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Runnin’ at Midnite

Pablo Toledo bites off more than he can chew in debut feature "Runnin' at Midnite," a roundelay of wayward teenage lives on the mean streets of Tucson, Ariz. Though it grows out of what feels like authentic concern, nearly everything about the scenario is neither subtle nor inspired. Pic feels like an overlong "ABC Afterschool Special."

Pablo Toledo bites off more than he can chew in debut feature “Runnin’ at Midnite,” a roundelay of wayward teenage lives on the mean streets of Tucson, Ariz. Though it grows out of what feels like authentic concern, nearly everything about the scenario — from the kindly cop trying to save promising youths via a latenight basketball league, to the heart-of-gold gangbanger (Alexis Levario) desperate to leave his gang days behind — is neither subtle nor inspired. Pic feels like an overlong “ABC Afterschool Special” — and TV distribution is what pic’s future may hold, if it’s lucky.

Toledo is better behind the camera than on the page, filling scenes with dynamic compositions and a great deal of visual energy — sometimes too much. He tries to tell too many disparate stories, giving such short shrift to each that the characters never become fully involving or transcend cliche. The movie’s best idea, about the false promises peddled by the sports world to underprivileged youths, is dramatically underdeveloped. Some promising performances, however, do manage to shine through — particularly that of Levario, who captures sullen adolescent inexpressiveness.

Runnin’ at Midnite

  • Production: A Hope Street Prods. presentation. Produced by Lawrence Toledo, Jennifer Santiago, Pablo Toledo. Directed, written by Pablo Toledo.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Robert Ballo; editors, Dan Brock, Toledo; music, Sharon Farber. Reviewed at Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, July 28, 2003. Running time: 108 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Alexis Levario, Manny Vidal, Michael Clark, Daniel Chacon, Chris Glenn Romero, Paul Appleby, Robert Zepeda, Esthela Gonzalez, Melody Chubb.
  • Music By: