician
MEX URTIZBEARA, as Valentin's jazz pianist.
The film is English subtitled, but not distractingly so.
"Too many films are about complicated plots, heroes and extreme
situations. With "Valentin", I wanted to make a simple realistic film about
one year in the life of a boy and the things he does to change his life and
those around him", concludes AGRESTI.
One of Japan's most popular and longest-running film series, ZATOICHI follows the
adventures of the title character, a blind swordsman and masseuse. Not only does TAKESHI
KITANO direct the newest installment, he also plays the title role.
Kitano says, "Zatoichi is one of the most popular heroes in Japanese period drama. It is my
first period piece and the first time I have made a film from an existing idea conceived by
someone else. I found the whole process much more fictitious because I had to fabricate
everything. This allowed me to do preposterous things and explore new areas I hadn't before.
My ZATOICHI is actually a pretty eccentric person. In terms of mentality, he is far more
emotionally detached from the other characters. He doesn't mingle with the good guys, he just
keeps slaying bad guys."
ZATOICHI is a 19th Century blind nomad who makes his living gambling and giving
massages. However, behind this humble facade, ZATOICHI is a master swordsman gifted
with a lightning-fast draw breathing precision, and with his legendary cane sword at his side,
expect a violent and bloody confrontation. "ZATOICHI" has already grossed more than $25
million since September 2003 in its native Japan, and opens in US theaters June 4, 2004.
Tribecca Dates: May 1at 8PM & May 9 at 9 PM - United Artist Theater, Battery Park 102 North
End, in theater 11; May 7 at 6 PM-Pace University .
Being With Plastics Is Like Being Famous In Paramount's Romantic
"MEAN GIRLS" Opens April 30
By: Gatsby Melodi'
Plastic is something
synthetic, artificial, or a
substitute. So when it
comes to plastic people,
this transposes to
wannabe's. Plastic people
don't really live in a real
world every day, or do
they? Well it may not be
real, but it is so funny
being portrayed in a
wonderfully 'out of curiosity'
film, opening Friday, April 30th, from Paramount Pictures, titled "MEAN
GIRLS", starring Lindsay Lohan as (CADY), Rachel McAdams as
(REGINA), Amanda Seyfried as (KAREN), and Lacey Chabert as
The film "Mean Girls" is about teenagers fall victim to cliques and
become part of the Queen Bee's court whether they want to or not. It
gives new meaning to high school acceptance and survival skills, and
is rated PG-13. Labels like Wannabe, Tom Bystander, Target,
Floater, Banker Queen Bee, and Sidekick become rule-of-thumb for
A wannabe aims to please the Queen Bee, but tries too hard and is
seen as pathetic. The Queen Bee is a mixture of charisma, force,
money, great looks, strong will and manipulation. The Queen Bee
silences others girls and boys with a look. Queen Bee's popularity is
based on fear and control. Sidekick is Queen Bee's willing servant
and humble handmade who does anything Queen Bee says. Target is
a victim set-up by Queen Bee to be humiliated , and made fun of and
excluded. Tom Bystander lacks self-confidence, feels dammed if she
does and dammed if she doesn't. Floater is sell-confident, full of self-
esteem and doesn't base her self worth on what others think. Those
who don't accept Floater, she could careless, because she doesn't
want any association with them anyway. Banker is a combination of
con-artist and stool pigeon, who lures girls-in to her circle. Banker
gathers their trust and gets them to divulge information about
themselves which Banker then used it against them.
"Mean Girls" are hilarious rumors made up by lame girls bored with
their lives. Some of the best humor comes from comments like 'dumb
yourself down' when you want to impress; "fat not slimmer"; "talking
about people behind their backs', "lead blonde'; "3-way call attacks";
"being with plastic is like being famous"; "suck the poison"; and
Directed by Mark Waters (“Freaky Friday”) from a screenplay by Emmy
winner Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live”), “Mean Girls” is a fictional
comedy based on Rosalind Wiseman’s New York Times bestseller,
Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques,
Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence, which Time
raves is “a chilling account of the life our girls navigate in their school
lunchrooms and hallways.” Paramount Pictures Presents A Lorne
DENZEL WASHINGTON BRINGS HEALTHY DOSES OF
COMPASSION IN HIS BEST EVER DISPLAY OF LOVE AND
RESPECT AND EMPATHY IN FOX 2000 Pictures -Tony Scott Film
"MAN ON FIRE'
Only In Theaters April 23rd
By: Gatsby Melodi'
Forget those ads running on
television alluding that "Man on
Fire" is an action adventure film.
