Crazy About Her – review

Brief synopsis: a confident playboy, journalist meets a young woman whilst on a night out with friends. They have a wild night and he is smitten with her but does not know her name or anything about her. He finds out that she is in a mental institution and gets himself admitted to the same facility just to meet her again. 

Is it any good? Crazy About Her (Loco Por Ella – original Spanish title) is an enjoyable quirky romcom. With many similarities to 2019’s No Estoy Loco. Crazy About Her sees most of the central cast situated in a mental health institution. 

Moving at a good pace and with good acting from all on show, Crazy About Her is an amusing and touching rom-com. 

Spoiler territory: In a bar, Adri (Álvaro Cervantes) is telling Laura (Paula Malia), a friend and a struggling actress and Sergio (Eduardo Auntuña) how to get what they want in life. Sergio points out to him that his father gave him a job straight out of university. Adri is unfazed by their arguments. 

He tells them that he can pick up any woman in the bar if he wants to and challenges them to pick a target for him. They point to a blonde woman at the bar. Adri, bulletproof confidence in abundance, immediately heads towards the woman they pointed out. 

Halfway across the bar, a woman (Susana Abaitua) bumps into him. She apologises profusely, thinking she has caused him to spill his drink. Adri tells her that he does not have a drink. She offers to buy him one. He hesitates, looking at the blonde at the bar. She asks him if he was planning to hit on her. Adri tells her about his wager with his friends. 

The woman tells him that she has a similar wager with her friends, pointing to a table of women across the bar. She goes to the bar. She asks Adri if he wants to spend the night with her, no strings, just a night of fun. He is reluctant but when she challenges his bravery, he agrees. 

She takes him to a hotel and sees that there is a wedding in attendance. She decides to crash the wedding to get free food and drink. At the wedding, it is obvious that they are not meant to be there as they are the only white people in an all-black wedding. Unperturbed, the woman even dares to make a speech at the wedding. 

They party with the guest and later retire to a hotel suite to make love. The room is the bridal suite and they are caught by the shocked newlyweds. They make a quick exit. Outside of the hotel, the woman leaves Adri, driving off on the motorcycle they came on. She drops her jacket. 

The next day, Adri calls Laura. He tells her that he had the best night of his life but does not know anything about the woman he was with; not her name nor where she lives. He ends the call as he arrives for a meeting at work. The magazine editor, Andrés (Alberto San Juan) wants to hear some ideas. As Andrés dismisses and bullies the staff, he favours Adri, even telling another writer, Ana (Rocío León) to give her article to him. 

Adri begins to struggle with his existence, pining for the woman he had the fantastical night with. He tells Laura and Sergio about his woes. Laura tells him that he is in love. She asks him if he checked her jacket. Adri dismisses the notion; of course he checked her jacket.

Laura checks the jacket. She finds a name and address. The woman’s name is Carla. Adri heads to the address immediately. He finds out that the place is a mental institution. He glimpses a drugged up Carla and calls to her. She looks up and smiles at him. The staff throw him out. 

Laura takes Adri to see an old acting friend of hers, Rodri (Ferran Rañé), who is a doctor. He gets a certificate saying he is suffering from depression and other ailments. He tells Andrés that he going do an article on the psychiatric centre. 

Adri gets booked into the centre after meeting the centre director (Clara Segura). The doctor shows him around the facility and tells him the monthly rate. He can have one visitor and one phone call per month. He is roomed with a longtime resident, Saúl (Luis Zahera). 

As Saúl shows him around again, Adri asks about Carla. He finds her in a room painting with other residents. She does not recognise him. She is distressed when he explains who he is. She tells him that it was only meant to be one night. She does not want to see him. Adri, realising she is serious, tries to leave. 

He is stopped by the centre staff. He is told he can only be released by the director. He goes to see her again and tells her he was lying and that everything he told her was a lie. She does not believe him. He tells her to call the magazine. She calls the magazine and the disgruntled Ana picks up. She tells the doctor that Adri does not work there. Adri is forced to start.

Back in the room, he is sharing, Adri tells Saúl he needs to get out. He is told the only way to get out is to jump out of a three-storey window. Adri decides against it. He calls Laura and gets her to come and pose as a doctor to try and get him released. She fails. 

Adri sees Laura leaving. She tells him that he has to get his article in on that day or he will be fired. Adri dictates an article to her. Adri reluctantly moves around the centre, refusing to take medication whilst still protesting his right to be released. He is told that it is the other patients who decide when a is patient released.

As the days pass, Adri begins to fall into the routine, pretending to take the medication and avoiding Carla. Saúl tells him there is a way he can get out. He needs to get on with the other patients and he has a way to help him do it. He gives him a vial of tablets. 

Later that evening, Adri meets Saúl and is taken to a secret poker game between some of the patients. The tablets are currency. At the game are; Marta (Aixa Villagrán) a Tourette’s sufferer, Tina (Tell Aixendri) who believes she is royalty, Victor (Nil Cardoner), a germaphobe and Carla. 

Adri tries to sell the idea of them giving each other good scores so they can all get released. Carla tells him that some of them need to be there. Victor goes to the bathroom and Carla and Tina tease Marta for fancying him. Adri asks why does she not just tell him that she likes him. Marta thinks he is mad. Adri says if he helps her to asks Victor out, they must all vote for him in the next meeting. 

The next day, Saúl asks Adri to help him. He is to pretend to be a doctor. Saúl’s young daughter, Sara (Iris Vallés) comes to see him, brought by Saúl’s ex (Mireia Portas) and her new husband (Edu Gibert). They are not visiting for very long. Adri leaves them alone. 

He sees Carla talking to her parents (Jordi Bosch and Laura Conejero). She is distressed and wants to return to her room but her parents do not want to leave. Adri poses as a doctor once more and gets her away from them. 

Adri begins to work with Marta, helping her memorise a phrase so she can talk to Victor. Adri asks why she is in the centre if she only suffers from Tourette’s. Marta tells him that she also suffered from depression. The next day, he encourages her to go and speak to Victor. Marta loses her nerve on the first encounter and runs away. 

Carla, who along with the others has been watching, persuades her to go and have another try. Marta tells Victor that she likes him and he responds positively, the two of them getting together. Carla is enamoured by his feat and invites him to meet up with her later. Adri returns to his room to find a distressed Saúl.

Saúl has been told that his ex-wife’s husband does not want him to see Sara anymore, that it is dangerous. Later, Adri finds out from Carla why she is there. She tells him she is bipolar, her moods going from extreme depression to manic euphoria. She never knows when the moods will hit or how. 

She tells him that their relationship cannot work. Adri will not give up and tells her he is sure she can overcome her illness. Carla reiterates that they cannot carry on. Adri returns to his room and finds that Saúl has jumped out of the window and escaped the centre. He gets Carla to help him sneak out of the centre to go and look for Saúl. 

Carla steals a car and the two go looking for Saúl. Saúl has gone to find his daughter and they catch up with him limping along the road on his way to his ex-wife’s home. Carla tells him that they will do something to make him feel better. She has no idea what. Adri has an idea. 

They go to wreck the stepfather’s car. As they are destroying the car outside of the house, Saúl tells them that he does not think that he has a car. They leave and return to the centre. Adri has an opportunity to escape the centre but decides to stay. 

Carla takes Adri to her favourite spot in the centre, the roof. Adri is still convinced that Carla can overcome her illness if she really wants to. He tells her that he likes her the more he knows her. The two get together. Carla is happy. They spend a lot of time together and with the group. 

Adri has persuaded Carla that she does not need medication. Her mania starts to manifest. At one of their evening poker games, Carla does not show up. Adri goes looking for her and finds her on the roof, her mania raging out of control. Adri grabs her and tells the centre director. Carla gets sedated. 

The next day, Carla feels betrayed, especially as he encouraged her to stop taking her medication. Adri’s article comes out. The group shun him. Adri goes to the director who, realising he was telling the truth about lying, signs his release. She tells him that too many people think they know how to help the mentally ill. 

Saúl’s ex-wife brings Sara to see him. Adri bids him farewell. Adri writes another article for the magazine, countering his initial article. The group read it but Carla is offended by its sentiments and decides that they need to break out and confront him. Victor creates a diversion and the rest of the group steal a van. 

The director and Rosa (Maria Ribera) pursue them. The group manage to lose them. They get to the magazine headquarters and Carla confronts Adri. She wants to know if he is prepared to fight for their love. He tells her that he wants to be with her come what may. They get back together. The end. 

Final thoughts: Crazy About You is a lovely film with great performances from the whole cast. Written by Natalia Durán and Eric Navarro and directed by Dani de la Orden, Crazy About Her whizzes through its one-hundred-and-two minute runtime. 

Like the aforementioned No Estoy Loco, where this film really works is in the ensemble parts, with the other characters giving the film real heart. The fact that there is no easy route given to the central pairing is a nice touch, the film and writers embracing the fact that what is thought of as normal for the majority is not something that can be forced on everyone. 

By no means a perfect film, it still manages to be both emotive and amusing and engaging, whilst tackling a subject that many find difficult to talk about. Abaitua is riveting as the bipolar Carla, making it a little heartbreaking when she explained that it is something that she will always have to live with. 

Zahera’s Saúl is similarly touching with his issues preventing him from being with his young daughter. The film is competently lensed by Orden, the wedding scenes being particularly funny. Crazy About You is an enjoyable film and worth a look on a lazy Sunday.

Voces – review

Brief synopsis: a young family; husband, wife and their young son, move into a remote, rundown, house. The husband plans to renovate the house and sell it, just as they have done before. The young son begins to hear voices. 

