Christian Toto

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NAD Analyst


Latest from Christian Toto

Most movie goers likely haven’t heard of the Cristero War, the Mexican uprising against draconian government measures designed to stamp out Catholicism during the 1920s.

Pablo Jose Barroso, producer of “For Greater Glory,” can relate. The Mexico native knew very little about this horrific chapter in his country's history before embarking on the film’s production.



The new film “Act of Valor” doesn’t accuse U.S. military members of war crimes, nor does it paint them as cold killing machines.

That simply won’t do for many film critics, who cling to the kind of anti-military movies which routinely flop at the box office. “Valor” uses amateur actors – active duty Navy SEALs – and certainly can be faulted for their flat line readings. And the episodic nature of the movie also invites fair critiques, even if it’s remarkable the cast routinely acted around live gunfire. But many critics went beyond the call of duty to smite a film that dared to show SEALs as heroes, and their efforts to stop terrorists a noble endeavor.



Director Chris Weitz wasn’t satisfied humanizing the plight of illegal immigrants via his Oscar-nominated 2011 film “A Better Life.”

Now, the man who gave us “About a Boy” and “The Golden Compass” has directed a series of videos attacking Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration laws and comparing those who don’t believe in open borders to the state’s most racist political figures of yore.



thelottery

The children eager to attend Harlem Success Academies don’t care about partisan politics or ideological turf wars. They just want the best education possible. “The Lottery,” a new documentary by Madeleine Sackler, showcases families desperate for an alternative to the New York Public School system.

The film, playing an exclusive engagement through July 15 at the Starz FilmCenter in Denver, follows four such families who enter a lottery system so their children can attend a prestigious charter school. Strip away the interpersonal dynamics and you’ll find a full-throated argument on behalf of charter schools. And those who think only Republicans support school choice measures will be surprised to see a large  number of Democrats eager to give charter schools a try.



Whenever Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore releases a new documentary the reaction in the press is typically jubilant. Rave reviews. Fawning interviews which rarely ask tough questions. Oscar buzz aplenty.

But this time could be different.

Moore’s last film, “Slacker Uprising,” didn’t go straight to DVD. It went straight to download. Now, Moore’s catching heat from Movieline.com, the online film magazine which routinely taunts conservative targets like Gov. Sarah Palin. The site’s new Moore-related post swats the filmmaker for a less than sharp attempt at marketing his upcoming film about the country’s economic collapse. The movie blogger sets up his critique here: