cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Piñero

Starring Benjamin Bratt
Written and Directed by Leon Ichaso
no website

IN SHORT: A bioflick that staggers under the visual weight of over-direction. [Rated R for drug use, strong language and sexuality. 97 minutes]

There is an underside to Life in the City of New York and Miguel Piñero (Benjamin Bratt) wrote about that life, when he wasn't busy sticking a needle into his arm or sticking up local shops to feed his habit. We're being as pretentious in our use of capital letters as director Leon Ichaso does with his visual style in his film of the life of Miguel Piñero. To put it simply, Piñero was a poet and a writer who found a mentor in Public Theater Director Joseph Papp (Mandy Patinkin) and who found fame as the writer of plays and movies such as Short Eyes and Fort Apache, The Bronx and teevee scripts for Kojack, Baretta and Miami Vice. Most of that information we pass along from the press notes as the construction of Piñero assumes you know who the man was and what he accomplished in his lifetime. That may be so if you're a member of the Hispanic community, which we are not. It is less so if you're a New Yorker, which we are, and so recognized the names of some of his plays, which generated their own buzz even if the name didn't travel up or downtown from their performances.

There are a lot of tools available to film directors. Different film and video equipment. The use of color (or lack thereof) to denote time or place. That doesn't mean that a director has to use 'em all-- and certainly not helter skelter as Leon Ichaso does in Piñero. What may be or may have been a monumental performance by Benjamin Bratt is utterly lost in the visual confusion that spews across the screen.

And while a sequence of titles tells you all the background you need to know about the general background famed poet Miguel Piñero, what follows doesn't convey much about the man. It's almost as if director Ichaso didn't trust the story that writer Ichaso laid out; that this story about a junkie poet would be strong enough to hold our attention. So the constant shifts from color to b&w or visual changes due to the recording medium. We're beating a dead horse here but there's little more to do when the distractions were so overwhelming. Perhaps this is, conceptually, visual poetry. Concepts are one thing. A story is another and should always have priority.

The story should have been a good one, for there are few who had come out of the Puerto Rican community to find success at the time that Piñero did in the 1970s and even fewer who succeeded despite their use of heroin. Piñero's story is unique in that it wasn't the junk that killed him, it was a liver disorder (and note the cameo appearance by Robert Klein as the doctor who delivers the bad news). Supported by his mother (Rita Moreno), girlfriend (Talisa Soto) and best friend (Giancarlo Esposito), the question of whether Piñero would have achieved greater heights in his career as writer and/or performer -- you only get a brief taste of his teevee bit work -- will remain a question. What you see of the recreations of his poetic performances is as clichéd and overemphatic as comedic parodies of poetry readings tend to be. We'll guess, based on the number of surviving friends who consulted this production, that the performance style is close to what it was and let it go at that.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Piñero, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

We've worked with Bratt in the past and have watched his career with interest ever since. Sooner or later he'll get the solo shot that will make him as big an A-lister as his ex girlfriend (though he's already said he doesn't crave the celebrity and loss of personal space that comes with it). This ain't it.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Leon Ichaso
Click to buy films starring Benjamin Bratt
Click to buy films starring Rita Moreno
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.