Jonás Cuarón’s Chupa (C+) wastes no time jumping right into the action; and while there may not be much here to captivate someone above the age of ten, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with this Netflix original. Cuarón manages to turn a piece of Mexican folklore into a cute creature feature fallowing Alex (Evan Whitten), a kid from the U.S. who visits his grandfather (Demián Bichir) in Mexico for spring break. Alex initially doesn’t show much interest in his familial heritage; but along his journey, through discovering his father and grandfather were luchadores, and by making friends with a cuddly Chupacabra cub, our protagonist is launched into a whimsical adventure. The hero endeavors to dramatically dodge a researcher (Christian Slater) wanting to capture his new friend while also braving personal trials related to connecting with Latino culture. The lead creature is certainly the main attraction, stealing attention from anyone else on screen. Cuarón succeeds in making Chupa believable, leveraging a canine stand-in to allow a natural connection to form between the younger actors and the mythical animal. While this movie might not be on anyone’s re-watch list, its runtime makes it bearable, resulting in an easy film to throw on with the kids.
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Guest Movie Review: Hunger (2023)
Sitisiri Mongkolsiri’s Bangkok-set Hunger (B-) is a visually appealing film meant to provide commentary on the upper echelon of society as far as it applies to perceived (and perhaps well substantiated) pretentiousness when it comes to the finer things in life. Aoy, played by Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, is a chef working at the family restaurant she is intended to inherit, but when a customer working for a fine dining chef tells her she’s too good for the establishment, she decides to make a switch. This is where Chef Paul (Nopachai Jayanama) comes into play, the owner of a private catering service serving high paying clients. The film makes a point to present the food in a manner that isn’t entirely appetizing, showcasing scenes of surrealism as the clients devour dishes such as animals. The film, while well executed, slips into some derivative territory with its “eat the rich” mentality. It puts forth the message that decadence and money aren’t everything and when compared with the simple things life can provide, the alternative is soulless. We’ve heard this message before so don’t go into the film thinking you’ll be met with any deep philosophical questions. It’s still a fun watch, while not particularly challenging, and will certainly be palatable for a Friday Netflix night.