Wednesday 23 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Thriller · Machete


None September 16th, 2010

Let's go slumming. No, I don't mean we should go to the "bad part" of town and run the risk of being roughed up "” I mean a safe, comfortable theater in a mall somewhere playing "Machete," from directors Robert Rodriguez ("Sin City") and his frequent editor/now co-helmer Ethan Maniquis.

Like Rodriguez's half of "Grindhouse," from which this film began as a fake trailer, "Machete" has gratuitous nudity, violence and the look and feel of a 1970s B movie.

But while the new film may have the look down pat, the real grindhouse feeling isn't there. It's like spending $10,000 to replicate a 1960s "Lost in Space" lunchbox.

I've spent a lot of hours watching lousy movies because they featured cult character actor Danny Trejo ("Predators") in a small part, and it's good to see him in a lead. He's Machete, a Mexican federale whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered by drug kingpin Torrez (Seven Seagal, "Half Past Dead").

Machete is left for dead in a burning building, but 10 years later shows up working as an undocumented day laborer in Austin, Texas, which this movie seems to think is a border town.

Because of his rugged bad looks, Machete is hired by Booth (Jeff Fahey, TV's "Lost") to assassinate state Sen. John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro, "Everybody's Fine"), a tough-talking yahoo on the subject of illegal immigration. But Booth is not who he seems to be, and neither is the plot.

Other characters include Luz (Michelle Rodriguez, "Avatar"), who operates a taco truck, but could be the elusive revolutionary She? Not Che, She. Sartana (Jessica Alba, "The Killer Inside Me"), a U.S. immigration officer, is all rulebook on the outside, but could be sympathetic to the Mexican cause. Machete's brother is a fighting priest (Cheech Marin, "Race to Witch Mountain"); Marin steals every scene he's in and some he isn't.

Lt. Stillman (a very funny Don Johnson, "When in Rome") is a goober with a gun and an I-hate-Mexicans attitude; Osiris (Tom Savini, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno") is a real killer for hire; and April (Lindsay Lohan, "I Know Who Killed Me" and every edition of "Entertainment Tonight" since 2007) is Booth's trashy daughter and the object of his secret affection.

We don't usually point out things like this, but since "Machete" is supposed to be grindhouse, let's grind. Yes, Alba has a nude scene, in profile, head to toe, while Lohan goes topless. The former is quite enjoyable, the latter, not worth writing home about.

The picture was written by Robert Rodriguez and his cousin Alvaro Rodriguez ("Shorts"). I'm sure the movie's politics are sincere, but a film written for middle-class white liberals is never going to be real grindhouse. Rodriguez may as well stop trying.

Most Hollywood genre films today are really B movies in A clothing. This one is B trying to look B, but still being A.

If you're confused, it's not worth figuring out. "”Doug Bentin
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