Forget it cause it's really a love
story, with a running time of 146
minutes. The bad part is Fox takes
about an hour-and-a-half building
up the relationship. The good part
is ---- once you're there, your heart
goes out to the characters. First to
the kidnapped little girl, then to
Denzel's character for his
relentless pursuit, and then to the
family of the lost child and the
circumstances surrounding the
abduction, and ultimately her
capture and return.
ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR JONATHAN
DEMME TALKS ABOUT "THE AGRONOMIST" IN
THEATERS APRIL 23RD
By: Gatsby Melodi'
You will be enchanted
by her presence and
there's just magic
between she and
Denzel.The first obvious
connection is at the
STOP light when Pita
gets into the backseat
after a discussion with
Creasy about his
wanting to just be a
bodyguard, to protect
her, void of friendly
"THE AGRONOMIST", is scheduled for release
in to the theaters on April 23rd. This sub-titled
documentary is the true story of Jean Dominique,
a Haitian radio journalist and human rights
activist tireless fight against injustice and
oppression, and Dominique's uncompromising
crusade for liberty and democracy in the vibrant
country of Haiti.
Jean Dominique, boss of the privately-owned
Radio Haiti Inter, was shot dead as he arrived at
the station in the Delmas suburb of
Port-au-Prince, on April 3, 2000. The outspoken
pro-democracy political commentator had
exposed scandals involving politicians and
businessmen, and had often received death
DEMME shot many hours of footage with
Dominique over 15 years. Their joint project was
tragically cut short when Dominique was
assassinated. "THE AGRONOMIST" is not a
'whodunit', as the investigation into Dominique's
murder is ongoing, rather it is a portrait of
Dominique, and his wife and partner Michele
Montas, and their beloved Haiti.
"In 1993", begins JONATHAN DEMME, "after the
coup that toppled the democratically elected
government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, I learned
that Jean and Michele were in exile in New York.
I'd met them in 1986, and some of that footage of
them on the air is in 'THE AGRONOMIST'. I called
him with the flimsy excuse of wanting to make a
documentary about a journalist in exile, began
videotaping conversations with him about Haiti,
and anything else that came to his mind. But, with
all the complications of restoring the radio station
to working order and everything else in his and
my life, we never finished that film. Then when
Jean was assassinated, the only response to the
anguish and anger of losing such a dear friend
and extraordinary man was to finish the film.
Now it was a much bigger story about his life, his
marriage and partnership with Michele, the radio
station and about the country to which he
dedicated his life and work , which he affected so
deeply", DEMME concludes about the film.
About the wonderful music in "THE
AGRONOMIST", DEMME says, 'If you spend any
time in Haiti, it is impossible to avoid the
infectious music which is such a part of everyday
life for everyone. Wyclef Jean is one of the great
musical geniuses of our time, using his talent to
become one of the biggest hip-hop stars in the
world. Along with Jerry 'Wonda' Duplessis, Wyclef
composed an original score to the film inspired
by the story and his love of Haiti. He also
contributed four original songs from his
upcoming Creole language album, 'Welcome
Haiti'." THINKFilm presents "THE AGRONOMIST",
A Jonathan Demme Picture.
John Creasy (rhyming with greasy) (DENZEL WASHINGTON), has a
drinking problem and hopes that drinking will make living his life easier.
"Think God will forgive us for what we've done" the burned-out-ex-CIA
operative/assassin who has given up on life asks his friend who has
invited him to Mexico City , Rayburn (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) to be
bodyguard to 9-year-old Pita Ramos (DAKOTA FANNING), daughter of
industrialist Samuel Ramos (MARC ANTHONY) and his wife Lisa
Creasy is not interested in being a bodyguard, but for lack of something
better to do, accepts the assignment. "As soon as she finds out I'm not
her toy" Creasy tells her mom, who responds, "Pita just wants to be
friends". "Find someone more sociable" Creasy closes the conversation.
