Machete Kills

Bedhead 2

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. It’s a sad day for Robert Rodriguez. His latest movie, Machete Kills, is a dud at the box office with his lowest wide-release opening of all time. Yes, even lower than Shorts. But if the Machete sequel is neither good nor popular, that doesn’t mean we can’t spend this weekend enjoying Rodriguez’s other work. Specifically, let’s go back to the beginning and check out his first film. No, not El Mariachi. Before even that landmark low-budget breakout, he made an 8-minute short while a student at the University of Texas called Bedhead. Made in 1990 with an $800 budget and employing his siblings as the cast and other relatives as the crew, Rodriguez co-wrote the script with brother David (also the title character) and friend Bryant Delafosse. He was his own DP, shooting on 16mm with a wind-up camera (and no synch sound), and his own editor, cutting on video, maybe even using the double-VCR system he’d been working with as a kid. He also animated the opening credits sequence. While El Mariachi is better known for being his Hollywood calling card, Rodriguez actually sent around both that and Bedhead, which had the esteem of winning awards at a number of film festivals (Carolina Film Festival, Third Coast Film Festival, Marin County Film and Video Festival and The University of Missouri Fine Arts Competition). And the combo […]

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Danny Trejo Sherrybaby

Our official review of Machete Kills is pretty negative. Rightfully so, it’s a major disappointment following the purposefully cheesy yet still politically relevant first film. This time it’s all just silly, kind of like an Austin Powers movie for the Latino audience instead of 13-year-old boys — though the 13-year-old boys may still be the best audience for this. I want to recommend it solely for Demian Bichir, though, because he is a pleasure to watch every second he’s on screen. Maybe it’s just how great he is relative to the rest of the cast and movie, but I’d give him another Oscar nomination for this. If you think that’s ridiculous, you haven’t seen the movie (because that is ridiculous). If you don’t see Machete Kills, no big deal, even if you won’t know what’s going on when Machete Kills Again… In Space arrives. This week’s gateway recommendations have nothing related to any spoilers in the movie. Most are just better films starring parts of the sequel’s ensemble. I also almost thought about including Star Wars, not because I think any of you haven’t seen it but because I think you’d want to clean yourself in the form of a re-watch after seeing all the bad references here. Seriously, even if we’d never had 35 years of parodies, copycats, fan films and other works derived from and informed by Star Wars, the allusions here would still feel stale. The following ten selections are worth checking out whether you bother with Machete […]

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Machete Kills

Editor’s note: Neil’s review of Machete Kills originally ran during this year’s Fantastic Fest, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in theatrical release today. It feels like an odd tradition to have. Just about every other year, Fantastic Fest — the beloved pilgrimage of genre film fans to Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse — the opening night film is a complete dud. The first and most notable example of this came in 2009 when Gentlemen Broncos opened the festival, much to the confusion and displeasure of the always keen Fantastic Fest crowd. Following opening night, that year’s festival went on to produce memorable screenings of Antichrist, Fish Story, Zombieland, Gareth Evans’ debut Merantau and many others. It was a great year. The same came two years later when the festival opened with the overwhelmingly unlikable Human Centipede 2, only to yield the debuts of great flicks like You’re Next, Extraterrestrial, A Boy and His Samurai and the Oscar nominee Bullhead. It could be deduced, based on recent history, that the quality of the opening night film is inversely proportional to the quality of the rest of the Fantastic Fest line-up. With that in mind, 2013 has opened with Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills. By the logic expressed above, that means 2013 is on pace to be the best Fantastic Fest line-up yet.