When the boy is drowned in the outdoor pool, the wife leaves to stay with her parents. The husband hears his son’s voice. He goes and sees a man who looks into paranormal activities to get to the bottom of the mystery. 

Is it any good?: Don’t Listen (Voces – original Spanish title) is a well-told and beautifully directed horror film. The acting is good from all concerned and the story maintains one’s interest throughout. The editing and the directing are first-rate and, along with the sound work, crank up the tension throughout. Worth watching. 

Spoiler territory: Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) retrieves a football from the outdoor pool that has come with the old, large, multilevel, house he has recently purchased. In the house, his son, Eric (Lucas Blas), is being spoken to by a psychologist, Doctor Carol (Beatriz Arjona). She asks him why is he having trouble sleeping and how he is feeling.

Eric tells her that the voices keep him awake. They won’t let him sleep. The doctor asks what the voices say. They tell him to draw pictures but he cannot tell her what they say. Eric stops talking and starts to play with his toy robot. 

Sara (Belén), Eric’s mother, asks the doctor what is wrong. She tells her that she thinks Eric is just disrupted by the constant house moves and that he should be fine once he makes some friends. The doctor leaves.

In the car, as she is driving, the doctor’s radio cannot pick up a signal properly. Back at the house, Eric is drawing. In the car, a fly goes into the doctor’s ear.

As she struggles to get the fly out, her foot presses down on the accelerator. Eric is still drawing. The doctor goes off the road, crashing. Eric has drawn a picture of a tree branch with blood on the end. Back in the car, the doctor has been killed, a tree branch through her face. The fly comes out of her ear. 

Later, Daniel is working on the house. A crack in the wall is infested with flies. He goes and gets some bug spray and uses it on the crack. Over a walkie talkie, Eric asks his father to get his ball from the pool again. 

As he retrieves the ball, Eric sees the bug spray in his father’s tool belt and asks him about it. Daniel tells him it is for infestations. 

Eric asks if he means like the flies by the fireplace in his room. Daniel tells him, yes. Eric’s mother calls for his bath. In the bath, Eric is distracted as he hears voices again. they are coming from the shower radio. 

The voice is his father’s. He tells him he hates him. Sara comes into the bathroom. He asks her if his father hates him. She tells him that his father loves him. 

Later, Daniel is watching television, engrossed by an interview with Germán Domingo (Rámon Barea), who has released a book, Sounds from the Great Beyond. Germán tracks the EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), voices that are believed to be from the afterlife and transmit via radios and other electronic media. 

Sara asks Daniel if he told Eric off. No, not at all. Sara is worried about their son. Daniel repeats what the psychologist said; he will be better once he has made some friends. 

During the night, Daniel is woken by the gate to the swimming pool banging. He gets up and closes it. Eric is woken by voices from the walkie talkie. 

His robot toy springs to life. As he grabs it from the floor to switch it off, he sees old, gnarled, feet. He looks up to see a shadowy figure behind the semi-transparent dust sheet that is hanging in his bedroom. 

Eric rushes to his bed and hides under the covers. Daniel comes into the bedroom to find the petrified Eric. He is followed by Sara. Eric clings to his mother. 

The next day, Daniel sees that the flies are still coming out of the crack in the wall. He hears Sara drive up. Eric is with her. He has been expelled for biting his headteacher. 

Sara tells him that he will have to see the psychologist again. Eric tells them that the doctor is dead. They ask him how he knows that. He tells them that the voices told him. 

Daniel calls to schedule an appointment with the doctor. They find out that, as Eric said, she is dead. Sara wonders how Eric knew. Daniel thinks he must have been told at school. 

Daniel goes to talk to his son. He asks him about the previous night. Eric tells him he was talking to him on the walkie talkie. Daniel tells him it was not him. 

Eric is drawing in the middle of the night. A shadowy figure watches him. An hour later, Sara wakes Daniel because she hears the pool gates banging. 

As Daniel goes to sees about the gate, he notices that the front door is open. He grabs a shotgun and looks around the house. A shadowy figure moves unseen by him through the house.

Sara goes into Eric’s bedroom. He is not there. Daniel sees Eric’s pyjama top, just outside the house. Frantic, he runs to the pool. He finds the boy dead in the pool. 

They bury their son. Sara goes to stay with her parents. She tells Daniel she cannot live in the house. Daniel tells her that everything they own is tied up in the house. 

Alone in the house, Daniel watches a video of when the family first arrived at the house. Eric had been very happy to see the new house. Daniel calls Sara and leaves a message for her. 

He switches off the television and goes to leave the room. The television springs back to life. he switches the television off again and goes to sleep.

Sara calls Daniel. She tells him she got his message but it was very muffled and there was screaming obscuring it. He tells her that it is probably the bad service in the area. After the call has ended, he plays the message back to himself. He puts the message into his computer and plays it again. He hears Eric’s voice calling for help. 

Daniel goes to a book signing by Germán Domingo. He begs Germán to listen to his recording. Germán is reluctant, having heard his share of hoaxes but Daniel convinces him. 

Convinced there is something in the recording, Germán and his sceptical about EVPs daughter, Ruth (Ana Fernández), head to the house. They drive past the site of doctor Carol’s death.

At the house, Daniel welcomes them. Ruth asks if there is a room that she can set the equipment up in, a basement maybe. Daniel tells her there is no basement but there are many free rooms. Germán warns Daniel that he may not like what they find. Daniel tells him he just wants to help his son. 

Ruth sets up cameras and microphones around the house. She is startled by Daniel, who asks her about working with her father. She tells him that she only occasionally works with him. 

She does not believe in the afterlife. With everything set up, Ruth mans the monitors as her father checks for sound around the house. Ruth sees a figure sitting in Eric’s bedroom. 

She tells her father that Daniel is messing with the infrared and needs to leave the house. He tells her that Daniel is outside. Germán goes to the bedroom to check but cannot hear or see anything. 

Ruth tells him that the figure is right in front of him. Germán’s headphones shriek causing him to pull off the headset. Later, Germán is telling Daniel about the incident as all three watch the recording of two thermal images, one being Germán, in the bedroom. 

Ruth is still not convinced. That night, Ruth is asleep in front of the monitors. Germán is woken by a nightmare. A voice beckons him. He goes down to the kitchen. In the kitchen, he sees his deceased wife, Sofia (Nerea Barros). They sit at the dining table as she speaks with him. 

She wants him to join her, pulling out a knife and slicing it across his wrist, back and forth. 

Ruth screams at her father. Sofia has disappeared and Germán is cutting his own wrist. Ruth stops him from cutting himself. He is very disorientated, looking for Sofia. Sara’s phone rings in the night and she answers. It is Eric’s voice. 

The next day, Ruth is out on the balcony when she looks out to see a tree with multiple cats hanging dead from it. She tells the two men. Daniel buries the cats as Germán tells him that the voice he heard probably was not his son. Daniel is sure it was. Sara arrives back at the house. 

Ruth goes into town to buy some items. A mature woman (Rosa Alvarez) calls to her. She knows she is at the house with the voices. She tells she should not return to the house. 

The voices tell you things that are not true. Back at the house, Sara is in Eric’s bedroom. She is about to leave when she hears the robot. She turns around and sees Eric, his back to her, sitting on the ground. She approaches him but he scampers under the bed. 

Sara looks under the bed. She sees old, gnarled feet on the other side but when she looks up there is no one there. She looks again. The feet are there again. They climb on to the bed. She looks up. Nothing.

Eric runs past her and she shuffles back towards a wall. She puts her hand down on a gnarled foot. A matching hand grabs her face. 

Germán is looking through reference images, the cats’ deaths having reminded him of something. He finds one similar to the cats hanging from the tree. He tells Daniel that it is a warning. 

A warning of what? Ruth returns and tells them it was a warning of it being the territory of a witch. The house had been a courthouse and witches had been tried there during the inquisition. 

Their conversation is interrupted by Sara’s body crashing through the window, her hanging from the bedroom above. A fly leaves Sara’s ear. The police and coroner come and pick up her corpse. 

Germán continues to research the images. He tells Ruth he thinks he knows where the bodies are buried. Ruth wants them to leave. Germán refuses, he wants to solve this mystery. 

A distraught Daniel sees Sara and Eric behind a dust sheet whilst sitting in his bedroom. When he moves the sheet, they disappear. Back in the room where the monitors are set up, Ruth sees the film of Sara before she died. She killed herself. 

Infrared picked up another brief presence in the room. Ruth and Germán hear a shot in the house. They go to Daniel’s room and see him with the shotgun. He is wild-eyed, pointing the gun at something unseen. They take the gun off of him. 

Germán tells him he thinks he knows how to stop the voices. They need to find the corpse of the witch. Daniel says he knows where it may be. He smashes through the wall where the flies keep appearing from. Behind the wall, they find a staircase to a basement. The three of them go into the basement. 

They find a skeleton in a cage. It is the witch. It is her voice causing things to happen. Germán says they have to burn her. They return to the house and look for gasoline. 

Daniel finds half a can but Germán tells him they need more. Daniel keeps looking as Germán takes the half can back to the basement. He tells Ruth not to come with him. If he does not return in ten minutes, she is to leave. 

Back in the basement alone, Germán is bombarded by apparitions, seeing the fate of the witch in the inquisition and different shocking visions.

In the house, Ruth sees her mother, Sofia. She has not seen her since she was a child. The apparition tries to entice her but Ruth refuses. Sofia disappears. Ruth sees the gnarled old witch. The witch disappears. 

