Review by John Packman.
From Coyote Ugly to Glitter, there is no shortage of films about young, attractive women who rise above their obstacles and gritty working-class environments to realize their lifelong dream of singing shitty pop music. We can now add Tata Amaral's Antonia to that pile. This film's fresh new angle is that it is shot and set in Brazil, so at least you'll have panoramic shots of unkempt streets and rundown favelas to look at when you inevitably tire of whatever else is happening onscreen. Antonia focuses on four relatively interchangeable women who, after singing backup for a local hip-hop crew, decide to strike out on their own as a vocal group. The band's resilience is subsequently tested by almost every cliche in the rags-to-riches handbook - a skeevy 'manager', domestic strife, pregancy, infidelity, youth violence, and imprisonment. All that's missing is juvenile diabetes and oh, I don't know, a tornado.
What really sinks the film is the music itself; the way these girls are repeatedly and effusively praised by their friends and mentors, you'd think they were the second coming of the Supremes, but the quality of their actual performances leans way closer to a bachelorette party singing En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" at a Langley karaoke bar. The disconnect between what the onscreen audience hears and what we hear borders on laughable. I'm pretty sure the dialogue is atrocious as well, but the subtitles are so poorly translated that I can't be sure; inscrutable lines such as "you think you a hot stuff" appear so frequently that I briefly thought I had wandered into a Jackie Chan retrospective by mistake. I'm beginning to sound like Andy Rooney, but I really can't think of anything good to say about this movie. At least Spice World had Richard E. Grant.
Tata Amaral | Brazil | 2006 | 90min
Sat. Oct. 6 | 9:30pm | Ridge Theatre
Tue. Oct. 9 | 1:00pm | Empire Granville Theatre
Thur. Oct. 11 | 7:15pm | Empire Granville Theatre
Fri. Oct. 12 | 10:45am | Vancity Theatre