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Overall Rating
4.54

Awesome66.67%
Worth A Look: 29.17%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4.17%

1 review, 18 user ratings


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Cross Bronx
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by Erik Childress

"Young Actors We WANT To See In More Movies"
4 stars

Itís always great to see a film where the actors arenít submitted to the same olí shtick even as the material can zig-zag and resort to an easy out. The four close friends coming-of-age by now must be in the Syd Field Hall Of Fame of basic screenplay templates. They will each struggle with their place in life, new relationships will formulate and maybe a forthcoming tragedy will be thrown in for good measure. Larry Golinís Cross Bronx will not win any points in the originality department, but what it does do is give a collection of young actors a chance to really shine in a story with a real meaning to life.

If this were The Breakfast Club, you could describe the four buddies as The Wrestler, The Artist, The Pitcher and The Criminal. Ike (Max Greenfield) is the high school wrestler, responsible for everything he puts into his body; wrestlers being the athletic equivalent of fashion models and all. Rob-O (James Badge Dale from Season Three of TVís 24) is all-consumed in his art as an escape from his fatherless homelife. Schlek (Nashawn Kearse) has dreams of trying out for the Mets and Vivo (Jerry Ferrara) is faced with the reluctant prospects of becoming a strongarm for his fatherís rackets.

Vivo wants nothing more to do with high school and decides to look for an apartment in the Bronx with Schlek. Ike would like to get in on that action and has a refreshingly comfortable discussion with his parents (Barry Primus & Lin Shaye) that isnít another unending example of knee-jerk lecturing and final answers. ďNobody moves to the Bronx. They move from the Bronx,Ē says mom, concerned for her sonís responsibilities and safety. Eventually the four boys will move into a comfortable little fixer-upper, romances will bloom and a big gun is on hand to suggest the future will not be all smiles.

Cross Bronx works with a number of various storylines, each one breezing by on their own strengths even if their easygoing presentation seems to have no immediate direction. But it works. For we see these are characters that do have dreams, but are living out their presents first instead of laying down and waiting for the limelight to find them. They are proactive and thatís refreshing. Plotting is not around to interrupt their lives. This IS life and itís full of enough drama without manufacturing something thatís easily solved by the final reel.

Golin goes a bit far with the obvious symbolism (a one-way sign and a red light hovering over one characterís exit) but he makes up for it by keeping it relaxed most of the time and allowing the actorsí personalities to really give his characters some depth. (Adding a hilarious fake movie trailer never hurts either.) Greenfield, Dale, Ferrara and Kearse never misstep in keeping us involved and as actors all deserve a bright future for years to come. As Ikeís new girlfriend, Maya, Dania Ramirez has a real sweet presence on screen and her Jessica Alba-like beauty will only help as casting directors beat down her door. Elizabeth Keener is also sexy as the boysí landlord who takes an interest in Rob-O but is never trapped into a boy-toy soap operatic agenda. Barry Primus has some real true father-son moments and who wonít love Mayaís precocious little cousin who seems a little too interested in getting his relative to score.

This is truly an actorís showcase without ever really having any Oscar clip showiness to partake in. Each one shares a sense of likeability that they just have to be natural, maybe just even playing themselves to keep our attention. Everyone has their own agenda, sometimes selfishly so and all have their secrets to keep. Thereís truth in its humor and realism in its lack of forced poignancy. Its Stand By Me slow fade of the foursome remind us how familiar their situations are to us moviegoers. But life is familiar and in the absence of a ďwhatís it all aboutĒ mentality, if itís to be presented at the movies, Iíd prefer it shown in the way of a Cross Bronx.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10077&reviewer=198
originally posted: 06/15/04 12:17:05
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/01/15 lolipop pretty shit 1 stars
7/30/12 Yolanda max greenfield's first film 4 stars
5/13/08 Paul Stanley The real deal. 5 stars
2/22/05 VICTORIA MY COUSIN PLAYS MARC ROD IN THIS MOVIE 5 stars
10/16/04 Chun Yu Great! 5 stars
10/16/04 Edwin C. It's a movie we can relate to growing up, its hip, and great cinematagrophy. Go see it! 5 stars
8/15/04 bryann mccan Great, great movie, Ray Eleson deserve a oscar. 5 stars
8/13/04 Sheamae I felt every character 5 stars
8/08/04 Danny Hollaaaaaa to Yonkazzz!! 5 stars
8/07/04 Debbie Botie Great movie all the way around. Love it. 5 stars
7/14/04 laura depallo I saw cross bronx at the tribeca film festival and thought it was very very well done. 5 stars
7/13/04 A. Jacobson I was riveted from start to finish. 5 stars
7/10/04 Pamela Jacobson ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT; really felt for the characters. 5 stars
6/23/04 Michael Johnson I saw this at Cine Vegas - if you don't love it you're nuts. 5 stars
6/21/04 jon ryan unreal movie! cult classic 5 stars
6/19/04 Bob Burger Saw Cross Bronx at this year's Tribeca Film Festival and thought it was really fabulous 5 stars
6/18/04 jed nightingale Great movie dealing with the coming of age of four young adolescents in nyc 5 stars
6/14/04 Susan Kerman I loved it, thought it was authentic, Max Greenfield was outstanding. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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  DVD: 20-May-2008

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