Archive for Reviews

07 Nov 2011

Movies and the Briss: Take Shelter

No Comments Podcast Reviews, Published Work, Reviews

This week on Movies and the Briss, I review the indie-flick “Take Shelter,” which won the Critic’s Week Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

Take Shelter


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31 Oct 2011

Movies and the Briss: Puss in Boots

No Comments Podcast Reviews, Reviews

This week on Movies and the Briss, I review Dreamwork Animation’s newest flick, “Puss in Boots.”

Puss in Boots

Also new this week, I introduce a new running list of the grades I give to movies now in theaters and new to DVD/Blu-ray. See the list below and click on the title to find more information about the film on imdb.com. Be sure to check back every week for new updates!
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17 Oct 2011

Movies and the Briss: Melancholia and The Tree of Life

No Comments Podcast Reviews, Reviews

This week, I go rogue from mainstream Hollywood and review two of the year’s most fascinating festival films.

Melancholia

The Tree of Life

Images courtesy of Magnolia Pictures and Fox Searchlight.

04 Oct 2011

Movies and the Briss: 50/50 and Moneyball

No Comments Podcast Reviews, Published Work, Reviews

This week, I review the new dramedy “50/50,” starring Joseph Gordon-Lovitt and Seth Rogen, as well as the sports drama “Moneyball,” starring Brad Pitt. Listen to the podcast below.

06 Sep 2010

Machete

No Comments Reviews

A nude Latina chica with the perkiest breasts this side of the border and curves as smooth as a coke bottle, straddles a tall, dark stranger. Groping the side of his muscular thigh, she asks in an inquisitive, yet sultry manner, “What is this long hard rod you’ve got here?” In low raspy voice the stranger replies, “That is my machete.” This girl has gone and f*^&ed with the wrong Mexican…

Danny Trejo is Machete. Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

Based on director Robert Rodriguez’s (“Planet Terror”) now not-so-fake trailer that was featured during Rodriguez’s and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse,” “Machete” brings the blade slinging legend to life.

Three years ago, Mexican federale and all around badass, Machete (Danny Trejo, “Predators”), was betrayed by his government and was forced to watch as Torrez (Steven Segal, “A Dangerous Man”), a Mexican drug lord, brutally slew his wife and daughter. Today, Machete illegally lives across the border in Texas, working as a gardener for hire. Life is simple until a political businessman named Booth (Jeff Fahey, TVs “Lost”) gives him an ultimatum – Either kill die-hard anti-immigration Senator McLaughlin (Robert Deniro, “Everybody’s Fine”) and receive $150,000 for his services or be deported back to Mexico.

Machete reluctantly takes Booth’s offer unknowing of the political conspiracy surrounding the Senator. During the assassination attempt, Machete is betrayed once again by those he is working for. With only two options, either run and hide or fight to uncover the truth, Machete, with the help of an undercover cop (Jessica Alba, “Valentines Day”) and sexy female freedom fighter (Michelle Rodriguez, “Avatar”), decides to take justice into his own vengeful hands.

A new action star isn’t born in “Machete,” Machete is the one giving nasty, unfiltered, blood covered action birth. Machete is a man who will slice you open, yank out your large intestine and use said intestine as rope to secure himself as he jumps out a 10 story building. You think James Bond gets girls easy? Machete gets two girls at once – a mother and her daughter. He knows the score and always gets the bad guys. This is “Machete.”

Exploitation cinema gets seriously exploited in Rodriguez’s follow up to his now cult classic “Planet Terror” (his half of “Grindhouse”).  No filmmaker can purposefully make a crappy movie more over-the-top outrageous better than Rodriguez.  In “Machete” the dialogue is cheesier, the tits are bigger, and the blood flies higher. Even the music, composed by Rodriguez’s Mexican style rock band Chingon (Spanish for badass), is more in-your-face awesome than usual (especially when the hot and heavy porno beat starts to play when things really start to get dirty).

While a coherent plot isn’t necessary, Rodriguez’s screenplay packs a punch with an extreme look at immigration ideas straight out of today’s headlines. Deniro’s McLaughlin is an exaggerated red-neck conservative whose rallies draw white-trash citizens carrying signs with pictures of Uncle Sam saying, “I want you to speak English!” With the help of his patrons and border patrol Nazi-esque guard Lt. Stillman (Don Johnson, “When in Rome”), the Senator will do anything to get re-elected so he can finally get that electrified fence erected along the border.

Linsay Lohan plays a daughter gone wild in "Machete." Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

Keeping his cinematic family intact, Rodriguez recycles most of the cast from his previous films, with the addition of some high profile faces. In his eighth film under Rodriguez’s direction, Trejo embodies Machete with a ferocity unknown to mankind. As the “only seen through video conversations until all his minions fail and his expertise is needed to get the job done” drug lord, Segal has fun taking his legendary action status to another level.

Alba, M. Rodriguez and Electra and Elise Avellan (R. Rodriguez’s nieces) all heat up the screen with their undeniable sexiness, but it is actually Lindsay Lohan who steals the show. First seen on-screen as a drugged up mess in a hooker’s outfit, Lohan succeeds in her attempt to spoof her real-life through a movie role. Add to that a nude sequence and a scene involving her mowing down bad guys with a rather large machine gun and she lands a comeback role as momentous as Tom Cruise’s in “Tropic Thunder.”

Obviously geared towards “Grindhouse” fans, “Machete” is unlikely to thrill those who don’t understand the purpose behind exploitation genre. For those of us who do know a great shitty movie when we see one, “Machete” is waiting.

‘Machete’
Release Date: Sept. 3
Directors: Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis
Starring: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Segal, Robert DeNiro and Lindsay Lohan
Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity.
Grade: A-