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Cronicas

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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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

Special Features

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

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: Multiple Formats, 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.)
  • 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 (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYYVII
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,245 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cronicas" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is from the serial killer genre however focuses more on the tabloid media and how the journalists deal with information they receive about a serial killer. Do they keep the information to themselves for an eventual sensational story or do they provide the information the police? High profile journalist Manolo Bonilla (played by John Leguizamo) and suspected serial killer Vinicio Cepeda (played by Damian Alcazar) are the main characters of the film and are pretty riveting in their roles. The supporting actors are also well cast.

I initially was debating on whether to give the movie 3 or 4 stars because the film itself was a little disjointed and didn't have a lot of action as a lot of the film involved Bonilla questioning/interviewing Cepeda for a potential news story. In fact the main scene of action and violence was not of a serial killing but involved a car accident and a lynch mob. However after watching the film it continued to stick in my head as it did have an underlying sense of dread and posed some interesting questions about consequences and responsibilities of peoples (in this case the journalists) choices and actions. Therefore I went with a 4 star rating.

The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. John Leguizamo does speak some lines in English but the majority of his dialogue is in Spanish. Also the DVD has an alternate ending which is worth viewing as it provides a completely different perspective to the film.
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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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I was expected to be blown away by this film...had read so many positive opinions about it...but once I finished watching this film I had mixed feelings about how good it really is...? Not to be disappointed, for this is a really interesting film, but I guess the ending could have been a bit modified/more horrific. Come to think of it, I might have watched the censored version of this film. I also did not understand why did Leguizamo's character speak Spanish/English (switching from one language to another/on and off) to his co-workers who only spoke Spanish to him and when addressed in English they still replied in Spanish as if they understood what was said to them in English. That did not make any sense.

The film tells a story of a reporter from Miami who works for a private news station known for its program called "An Hour with the Truth" which is broadcasted in Spanish speaking countries. The main hero Manolo (John Leguizamo) is an aspiring news reporter seeking sensational stories together with his production crew composed of: a female producer who he has an affair with and a constantly pot-smoking camera-man. The trio travels to Ecuador, where a notorious child serial killer only known as "The Monster of Babahoyo" is terrorizing the country side. What they don't realize is that the news-story they are investigating and its conclusion will leave them questioning their work and life ethics.
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