La Partida (The Last Match) (unrated)

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Stealth romance: </span>Reinier Diaz and Milton Garcia try to keep their love affair secret in modern-day Cuba.
Stealth romance: Reinier Diaz and Milton Garcia try to keep their love affair secret in modern-day Cuba.

Movie Info

Cast: Milton Garcia, Reinier Diaz, Luis Alberto Garcia, Mirtha Ibarra, Toni Canto, Jenifer Rodriguez.

Director: Antonio Hens .

Screenwriters: Abel Gonzalez Melo, Antonio Hens.

Producers: Antonio Hens, Julio Gutierrez, Vanessa Portieles.

A TLA Releasing release. Running time: 93 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Vulgar language, explicit sex, nudity, drug use, strong adult themes. No one under 17 will be admitted without an adult guardian. In Miami-Dade only: Coral Gables Art Cinema.

La partida (The Last Match) is the story of two boys in love in a culture where homosexuality is taboo — unless you’re getting paid for it, in which case it’s OK. The handsome Reinier (Reinier Diaz) makes a living by having sex with gay tourists and provides for his wife and mother-in-law, who are totally comfortable with his work, because he’s only doing it for the money.

His best friend Yosvani (Milton Garcia), who lives with his girlfriend and her black-market kingpin father (Luis Alberto Garcia), isn’t quite as comfortable with his pal’s occupation, but he’s content to look the other way, because in Havana, people make do however they can. The two young men are inseparable, playing soccer with the other kids in the neighborhood and going nightclubbing and dropping ecstasy. Then one night, a drunken Reinier leans in for a kiss. Yosvani recoils and walks away, stunned by the advance. But the incident awakens something between the two friends, and soon they’re having sex on rooftops, bathroom stalls and alleyways, any place they can find away from prying eyes.

Like most films about modern-day Cuba, La partida is about desperation and yearning. Reinier talks about someday buying himself a Suzuki; Yosvani dreams about the two of them leaving the island together. Director Antonio Hens pays careful attention to the everyday details, such as the way in which some of the characters scarf down their dinner like they haven’t eaten for days or how a new pair of Adidas can make you a target for a mugging.

Garcia and Diaz, who look like they were born on the island of Abercrombie & Fitch, fare well at depicting their characters’ irrepressible happiness when they finally let down their guards and give in to their desires. Their relationship is tender, and the danger of discovery adds an edge of tension. But once the premise has been established, Hens and co-writer Abel Gonzalez Melo come up with a pile of hackneyed contrivances to separate the couple, requiring the sort of acting that is beyond the reach of this cast. The sex in the movie is excessive and has a prurient undertone (the camera often feels like it’s leering) and the inevitable tragic ending is badly bungled; it makes you wince. La partida closes with a long, uninterrupted shot that achieves a nice bit of poetry, a metaphor for a life on the run, constantly looking over one’s shoulder. But the rest of the film is a superficial take on a fascinating cultural hypocrisy, doused in sudsy melodrama and wobbly acting.

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Magic in the Moonlight’:</span> Colin Firth is a stage magician trying to disprove the abilities of an acclaimed psychic (Emma Stone).

    Magic in the Moonlight (PG-13)

    The inherent problem in cranking out a movie (sometimes two!) every year, as Woody Allen has been doing for the last 34 years, is that some of them are inevitably going to be dogs. Does someone have a gun to the filmmaker’s head that forces him to proceed with half-baked, joyless comedies such as Magic in the Moonlight instead of tossing bad ideas out and starting fresh? This is, at best, a 20-minute TV episode extended to feature length, and the stretch marks show. Boy, do they show. That’s practically all you can see, really.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Guardians of the Galaxy’:</span> Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt form an unlikely team of space-jockey superheroes.

    Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13)

    Watching the zippy, ebullient Guardians of the Galaxy, you wonder “Why can’t all comic-book movies be this much fun?”

Dad (Ethan Hawke, right) plays around with his son (Ellar Coltrane) in a scene from “Boyhood.”

    Boyhood (R)

    Contrary to most dramas, which tend to dwell on traumatic or seismic events, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood argues that life is a compilation of small, everyday moments, an accumulation of the feelings and thoughts and emotions we start to gather from the time we are children. Shot over the span of 12 years, with the cast getting together for a few days annually to shoot some scenes, the movie charts the growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the ages of 5 to 18. Mason has an older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) and he has two loving parents, Mom (Patricia Arquette) and Dad (Ethan Hawke), who are divorced and live apart. Their relationship can be contentious at times, but they both care deeply for their kids.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category