REVIEW: Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo [2020]

My number was B948. I’ve always been fascinated by Danny Trejo‘s story because the first thing you discover after seeing him in a movie is that he’s a reformed criminal who served hard time for armed robbery. He went from a stint in San Quentin and pretty much every other prison in the greater Los Angeles region to giggling alongside children on the set of Robert Rodriguez‘s family-friendly adventure Spy Kids. How is that possible? In this America? As a formidable Chicano? You ask anyone and they’ll say it isn’t.…

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REVIEW: Widows [2018]

This isn’t your world. When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate my perception of what this thing was behind its marketing push. Would there be more than just revenge and heist-based thrills? Would this be a slower burn a la co-writer Gillian Flynn‘s novels augmented by…

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REVIEW: The Fate of the Furious [2017]

“That’s a lot of ice cream and Tay Tay concerts” A new era in The Fast and the Furious lore has begun almost four years after original co-star Paul Walker passed away doing exactly what his character Brian O’Conner did in the films: drive fast. With his role shelved by retirement rather than death, the goodness Brian provided Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his band of miscreants remains in the background as an unseen sense of morality and justice. It lingers to bolster the group’s sense of “family” and togetherness…

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REVIEW: Milton’s Secret [2016]

“Without forgiveness the past determines who you are in the present” After finding international success with his spiritual teachings through best-selling books The Power of Now and A New Earth, author and counselor Eckhart Tolle set his sights on children in 2008 with Milton’s Secret and its blatantly synergistic subtitle to those previous works “An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and the Power of Now”. Written in collaboration with Robert S. Friedman and illustrator Frank Riccio, this tale focuses upon the titular eleven-year old (soon-to-be twelve) boy as an…

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REVIEW: Fast & Furious [2009]

“He used to date my sister” While only grossing half of its predecessor’s haul to make it seem as though Paul Walker‘s absence was a huge box office hindrance, Tokyo Drift still almost doubled its budget despite no discernible connection to the franchise that spawned it until the very end (minus its drag racing theme). It was apparently enough for the studio to gauge interest and see whether the quickly fading from public consciousness Walker and Vin Diesel wanted some easy money. With director Justin Lin‘s visual style alongside screenwriter…

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REVIEW: Resident Evil: Retribution [2012]

“Congratulations, you’re officially a bad ass” You would think that by installment five the studio and/or writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson would realize the fans of the Resident Evil franchise are the only ones still buying tickets. The fact Resident Evil: Retribution only made a little over forty million of its sixty-five million dollar budget back should get this fact across. The T-virus zombies aren’t big box office bank anymore—it’s simply been too long since the games or movies were truly relevant. So, why are they still giving us a five-minute…

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REVIEW: Machete [2010]

“No amnesty for parasites” What better way to go political and make a statement about American border patrol vigilantes, corrupt State Senators, and the plight of the illegal alien doing whatever it takes for a chance at freedom from tyranny and squalor than with a Grindhouse-esque, exploitation flick? Robert Rodriguez, co-writer Álvaro Rodriguez, and co-director Ethan Maniquis don’t think there is one, so they expanded Robert’s faux-trailer meant to titillate and excite the adrenal glands for high-octane action into the feature length Machete. Reusing footage and fleshing out the story,…

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REVIEW: The Fast and the Furious [2001]

“I smell skanks” Ah, The Fast and the Furious, the film that launched the careers of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and, for all intents and purposes, Michelle Rodriguez, (yes she starred in Girlfight previously). This foursome was so hot after this movie that some of them couldn’t demean themselves by starring in the sequel. Poor them as, just a short eight years later, they all jumped at the opportunity to reunite with fast cars in the fourth installment. Oh how the mighty fall, especially when they weren’t too…

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REVIEW: Resident Evil Trilogy [2002, 2004, 2007]

“Project Alice is online” **Contains Spoilers** Paul WS Anderson has given us the newest trilogy of diminishing returns. I have never played the video game before and therefore went into the 2002 original Resident Evil containing little knowledge of the mythology. With that novice mentality, I found myself really enjoying the film. It gave me the background needed, the action and suspense expected, and a cliffhanger leaving me anticipating more. That continuation came but two years later with the subtitle Apocalypse. Here was a film that showed how the series’…

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