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All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

If you’re seething with unreleased rage and only know three guitar chords, there are a ton of options for you at theaters this week. From the boys finally loving Mandy Lane to Machete continuing his fight against good taste (which must have done something terrible to his family), and from Captain Phillips fighting back against pirates to William Faulkner rising from the grave to strangle James Franco, there are an unhealthy amount of victimized people taking up arms against a sea of bullies. Naturally, vengeful ghosts and an evil Disneyland come into play as well. On the punk rock side, there’s Green Day battling Broadway and a poorly-lip-synced attempt at telling the story of an iconic haunt that never played bluegrass music. There’s also a lot more going on in a week with a massive amount of movies. Here’s your trailer-ized guide to what’s coming out:

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Machete Kills

Though there have been many trailers for Robert Rodriguez‘s Machete Kills leading up to its theatrical release next week, none are quite like this. The content is nothing new, but it’s framed in the most badass of fresh packages: in glorious, over-the-top, flaming 3D. You know the drill: Machete (Danny Trejo) has been hired by the President of the United States (Charlie Sheen/Carlos Estevez) to hunt down a madman in Mexico (Mel Gibson) who has plans to launch a missile into the White House. Along the way, he must band up with his fellow (sexy) assassins and do battle with countless (sexy) others. Blood, boobs, corny jokes, Lady Gaga(?), explosions, end film. But in 3D, Machete Kills is brand new again. Every slash of that machete, every explosion and splatter of gushing blood leaps off the trailer at you in a surprisingly seamless fashion. It’s as if all trailers are just like this, and hopefully they will be at some point. It’s just fun to watch. The brilliance of the 3D trailer is that the tease demands that you go see the movie in an actual theater to see more where that came from – well-played when we were all starting to get a tiny bit of Machete fatigue. Check out the insane trailer below to see what I’m yammering about:

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machete

Robert Rodriguez’s latest tribute to 70s B-cinema, Machete Kills, seems to be in the full court press phase of its marketing campaign, because just a few weeks out from its October 11 release date it has now released a new red band trailer that gets deep into all the over-the-top gore and purposeful sleaze that the film has to offer. And, from the looks of things, the movie gets real over-the-top, and super-sleazy. Fans of the first film might not want to give this latest ad a look though, as its purpose seems to be shocking anyone who might still be on the fence about the franchise into the theater. If you’re a Machete fan, chances are one of the things you enjoyed about the first go-around was all of the inventive, ludicrous methods that Danny Trejo’s Machete character concocted to kill people, and though this red band trailer is kind of a lot of gory fun, it also looks like the sort of thing that likely gives most of the best kills the movie has to offer away. Anyone who doesn’t like to be spoiled should move on, but for those of you who don’t mind, click away.

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ff 2013 anticipated

The most magical time of year is once again upon us as Austin prepares to open its doors, coffee houses, bars, and RV-based donut shops to visitors from around the world coming to celebrate wonderful and the weird in international cinema with Fantastic Fest. This year’s roster is a bit lighter compared to recent years, but a reduction in quantity has no bearing on quality. The fest will also be taking place in a new Alamo Drafthouse this year at the Lakeline location, and if it’s anything like every other Drafthouse it’s going to be awesome. Two of the titles I can already vouch for as being incredibly entertaining slices of cinema include the blackly comic thriller from Israel, Big Bad Wolves, and the beautifully executed action/suspense Korean film, Confession of Murder. Both are so damn good that I may actually be visiting them for a second time. FSR’s team coverage this year will be in the mostly capable hands of Adam Charles, Neil Miller, Michael Treveloni, and me. We’re excited about the entire fest and just about every movie playing, but we decided to highlight our most anticipated by picking three films each to share below.

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machete iphone

No, Machete doesn’t have time to run a twitter account – he has orders from the President (played by some guy named Carlos Estevez) to head down to Mexico and stop a missile from hitting the White House. Good thing his iPhone is equipped with a smaller machete instead of a useless twitter app. Danny Trejo is back in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, and oh does he ever live up to that title. Now contracted by the government TO KILL, Machete has to stop south of the border villain Mel Gibson — who frankly looks like he’s having the time of his life — from succeeding in his dastardly ways. Though Machete’s got help from a lot of badass babes on his side, Gibson has a “super soldier” army to fight. Sofia Vergara is a standout as some kind of militant fembot, as well as Lady Gaga, who appears in part of the film disguised as Cuba Gooding Jr. Sidenote: How great would it be if we found out the real Cuba Gooding Jr. was just Lady Gaga in disguise this whole time? She would be the greatest actress of our lifetime.

