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I sat down to watch Music from the Big House knowing little more than it was about the blues, I left knowing it was about far more. Bruce McDonald beautifully directs this film in a way that shows every bit of the personâ(TM)s story. The film begins with blues musician Rita Chiarelli and why she began her journey to Angola, or Louisiana State Penitentiary. Music from the Big House ultimately is a collection of stories, of menâ(TM)s flaws, hopes, and the discovery of forgiveness. As Rita begins assembling her bands of musicians to perform before their families and fellow inmates we are also introduced to them, their stories are laid out before us. I could not help but feel for these men, and when the music begins to play I could not help but feel it myself. Their voices and music reflect every ounce of their struggles. In the end, Music from the Big House is a movie about blues and the men from which it comes, it is a film of hope and dreams, when men at their lowest lows have no where else to look but up.
Mamitas is quite enjoyable! The film opens up to gorgeously diverse and smoggy Los Angeles, and you find out quickly this movie is made by and for those of Los Angeles. First we are introduced to Jordin, a troubled high-schooler, who doesn't realize just how lost he really is. He is your typical teen, whose parents seem like his most distant allies, so he finds himself seeking friends in all the wrong places. In a ploy to showoff, Jordin lands himself in suspension. It is here that fate almost seems to draw him to Felipa, a beautiful, however, different young woman with a strong wit and sharp tongue. She knows who she is, and who she hopes to be. It's a unlikely romance that ensues, struggles are faced, bonds are stressed and broken, built and sealed. At times you feel as if this film has been done before, but never really, not in this light. "Mamitas" takes a new angle into the youth of urban America. It is a beautifully shot film, with a cast of relatively unknowns, but they all have talent, there are no moments of weakness; their characters grow before your eyes, depicting the diverse and beautiful America where love is still alive and well. Yes, "Mamitas" has its flaws, but its pluses far out weigh it's faults. I loved this movie immensely, and highly recommend it to anyone looking to smile, laugh, cry, and smile again.