Pita slowly works her way into Creasy's heart. "No such thing as tuff
trained or untrained", says Creasy, as he strokes the St. Jude given to him
by Pita. "Belch to offend", Creasy humorously employs Pita before piano
Creasy's new-found purpose in life is shattered when Pita is kidnapped.
Despite being mortally wounded during the kidnapping, Creasy is a 'man
on fire' as he vows to kill anyone involved in or profiting from her
The teardrop in Creasy' eyes when he is reunited with the little girl at the
end of the film is very moving, as is the exchanging of his life for hers, the
script and action is at its pinnacle here.
The hospitals can be a very dangerous place. Especially if you have been
accused of killing two corrupt cops. "Man On Fire"...REVENGE Is A Meal
Best Served Cold.
The film is directed by Tony Scott and produced by Arnon Milchan, Tony
Scott and Lucas Foster. The screenplay is by Brian Helgeland, based on
the novel by A.J. Quinnell. Executive Producers are Lance Hool and
James W. Skotchdopole.
"Imagine having to sacrifice who you are, for
who you must be." "It is at the end of a man's
life that he realizes how important the
decisions are in the beginning." "Infinite
possibilities with the sunrise of tomorrow."
"CHANEL" "DIOR" "Armani" and "Prada".
These are just a teaser of the well written
lines from the totally sensational hit film "The
Prince & Me" starring Julia Stiles as (Paige)
and Luke Mably as (Prince Eddie), from
Paramount Pictures, opening Friday, April
2nd. This is without doubt a "don't miss film".
Running time is 111 glorious minutes.
If loving, and getting lost in fairy tale movies
like "The Prince & Me", is wrong, then I don't
wanna be right.
No nudity, sex, violence, profanity. What this
film provides Instead, is it showcases not
only the stars phenomenal acting talents, but
also a supporting cast which includes Paige'
four girlfriends who buddy their money
together and remain support to her
throughout the entire film. "The Prince & Me"
has all the makings of a "classic". And mark
my word. "The Prince & Me" is long overdue.
"For me, what the story says about true love
is that you have to be willing to take the risk
to find it, and that's something Paige and
Eddie - at least in the beginning - are not
willing to do." says director Martha
Coolidge. "So what you have, basically are
two people looking for love, but unaware
that they are." Executive producer Cami
Winikoff adds, "Julia just brings so much to
the table. She is an amazing, responsible,
mature young woman. As a Columbia
University student herself, Julia is very
driven, determined and focused, much like
the character she plays in the film."
Stiles was very enthusiastic about the
whole venture. "The coolest thing about
being an actress is that you get to
experience things you would not normally
discover. I grew up in New York City, so I
had no idea how a farm works. Now, I know
how to milk a cow by hand and
machine,and although I don't think I can
ever drink milk again." she jokes, "at least I
know where it comes from."
APRIL 9th VIVICA A. FOX STARS AS
FAIRY GODMOTHER IN MODERN-DAY
CINDERELLA FILM "ELLA ENCHANTED"
By: Gatsby Melodi'
VIVICA A. FOX is
hilarious as Lucinda,
in the modern-day
April 9th. Inspired
by Gail Carson Levine's award winning
novel and directed byTommy O'Haver,
"ELLA ENCHANTED" also stars Anne
Hathaway as Ella who lives in a fanciful
and magical world where all children are
given a "gift" from a fairy Godmother at the
moment of their birth. Little Ella birthright is
the gift-and curse-of obedience. As a result
of this unfortunate circumstance, Ella
cannot refuse any command. Unlike
Cinderella, Ella must depend on herself to
get her through her troubles and find
Lucinda (Vicica A. Fox) in order for her
"curse" to be broken. "ELLA ENCHANTED"
will be released by Miramax Films on April
9th. Running time is 95 minutes and is
rated PG. Expect many many laughs. It is
has a great script.
"I'M NOT SCARED" From Miramax Films Opens in Los Angeles and New York Friday,
April 9th A 'Guaranteed Tear-Jerker' Bring Plenty Tissue
By: Gatsby Melodi'
"I'M NOT SCARED" celebrated its world premiere as an official selection at the 2003
Berlin Film Festival, where it generated worldwide interest and acclaim. The film went
on to play at Italy's Taormina Film Festival, winning the prestigious Nastri D'Argento
(Silver Ribbons) for Best Director - Gabriele Salvatores; Best Cinematography - Italo
Petriccione; and Best Supporting Actor - Diego Abatantuono.
