LA ORIGINALS (2020)

Directed by: Estevan Oriol
Written by: Brian Maya & Omar Quiroja
Cinematography: Francisco Pugliese
Editor: Sofia Belgeri, Guille Gatti & Jonathan Smeke

Featuring: Mister Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, Brian Grazer, Cypress Hill, Eminem, Scott Caan, Snoop Dogg, Michelle Rodriguez, Travis Barker, Clifton Collins Jr, Theo Rossi, Terry Crews, Wilmer Valderama, George Lopez, Danny Trejo, Paul Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Ryan Philippe, Eva Longoria, Shepherd Fairey, Paul Rosenberg, Mark Hoppus

Photographer Estevan Oriol and artist Mister Cartoon turned their Chicano roots into gritty art, impacting street culture, hip hop and beyond.


Seeing the culture grown around the two subjects and being part of it. Allows you to constantly feel like an insider throughout this documentary.

As we watch and get to know them as they earn an education. Traveling and getting to see the world. While being backstage with rising hip hop artists. Where we are not supposed to have access to. So this is a rare glimpse. 

Luckily they seem to have taken plenty of pictures and videos to archive it all and through this and their talent that became an art they were able to find fortune and fame. Through their raw natural Talents. As well as become style Gurus and artists themselves. Even bigger than some of the ones they worked for. 

They never had to sell out. They might have had to travel outside of their comfort zones, but they built a business while there and bring others from there to their own comfort zone and made then travel and pay to be there. If not part of it shone somewhat on them to be part of the culture. As they make Keep making money off of the beauty and art of their own culture around them. 

Giving back somewhat, but finding Their way in the world through what they enjoy doing.

Traveling outside of their comfort zone seeing the world. They end up helping each other out from being trapped mindset. Letting them then see beyond their environments as they come up.

Even if they found more access exposing their surroundings and showcasing beauty in the every day and gritty. That there is an amazing art in places some choose not to look.

Mister Cartoon helped tattooing from being a niche into a true art form and given a sense of pride. Helping it more become part of the mainstream. 

He finds fame because of his art and access to rappers who show off his handiwork as he provides original pieces on Their skin. Which ends up becoming his canvases and starts a fad and provides a need. So that it is a rag to riches story. Directed by one of the subjects.

So some subjects are glossed over like Estevan’s drug addiction. Which is more mentioned then delved into. As this is more a congratulatory glossy documentary. The success we see we their loved ones but again never get too deep into those relationships.

There are plenty of celebrities throughout. Some are surprising like producer Brian Grazer who we never know why or what his connection with them or any of the story.

Feels like you are enjoying their company. Though they are tight-lipped you more see and hear about their actions. 

Luckily Estevan seems to have had the Vision to film everything early. This is what helps put them on the map and luckily for us get to see this archival footage from backstage and onstage as we know can’t be there but can witness as he seems to get the best shot each time. We wonder how. 

It’s dramatic and meaningful how many you have to go through to get that perfect one. That you won’t find out there Perfectly addressing the handling, maintenance, and control of their business 

It also shows that they might have helped start gentrification of their neighborhoods by setting up shop there and giving access to more and more young hip crowds of people who decided to start buying up cheaper properties around them. As they helped build up the neighborhood. 

It also shows How they try to give back and help less fortunate around them.

Grade: B 

THE WOLFPACK (2015)

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Directed By: Crystal Moselle
Edited By: Enat Sidi

Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes.


The film works as a glossy documentary. Giving a look at a interesting family and their particulars.

Though the way the film is handled it seems more like if people magazine did an In depth article on the story rather than a skilled journalist who would go in depth and get answers that the filmmakers choose to avoid or never venture to ask. As that would mess up the feel good story, That this film aspires to be

Just as the film is supposed to be about this family that rarely or never leaves the house at least the kids never do. Yet the director was drawn to make this documentary after seeing them strangely dressed walking through the park? Which I only know from researching the film. It is never brought up int he film, nor does it explore how she got permission to film the family.

It also never explains thoroughly why child services were never called in. Especially based on how many agencies they seem dependent on.

Just as the film, Never explains why the father. Who was so opposed to the outside world and it’s demeaning morals and violence. Why then does he let his kids watch films that are so violent.

For all the fascination and answers the film offers. There seems to be more times that the film avoids details and seems to not be asking certain questions that would open the doc up. Letting a story go by without delving into it.

Though what is onscreen is nice and of interest and shows the power of cinema on individuals and offering a certain view of the world. Especially when it is you only real view of it.

It reminds me of how many certain movie fans choose to close themselves off to the world. Who wish to only have the kind of works exist as the real one seems to disappoint. Where as these kids seem to do it out of necessity. Yet still find the real world fascinating as they have relate it experienced it and how much it is not only new to them, but magical. They embrace all that they have been denied.

The home productions look like the type that were Sweded in the film BE, KIND REWIND and the stage productions from RUSHMORE.

The father’s actions are explained, but still make only sense to him and while he comes off ultimately as a villain. The film chooses to make him seem human rather than totally despicable. Which might be because he is still around in their lives.

For instance, informing us that he has hit his wife numerous times and has been abusive towards her. While being a fascist in general when it comes to his family and offering not real management or help. Yet delivers he harsh message. That life goes on and not full of happy endings though throughout the film it does have them.

The film let’s us get to know certain members of the family, but others are constantly seen, but never brought to the forefront or given a chance to get to know. I know there are a lot of them, but it would have been nice to get to know some of them somewhat.

While the film has a charm of being an underdog, By showing that these kids as victims found a good way to not only escape and express themselves. While also finding a way to cope with their situation. Even though it is all they know. It also is a feel good for the audience for them to learn to venture out and be free. As well as showing off their artistic skills. Only the film is afraid to venture back down to the details and facts that might actually bring the spirit of the doc down.

You can’t help but be charmed by the kids in the family and amazed at their skills and talent especially when it comes to art. Making props and scenery. Though the film tries to make them fascinating and winners ultimately. Watching the film at times, It’s hard to overcome the fact that ultimately for a long time in their fathers attempt to save them. He made them into victims.

Grade: C

UNITED SKATES (2019)

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Directed By: Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler
Written By: Dyana Winkler
Cinematography: Tina Brown, Dynana Winkler & Matthew Peterson
Editor: Katharine Paterson 

Featuring: Salt N Pepa, Coolio, Queen Latifah, Reggie Brown, Vin Rock, Alonzo Williams 


When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture–one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

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THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR (2017)

 

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Directed By: Jeffrey Schwarz
Cinematography By: Jeff Byrd, Matt May & Keith Walker
Editor: Jeffrey Schwarz & Carl Pfirman 


Featuring: Steve Guttenberg, Lorna Luft, Maxwell Caulfield, Valerie Perrine, Marlo Thomas, Connie Stevens, Brett Ratner, Bruce Vilanch, Sherry Lansing 


Armed with a limitless Rolodex and a Benedict Canyon enclave with its own disco, Allan Carr threw the Hollywood parties that defined the 1970’s. A producer, manager and marketing genius, Carr built his bombastic reputation amid a series of successes including the mega hit musical film GREASE and the Broadway sensation LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, until it all came crashing down after he produced the notorious debacle of the 1989 Academy Awards.

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