‘Critical Thinking’ Trailer: Inspirational Chess Drama Marks John Leguizamo’s Directorial Debut

Are you ready for another inspirational high school drama about underprivileged teens? No? Seen ’em to death, right? Well, what if I told you Critical Thinking marks the directorial debut of John Leguizamo, and the story actually centers around competitive chess? Interested now?

Based on a true story, Critical Thinking finds Leguizamo pulling double duty. He both directs the film and stars as coach Mario Martinez, who led the Miami Jackson High School chess team to the 1998 U.S. National Chess Championship.  This despite the challenge of an administration with no interest in supporting chess, or the inner-city students whose lives were changed by it.

Joining Leguizamo in the cast are Rachel Bay Jones (Modern Family), Michael K. Williams, Corwin C. Tuggles (Detachment), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Far from Home) and Angel Bismark Curiel (Pose). The script is by Dito Montiel, best known for his films A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Fighting, and Empire State.

Critical Thinking hits virtual cinemas, VOD, and digital on September 4th.

SYNOPSIS: Based on a true story from 1998, five LatinX and Black teenagers from the toughest underserved ghetto in Miami fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.