Brazil's Controversial Downs Syndrome Comedy 'Colegas' Calls on Sean Penn to Attend Premiere on February 19, 2013

Colegas, or Buddies, has already had a good run on the festival circuit with a Best Brazilian Picture win at the Sao Paulo Film Festival. Now on the cusp of its theatrical premiere on March 1, Marcelo Galvão's comedy about three movie-obsessed kids with Downs Syndrome who are inspired by Thelma and Louise to escape their institution and go on an accidental crime spree has a new goal: Get Sean Penn to their grand opening. Like their characters, the stars themselves are fixated on Hollywood films and have launched an online campaign to capture Penn's attention. Colegas lead Ariel Goldemberg stars in a YouTube video asking Penn to attend his movie, and in the two weeks since it was uploaded, it has already racked up over 1.3 million views. Penn's camp has yet to issue an official response to the invitation, but it's one the actor should strongly consider: his last film, Gangster Squad, opened at a mere #9 on the charts with just $297K.

Watch Colegas' Sean Penn plea

The trailer for Colegas

FIRST NUMBERS: 'Hansel and Gretel' Clings to #1 in Brazil on February 17, 2013

hansel.jpgHansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters looks to have made $1.6 million this weekend, enough to hold on to the top spot on the Brazilian charts for the fourth week in a row. If true, the streak has the Jeremy Renner adventure film tying another Jeremy Renner adventure film -- The Avengers -- which also dominated the charts for four weeks last spring. Of course, the competition during this early stretch of 2013 is much less intense. Compared to The Avengers' total Brazilian take of $63.9 million, Hansel and Gretel has to date made a solid, but much smaller $19.3 million -- still enough that it may manage a spot on the top 10 of 2013. The week-to-week drop is estimated at a mere 15%, a figure that likely received a boost from the Carnival holidays.

TRAILER: Jose Padilha's 'Secrets of the Tribe' on February 16, 2013

The big film on Elite Squad director Jose Padilha's radar is his reboot of RoboCop, which stars The Killing's Joel Kinnaman and Samuel L. Jackson and is scheduled for a 2014 release. But in 2010, the same year that Padilha came to global attention when Elite Squad 2 broke box office records in Brazil, the director kicked off an unusual project: a documentary on the Yanomami tribe from a wedge of the Amazon River that straddles Brazil and Venezuela. The tribe came to fame in two curious and contradictory ways: as the focus of controversial anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon's study Yanomami: The Fierce People, and as the supposed subjects in the gory 1980 horror film Cannibal Holocaust. Padilha's documentary, Secrets of the Tribe, is meant to be a more honest and longform exploration of the Yanomami culture starting with the increased attention it received after Chagnon's book was published in the '60s. Secrets of the Tribe will be released in Brazilian theaters on 2/22. 


Watch the trailer for Secrets of the Tribe.

NEW TRAILER: 'Disparos,' Starring 'Elite Squad 2' Actor Julio AdriĆ£o on February 14, 2013

The corruption thriller Disparos has released a new trailer. Directed by Juliana Reis, the film tracks a photographer who comes into conflict with the local police after being assaulted by bikers and hit by a car. When the cops confiscate his camera as evidence, they discover photos that implicate him in a serious crime. Julio Adrião of Elite Squad 2, one of the highest-grossing films in Brazilian history, stars. 

Watch the trailer for Disparos:

Post-Carnival, How Will 'The Sessions" and 'Zero Dark Thirty' Fare? on February 12, 2013

the_sessions.jpgCarnival, which ends today, has dominated Brazil for four days. Now that the country is sobering up and headed back to work, two U.S. films will test their luck at the Brazilian box office. The choices are an odd fit: this weekend's new releases are the paraplegic sexual drama The Sessions, starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, and Kathryn Bigelow's epic and serious terrorism thriller Zero Dark Thirty. As neither fit with the national mood of the last week, the test for the two adult films will be to see if they serve as smart counter-programming to a country with a hangover, or a total buzzkill. Carnival is often a box office boost. In 2012, the box office bumped 10.8% at the end of the festival with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance driving away with the top spot. 

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