Richard Roeper Blog

Roeper’s Written Review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

July 10th, 2017

NEW: American Made – Official Trailer

June 6th, 2017

Q-and-A with Lebron James and his childhood friends

June 1st, 2017

Roeper’s Written Review: ‘Wonder Woman’

May 30th, 2017

ROUGH NIGHT – Official Green Band Trailer

May 30th, 2017

RR Defends “Women Only” screenings of “Wonder Woman”

May 30th, 2017

Roeper’s Written Review: ‘War Machine’

May 26th, 2017

Roeper’s Written Review: ‘Black Butterfly’

May 25th, 2017

NEW: Transformers: The Last Knight | International Trailer | Paramount Pictures International

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.

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