Richard Roeper Blog

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May 17th, 2017

Roeper Reviews: Lowriders

May 16th, 2017

Three stars

Looks like there’s some Shakespeare under that hood.
“Lowriders” is all about the So-Cal culture of street art, classic cars—and blood ties of Latino families. It’s a gritty and well-made if predictable story about the complicated, sometimes tragic, sometimes heartwarming dynamics between multiple generations of one family in particular.

There’s an elegant fierceness to the great Demian Bichir’s performance as the family patriarch, Miguel.
With his shaved head, jet-black modified goatee, stark tattoos and fiery gaze, Miguel doesn’t have to say a word to let you know he’s a force to be reckoned with—but these days Miguel, a recovering alcoholic still dealing with anger issues, is trying to walk the righteous path.
Miguel is devoted to his young son Danny (Gabriel Chavarria); his wife Gloria (Eva Longoria); and Gloria’s daughter from a previous union (Montse Hernandez). And he has nearly as much love for his prized, beautifully restored 1961 Chevrolet Impala, which he has nicknamed “Green Poison.”
The story of “Lowriders” is actually told through the eyes of Danny, a teenage tagger and aspiring artist that says (with a combination of bravado and naivete) that L.A. neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights are his canvas.
Danny’s girlfriend Claudia (Yvette Monreal) has a college scholarship in hand, so she wisely takes off just before Danny and his best friend Chuy (Tony Revolori, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) are busted. Doesn’t take long for Danny to connect with a hipster photographer (Melissa Benoist, looking nothing like “Supergirl”), who calls him on his B.S. and challenges him to care enough to try to fulfill his potential.
Theo Rossi (Juice fron “Sons of Anarchy”) adds an electric spark to the story as Danny’s older brother Francisco, aka “Ghost”—so nicknamed because he’s been in prison for nearly a decade and has been virtually forgotten by the family. Miguel never once visited Francisco, and Danny has grown up without knowing his big brother at all.
If you think this is going to lead to some fiery confrontations between Ghost and his father, and some moments of deep revelation—well, of course. “Lowriders” drives down some predictable roadways, but the performances are so strong, and the look of the film is so arresting, the melodrama is always eminently watchable. (Director Ricardo de Montreuil and cinematographer Andres E. Sanchez are constantly reminding us there are always new and fresh ways to shoot the streets of Los Angeles.)
Eva Longoria gives one of her most authentic performances as the strong and loving Gloria. Ross brings a wounded intensity to his character. Chavarria’s narration is a tad low key, but his performance is natural and effective.
And then there are those gorgeous, bouncing, roaring, sexy, gleaming cars. They’re almost characters unto themselves, as symbols of cultural pride and expression and strength.

Richard Roeper Reviews “The 24-Hour War”

November 17th, 2016

First, the talented and versatile director/producer Nate Adams and the terrific and always entertaining cynic/humorist/author/podcaster/actor/filmmaker/racing enthusiast/bunch of other stuff Adam Carolla teamed up for “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” a fascinating documentary about the legendary actor’s 35-year career as a serious race car driver and owner.

Now they pair up for “The 24 Hour War,” an equally gripping doc about the intense, oft-dangerous, high-stakes rivalry between the Ford and Ferrari dynasties, leading up to some epic battles of the 1960s at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Given their storytelling abilities and their passion for cars, I’m pretty sure these guys could give us an entertaining doc about the fiasco of the 1971 Ford Pinto, the heartbreak of the Pontiac Aztek–or why Hot Wheels were always cooler than Matchbox Cars.

“The 24 Hour War” is the definitive look at the high-speed, high-stakes feud between Ford and Ferrari, featuring some great archival footage, insightful interviews with legends such as Mario Andretti (who still has a movie star presence) looking back on the rivalry, and constant visual reminders of just how cool and gorgeous those cars were in the 1960s–and just how crazy the drivers were, to the point where they wouldn’t take the time to buckle up their seatbelts at Le Mans because it might mean losing a precious second or two of time at the start of the race.

Roeper Review: Three and a half stars

Wanda Unveils Plans for $8 Billion ‘Movie Metropolis,’ Reveals Details About Film Incentives

October 18th, 2016

TV Ratings: ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Jane the Virgin’ Hold With Returns

October 18th, 2016

Watch the official second trailer for “Assassin’s Creed” Starring Michael Fassbender

October 18th, 2016

Watch the official second trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

October 18th, 2016

October 18th, 2016

It’s a postseason ‘tradition’ as old as the Mayoral Bet: columnists in opposing cities will write humorous rip jobs–not of the other team, but the actual cities.

For example, when the Bulls squared off against the Lakers or the Suns or the Jazz in the NBA Finals, I’d mock L.A., Phoenix or Salt Lake City. When the White Sox played the Blue Jays in 1993, I ‘ripped’ Toronto, a columnist for the Toronto paper made fun of Chicago, and we ran both columns in our respective papers.

All in good fun.

Last week, in advance of the NLCS, Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune went after the city of Los Angeles in pretty nasty fashion.

I think Huppke’s a talented writer, but I wasn’t a fan of this particular piece. To me it came across as too broad, too cliched, too stone-fisted, when a lighter touch might have worked better. I’m sure some found it hilarious. All comedy is subjective.

Also, it’s the written version of a Comedy Central roast. Not to be taken seriously for a moment.

The L.A. Times Twitter response:

“Hey @chicagotribune, Fewer than 15 murders that day–slow news day?”


First, a word about the whole “slow news day” thing. I’ve heard that more than a few times in my career. I’d write a column or post a Tweet or do a radio segment about something relatively light, and I’d hear, “Must have been a slow news day!”

I’ve had to come up with ideas for more than 5,000 columns and untold thousands of hours of radio and TV segments. They weren’t all winners, that’s for sure! But I’ve never, ever missed a deadline or taken a day off because it was a “slow news day” and there was nothing to talk about.

Sometimes you write and talk about the most serious issues on the planet. Sometimes your goal is provide entertainment and diversion and maybe a laugh or two by focusing on something relatively inconsequential. Every general interest newspapers, online site, radio broadcast, TV show, etc., finds room for opinion pieces, sports, lighter features, etc., in addition to hard news. “Slow news day” is the crutch of the intellectually lazy journalist–and a tired, mushy line of criticism.

As for the Tweet about Chicago’s murder rate–how did we get from Cubbies and Dodgers to THAT?

The Times took down the Tweet and to its credit, issued a REAL apology and not one of those “If anyone was offended” non-apology apologies.

In the meantime, the Cubs took Game One of the NLCS, and the Indians hold a 2-0 edge over the Blue Jays in ALCS.

Can you imagine a Cubs-Indians World Series? Boy do I have a few things to say about the city of Cleveland…

October 18th, 2016

Great conversation this morning on “Good Day Chicago” with director Jordan Melamed and his father Leo, the legendary pioneer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Their relationship is the focal point of a fascinating documentary titled “Futures Past.”


“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” stars Tom Cruise and Colbie Smulders and fans in Donald J. Trump’s favorite country, CHIIIINA.

October 18th, 2016

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