In the garage, Daniel is also being haunted by the witch. The witch disappears and is replaced with Sara and Eric. They beckon Daniel to them. Daniel hugs the apparition, thinking it is his family. It is the witch.

Down in the basement, Germán throws gasoline on the witch’s corpse. Ruth appears in the basement. She is controlled by the witch and stabs her father in the stomach.

Germán picks up the shotgun. In the garage, convinced to join his family, Daniel has doused himself with gasoline. Germán knocks Ruth unconscious and shoots the corpse, causing it to burst into flames.

His actions release both Ruth and Daniel from the witch’s power. Ruth helps her injured father out of the basement. She wraps his wound. 

The next day, Ruth checks on her father. Daniel goes into his son’s bedroom. He sees Eric’s drawings. They depict all of the deaths and incidents that have happened. One of the drawings triggers a memory. He remembers taking Eric to the pool and holding him under. He killed him. Shocked at the recollection, Daniel kills himself. The final drawing shows that he blows his head off. The end.

Final thoughts: Don’t Listen is a very good horror film. Written by Santiago Diaz, Angel Gómez Hernández, Victor Gado and Juan Moreno and directed by Hernández, who also came up with the story, Don’t Listen is a beautifully crafted film. 

The camerawork by Pablo Rosso is stunning. Every image looks fantastic. The editing is good, the sound is good, the makeup is good. This film is so well put together that there is very little to distract from the storytelling. 

The story starts slowly but builds nicely, with a constant sense of foreboding after the unfortunate doctor’s demise. Even though there are only four deaths in the film – the doctor and the family – the film still manages to be tense. The acting is good from everyone on show, making an extraordinary story more believable. 

The only, slight, complaint with regards to the story is the family seemed to suffer just because they bought the wrong house. There is no indication that they deserved the fate that befell them, neither bad character traits nor ill-intentioned decisions. It is only a minor slight. 

Don’t Listen – Voces – is an entertaining horror, clocking in at ninety-seven minutes. A gem in the slew of tripe on Netflix.

Unknown Origins – (Netflix) review

Brief synopsis: An uptight detective finds his way of life and work challenged when his cosplay loving boss instructs him to work with a comic-loving son of a retiring detective to solve a series of gruesome murders that all relate to classic comic superhero origin stories. 

Is it any good?: Unknown Origins (Origenes Secretos – original Spanish title) is an enjoyable, quirky film that speeds through its ninety-six-minute runtime. The acting is good from all concerned and the story is interesting enough to keep one gripped to its conclusion. 

Spoiler territory: Police search a burning building for survivors. Police officer Javier (Álex Garcia) finds an old lady and hands her to a colleague. The woman tells him that her husband is still in the building. Javier tells his commander that there are still people in the building. His chief tells him that the building is unsafe and they should leave it to the fire department. Javier ignores his superior and heads back into the building. The fire engulfs him and he dies. 

Sometime later, Javier’s father, Cosme (Antonio Resines), who is a detective and close to retirement, knocks on the door of his other son, Jorge Elias (Brays Efe), as he leaves for work. He gets a call over the radio about an incident and heads out. 

Jorge stumbles out of bed. He is not a policeman. Jorge runs a comic book store and is a sci-fi and comic geek. At the incident location, Cosme meets the detective who is replacing him, David Valentin (Javier Rey). The two exchange greetings and head into a dark building where a body has been found. 

They find a muscular man on a workout bench, his head seemingly severed by the barbell falling on his neck. His skin is pallid and greying. David, on seeing and smelling the body, vomits. Whilst in a laundromat, he tells Cosme that his parents were killed when he was a boy but it had no bearing on his decision to become a policeman. 

With David cleaned up, the two men go to see Bruguera (Ernesto Alterio), the pathologist. He tells them that not only was the man killed but his skin was deliberately made to look grey. Before Bruguera can tell them anything else, their conversation is interrupted by a woman dressed in an anime costume. 

She wants to know why Cosme is there. David is confused and Bruguera amused. Cosme quickly explains to David that she is the boss, Norma (Verónica Echegui). Norma is not happy. She wants to know why the retired Cosme is looking into a case. David tries to intervene, saying he thinks Cosme’s experience would be helpful. Norma tells Cosme he needs to clean out his desk. She leaves. 

David gets called to the scene of another murder. The body is in armour but the man’s heart has been cut out. The victim, it turns out, was a weapons seller on the internet.there is the fragment of a comic book found near the victim.

Cosme is looking at photos from the first murder. Jorge sees one of the photos and remarks on how he looks like the Hulk. Cosme asks if the Hulk is not green. Jorge tells him that in early issues of the comic the Hulk had been grey. 

The next day, Norma forces Cosme to sign his retirement papers. Cosme sees photos from the scene of the armoured body on a board in Norma’s office. She tells him that the killer kept the body alive for hours after taking the heart out by attaching a mechanical contraption to the organs. 

Cosme takes the comic cutting. He returns to the scene of the first murder. He finds a piece of paper with the words ‘secret origins’ scrawled on it. He also finds part of an old comic. It is from the first Hulk comic.

David and Jorge ride in a lift to the same floor in the police precinct. David has a meeting with Norma and Cosme. As Cosme explains the connection between comic book character origin stories and the gruesome murders, David’s attention is split as he watches Jorge in an adjoining office. 

David is sceptical about the murders and comic book link. Norma explains that they are bringing in someone to help him as he has very little knowledge of comics. David sees Jorge taking something from the office and tackles him to the floor. Norma tells him the man he just tackled is his new partner. 

David and Jorge return to the second crime scene. Jorge points out that a fire axe that is in the display is wrong. The axe is given to Bruguera to analyse. David goes to Jorge’s comic store to buy some comics. He runs into Norma who is dressed, once again, like an anime character. David questions her recruitment of Jorge, especially as she seems to be as much of a geek as Jorge. 

Norma points out to him that she does not read comics and knows very little about them, preferring anime and films. An admonished David tries to belittle others in the store, scoffing at heir interest in the comics. Jorge points out to him that all of them hold very responsible and high paying jobs.

David returns to the precinct. Norma comes and tells him there is a suspect. She reminds him to pick up Jorge. At the location, the special operations team will not let them in. Norma turns up and shoots the door lock off. 

Inside the apartment, they find the suspect is the next victim. The man is burning to death as they enter the apartment. Jorge tells them it is the Human Torch origin story. Bruguera tells them the man boiled to death over many days. David asks Norma why can’t she let Cosme keep working. She tells him that he is dying of cancer. 

David goes Cosme and Jorge’s for lunch. David tells Jorge about the night his parents died. It sounds like the Batman origin story. Jorge asks him if he has looked into the case. David tells him he has not. He tells him to call Norma. They head to the records room and find David’s parents case. Amongst the evidence is a comic book title. It is the Batman origin story. 

The three start to collate comic book character origin stories. Jorge explains that to purchase the comics that the headlines came from would cost a small fortune. Whoever was committing the crimes had to be rich. Jorge tells them that there is only one person who could tell them who might have purchased the comics; Paco. They go and meet Paco (Leonardo Sbaraglia). 

Jorge makes a deal with Paco to get the name of the most likely suspect. Paco tells them that it is a man named Victor Vid. David drops Jorge home, telling him they will go to the suspects home the next day. He heads to the suspect’s address. 

Jorge, knowing that David is lying, calls Norma. David breaks into the Vid’s apartment after getting no response when knocking. 

Inside the apartment, David finds a wall with cuttings and comic references. He comes across Vid sitting in a chair, the shock of seeing him making him shoot. Hallucinogenic gas is released by the shots and David finds himself facing a masked man whose voice is distorted electronically. David sees insects crawling out of the man’s mask. The man identifies himself as Nóvaro and hits David with a crowbar. 

Norma arrives and shoots at Nóvaro. He sprays mace in her face and escapes. Later, Bruguera tells them that Vid had been dead for years. The killer had stolen his identity and embalmed him. He also tells them he has found traces of polonium-210. Norma is worried but David does not know why. 

Bruguera points out that internal affairs will take over once they find out polonium-210 is involved because it is so dangerous. David tells Norma he is going to see Cosme. Whilst at Cosme’s place, another murder happens. It is a recreation of the Spider-Man origin story. 

David goes to see Norma and Jorge. Jorge tells him that he thinks that Nóvaro wants David to become a superhero. Norma agrees. David thinks they are both crazy. He tells Jorge, in a pique of anger, that his father is dying. Jorge shows Cosme his brother’s suit from when he died. He bought it because he felt it depicted a hero. 

David goes to see Jorge. Jorge is not at the store, having gone out to buy pizza for the patrons. He has left a costume for David. David puts on the costume. Jorge returns to the store with pizza for all the cosplayers. He and David speak. David apologises for telling him about his father and tells him he needs him. Cosme works out who the murderer is. 

Nóvaro kidnaps Cosme. He calls David at the comic shop and tells him to meet him at the Madrid water plant. He tells him he will poison the water supply unless he comes alone. David tells the other two that he is heading to the water plant. Norma says she is coming with him. Jorge wants to go but they tell him he cannot. 

Jorge gives David his brother’s police protective gear to wear as a costume. David and Norma head to the water plant. Cosme’s kidnapper reveals himself. It is Bruguera. He kidnapped Cosme because he realised he had worked out who he was and he could also use him to help create the world’s first superhero. 

