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: Alita: Battle Angel [2019]

No one’s greater than the game. This is a film twenty years in the making despite James Cameron being attached from the start. The story goes that Guillermo del Toro introduced the King of Hollywood to Yukito Kishiro‘s manga Gunnm and he fell in love with the book enough to give it permanent placement on his docket. Alita: Battle Angel was first thought to begin production after the demise of Cameron’s television show “Dark Angel” only to have him decide something else was more pressing. Then came the secretive technological…

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REVIEW: 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn] [1967]

“You still want noodles?” When I told a friend I was going to be watching King Hu‘s 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn], she surprisingly told me she’d already seen it. I wondered where considering the Janus Films restoration had just released this year and her response was, “El Rey.” Yes, Robert Rodriguez‘s television channel known for grindhouse content. I was taken aback. I had seen A Touch of Zen last month and found myself mesmerized by the artistry and scope, it’s epic tale the type of austere cinema for…

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REVIEW: Lake Nowhere [2016]

“My blood is liquid offering” Directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy take a page from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez‘s book by delving into slasher fare of old for their own grindhouse-type homage of Italian blood-letting, maliciously Evil Dead-esque vines, and a murderer in the vein of Leatherface and Jason Voorhees protecting a lake of perished souls. The film is Lake Nowhere, titled after the final 45-minute or so “feature” that follows trailers for the unmade When the River Runs Red and Harvest Man alongside a commercial for fictional…

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REVIEW: Wild Wild West [1999]

“Never drum on a white lady’s boobies at a big redneck dance” Let’s just say that Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise dodged a bullet by backing out of Wild Wild West during its seven-year gestation. Its script probably wasn’t nearly as off-the-wall goofy at the start considering their clout as actors, but I highly doubt either would have been up for the parody it became. While the 90s were all about the television adaptation anyway—Gibson went on to do the lackluster Maverick and Cruise the effective Mission: Impossible—I’m not sure…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2014: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Sin City,’ ‘Starred Up,’ and More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. 2014 soldiers on and the poster selection just gets worse. Luckily the films themselves haven’t been as uninspired. Or maybe they have. After all, this summer is down almost 19%…

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REVIEW: X-Men [2000]

“What do they call you? Wheels?” It’s hard to believe-fourteen years gone-that X-Men was the comic book property used to usher in our current “golden age” of superhero movies. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering it’s probably the most relatable due to its being devoid of flying aliens, radioactive spiders, and Gods. No, short of Batman transforming the memory his parents’ murder into the life of a vigilante, mutants are the most “human” creation Marvel or DC has created (at least to someone with barely a cursory knowledge of…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2011: Summer Excess vs. Indie Class

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s sad to say, but August 2011 is a dismal month for quality poster design. I guess this shouldn’t be too big a surprise since it’s the tail end…

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REVIEW: Hobo with a Shotgun [2011]

“I’m gonna sleep in your bloody carcass tonight” Put on your snap bracelets, grab your shotgun, and prepare to take back your city. When a crazed lunatic is running the police, his sons wreaking havoc on the citizens without provocation, and the population shaking in silent fear so as not to be the next victim at the hands of their brutality, sometimes it takes a stranger to finally make a stand. Whether that vigilante is a homeless man straight off the train shouldn’t matter, his brand of justice is the…

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REVIEW: Drive Angry 3D [2011]

“Please … aim fer their tires” You have to respect a man who seems to love his work. Why else would Nicolas Cage, an actor so full of talent and skill at his craft—see Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation.—continuously partake in endeavors that are for all intents and purposes unworthy of an audience? It has to be because he finds pleasure in greasing up whatever obscene hairdo he currently has and appropriating that redneck drawl he so loves. There is something to becoming caricatures and wreaking havoc onscreen, being evil…

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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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