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Okay, so we are very light on new releases today, but we do have some interesting stuff on DVD and Blu-Ray. Lets take a look at what we have…

Predators
Based on a story by and produced by Robert Rodriguez, this film directed by Nimród Antal was looking to relaunch and revitalize the Predator horror franchise. With a cast that includes Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne and Danny Trejo, the film followed a group of convicts and army types who are transported to an alien world and hunted for sport. The film is coming out on both DVD and Blu-Ray.

Agora
A historical drama from Alejandro Amenábar with Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, and Oscar Isaac. Weisz portrays Hypatia of Alexandria. The film came out in a very limited release. I honestly haven’t even heard of it until now.

That is it in terms of new releases, but we have a couple cool reissues.

Seven Samurai
The classic action flick from Akira Kurosawa is coming out in Blu-Ray as part of the Criterion Collection. In the film, a poor village is under attack by bandits when they turn to seven out of work samurai to protect them. If you haven’t seen the film, it is worth checking out.

The Bionic Woman – Season 1
The hit action series from the seventies is finally on DVD. The series was a spinoff from The Six Million Dollar Man. In it, Lindsay Wagner is Jaime Sommers, a young woman and tennis professional who is nearly killed in a skydiving accident and is rebuilt with bionic parts that give her superhuman powers.

Other notable Blu-Ray releases:

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (35th Anniversary Edition)
  • Apocalypse Now (Three-Disc Full Disclosure Edition)
  • Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition)

What will you be taking home this week?

MacheteI went into Machete with low expectations. I had heard bad things. People say Robert Rodriguez has lost his touch. And really? A movie based on a fake trailer from another movie. Maybe going in with such low expectations is what saved the film for me, because I had a lot of fun.

This is by no means a classic film. I had never heard the term “Mexploitation” before today and thought I was being really clever and coining the phrase. Turns out there’s already a Wikipedia stub, but enough about that. Danny Trejo, in his first starring role, plays a Mexican version of Shaft. He begins the film as a Mexican federale on the hunt for a notorious drug lord, but he’s betrayed by the corruption in the system and left for dead.

Jump forward three years. The man known as Machete is now an illegal immigrant day laborer in Texas. By luck, or movie magic, he’s picked as an assassin for an anti-immigrant independent senator. Of course, it’s all a set-up and, of course, it all ties back to the same drug lord Machete has a score to settle with. But mostly it’s an excuse for violence while taking some not too subtle pokes at the immigration issue at a time when it’s at the forefront of the news.

And violence there is, in spades. In the first big fight scene Machete hacks off a gunman’s hand then picks up the gun, severed hand and all, and uses it to blow away several other baddies. With a name like machete you expect a lot of sharp objects to be in play and boy are there. There are some truly squickworthy scenes of gore here but there are also plenty of moments so over-the-top you can’t help but laugh. The plot isn’t worthy of Mamet but it gets the job done.

Machete

And, somehow, we buy the 66-year old Danny Trejo, who would probably not be offended if I called him a uglyass mofo, not only as an action hero but as someone all the women want to jump in bed with. And what women they are, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and somehow Lindsay Lohan stayed out of jail long enough to portray someone not that dissimilar from her own public persona. The male cast are no slouches either. No less than Robert DeNiro plays the senator. Jeff Fahey, of Lost, does a wonderful job as his scheming underling while the big bad is played by Stephen Segal. Time hasn’t been all that kind to Mr. Segal, but he still has an air of menace that keeps him feeling threatening rather than laughable. A few of the name villains go down a little easily but most of their endings are poetic. And Cheech Marin’s small role as Machete’s priest brother almost steals the whole film. There’s an image in one his last scenes that I’m surprised hasn’t stirred up more controversy. Maybe films like this fly under the radar of advocates of a nanny state simply because it would be too odious for them to bring themselves to watch it in the first place.

I was impressed with numerous bits of foreshadowing. Some of it is obvious. A lingering shot of a corkscrew on a counter tells you that’s going into someone’s body. But others, like an offhanded comment about how long the human intestines are, come back in brilliant ways. The hero’s one-liners fall a little flat. Machete doesn’t really have a great catchphrase. The villains tend to have better dialogue than the terse Machete.

The end credits promise two sequels. Will they happen? Will they be straight to DVD? Placed in one of the worst box office weekends of the year Machete has not impressed at the box office so far. But this film could become a cult hit that thrives on home video. Violent, sexy and not unable to provoke some actual thought, Machete is not a classic movie, but it is a damn fine B-movie and those can be a lot of fun.

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new films coming out on 9.3.10

This weekend we have a surprisingly good weekend of new movie releases regardless of the end of the crazy summer season of blockbusters. The four new big movies couldn’t be more different, and while I still have films from the last few weeks that I want to see (Scott Pilgrim, The Expendables), I also sorta want to see some of these. We’ll start with the film that is most likely to get an Oscar nomination…

The American
Directed by Anton Corbijn, this action thriller that stars George Clooney as an American assassin that is being hunted in Italy while on his last assignment.  It is a story that has been told many times, but I trust George Clooney. He usually has a great eye for characters and has been on a great streak with his acting (Michael Clayton, Up in the Air, Fantastic Mr. Fox). I’m not familar with Corbijn, and from the look of his IMDB he has more experience in directing concerts and music related projects. The flick co-stars Irina Björklund.

Machete
Robert Rodriguez’s spoof trailer turned movie is the one I’m most excited about this weekend! It is an over the top b-action/horror/crime/thriller that stars one of film’s biggest badasses, Danny Trejo, as Machete.  Machete is an ex-Federale who launches a brutal rampage of violence after being betrayed by an organization that hired him. The flick co-stars Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, and Lindsay Lohan.

Going the Distance
Next up is the long distance romantic comedy Going the Distance. The movie stars the on again/off again real life couple of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore, along with Christina Applegate, and Always Sunny‘s Charlie Day (who needs to be in more films!). The trailer was cute, and while it didn’t fully pull me it, it pulled in my wife who wants to check it out. A perfect dinner and a movie date movie. The flick is about two lovebirds that try to keep their romance alive regardless of living across the country from each other.

The Tillman Story
Last up is a documentary by Amir Bar-Lev that focuses on Pat Tillman, a pro football player who left a multimillion-dollar contract to join the military in a time of war and how the government manipulated his death into a tool for propaganda.

Will you be going to the movies this weekend?

Okay, first I gotta apologize for posting so many posters lately. Sorry about that. But I had to put this one up because;

1) it’s for the Robert Rodriguez produced Predators,
2) it’s awesome, and
3) PREDATORS!

The poster features the title monster and a muddy and beaten Adrien Brody.

Predators Movie Poster

The film also stars Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien, and Oleg Taktarov. Nimród Antal, who helmed 2007’s Vacancy, directed the action flick. It hits theaters in a month on July 9, 2010!