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Cronicas (2004)

John Leguizamo , Alfred Molina , Sebastián Cordero  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Leguizamo, Alfred Molina, Leonor Watling, Damián Alcázar, Peki Andino
  • Directors: Sebastián Cordero
  • Writers: Sebastián Cordero
  • Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, Bertha Navarro, Carolina Fox, Frida Torresblanco, Guillermo del Toro
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYYVII
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,215 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cronicas" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Director and Star commentary
  • Alternate Film Ending
  • "Making of" Featurette
  • Still photo gallery
  • "Soledad" recording session
  • US Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

John Leguizamo stars as Manolo Bonilla, a tabloid TV reporter who traveled from Miami with his news crew on the trail of a story about a serial killer striking a small town in Ecuador. Convinced this story could be the ‘big one’ that makes him a network star, he is willing to bend the rules to get the facts. But the closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the more he finds his carefully planned story spinning dangerously out of control. Soon, Bonilla and his crew find themselves at the center of a frightening situation where even the best intentions can backfire.

Amazon.com

In twisty thriller Crónicas, John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge) finally lands a lead role worthy of his talent. The Columbian-born actor is Manolo Bonilla, an ambitious Miami-based reporter for a Spanish-language news outlet. When a serial killer devastates a small town in Ecuador, he and his crew, Marisa (Leonor Watling, Talk to Her) and Iván (José María Yazpik, Innocent Voices), fly down to cover the story. Shortly after their arrival, Bonilla saves the life of shifty-looking salesman Vinicio Cepeda (Damián Alcázar). His intentions aren't as honorable as they seem. Cepeda claims to have information regarding the "Monster of Babahoyo" and Bonilla will do anything to keep him talking. Soon his star begins to rise as Cepeda provides him with more and more ratings-grabbing details. Then Bonilla discovers something even the authorities don't know about--another body. His decision to follow the lead on his own could make his career...or completely destroy it. Worse yet, another child may lose his life if Bonilla fails. Featuring Alfred Molina (Frida) as Marisa's TV host husband (seen only via monitor). Written and directed by Sebastián Cordero and produced by Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, Crónicas was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(27)
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
`Crónicas' (2004) written and directed by Sebastián Cordero has authentic look of the countryside of Ecuador, and very strong performances from the three leading actors. The content of the film itself, part thriller about a serial killer, and part social satire about the media, looks more American than you might expect from the Ecuadorian-born director, who went to France at the age of 9, and studied filmmaking at university in California. But his semi-documentary touch proves he has originality, with realistic atmosphere that sometimes bring to us the smell of the places like seedy prison or humid swamps.

John Leguizamo plays a Miami-based TV-reporter who stumbles upon a big story about the heinous serial killer "the Monster of Babahoyo." Manolo, star reporter of Tabloid TV show (host played cameo Alfred Molina), believes that this timid middle-aged man Vinicio, who is now in prison because of one fatal hit-and-run accident, knows something about the killer that scares the local people.

While Vinicio offers a deal, there is another question - is he telling Manolo the truth? Or is he himself the Monster?

`Crónicas' has suspenseful moments, but it is not a murder mystery. If you're an avid reader of crime novels, you can predict the story fairly well, and the main characters - fame-hungry TV reporter, his female assistant (Leonor Watling, `Talk to Her'), and the portrait of the killer itself - are pretty stereotyped ones. Its oversimplified statement about the media, as is shown in its tagline (`If it's on TV, it must be the truth') looks old to me, having been repeated again and again in the films like `Mad City.' Today people don't believe the `story' so easily as the film thinks.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Hurdling the Language Barrier October 19, 2006
Format:DVD
The cover of this DVD says the movie is in "Spanish and English." However, at least on the DVD version I got, the "English" consists of just a couple of sentences John Leguizamo inexplicably throws into his conversation, and then a few of the bonus interviews. Other than that, you will have to rely on the English subtitles, unless you are fluent in Spanish. And since some of the characters play reporters who speak rapidly, with a Ben Hecht "Front Page" urgency - that means you will have to quickly read a fair amount of material. But believe me, this movie is worth the effort.

