Washington Heights

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Overview

Carlos (Manny Perez) is a talented artist who draws comics for a living. He's desperate to move out of his Washington Heights neighborhood. His girlfriend, Maggie (Andrea Navedo) feels more connected to the neighborhood. She's not so eager to leave. Carlos's best friend, Mickey (Danny Hoch), works as a super in the building his father owns, but he dreams of being a professional bowler. He's scheming to raise three grand to enter an open tournament in Las Vegas. Carlos's father, Eddie (accomplished Cuban-born ...
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Lions Gate, 11/04/2003, VHS Tape, Ex-Rental. Very Good condition. VHS Tape. Case Good. Original artwork may contain stickers or shelfware. Quality guaranteed!

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Overview

Carlos (Manny Perez) is a talented artist who draws comics for a living. He's desperate to move out of his Washington Heights neighborhood. His girlfriend, Maggie (Andrea Navedo) feels more connected to the neighborhood. She's not so eager to leave. Carlos's best friend, Mickey (Danny Hoch), works as a super in the building his father owns, but he dreams of being a professional bowler. He's scheming to raise three grand to enter an open tournament in Las Vegas. Carlos's father, Eddie (accomplished Cuban-born actor Tomas Milian, who starred in Michelangelo Antonioni's Indentificazione di una donna), owns a neighborhood grocery store, and is well-liked in the neighborhood for his friendly way of doing business. Despite his advanced age, he's also a ladies' man, and was so even before Carlos's mother passed away. His philandering ways account for a lot of the tension between father and son. Carlos wants to draw his own comic book, but his boss, David (David Zayas) tells him that while he's got technical ability, his work is soulless. But Carlos's plans for the future are disrupted when Eddie is shot and critically wounded during a robbery at the store. Carlos resentfully takes care of his ailing father, and runs the store until Eddie can go back to work. Carlos's growing understanding of his community, and his father's importance to it, is reflected in his work, and he has a creative breakthrough. Meanwhile, Mickey's moneymaking schemes get him into trouble with Angel (Bobby Cannavale), Maggie's gangster brother. Washington Heights was directed by Alfredo De Villa, who wrote the script with Nat Moss. Novelist Junot Diaz (Drown) wrote additional dialogue. The film was shown at the 2002 Urbanworld Film Festival, and at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival, where it received a Special Mention.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Washington Heights is a fine urban drama, with strong performances and an effective mix of grit, humor, and warmth. Director Alfredo De Villa captures the feel of an inner city neighborhood with honesty and affection. While the characters struggle with the deprivations of the neighborhood, and guns and drugs make an appearance, De Villa keeps things in perspective, and shows the joy and the spirit of community that make living in Washington Heights more than bearable. While there are certainly tragic aspects to the tale, Washington Heights stands in sharp contrast to many other urban dramas, which focus on crime and violence and posit escape as the only possibility for happiness. In this film, the people who find happiness in the neighborhood are the ones who embrace what's good about it. The film also focuses realistically complex and troubled human relationships, as exemplified between Carlos (Manny Perez) and his girlfriend, Maggie (Andrea Navedo). In one memorable moment, his anger and frustration with his situation comes through in a disturbingly intimate way. Tomas Milian's performance as the patriarchal shop owner Eddie, is the heart and soul of the film, and his relationship with Carlos is also compellingly layered. Predictably, things build to a dramatic epiphany as Carlos and Eddie angrily express long-held resentments to each other, but De Villa handles this scene gracefully, both actors play it without resorting to histrionics, and it's as surprisingly funny as it is moving. The resolution of Mickey's story is a bit more troubling, despite Danny Hoch's engaging performance. That plot line's presumably unintentional quotation of West Side Story momentarily jolts the viewer out of the movie. But De Villa's film has built up more than enough audience good will to recover.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/4/2003
  • UPC: 031398104230
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tomas Milian Eddie
Manny Perez Carlos
Andrea Navedo Maggie
Jude Ciccolella Sean
Bobby Cannavale Angel
David Zayas David
Judy Reyes Daisy
Callie Thorne Raquel
Manny Hoch Mickey
Brian DeJesus Steven
Lisa Hammer Berna
Michael Hyatt Michelle
Gloria Irizarry Senora Marquez
Ann McDonough Mrs. Kilpatrick
Marcos Palma Rafael
Gary Perez Pablo
Sara Ramirez Belkis
Roberto Sanchez Tito
Darien Sills-Evans Danny
Josh Stamberg Dr. Field
Jaime Tirelli Guillermo
Technical Credits
Alfredo de Villa Director, Screenwriter
Charlotte Bourke Production Designer
Claudio Chea Cinematographer
Luis Dantas Producer
Junot Díaz Screenwriter
Tom Donahue Editor, Producer
Greg Johnson Executive Producer
Nat Moss Screenwriter
Peter Newman Executive Producer
Manny Perez Producer
Leigh Roberts Score Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Inauthenic, cliched

    I was perhaps expecting a lot when I bought this film. Having grown up in a neighborhood similar to Washington Heights, I was hoping to see a proper representation of the 'hood and sharing that with my family. But the writing is full of recycled movie cliches (dating back to the Jazz Singer) and the camerawork is dizzying, sloppy and mostly obscures the action. Not recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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