His plan was to force David to become that hero. David tricks Norma into getting out of the car and drives off, leaving her. He tells her he has to confront Nóvaro alone. Bruguera tells Cosme he never killed David’s parents but the story of them being shot in an alleyway after a concert was too good an opportunity to miss. he planted the comic book clipping in the evidence. 

David gets to the water plant. At the top, Bruguera is numbing his face with injections. He is convinced David will show up as a superhero. He tells Cosme he is going to kill him but has drugged him so as he will not be in pain. He wants to give David more of an incentive to take up the hero mantle. Bruguera dips his face in acid so he cannot be recognised. He puts a mask on.

David gets to the top and points his gun at Bruguera/Nóvaro. Bruguera threatens to kill Cosme if he does not put his gun down. David puts his gun down but Bruguera kills Cosme anyway. Burguesa and David fight. Bruguera, who had planned to die, falls into a vat of acid. After Cosme’s funeral, the three keep looking for clues of Nóvaro’s true identity. All they find is a lair with access to police files worldwide and a lot of money. David decides to become a superhero. The end. 

Final thoughts: Unknown Origins, written by Fernando Navarro and David Galán Galindo, with Galindo also on directing duties, is a pleasant enough film. The premise of taking superhero origin stories as the link between murders is a good and interesting one, along similar lines of Fincher’s darker serial killer film, Seven. 

Unlike Seven, Unknown Origins is not dark, with a lot of humour coming from the absurdity of the premise and the challenging of what is considered normal and right. Considering that Rey’s David is the main protagonist, his character is a little underwritten making it difficult to root for him as much as one should or want to. 

Echegui’s Norma and Efe’s Jorge are much stronger characters, adding depth and colour to proceedings. Even Resines’ Cosme is stronger than David. 

Galindo’s directing is competent and the film is nicely lensed. The makeup department and costume department can both take a bow, as both of those elements are top-notch in the film. 

In a film where, ultimately, the villain wins, Unknown Origins will not sit well with everyone. That being said, it is a good enough film to devote an hour and a half to. 

The World According to Telenovelas

2020 has been a challenging year to put it lightly. Like many people, I have been sitting at home for the past few months, praying for some return to normality. Admittedly, the first month or so was quite fun. I had been working quite a lot before the world went crazy and my hobbies and interests had fallen a little by the wayside, so the chance to catch up on my favourite shows and new films on Netflix, Prime or anywhere else, was grasped with both hands.
Generally, I tend to write reviews on the filmic output on mostly Netflix, sometimes Prime. With the extended time the lockdown had given me, I decided I would need to watch something of a longer format than a film. A fan of the Spanish language — I have been trying to learn Spanish for years — I decided to watch a few telenovelas.
Telenovelas, Latin-American serials, differ from soap operas in that they have an ending. With fantastical storylines and compelling narratives, telenovelas are a wonderful escape from the realities and stresses of life.
That being said, telenovelas tend to have certain tropes and themes that are both comforting in their commonality and disturbing. As I mentioned, I have watched a few telenovelas. That might be a bit of an understatement. Since the lockdown began, I have watched, to completion, three telenovelas, which may not seem like a lot but that is over four hundred episodes of television. I am currently watching two others and have watched several over the last few years.
I like telenovelas. Here are some of the things that telenovelas have taught me.

Telenovelas are not playing the political correctness game.
As various social media platforms and internet platforms give voice to many who rigorously look to censor the present and expose the past for anything they deem offensive, telenovela writers steadfastly ignore such convention. Machoism is alive and kicking furiously in telenovela land.
With so many stories revolving around the drug trade and money, reprehensible characters, generally the male central antagonist, tend to live on vast ranches and, in keeping with the macho image, have a real penchant for the cowboy life. There are Stetsons aplenty in telenovelas from the early 2000s right up to the present day.
They always have multiple women around, who tend to be scantily clad and decoratively hanging by the pool. Occasionally, they become collateral damage as one of the drug lord’s enemies tries to kill him to take over his territory or gain revenge for some slight.
In keeping with the machoism, slights will always elicit a disproportionately violent response, usually resulting in the deaths of multiple henchmen, the aforementioned eye-candy ladies and occasionally, the actual target. A man in a telenovela is a man’s man and no insult or slight can go unpunished.

Women get treated horribly.
Though the overt machoism is somewhat amusing, one of the downsides of the rampant testosterone-fuelled storylines of many a telenovela is how horribly the women are treated in them. Regardless of whether they are a lead, sympathetic or a less likeable character, women in telenovelas are subject to some horrendous treatment.
Rapes, miscarriages, spousal abuse, being left destitute, disfigurement and emotional distress are common and alarmingly frequent tropes used in telenovelas. Even the strongest women, the lead character, usually have some sort of trauma visited upon them, often a rape, by violent men. The violent incident, when visited upon the lead female character, drives the story. Still, women get treated horribly.
As I alluded to before, the men are hairy-chested, cowboy-boot wearing, moustachioed men and as such are not averse to delivering the odd backhand to any woman who feels she can speak to them as though this were the twenty-first century. It might be in the real world but in the world of telenovelas, women need to know their place.

Real-life Disney approach to love.
Most people know one lovely couple that met and fell in love forever. Somehow, on this mad, spinning globe, they managed to meet that one person with whom they are compatible with and do not want to kill after a couple of years. The rest of us pinball from one relationship to another, slowly losing faith and patience in the notion of meeting a person whose foibles do not bring on a murderous rage.
In telenovela land, love, at first sight, is a thing. It is the thing. Worryingly, even with years of adult learning and experience, the want and need for love at first sight to be a thing is such that, even though one should and does know better, you still allow your disbelief to be suspended whilst watching the beautiful leads — they are always gorgeous — set eyes on one another and fall instantly in love.
Their love is always, on both sides, the love of their lives, a love that, regardless of the obstacles — class differences — which is very popular — wrong partners, children — must be realised.

You’re rich or you’re broke.
Besides one’s family and education, things that are considered barometers of one’s social standing, wealth and money are also big factors in telenovelas. Power is always being chased, especially by the antagonist who, in the case of a drug lord, already has a great deal of it.
A beautiful female lead, if poor, will, after suffering multiple mishaps, find and fall in love with a handsome, rich suitor. If she is rich, her suitor will be an upstanding and proud man and though poor, he will compensate for his lack of financial means with great physical prowess — he will be good at punching people.
As is the way in many of these telenovelas, the central characters, the lovelorn leads from opposing lives, come together in the end, forgetting all the misery and death that has happened before, to live happily ever after.

Secrets and proclamations of love.
Unlike in real life, in a telenovela love happens immediately and those struck by Cupid’s arrow have very little trouble articulating their feelings. Proclamations of love tumble from the lips of the lovelorn, telling the object of their affection, in florid terms, how much they want them and need them, how they would do anything to be with them.
What they all leave out, is they would do anything but tell the truth. Telenovelas are driven by secrets. A long lost son or daughter, who ended up in an orphanage but is the offspring of the richest man or family in the region.
A long-serving maid or manservant tends to know all of the secrets but is bound by a sense of duty or their personal demons not to reveal them. It is not even as though said secrets are never uttered, with those who have the knowledge telling anyone who does not need to know the secret that could solve the problems of another.
Frustratingly, the reasons for keeping a secret that could solve many of the issues the characters face usually comes down to pride. Of course, being a telenovela, the secret always comes out in the end.

After so many months of lockdown, my world view has perhaps been skewed by watching so many telenovelas. Maybe there is a long lost love out there for me and all I need to do to find her is visit a ranch. I am not sure how my proclamations of love would or could work whilst being mumbled through a face mask but I am willing to give it a go.
All I need now is to find a ranch, purchase a Stetson and learn a compelling secret so as I can live that telenovela life.

The Silence of the Marsh -review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: A psychotic thriller writer lives out the gruesome scenarios he writes in his books. When a prominent political figure disappears, because of the writer’s actions, it sets in motion a chain of events he could not have anticipated.

Is it any good?: The Silence of the Marsh promises more than it delivers. With a muddled story and inconsistent pacing, the film struggles to hold one’s attention through its ninety-minute runtime.

Spoiler territory: Q (Pedro Alonso) flags down a taxi in the pouring rain. The driver (Luis Zahera) is raging as he listens to a football game on the radio. Q sits in the back of the taxi quietly as the driver excitedly listens to the game. Q argues with the driver when he takes an unknown route to the destination he has given him. The driver insists it is a quicker route.

Q begins to cough a little, seeming a bit poorly. The driver asks him if he is okay. A little later he pulls into a petrol station and throws him out of his taxi, screaming at him for vomiting in his cab. Another time and Q is reading an excerpt from his book to a rapt audience at a book signing.

Back in the rain, Q watches the taxi driver cleaning his interior. He gets a rock and walks over to the driver and bashes his brains in, killing him. At the book signing, a woman, Maria (Mariam Torres), asks him about his character’s motivation, as he has never written about his character’s past, the reader never finds out why he kills. Q tells her it is because he can.

He goes to his home in Valencia, writing about the nature of the city and how it had risen from the swamps but is somehow still very much part of the swamps. As he thinks, he remembers attending a lavish party, he compares the various factions within the city to elements of the swamp. The reeds are the most important and strongest. The politicians are the reeds.

One of the councillors, Carretero (José Ángel Egido), is accused of fraud and is all over the media. Q goes to visit his brother, Nacho (Raúl Prieto). Nacho is playing a video game and his home is for sale. He is having money problems. The brothers are casual towards one another. Nacho switches off the game and goes to get them both a beer.