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Man of Tai Chi

There are many film festivals on the long, slow path to awards season (a march that begins a mere five months after this year’s Oscars), yet in a season full of festivals all touting potential awards winners, Fantastic Fest stands out from the crowd. Austin’s own beloved festival, with its focus on genre flicks and cult films, is a few steps off the beaten path. Today comes the initial lineup for Fantastic Fest, which offers a hearty blend of Bollywood, gooey horror, and crime stories from all over the world. Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut – Man of Tai Chi – will also be making an appearance, along with Reeves himself. The film stars Tiger Chen as a martial artist competing in an underground fight club run by Reeves’ character. Robert Rodriguez‘s Machete Kills will open the festival. The newly announced list of films can be seen after the break.

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vergara guns

You’ve probably already got an idea in your head of what a sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s tribute to B-movies, Machete, is going to look like. You expect that unique-to-modern-cinema, handcrafted look that Rodriguez’s do-it-yourself strategy produces, you expect some hammy acting and over-the-top action scenarios, and you expect at least one closeup of Danny Trejo’s glorious, craggy face. So, seeing as everyone pretty much already knows what to expect from Machete Kills, and already has a strong idea of whether or not they’re interested in going to see it, what sales tactic could one use to catch potential audience members off guard with the trailer? This time around they seem to have decided to highlight just how absurdly eclectic the cast Rodriguez has put together is, mostly by having all of his actors do ridiculous things while their names flash across the screen. Click through to see who all he got. Oh yeah, and hopefully you speak Spanish.

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Marko Zaror in Machete Kills

The cast for Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills has been swelling to epic proportions with everyone from Mel Gibson to Lady Gaga taking a shot at the baddest Mexican on the planet, but its adding one Chilean martial arts star to its roster. Mandrill star and Fantastic Fest favorite Marko Zaror has been announced as playing Zaror in the Machete follow-up. The character will serve as a henchman to Gibson’s role as main baddie and will likely come with the benefit of punching and kicking Danny Trejo. A lot. Says Rodriguez about the casting choice: “I’ve been a big fan of Marko’s for years, and I even created this role specifically for him. He is an incredible martial artist with physics defying speed and agility, and he has a great movie star presence. I’m sure we’ll be working together again soon.” Zaror was equally excited about joining the Machete Kills team, saying, “to get a chance to work with Robert Rodriguez was a dream of mine since I saw El Mariachi.  He has made some of the coolest characters ever.  I am honored to have had the experience to work with him and his exceptional team.”

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At least the wolf didn’t have to live through a surely insane photo shoot? In perhaps today’s weirdest and most completely unexpected announcement, Lady Gaga has apparently joined the cast of Robert Rodriquez‘s upcoming Machete Kills. The director announced both Gaga’s casting and her completion of work via a tweet this morning that read, “I just finished working with @LadyGaga on @MacheteKills, she kicked SO MUCH ASS! Holy Smokes. Blown away!” I, too, am totally blown away. Perhaps because no one would believe even Rodriguez himself when it comes to such totally bizarre news, he also included a character poster for Gaga in her role as “La Chameleon,” which you can check out after the break. Chameleon or not, this looks like a pretty standard look for a woman who once showed up to an awards show in a giant egg.

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It’s about time to bathe ourselves in the neo-noir negative spaces and violent slaughter dew-spattering whims of a madman. Robert Rodriguez swears up and down that sequels to Sin City and Machete are on the production docket this spring and summer. Now, like a baseball bat pointed to the bleachers, he’s putting his posters where his mouth is. Over at The Playlist, they’ve somehow got their hands on promo posters for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Machete Kills. That’s a lot of killing. Both posters are nothing to spit at, but they bring a touch of style to the proceedings. Surprisingly, there are zero boobs on them, but Frank Miller’s name does appear as a director for Sin City 2. Check them out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column dedicated to movie news and links, written hastily this evening because its author is due to get in line and see The Avengers at a midnight show. Please excuse errors in spelling, grammar, logic and common sense — beyond the usual, of course. We begin with a new shot of The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man. He’s holding Peter Parker’s camera, which he will likely crush in a sign of his abject disrespect for the young spiderkund. He’s quite scaly.

