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Ghost Canyon

'4 in 1 Latin Collection'
(Martha Higareda, Blanca Guerra, Camila Sodi, Ximena Sariñana, Benito Martinez, et al / DVD / NR / 2016 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Take a trip with us into four (4) caliente Latin tales of Charm, Lies, Passion and Revenge with '4 In 1 Latin Collection' from Mill Creek Entertainment.

DVD Verdict: First up is 'Sueño' (PG-13, 2005), starring John Leguizamo, Ana Claudia Talancón, and Elizabeth Peña, it is an inspirational film about Antonio, a young man who gets the once in a lifetime chance to make his dreams of becoming a musician a reality. Along the way to making his dreams a reality, Antonio meets up with two beautiful women who also rediscover their passions.

John Leguizamo has never looked better. Or younger. He's always amazing, no matter what he does, whether it's his own stand-up comedy or Shakespeare. It was nice to see him branch out even further into the realm of music playing a Mexican musician who moves to LA to fulfill his dream. Overall, I thought the film was an excellent first effort by writer/director Renee Chabria.

Next up is 'Quinceañera' (R, 2006), starring Emily Rios, Jesse Garcia, and Chalo González, it brings us the story of Magdalena (Emily Rios) as her 15th birthday approaches, and her working class family prepares for the all-important QUINCEAÑERA - a lavish coming-of-age celebration. When an unexpected crisis threatens to tear them apart, Magdalena learns what it truly means to come of age.

A slice of life from a very recognizable other planet. The Echo Park section of Los Angeles. It could be so many other places and at the same time it couldn't be anywhere else. New life and death co-mingling in almost perfect harmony. Love coming out of the most unexpected quarters, heroic gestures, prejudice and solitude. There is much to commend in this tiny tale with major implications.

Then comes 'Lies in Plain Sight' (TV-PG, 2010), starring Martha Higareda, Benito Martinez, Rosie Perez, and Chad Michael Murray, it tells the story of when a blind college student Sofia Delgado (Martha Higareda) returns home after the unexpected suicide of her cousin Eva. Left with no easy answers, Sofia must unravel the mystery of Eva's complex relationship with boyfriend Ethan McAllister (Chad Michael Murray, TV's One Tree Hill) and confront dark family secrets long denied by Eva's mother Marisol (Rosie Perez, Pineapple Express, Do the Right Thing). Risking everything, even her own life, Sofia will dare to uncover the hidden truth that drove Eva to her death.

The film is a little slow, more of a family drama than an action/adventure story, though it does have a few edge-of-your-seat moments. My favorite part about it, however, is the film's understatement. You see, Sofia is blind, and yet she's the one determined to uncover the truth behind Eva's death. Also, the family is Hispanic. Both of these facts color the characters and the story, and both are beautifully understated. The film doesn't make a big deal out of either element; Sofia is a woman who happens to be of Latin descent and happens to be blind; she's not a Blind Latina who happens to be solving a mystery.

Finally we have 'Charm School' aka 'Niñas mal' (R, 2007), starring Martha Higareda, Blanca Guerra, Camila Sodi, and Ximena Sariñana, and, well, it's all about bad girls just wanting to have fun! Sassy Adela León (Martha Higareda) - with her tattoos, body piercing and arrest for indecent exposure – is not exactly what Mexico City's conservative party has in mind as the daughter of their next nominee.

So that she doesn't jeopardize his standing in the coming election, Sr. León enrolls Adela in a stylish finishing school for young ladies. At first, Adela's free-spirited behavior shocks the other girls. But, before long, they come to admire her spunk. By celebrating one another's differences, the girls form fast friendships and, suddenly, life at their stuffy school has become one big slumber party!

These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Enjoy!