On the television, a news broadcast shows Carretero been accosted by a group of journalists. Q asks his brother what is he to do if he pulled over by the police on the motorbike he bought off of him since he does not have the papers. Nacho jokes that he is a writer and would be able to come up with something.

On the news, Carretero denies any wrongdoing, insisting he has to get to a lecture he is giving at the university. At the university, Fran (Àlex Monner), walks into Carretero’s lecture. Covered in tattoos and street casual, he looks nothing like the other similarly aged students in the classroom. As the class ends, Fran approaches Carretero.

He gives Carretero a new phone. A burner. He is to use that to contact them if he needs to from now on. Carretero plays squash and then locks some documents in a locker at the gym. He goes to his car and is shocked unconscious and kidnapped. He wakes up in a dingy bathroom. Carretero shouts for attention, trying to find out where he is being held and by whom.

He is being held in a remote farmhouse. He hears his mobile ringing outside of the bathroom and realises there is someone else in the house. Carretero warns his unknown kidnapper that he is a very important person and people will be looking for him. Outside of the bathroom, Q sits silently listening to his rant.

Falconetti (Nacho Fresneda) sits in his car. He watches a vagrant drug addict who knocks on a door. A large black man (Lamzo) opens the door, takes some money off of him and gives him some stash. Falconetti grabs a crowbar and approaches the door. He knocks on the door.

As the same man opens the door he hits him with the crowbar, knocking him to the floor. Inside the door, he is in a small garage, another black man (Thimbo Samb) tries to grab a gun. Falconetti smashes his hand. He hits the first man in the head again to stop him screaming. He checks out the drug operation. A pours petrol around the setup and all over the building. He torches the building and the men.

Falconetti goes into a small cafe. He is there to see the boss. Around the back of the cafe, he meets La Puri (Carmina Barrios), the boss. He tells her can’t find Carretero but the blacks have been sorted out. La Puri sends Sara (Zaira Romero) to tell Fran to go and find Carretero. At the farmhouse, Carretero continues to shout at a silent, unseen Q.

Q goes to see his brother again. They both own the farmhouse and Nacho tells him that he has received an offer for it. Q, much to Nacho’s displeasure, does not want to sell it. It helps him with his writing. He returns to the farmhouse. He writes what he imagines Carretero might say to himself whilst locked up in the bathroom.

He kills Carretero and cuts up his body, disposing of it in the swamplands around the farmhouse. He takes the key to the gym locker. Falconetti finds Carretero’s car and has it stripped down to try and find clues as to his whereabouts.

Ricardo (Enric Benavent), the police commissioner, goes and sees congresswoman, Isabel (Maite Sandoval) to tell her about the missing Carretero. She tells him that they need to keep the news out of the press. She sends someone to see La Puri, thinking that she might know what has happened to Carretero. She tells him that she has no idea where he is and is also looking for him.

They are worried about Carretero talking to the press or during his trial. La Puri wants all the businesses up and running. She will take care of Carretero. Reports of Carretero’s non-appearance begin to make the news but they are saying he is away. Q calls his office to speak to him. They tell him that he is away.

Q heads to the university that he works at and sees that his car is gone. A vagrant takes his number plate, seeing him looking at the parking space. Q goes to the gym and finds the file that Carretero had in his locker. He finds a USB and various papers. It lists multiple businesses in Valencia. He checks out some of the businesses but none of them seems to be particularly profitable or even viable. He works out that they are all part of a front for the cartel.

Falconetti goes to see the vagrant and gets given the bike’s number plate. He sees La Puri the next day. She is worried about the whole situation and voices her concerns. She tells Falconetti to check out the number plate. He goes to the traffic department and gets the details of the number plate.

The bike is still registered to Nacho, so Falconetti takes his crowbar and visits Nacho. He asks him where Carretero is. Nacho tells him he does not know him. Falconetti smashes him in the leg. As he chokes him he tells him he is going to kill his daughter. Nacho fights back almost killing Falconetti. Falconetti is forced to pull out a gun and kills Nacho.

La Puri comes and sees an injured Falconetti. She tells him she is going to take care of everything. The next day, she goes and speaks to Isabel. She tells her that none of her people are going to take the fall for Nacho’s death. Isabel has a different plan.

They cover up Nacho’s murder, selling it as a break-in. Isabel double-crosses La Puri, sending SWAT teams to arrest her and Falconetti. Falconetti is not at home. The police grab La Puri and find a lot of laundered money in her walls.

Falconetti finds the farmhouse. He tries to sneak up on Q but fails. He hears him upstairs and, crowbar in hand, goes to meet him. Q faces him from the top of there stairs, a shotgun trained on him. Falconetti misreads Q’s hesitation as fear and tries to rush him. Q shoots him dead. Outside the farmhouse, Fran stands frozen in fear as Q emerges from the house with the shotgun.

Q puts the shotgun by the house and walks to the end of the pier. Fran takes up the gun and points it at him. A shot goes off. Q finishes writing puts on his jacket and leaves his home. The end.

The Silence of the Marsh is quite underwhelming. Starring Pedro Alonso – best known for his captivating performance in Netflix’s runaway success series Casa de Papel (Money Heist- not a literal translation)- as Q, The Silence of the Marsh, a title aping the more famous Thomas Harris book, Jonathan Demme film of 1991, The Silence of the Lambs, is not a patch on that classic.

Mostly it is atmosphere over story with a lot of oblique references to possible goings-on but no clear story or premise. The central story of him being a writer is lost once the police and drugs angle is introduced. As well as the nod to Lambs, there is also a bit of American Psycho with one not entirely sure whether Q is actually killing people or if it is his fertile imagination.

The actors are very strong throughout the film and the characters are well defined. Directed by Marc Vigil, the film looks good and is nicely directed, the flow, visually, very good. The screenplay by Carlos de Pando and Sara Antuña, from a book by Juanjo Braulio, is good in parts but leaves out too much information.

Truth be told, Alonso’s Q does not really drive the film at all and that is the problem. He kidnaps Carretero but seems to have done so without reason. He finds the ledger that informs him of the money laundering but, once again, takes it without reason. We know he is a celebrated writer but as his only proper interaction is with his brother, we do not find out anything else about him.

I suspect that the film is supposed to be a little ambiguous but there is simply too little exposition – something I rarely complain about – for the story to work. At ninety-minutes long, The Silence of the Marsh is not a long film but it takes an inordinate amount of time to get going and even fifteen minutes from its conclusion is still a film that is less than the sum of its parts.

The Silence of the Marsh is not unwatchable but it is definitely disappointing, something reflected in its lowly five point three score on IMDB. I cannot, in good faith, recommend taking an hour out of your day – lockdown or not – to watch this film. Pass.

Como Caido del Cielo

Brief synopsis?: a famous singer and womaniser, stuck in limbo for over half a century, is given the chance to get into heaven but he must change his ways and live his life correctly in the body of another womaniser and impersonator.

Is it any good?: Como Caído del Cielo is an enjoyable rom-com for the most part. At one-hundred-and-two minutes long, it is a little too long for a romantic comedy and the story loses its way a little towards the end but it is executed with such panache and gusto that it would take a cynical heart to dislike this film.

Spoiler territory: The spirit of Pedro Infante (Omar Chaparro) is trapped in limbo. He cannot get into Heaven because he was a womaniser. Conversely, the joy he brought to many through his films and music means that he is not eligible for Hell either. Pedro argues that he had helped many people fall in love and the only reason he had not settled down was that women, believing him to be a womaniser, never took him seriously.

Pedro Guadalupe Ramos (also Chaparro), a Pedro Infante impersonator, is in a coma and attached to a life support machine. His lover, Samantha (Stephanie Cayo) is kissing him and crying over his prostrate body when his wife, Raquel (Ana Claudia Talancón) comes into the room.

Samantha, who is also Raquel’s cousin, hastily gets off of the bed.

Raquel, a police officer and obviously knows that something was going on between her husband and cousin, brushes past her and goes to Pedro’s side. Raquel’s father, Silvano (Manuel ‘Flaco’ Ibáñez), comes into the room shortly afterwards. He has a priest with him and the doctor. He tells his daughter that it has been three months and the family cannot afford to keep paying the medical bills.

Raquel points out that they would be fine if he had not gambled away the money her work colleagues had raised. Samantha says she can help pay. Raquel gives her short shrift, explaining she has already paid the bills. She asks the doctor if her husband would survive if he was taken off the life support machine. The doctor tells her that it is only the machine keeping him alive.

Raquel agrees to have the machine turned off. Infante is told by his two custodians (Roger Montes and Itza Sodi), that he will be given an opportunity to prove his worthiness for Heaven. He will inhabit the body of another and prove his worth that way. He is not allowed to tell anyone who he is and must remain faithful and cannot asks about his past.

Pedro is taken off of the life support machine. As Raquel is mourning his death, Infante’s spirit goes into Pedro and he springs to life. Now in Pedro, Infante sees Raquel first but does not know who she is. Silvano tells him that it is his wife. Infante kisses her passionately.

Back in his neighbourhood, the locals have prepared a welcome home party. Pedro, who was also known for his womanising ways, is very different and Raquel’s sister, Paty (Rocio Verdejo) and niece, Milagros (Elaine Haro), notice. Later, in the evening, as they are getting ready for bed, Raquel tells Infante that she has made up the couch for him.

Infante is confused, are they not married? Should he not be sleeping in the marital bed? Raquel tells him that their marriage was not in the best place before he fell into a coma. Infante persuades Raquel to let him stay in the bedroom. The next day, Infante’s charms continue to win over Raquel.