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Demián Bichir is the sort of actor who’s been doing great work for a while now, but who has still failed to achieve mainstream recognition. When he got a high profile role playing Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh’s Che, most of the buzz coming out of the picture was surrounding Benicio Del Toro’s work in the title role, or how Oscar Isaac was going to use it as a launching pad on to bigger things. He landed a role as a recurring character on the hit Showtime series Weeds, but all of the talk surrounding that show concerns Mary Louise-Parker’s increasingly frequent nude scenes, and not what a slimy and intimidating villain Bichir makes. He even got rave reviews and an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor for his starring role in A Better Life, but the film went criminally unseen by the public, getting its widest release on only 216 screens. The Oscar nod did seem to give the guy a little bit of juice in Hollywood, however, as he was reportedly close to getting the villain role in Star Trek 2, but had to turn it down due to stage commitments. And now Variety has a report that the actor has not one, but two big projects lined up for the future. Apparently he’s not only negotiating to join Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming sequel Machete Kills, but he’s also set to star as an Israeli operative in The Exorcist director William Friedkin’s next thriller, Trapped.

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Back last summer when Robert Rodriguez was talking about the projects he was cooking up for the future, most of the focus was on his prospective Sin City and Machete sequels. And, since then, both Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For have been officially announced as his next two projects. Those weren’t the only movies he was expressing an interest in making back then, however; he was also into the idea of remaking the animated 1983 film Fire and Ice, which was directed by Ralph Bakshi and inspired by the artwork of Frank Frazetta, who also served as co-writer on the film. If you don’t know who Frank Frazetta is, he’s a science fiction and fantasy illustrator whose work you’ve undoubtedly seen at some point in your life. He’s done all sorts of book covers, comics, paintings, and whatnot, and usually his work involves alien landscapes, muscle-bound warriors, scantily clad women, and some sort of stabbing weapon. You know, it’s the sort of stuff that you’d get airbrushed on the side of an awesome panel van.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movies and television and things that are said about movies and television. Sometimes it’s full of news. Sometimes it’s weird. It’s always worth reading. We begin tonight with a fact that should be well known to readers of this column. If not, you’re not paying attention, and you should feel shame. I enjoy reading the work of Pajiba’s Joanna Robinson more than I enjoy reading my own work. Which is a lot to say, as I find myself to be downright brilliant. That said, the supremely talented Ms. Robinson has written a list all about 5 Kickass Female Characters You Wouldn’t Want to Meet in a Dark Alley — including Thor‘s Sif, as played by Jaimie Alexander and seen above. The only problem is that I want to meet all of these women in a dark alley. But not in a combative manner. Unless they’re into that sort of thing. What can I say? I’m flexible.

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It’s official. In a stunning turn of events that almost certainly mean it’s Opposite Day, Robert Rodriguez will make a movie he promised he’d make. Jokes aside, Deadline Michoacan is reporting that Rodriguez has secured the financing for Machete Kills, the sequel to the absurdly ballsy action flick starring Danny Trejo. Talks are under way to bring Trejo back on in the hopes of an April production start, and Rodriguez is pointing to the bleachers, claiming a bigger, badder movie. As proof, the second film in a planned trilogy will feature Machete as a hired gun for the government, heading into Mexico to take on a drug cartel and a vicious bad guy who plans to build a space weapon. Yes, it’s getting even deeper into spoof territory with an Austin Powers twist. This character sure has come a long way since Spy Kids, right?

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Comic-Con regular Robert Rodriguez had an intimate Hall H presentation Thursday evening to talk about his newest venture, Quick Draw Productions. If you’re familiar with Hall H, you’re probably questioning my use of the word “intimate” as it’s a big venue, generally stuffed to the bathrooms with people and big events. Not so, this night, as Robert Rodriguez appeared on stage himself to start slowly unveiling three partnerships, but nothing was that ground shattering. If the ground had shattered, few people would have fallen in, as the voluminous Hall was only about a quarter full for the casual, talky presentation. Before launching into the what and the when of his new production company, Rodriguez ran down the list of things he’s always asked about – namely Machete, Sin City, and Spy Kids 4. To find out what he said about this, and his future in animation, keep readin’ on.

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