Like me, you might find yourself watching the movie twice - once to get the gist by reading the subtitles - then again to concentrate more on the actors and to fill in some details.

John Leguizamo does a good job playing the cocky, ambitious reporter intent on developing and breaking the story of the child killer himself, without tipping off the police. But the really memorable performance is turned in by Damian Alcazar. He plays his part with a brilliant mix of meek supplication and soft, compelling manipulative guile. Whatever equivalent of the Academy Award the South American movie industry may present - should go to him.

This movie also gives us a look into settings most of us will (thankfully) never experience in person. We are taken into the center of mob violence. We see what the interior of a South American jail is like, with its peeling paint and exposed, dripping water pipes and its encouragement of inmate violence. We see the resourceful, stilted shantytowns people in those small towns build with whatever materials they find at hand.

This movie may also provoke deep debate among you and your friends about who the real villain of the story is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars [3.5]--The Responsibilities of Tabloid Journalism September 21, 2006
Format:DVD
At first, this film is difficult to watch, given the subject matter of violence against children. Soon it becomes obvious that there is more to it than that, and that is where the hook comes in. `Crónicas' is a movie that begins with a terrific concept but sort of dwindles along the way.

It's a good move with a very good performances, especially on the part of John Leguizamo, as a popular and ambitious reporter Manolo Bonilla doing a story about a notorious serial killer, and Damián Alcázar as Vinicio Cepeda, a man that by accident runs over and kills a local kid (whose brother was killed by the serial killer), and is saved by Manolo Bonilla from a lynching mob. Vinicio Cepeda wants the reporter to do a favorable story about him, and possibly, by doing so, help him get out of jail, where his life might be in danger. In exchange he offers him some information on "Monster of Babahoyo", the pedophile serial killer.

Damián Alcázar gives an incredible performance as a kind, humble, god-loving man with some uneasy, disturbing quality. The only real shortcoming of this movie, in my opinion, is that it is undeveloped. The movie could use another half an hour of plot towards the end and it felt bleak and was a bit slow in some areas.

Even though I was a bit disappointed `Crónicas' is a powerful film that certainly puts a brutal spin on the issue of a reporter protecting his sources and ethics, even when the worst of the implications happens off camera.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Item was worth the price
Seemed to skip somewhat.
Published 2 months ago by DeeDee 747
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film/Love Leguizamo
What else can i say about such a movie? The cast,pace, and overall story really pull me in, and admittedly i'm a bit bias as i love John Leguizamo in anything!
Published 17 months ago by lawless_romeo
5.0 out of 5 stars A+
Who DOES adore John Leguizamo?!!! Lol!!! Awesome, awesome movie! Came in quickly as we hoped and enjoyed this so much!
Published 21 months ago by kristine anne rodas
4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Story
I am fairly new to Latin American movies, and I have seen quite a few so far.
This movie was worth seeing! Read more
Published 22 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Cronicas
Excellent movie that has slipped thru the cracks. Everyone should watch this movie at least once in their life.
Published on March 10, 2010 by Daisy Rodriguez
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Disturbing Movie
This movie is superb - tightly written, directed, and acted. And very, very disturbing because of its subject matter. Read more
Published on June 13, 2009 by Linda Matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars SEBASTIAN CORDERO, OPUS 2
***1/2 2004. Written and directed by the Ecuadorian director Sebastián Cordero. Damián Alcázar earned numerous awards for his performance as the serial killer... Read more
Published on June 7, 2008 by Daniel S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Leguziamo is credible(despite his Spanish)
This movie has the feel of a truth meets documentary film. John Leguizamo is really good as a Miami-based reporter, who is a star and sometimes acts like he's bigger than the story... Read more
Published on January 27, 2008 by Enrique Torres
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric Thriller Set In Ecuador
My wife is originally from Ecuador and I have gone there with her several times to visit friends and family members. Read more
Published on July 20, 2007 by Chris Luallen
3.0 out of 5 stars predictable and abrupt...
Manolo (Leguizamo) is a top-rated reporter for a tabloid TV show, based in Miami. He has been reporting on the crimes of the "Monster of Babahoya". Read more
Published on January 27, 2007 by LARRY
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