Raquel goes to work and Infante comes out of the house to find Paty admonishing her husband, Bobby (Juan Pablo Monterrubio), because he has forgotten that he needs to take their daughter for a dress fitting for her quinceañera. A mortified Milagros runs home. Infante goes after her. They end up talking about Raquel. Milagros tells him that her mum has told her that he cheats a lot. Infante says that he is a changed man. She also tells him that Raquel does not want to get pregnant because she does not trust that Infante will stay around.

Pedro’s clothing is uncomfortable to Infante, so when his pants get torn from bending over, Infante puts on his mariachi clothes. Infante gets spotted by Chava (Axel Ricco), who excitedly runs up to him, thinking he has remembered he is an Infante impersonator. He calls Chema (Alan Gutiérrez), the other member of their trio. Infante is confused about what is going on. Chava tells him there is a Pedro Infante competition at the Tijuana fair. Infante wants to go.

Raquel, who is helping to police the fair, is surprised to see her husband on stage singing. especially as he had been told to rest by the doctor. She is miffed as Infante sings to Samantha, who is at the fair as the local beauty queen. Raquel is not the only one who is unhappy, as the town mayor, Alcalde (Marco Treviño) fumes at Samantha’s reaction.

Infante moves off from a surprised Samantha and heads to Raquel, serenading her in front of the entire town.

As the prizes for the best impersonator are being given out, Infante, who gets the runner-up prize, is given the award by his own granddaughter, Jenny (Yare Santana). She says that though her grandfather was a great singer he was not the best example of how to treating women well. Infante tries to talk to his granddaughter afterwards, hurt a little by her words. She tells him that he was the best Pedro Infante impersonator and should have won.

Pedro and Raquel head home. Their life is going well and, the next day, Raquel is about to leave for work when there is a knock at the door. She answers the door. It is a lawyer. He has divorce papers for her to sign. A furious Raquel chases him out of the house, even as he tries to protest his innocence.

A couple of the mayor’s men catch up with Infante and he runs off with them giving chase. Samantha drives past and rescues him. She drives them both to the border and into America. Raquel laments her situation to some of her work colleagues. She hides her sorrow when the chief enquires about what is going on.

Infante struggles against Samantha’s advances as she tells him that they planned to run away together. He tells her that he needs to convince his granddaughter that Infante was not a bad man. He goes to her college and finds out where Jenny works. He goes to her workplace to talk with her.

He meets Laura (Laura de Ita), who is the host at the restaurant, Heaven, that Jenny works at. She tells Infante when Jenny’s break is and he intercepts her during her break. He asks her why she has those thoughts about her grandfather. The conversation takes a different turn and Jenny does not answer the question. Infante gets a job as a dishwasher at the restaurant.

Whilst cleaning, infante helps out a young man who is trying to woo a girl by singing. Outside the restaurant, Infante intervenes for the young man again when he is attacked. Infante fights the attacker off, chasing him away. Infante tries to get back with Raquel but she is still too hurt to listen to him. He serenades her again but ends up dreaming about her and mistakenly kissing the local female drunkard, much to Raquel’s disgust.

Infante sleeps in the restaurant not wanting to go back to Samantha. Laura checks out the security videos and sees that Infante is staying in the restaurant. He asks Jenny about sexism. He goes to see Raquel again, this time bringing her flowers to try and win her over. She still is too angry to accept his apology.

Laura tries to seduce Infante but he manages to resist her. Infante contacts Milagros to find out how much Raquel owes for the medical bills. He goes on a television show to try and win some money. His impression of himself gets him the first prize of one thousand dollars. He is allowed to gamble it on three unknown options.

He picks number two and comes off worse. Meanwhile, Samantha, who is running a beauty business, is looking for Infante thinking he is missing. One of her beauty customers recognises him and tells her that he works at the restaurant. She heads to the restaurant. Raquel also turns up at the restaurant.

Infante causes a diversion and runs out of the restaurant. He comes back in to see Raquel who tells him that she is prepared to give their relationship another try if he is being sincere about changing. Unfortunately, Samantha catches up with them and Raquel is crushed as Samantha tells her that she and Infante had plans. Raquel leaves. Laura, who had witnessed the exchange, pulls Infante away from Samantha, telling her that he does not want to be with her.

One of the restaurant customers comes up to Laura and ends up in an altercation with Samantha. As the incident escalates, Infante escapes. He runs into the custodians again and they tell him he is out of time. He begs for more time. They tell him that he can have another week. He goes to see Jenny. He does not think he can get back with Raquel. She tells him the one thing she always admired about her grandfather is he never gave up.

She offers to sell a bracelet that was left to her by her father, handed down from her grandfather. Infante tells her not to. He is desperate to find a way to help Raquel. He goes to see Samantha, to tell her he does not love her but needs money to help Raquel. The conversation does not go well. She tells him she spent all her money. Samantha has a customer. It is the man he helped with his girlfriend and the attacker. He happens to run a boxing gym and needs sparring partners. He employs Infante.

Infante proves a little too enthusiastic and knocks out one of the contenders for the upcoming fight night. Infante says he will fight instead as he needs the money. With Raquel nearing divorce, Silvano tries to pair her with the police chief. Infante trains for his fight. The weekend comes and Infante fights. He will earn one thousand dollars for every round he survives.

Everyone comes to the fight but not Raquel. Samantha tries to get him to leave before the fight because the mayor is there and will try to kill him. Infante refuses. He gets in the ring and takes a beating for the first half of the fight. Infante wins the fight. He gets kidnapped by the mayor’s men.

Jenny calls Raquel, who is at Milagros’ quinceañera. Raquel calls her colleagues and they go after the mayor. They catch up with the mayor and rescue Infante. Samantha makes Raquel see how much Infante loves her. They go to Milagoras’ quinceañera and Raquel tells him she is expecting a child.

The custodians return and tell Infante that his time is nearly up. He has made it into Heaven. He wants to stay but they tell him he cannot. He returns to the party and sings with Jenny. He has a heart attack and dies.

Some time afterwards, at the baby shower, Raquel nephew shows her a video on his phone of all the film he shot of them together. The end.

Como Caído del Cielo is a lovely film inspired by the life and music of Pedro Infante. Utilising some wonderful music and with a charming central performance by Chapparo, Como Caído del Cielo is a highly enjoyable romcom and homage rolled into one. Written and directed by Jose Pepe Bojorquez, with an additional writing credit for Alfredo Felix-Diaz, the film takes a well-known figure in Pedro Infante and uses elements of his life – he was both a singer and a boxer – and creates a fantasy film that both warms the heart and amuses.

Along with Chapparo, Talancón is perfect as the long-suffering wife of Pedro Guadalupe Ramos who benefits from Infante inhabiting his body. Santana is also very good as the granddaughter of Infante. The character of Jenny is fictitious, though Infante does have a granddaughter, Lupita, who has an executive credit on the film. She is also a singer.

Nearing the two-hour mark, the film is, as I mentioned earlier, a little long. I still enjoyed on a second viewing but that is really because I like a good romcom and the performances are very good. The central story is very good and you root for Infante as he races to raise money to help Raquel and win her heart.

Him dying towards the end is truly sad and brave on the filmmakers part as they could have gone down the route of another excellent spirit-possession romcom of old, the brilliant Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty and Julie Christie from 1978. At the end of that film, which very much goes along the same lines as Como Caído del Cielo, Beatty’s character lives on with his love.

Como Caído del Cielo only scores six point four on IMDB but that is from less than one thousand votes and as a non-English speaking film is not likely to get as many eyeballs as your Hollywood romcom. That being said, Como Caído del Cielo is definitely worth a watch. Delightful.

A Remarkable Tale – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: In the remote Spanish village of Upper Fuertejuela, four black dancers find themselves caught up in the politics of an ageing town trying to avoid annexation. They are taken in by one of the villagers who has designs on becoming the new mayor by opposing the current mayor, her ex-husband.

Is it any good?: A film that seems slightly out of its time, having been made in 2019, A Remarkable Tale is a Spanish race farce almost in the style of the old British Carry On films. Utilising many of the stereotypical tropes, fish-out-of-water moments, as well as some mildly racist scenes. Looking past the casual racism, A Remarkable Tale is an amusing comedy farce.

Spoiler territory: in the old Spanish village of Fuertajuela, most of the houses are for sale with the population mostly of old aged residents and dwindling, the residents try to get people to come to their town, with local Teresa (Carmen Michi), driving around the town trying to promote the village’s egg tart, open village day.

No one is interested in visiting Upper Fuertajuela and Teresa returns to tell the residents. Out in the woods, four black people, three men and a woman are trekking across the snow, inappropriately dressed in traditional African tribal gear.

Back in the village, the residents are grumbling about Teresa’s husband, Alvaro (Santi Ugaide), who is also the town’s mayor, not attending. She points out that he is her ex-husband and he is in Lower Fuertajuela, the larger, more major town, on business. The villagers are momentarily excited as they hear a car approaching, thinking someone has come to visit the town.

It turns out to be the mayor of Lower Fuertajuela, Vicente Campello (Paco Tous). He comes to asks the villagers to vote in the upcoming election, as their town does not seem to have a mayor and annexation is inevitable. Teresa says that perhaps she will become the towns next mayor. Campello laughs, with even most of the village sniggering at the thought.

