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Movie Review: Pinero

Story: Puerto Rican born Miguel Pinero (1946-1988) was a drug/alchohol addict, thief, and ex-con. He was also a brilliant poet who co-founded the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a film maker and actor and winner of an Obie and six Tony nominations for his play, Short Eyes, developed by a very generous Joseph Papp at NY's Public Theatre. Using the technique of jumpy flashbacks, grainy black and white film and jerky hand held camera shots we get the picture of a life whose ups and downs were both elating and deflating. Co-writer and director Leon Ichaso attempts to depict Pinero's life with more style than he probably deserved. But it is a noble effort and anyone with an interest in the roots of street poetry will enjoy this film.

Acting: TV's Law and Order Benjamin Bratt is quite a representative for the Peruvian people. (When I was in Peru, I never saw anyone who even remotely resembled Bratt.) He gives a fine performance worthy of your time. Rita Moreno is wonderfully portrayed as the ever supporting mother. There are some fine supporting parts as well but Bratt steals this film.

Critters: Some street dogs.

Food: Lots of booze.

Visual Art: Some grafitti.

Blatant Product Placement: Just documentary type street stuff.

Soundtrack: I liked those Latin tunes. I had a little bit of happy feet for a while.

Opening Titles: Just okay. Not that interesting.

Theater Audience: It was pretty crowded for what we now call the omelette matinee. (So early, that it is before popcorn time.) There was a cell phone incident that was unnerving (and then funny). The ringing of a phone half way through the film caused people to go wacky. The gal with the phone was not about to be intimidated by an audience filled with other wacky New Yorkers and so she started to out curse the others. Very interesting. (I think people whose cell phones ring in the theater should be banned from the theater for a year.)

Quirky Meter: 3

Squirm Scale: High usage of needles. Ugh!

Predictability Level: Not applicable in a movie biopic.

Tissue Usage: No.

Oscar Worthy: Benjamin Bratt just might get that Oscar nomination.

Nit Picking: I know few will notice but that is why this is called nit-picking...there are many scenes that are shot on a roof in the Lower East Side. These are grainy and in black and white. They are supposed to be shot in the 70's. However grainy I can still see my apartment building which wasn't built until the mid 80's. I know, it is very nit-picky...but it bothered me anyway.

Big Screen or Rental: Probably rental would be fine although Bratt looks mighty pretty up there on the big screen. For a much better film with a similar ring, you could rent my favorite of last year, Before Night Falls with the very fabulous Javier Bardem. You could also rent Short Eyes, the film.

Length: 100 minutes