Salvatores also won the Globe D'Oro (Golden Globe) from Italy's Foreighn Press
Association for directing the film.
is lurking under the
surface of 10
While the days are
filled with familiar
leads to a
Violence Violence & More Violence
The Bride Is Back For The Final Cut
"KILL BILL VOL 2" Opens April 16th
By: Gatsby Melodi'
"The second one has got a lot more of what
you're used to from Quentin; the quirky
character stuff, the surprises, the funny stuff",
says David Carradine.
The film's central relationships between
hunter and prey, which Carradine describes
simply as a love story, has one of its
strongest expressions in Bill's deceptively
serene introduction scene in Vol 2: "I show
up in Texas during her wedding rehearsal,
outside on the porch, and I'm playing my
flute. It's the sound that first tells you I'm
about to appear. She hears this and comes
out, and we have this very romantic reunion,
which is also a goodbye. I think it's the best
scene of my career", Carradine adds.
The relationships within the squad fit into the
same psychological pattern, and one of the
most fraught is the one that has been
simmering for years between the bride and
Daryl Hannah's character-eye patched Elle
Driver. Elle played a small but key role in Vol
1, attempting to deliver a chemical coup de
grace to the comatose and hospitalized
bride, but in Vol 2, the rivalry comes to a head
in an all out cat fight.
"Kill Bill 2" is still a movie strongly influenced
by Asian martial arts. The impact of two
genres is especially evident. One would be
the martial arts, the other side would be
Quentin Tarantino is Screenwriter/Director of
"Kill Bill 2", a Miramax Films release, starring
Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Gordon Liu,
Daryl Hannah, and Michael Madsen. Running
time is 136 minutes.
Newcomer GIUSEPPE CRISTIANO along with the
other children in "I'm Not Scared" are appearing
on-screen for the first time.
"I'M NOT SCARED" is based on the 2001 best-selling novel of the same name by Niccolo'
Ammaniti, who at 35 became the 'youngest ever' recipient of Italy's Viareggio-Repaci prize for
During the 1970's when a series of notorious child kidnappings for ransom plagued Italy,
Ammaniti recalls, "Our family, although not rich, was well-off, and so the fear of us being
kidnapped existed. We were told as children, not to talk with strangers and to not go out to
play alone." He says lawmakers had to freeze the assets of victims' families to remove the
incentive of ransom, and that it was this ugly moment in history from which he drew
inspiration for the novel. After the book was published, director Gabriele Salvatores
"approached me about making a film based on the novel" Ammaniti says.
Salvatores, whose 1992 film "Mediterraneo" won the Academy Award for Best Foreign
Language Film, says he was drawn to "I'M NOT SCARED" on number of levels. The novel
and screenplay tell "a beautiful coming of age story. In the film a 10-year-old boy living a
seemingly normal existence stumbles upon something extraordinary. It was vital that the
story unfold literally through the eyes of a child. The very title tells us that the story is told in
the first person", he explains.
Shot during the summer of 2002 in the Basilicata and Puglia regions of southern Italy,
Salvatores says he decided to cast only local, first-time actors in the children's roles,
alongside such well-known accomplished adult performers as Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Dino
Abbrescia and Diego Abatantuono. Of the 540 children from the region who auditioned,
Salvatores recalls, "I did not choose the children who acted the best, or most handsome
ones, but rather those who could grasp by their personality and experiences the essence of
the characters they were supposed to play."
Salvotores elaborates: "Children already know everything, including the most difficult things
of all, pain and detachment. The film's two protagonists both carry the weight of these two
heavy emotions. One feels detached from his father, while the other's sense of detachment
is far more literal because he is physically cut off from the world.
"I'M NOT SCARED" is an evolution adequately sub-titled easy reading film. This is one of
those top-of-the-lines that makes you leave the theater forgetting about yourself, your
so-called troubles and problems of every day life circumstances seemingly disintegrate.
Bring plenty of tissues for the ending.
The music is strings personified, non-invasive music that leaves its mark distributing the
emotions two 10-year-old boys experienced: fear, anguish, curiosity, solidarity, love,
protection, loneliness..up to the joy of realizing they are equals, magnificently scored by Pepo
Scherman and Ezio Bosso.