As he goes to leave the villagers, he tells them that there are four blacks on the run and that they need to be careful. The villagers are worried and scatter to their homes for sanctuary, leaving Teresa and her son, Carlos (Miquel Cañaveras) and Jaime (Pepón Nieto), to clear up. The three head home but Teresa tells Jaime to stop outside one house. She blares the van’s horn and wakes up Guiri (Jon Kortajarena). She wants to know why he did not attend the open day. He tells her he does not care about the open day. Juanito decides to hang out with him when Teresa and Jaime leave.

The four black dancers come to a warehouse and want to hide and get some food. They hear a van and hide. Teresa and Jaime arrive to return the stuff from the village open day. As they are getting out of the van one of the dancers knocks over some logs. Teresa goes to check and sees them hiding. She runs into the warehouse. Her and Jaime watch them from the window, unsure what to do.

Teresa, seeing that they are cold, decides to help them. They go out and beckon to them. The four reluctantly get into the van. They take the four home with them. At the house they give them clothing and speak about what to do with them, believing that they do not understand them.

Latisha (Montse Pla) steps forward and pronounces that she can understand them and the only reason they did not speak was that they were scared. One of her party, Azquil (Malcolm T. Sitte), also understands them. The other two, Calulu (Jimmy Castro) and Shukra (Ricardo Nkosi), are not as fluent in Spanish. Calulu tells them that the four are dancers.

The police knock on the door. They are looking for the dancers. Teresa tells them she has not seen them. Bad weather causes many of the villagers to start losing television and telephone signals. Jaime is worried about their situation and vocalises this to Teresa, mentioning that Paco (Txema Blasco), has a shotgun to hunt black people. The four dancers are, understandably, nervous.

Carlos, brought back by Guiri, returns home. The two stand stunned by the sight of the four black dancers. Guiri voices his unease at Teresa harbouring four fugitives. Teresa accuses him of being racist. As they argue, there is a knock at the door. It is Encarnita (Kiti Manver), Jaime’s mother. She sees the dancers and wonders why they are there. Teresa tells her that they came from a worse place than the village.

Marga, whose opinion of the village is very low, cannot believe that. Teresa, with the dancers in the village, has an idea to help save the village. It involves the dancers helping to repopulate the village. She asks the dancers if they want to help. They are conflicted.

Teresa decides they need to split up as she cannot accommodate them all in her house. Calulu and Shakra go with Encarnita, Latisha goes with Guiri and Azquil stays with Teresa. The dancers settle in at the various homes. The next day there is a town meeting and Teresa plan to introduce the towns latest additions to everybody.

Teresa sees Alvaro outside the meeting hall. She goes to talk to him. Even though he is still the town’s mayor, Alvaro tells her he is too busy to attend the meeting and drives off. In the meeting, Manolita (Enriqueta Carballeira) tells the gathering that the town needs to have at least eighteen people so as not to be annexed. She also tells them that they have one less resident than the sixteen they thought they had because her husband had died three days before and she had not wanted the town to find out.

The villagers start to panic. There is no way they can avoid annexation now. Teresa tells them she has a plan that will save their village. She introduces two of the dancers; Azquil and Latisha. The villagers eye them warily. Paco picks up his shotgun. Marga (Mariana Cordera) is especially vocal in her distrust of the new residents. Her and Latisha clash, Latisha unable to hold her tongue as Marga hurls insults.

The argument is interrupted by Guiri coming in and telling them that Shukra has stolen the van. Paco stops the van by letting off a shot. As Shukra, Carlos and Calulu emerge from the van, Encarnita pops up and tells them that she wanted to go to the town to find some excitement.

After Jaime is forcefully persuaded not to call the police – Guiri breaks his phone – Teresa has another plan to gain the town’s independence. She plans to have a fiesta where Campello can see that the town is thriving. Guiri and Latisha continue their awkward, attracted-to-one-another relationship. Elsewhere, Jaime is trying to sell custard tarts to Calulu. He does not like them.

Teresa gets Shukra a job at the only cafe in the village. She then takes Azquil and Latisha to collect eggs around the village to make tarts for the fiesta. Azquil charms the still abrasive Marga as they go looking for eggs. Shukra’s job is not going very well and Teresa has to take Azquil to go and calm the situation. She leaves Latisha and Guiri to bring back the eggs. They kiss.

Azquil tells Teresa he has a wife and four children. They get to the cafe and calm the situation. Campello turns up at the village and sees the dancers. He says he is going to report them. Latisha says she recognises him from the club they used to dance in. Teresa tells him that he has been seen in the club. Campello, with his political aspirations, decides not to report them. Before he leaves he tells Teresa that Alvaro is running for deputy mayor with him. Teresa did not know.

The next day, at Teresa’s insistence, everybody turns up at the village hall to practice the barn dance. They demonstrate the dance to the very underwhelmed dancers. The dancers join in and practice the monotonous routine. Shukra sees that Guiri and Latisha are getting close and explodes in rage. He decides to leave. Latisha tells she will stay with him if he stays.

Calulu, who was going with Shukra, asks Jaime if he should stay. Jaime is not ready to embrace his homosexuality so Calulu leaves. It is the day of the fiesta. Campello comes with his wife and people from Lower Fuertajuela. At the fiesta, the dancers, less Calulu, serve the egg tarts. They then put on their show. The old dance causes much mirth amongst those from Lower town. The dancers, Calulu having returned, take over the show. Latisha points an accusatory finger at Campello.

Insulted, Campello tells Teresa he is going to call the police. Jaime tells him that Teresa has applied for citizenship for all of them. Teresa admits that she had forgotten. The police come to take them away. As the police are taking them away, followed by the entire village, Encarnita stops them and says she is getting married to Shukra. Teresa says she is marrying Azquil. Latisha asks if Guiri wants to marry her and he agrees. Jaime takes Calulu, finally embracing his sexuality.

They all get married. The end.

A Remarkable Tale or Lo Nunca Visto – original Spanish title – is an amusing if mildly racist film. Rely on the type of humour not seen on English shores since the days of Rising Damp and Jim Davidson, A Remarkable Tale, as I mentioned earlier, is really a film made in the wrong decade.

With the world being a much smaller and almost too sensitive place for this type of film, it is hard to know who this film was aimed at. Though the film is played for laughs and is, admittedly, amusing due to great performances from the cast, the portrayal of both the black people and the narrow-minded villagers is a little disconcerting.

Carmen Michi, a veteran of comedy films, is as good as one would expect and helps to make the film a little more palatable. She is ably assisted by Montse Pla and Kiti Mánver, the three forming the heart of the film.

Written and directed by Marina Seresesky, the film is competently lensed and directed and, aside from the ill-advised subject matter, a well-written comedy. A Remarkable Tale will probably offend more people than it amuses for many of the reasons I laid out above but if you watch it without any thought for its racial missteps, it is ninety-three minutes of amusing farce.

Mark of the Devil -review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: When a teacher takes an ancient manuscript home to study over the weekend, her daughters get interested in it and unleash an ancient spirit that ends up possessing one of them.

Is it any good?: No. It is terrible. Mercifully it is short. Nonetheless, it is terrible. It starts promisingly but quickly descends into farce and nonsense. With an incomprehensible story and no central premise, Mark of the Devil or La Marca del Demonio, to give it its original Mexican title, is utter garbage.

Spoiler territory: A priest is performing an exorcism on a young boy. The boy dies during the exorcism. The family do not want to bury the body so the priest takes the boy and throws it down a hill off of the road whilst driving away. The book he used for the exorcism is left under the bed.

Thirty years later, a high school teacher, Cecilia de la Cueva (Lumi Cavazos), is told about the book. She decides to take it home so as she can take a look at it over the weekend. One of her daughters, Camila (Arantza Ruiz), wants to go out with her boyfriend, Diego (Oliver Nava). Cecilla tells that the family are all having dinner together and that she can meet him afterwards.

Camila asks if she can invite Diego. Her mother tells her that is okay. Returning home from work, Cecilla asks her husband, Luis Miranda (Omar Fierra), if dinner is ready. He says it is. Cecilia goes to put away the book and bumps into their other daughter, Fernanda (Nicolasa Ortíz Monasterio). Fernanda is curious about the book but Cecilla tells her to leave it alone.

Fernanda finds the book and interrupts her amorous sister and Diego, to tell her about the book her mother brought home. Diego suggests they read the book. He looks at the book but says he cannot read it because it is in Latin. Camila takes the book from him and starts reading. The window shutters fly open, freaking the three young adults out. They leave the book.

A family are waiting for an exorcist. A man dressed in black, Karl (Eivaut Rischen), turns up at the house. The woman who meets him greets him as a priest. He tells her he is not a priest. He asks where the woman is. He is there for the mother of the household. He goes into the room the old woman is in and exorcises the demon in her. The family pay him.

Karl buys heroin with the money and takes it to the priest who raised him, Tomas (Eduardo Noriega). Tomas is the town priest and a heroin addict. Camila, Fernanda and Diego go out clubbing. Camila, even though she is only drinking water, feels ill so Fernanda takes her to the bathroom. A girl in the queue argues with Fernanda. Camila suddenly springs to life and slams the girl against the wall.

Back home, Camila sleeps right through Sunday. Her father wakes her on Monday. Camila is utterly confused. She goes to the bathroom and a pendant she is wearing is fused to her body. She bleeds as she peels it off and then begins to gag, her eyes going totally black. She staggers out of the bathroom and collapses.

Her parents take her to the doctor (Enrique Singer). The doctor tells them it is stress and she needs to rest. Fernanda feels there is something very wrong with her sister. She thinks it might be something to do with the old book. Karl is somehow connected to the book and shows signs of demonic possession.

