Things to do
On Screens: Seriously: who ate all the Latino actors?
I’m confused. Captain Marvel isn’t a film about Bryan Robson – or even a man! There in a nutshell is the problem with society: men like me and our assumptions. Thank god for Marvel. It really is saving the world, one sexist at a time.
I see the promo shot, and I remain confused. Why do so many white actresses look Hispanic at a time when barely any Latinas are getting major roles?
Brie Larson’s preparation for the lead role in Captain Marvel (Not Released Worldwide; March 6) – another human vs alien box office winner that will make me sleep faster than a Theresa May promise on Brexit – was spending three months on Copacabana beach, soaking up the rays and snacking on the locals.
Yes, that’s the answer: there are no Latinas working in Hollywood because the white actresses are eating them all.
That’s being Oscar-cised!
Despite comprising 18 percent of the US population, only 3 percent of the speaking characters in 2016’s top 100 films were Latinos – and when they were, they were invariably a drug dealer, rapist or … PUTAAAH! America’s black (13) and Asian (5) populations have no such problems. Never mind #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo, #LatinosLeftOut is where it’s at.
The statistics are laughable when you consider that if Alfonso Cuarón wins the Best Director Oscar for Roma, Mexican directors will have taken home five of the last six gongs. But the only Latin actors to prevail this century are Benicio del Toro for Traffic in 2000 and Penelope Cruz for Vicky, Cristina Barcelona in 2008 (Hilary Swank having a Mexican grandmother doesn’t quite cut it).
Rose is playing with us
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Larson isn’t the only actress of northern Europe heritage Latining up this issue.
Rose Byrne in Instant Family (57 on Metacritic; Feb 28) is the spitting image of Catalina Sandino Moreno, an Oscar nominee for Maria Full of Grace in 2004, whose career is once again flying thanks to a meaty role in The Affair.
Curiously Byrne has named her second son Rafa in her attempt to lure Latin roles – although her husband Bobby Cannavale has come up with some half-baked nonsense about saluting a great year for Spanish tennis.
In her latest film, she co-stars with Mark Wahlberg as adopting parents who end up taking on three Latin siblings – which once again leaves me very, very confused.
Chloë Grace Moretz, who is doing her best to torpedo her career following her breakout success as Hit-Girl in Kickass and starring role in Hugo one year later, is another actress guilty of affecting a Latin allure. Or at least that appears to be the case in The Miseducation of Cameron Post (69; Feb 28), a mostly charming coming-of-age tale set at a gay conversion therapy centre.
WWI film a knockout
But Latin issues aside, we’ve got a mostly promising line-up in store over the next three weeks, starting with Cold Pursuit (70; Feb 28) starring Liam Neeson, the tale of a racist thug who hangs outside Notting Hill nightclubs with a cosh … oh, sorry, for once Neeson’s real-life past has turned out to be as absurd as his movies. Like The Grey, Neeson is angry and it’s cold – nuff said.
At Eternity’s Gate (78; March 7) also feature an angry young man, this time hanging around wheat fields with a brush. Curiously the director Julian Schnabel makes no attempt to age 63-year-old Willem Dafoe in this mostly glorious depiction of Vincent van Gogh, an artist who died at the age of 37.
What the soldiers featured in the documentary They Shall Not Grow Old (91; Feb 28) would have given to live that long? Mr Lord of the Rings himself, Peter Jackson, has done an amazing job, rendering century-old footage as if it was shot yesterday. Somehow, I can’t imagine future generations will look back at us with such wonder.
On the Basis of Sex (60; March 7) was bargaining for a little more #TimesUp-induced awe with the tagline ‘It was a man’s world. So she changed it’. But this uplifting tale of a female lawyer’s meteoric rise up the US legal system has left many feeling a little cold with its sanitised slant.
Netflix has all the cards
The first of three recommended movies coming to Netflix, Paddleton (80; Feb 22), lets us right into an unlikely friendship rocked by a diagnosis of terminal cancer. But don’t worry, it’s disarmingly funny.
Prepare to be equally blindsided by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut The Boy who Harnessed the Wind (69; March 2), the tale of a Malawi boy who builds his own wind turbine. Malawi! I already want to see it.
Oceanic pair The Break Uppers (77; Feb 15) and Isn’t it Romantic (60; Feb 28) – because one’s Kiwi and the other’s got Rebel Wilson – have interesting premises. One’s about two women who specialise in breaking up relationships, the other is a fantasy in which the protagonist is trapped in a romcom film.
Staying with Netflix but on TV, The Americans returns for its sixth and final season (don’t miss S3 of Better Things, HBO Nordic, March 1); Ellen Page’s regret is etched on her face in every scene of the superhero yawn The Umbrella Academy (64; Feb 15), which has a Metacritic score top-heavy thanks to Collider; Anna Paquin looks happier in Flack (NRW; Feb 22), a promising London-set series set in the soulless world of PR; Dirty John (58; Feb 14) starring Eric Bana is a confused crime anthology that would have fared better with a simpler approach; and finally, inspired by a George RR Martin novella, Nightflyers (Feb 1) has everything going for it, except for a decent cast and any discernible originality.
And now you mention it, four or five black actors, two or three Asians, a multitude of different British accents, but absolutely no Latinos.