He remembers going to the church as a young boy. He was the boy that had been flung off the roadside, thought dead by the priest. As a young boy (Diego Escalona Zaragoza), he had killed the priest. Tomas had found him in the church, with the old priest who had initially exorcised Karl, nailed to a crucifix and the lower half of his body missing.

An increasingly worried Fernanda searches for an exorcist online. She goes to see Tomas the next day. He does not take her seriously until she tells him about the book. Tomas goes with Fernanda to see Camila. Tomas talks to Camila and the demon comes out in front of him, Diego and Fernanda. Before anything else can happen, Luis and Cecilla return home. The demon retreats into Camila.

The awaking of the demon impacts on Karl. His demon seems to be fighting to get out as well. Tomas tries to explain the dangers of the book to Cecilla. She thinks he is silly as she is a woman of science and does not believe in demons. Tomas tells Karl about the book. He took a picture of it and shows him. Karl remembers the book from his own exorcism. He wants to know where the book is but Tomas wants heroin. Karl attacks Tomas and chokes him unconscious.

Camila is taken for more test by her parents. There is nothing that can be found wrong with her and the doctor repeats that he feels it must be stress. Fernanda wants to go back to the priest. Tomas searches desperately for a fix. Fernanda reads from a book, Necronomicon – book of the dead, and the reading affects Camila.

Tomas finds Karl in the street. He takes him to Camila. Karl and Camila face one another and the demons come out. They begin to fight. Their parents return home. Tomas and Fernanda try to stop them from going into the house but they ignore them and rush in. Karl tries to warn them. Fernanda takes Camila to her bedroom and lies down next to her. Tomas tries to explain to the parents that Camila is possessed by an ancient demon. Camila wakes up and attacks Karl. Cecilia tries to stop her daughter and gets flung across the room and killed. The demon retreats again. Fernanda emerges and bashes her father’s head into a door killing him. She is also possessed.

She grabs Tomas and throws him into Karl. Diego turns up to visit and is killed. Karl is back on his feet and tackles the possessed Fernanda and Camila. Tomas knocks Camila off of him and runs. Fernanda goes after him. Karl slams Camila into a wall and absorbs the demon out of her into himself. He comes after Fernanda and does the same. He tells Tomas to kill him. Tomas shoots him in the head.

The girls leave the town. Tomas cleans up Karl, wraps him in a sheet and leaves him in a cave. Karl returns a day later. Tomas had been waiting for him. The end.

Mark of the Devil is awful. It is entirely down to the story and a little bit of overacting from Rischen as Karl. Mostly it is the awful, incoherent story. As I always freely admit, I do not expect high concept from a horror film. Basic competency would be nice though. The film opens with some nice visuals and has the bluish, cold tinge that is perfect for horror of this sort. The actors are mostly competent and engaging enough.

It is just the damn story. It is literally explained in a couple of lines of exposition ten minutes from the end and still makes no sense and does not explain the preceding seventy minutes. Why Noriega’s priest was a heroin addict is anybody’s guess as it did not add to the story at all and served no purpose other than to allow the actor to audition for drug addict roles in other shows.

The music, though a little overwhelming, is good for the premise and the cast looks very natural, with Ruiz and Monasterio working really well as the sisters. It is just the story that totally wrecks this film. Written by Ruben Escalante Mendez, the film has no natural build-up, with symbolism and artefacts thrown in desperately to inject some sense into proceedings.

Directed by Diego Cohen, the film does have some good editorial flourishes. Unfortunately, the actors are left to flounder, at times seeming to be in different films. At eighty-two minutes long, Mark of the Devil is not a long film but it does feel long. Its is not the worse film or horror I have seen on Netflix but it does promise far less than it delivers. Scoring a paltry three point four on IMDB, Mark of the Devil is not going to be on anybody’s favourite horror films list. Avoid.

Ready To Mingle – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: When Ana (Cassandra Ciangherotti) gets dumped by Gabriel (Pablo Cruz) she is heartbroken. Six months later, she finds out he is getting married. Bemoaning her lot, she takes the advice of a friend and goes on a course that is designed to help women get a husband.

Is it any good?: Ready to Mingle or Solteras – the original Mexican title – is an amusing comedy. With a brilliant central performance by Cassandra Ciangherotti as the self-centred and marriage hungry Ana, Solteras rattles swiftly through its ninety-five-minute runtime.

Spoiler territory: Ana is at a wedding with her boyfriend, Gabriel. She wants to know where their relationship is going. He does not want to talk about it. Ana persists. She wants to get married. Gabriel tells her it would be better if they split up. Ana immediately regrets her decision to push Gabriel into talking about their relationship and begs him not to break up with her. They split up.

Six months later, Ana is going to her parents’ house to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Her sister, Julia (Diana Bovio) and husband, Emilio (Andrés Almeida) are there along with other guests. Much to Ana’s dismay, one of her cousins, Tamara (Lucia Uribe), is engaged to be married.

Ana corners her in the bathroom and bullies her into revealing how she got a husband. Tamara tells her she went to a workshop. Ana continues to drink heavily as the party goes on, feeling increasingly lonely and morose. Her sister puts her into a taxi to send her home. Instead, a still drunk Ana goes to Gabriel’s home.

She takes her clothes off, intending to surprise him and ends up flashing him, his parents and the parents of his fiancé, Ingrid (Tatiana del Real). A humiliated Ana leaves and goes home. The next day, Ana calls Tamara to get details of the workshop.

She goes to the workshop. There are four other women in the workshop; Ilse (Irán Castillo), Sandra (Sophie Alexander-Katz), Lola (Flor Eduarda Gurrola), Ema (Mariana Cabrera), plus the instructor, Lucila (Gabriela de la Garza). Ana leaves the workshop, feeling it is not for her.

After her car breaks down on the way home and having to get help from her sister, who tells her some home truths, Ana returns to the workshop the next day. All the ladies get a makeover. They are also told where to go to look for a prospective husband. Lucila tells them they have to get a date before the next class.

Ana goes to the gym. After a few unsuccessful flirtations, she meets Rodrigo (Francisco de la Reguera). They go out and, even though Lucila advised them not to sleep with a date on the first night, sleeps with him. Whilst on a call with the other girls during the night, he disappears.

Ana continues to go on a string of unsuccessful dates. At her wit’s end, she goes to a local store to buy some beer. The cashier asks her for ID. Unable to produce any, she asks a man in the shop to buy the beer for her. He obliges. Outside she meets him. He is Diego (Juan Pablo Medina).

They go on a date to the cinema. Ana meets up with the women. Diego has not contacted her for a couple of weeks. Ana goes on another date. Whilst on the date she gets a call from Diego. She leaves the date. She begins seeing Diego. The relationship is going well and she is excited to tell the other women about it. Her success is overshadowed by Ema. Ema has got engaged.

Ana finds it difficult to hide her frustration. Back in the workshop, Lucila is telling the ladies various techniques to utilise so as they might find out if the man they are with wants to marry or not. Ana and Diego go away for the weekend, a romantic getaway. Whilst out walking, Ana thinks Diego is going to propose to her but is disappointed when she notices he is just tying his shoelace.

Back at the villa, they are staying at, Ana decides on a course of action. She tells Diego she is pregnant. He is overcome with happiness and immediately proposes to her. Back in the city, Ana tells the ladies that she is engaged. They are all happy for her. Ana feels guilty for duping Diego. Lucila asks her how she managed to get engaged and Ana confesses she lied to Diego.

Ana takes Diego to meet her family. Her parents are not getting along very well. When the family find out she is getting married they are not particularly thrilled. Julia guesses she is pregnant and that is why she is getting married so quickly. The next day, an unhappy Ana goes to see her parents, not pleased at their treatment of Diego. They tell her that they are getting divorced. Ana reacts badly.

The ladies all go out to try on wedding dresses. Gabriel walks pass the shop and sees Ana. He and Ingrid come into the shop. The ladies insult Ingrid who drags Gabriel out of the store. Later that evening, Gabriel comes to see Ana and tells her he misses her. Ana is almost taken in by his charm until he admits that he is still with Ingrid and just wants a fling.

Ana goes to see Lucila, hoping to get some solace from her predicament. Lucila tells her that once she is married she will be fine. Ana is not so sure. She decides to confess the truth to Diego. They split up. Ana goes to see her sister. Julia tells her she needs to get her life together. Ana agrees. Ana gets her life together.

All of the ladies see one another at Ema’s wedding. Ana is much happier and her life more together. She is still single, all the ladies, including Ana, enjoy the wedding. The end.

Solteras – Ready to Mingle – is an amusing comedy written and directed by Luis Javier Henaine, with an additional writing credit for Alejandra Olvera Avila. With amusing characters and a quirky premise, Ready to Mingle is an enjoyable romp with Ciangherotti’s Ana a selfish yet likeable presence driving proceedings.

You feel a little sorry for the Ana as she desperately, from the opening scene, tries to find a husband. This is in no way a film for modern times. Though it, at the very end, espouses the message of not needing a man to be whole, for the most part, it shows and portrays its characters as needing a husband to make their lives whole.

With the de la Garza’s Lucila is an extreme example of the type of relationship guru that now populates online spaces promising to help desperate singletons find love. Unlike the many online experts, who tend to soft-sell the art of relations, Lucila brutally tells the women what they must do to attain a husband.

All of the actors are great in their respective roles and even the smallest roles add to the humour of the overall story. Some may find the end a little unsatisfying, if the five-point nine score on IMDB is anything to go by, but Ready to Mingle is an enjoyable ninety-five minutes to waste on Netflix.