Mandrill

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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This Week in Blu-ray

Tonight! We visit in with some of our favorite whacky Brits as they power through the seventeenth season of one of the greatest reality television programs in the history of time, space and everything else. We explore a historic, beautiful look at cinema’s start through the eyes of contemporary film’s biggest nerd. We watch a 9-foot tall man roundhouse kick an entire country. And we watch Rowan Atkinson continue to spit in the face of reason, churning out more laughs. Also, James May talks to a gurrrl. Top Gear: The Complete Season 17 If you are anything like me, then you’ve never really been much of a gear head or a car freak. That’s okay, we’re simply the kind of people who would rather be in the living room watching a movie than in the garage tinkering around with engine parts. That said, there’s nothing more magnetic to me than the musings of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. This triumvirate odd couple of motorist journalism is the most consistently entertaining group of hosts you’ll find anywhere on TV. Forget about Idol or The Voice, it’s all about these three middle-aged British men and their clear overcompensation issues. The fact that the BBC allows them to smash up expensive cars, light segments of Sweden on fire and hold monumental tributes to the Jaguar E-Type is all just a bonus in the end. Did I mention that they let celebrities drive around in reasonably priced cars? If you’re not giving […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD and the last day of February! Well, what should be the last day but is instead actually the 2nd to last thanks to the shenanigans of the evil and gilled Leap Dave Williams. Only one big title hits shelves this week, but it’s an Academy Award winner! Other titles that aren’t named Hugo include a few fantastic and exciting foreign films (The Front Line, Rabies, The Yellow Sea), a few less exciting foreign films (The Conformist, Tomorrow When the War Began, Mandrill) and more! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. I Melt With You Four old college friends (Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay, Jeremy Piven) get together annually for a drug-fueled weekend, but their latest reunion finds each of them at the lowest point of their lives. All four leads do a fantastic job in this energetic but terribly depressing movie that examines the ideas of failure, depression and expectations at the mid-point of a man’s life. Things tease the point of over-doing it, but the lasting effect is a powerful one as the men face the lives and mistakes they’ve made. Plus Carla Gugino, Arielle Kebbel, and Sasha Grey! Director Mark Pellington has a couple solid films under his belt (Arlington Road and The Mothman Prophecies), but his main career focus seems to be music videos so it’s fitting that his latest film matches the stylish visuals, heavy emotional toll and powerful […]

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After earning its slot in Round Two by defeating Amor y Frijoles in the first match, Mandrill now finds its super spy in the fight of his life against heavy favorite Pan’s Labyrinth. Spain was favored going in, and then delivered a 95-5 crushing victory against Switzerland. There are more than a few Mandrill fans out there, but will they be enough to see the movie go on to the next round of contests?

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In another fantastic match up, the foothold of Honduran cinema as it enters the modern era goes up against the ass-kickery of Mandrill. Amor y Frijoles is a slice of life (and beans), and the Chilean challenger is a 1960s-style send up of the contract killer. Two completely different genres from two countries separated by a continent. Will voters be hungry for love or hungry for a beat down?

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ff-mandrill

With as lightening-fast as Marko Zaror is, we were incredibly lucky to catch him on camera for an exclusive Fantastic Fest interview. We assume the master martial artist and Mandrill director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza were lured in by the promise of free booze and shag carpet on the walls.

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ff-fantasticawards

Luckily we had a list of the winners sent to us because we didn’t remember all the names. Or where our pants went.

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ff-mandrill

A hitman who kicks unprecedented amounts of ass gets an assignment to kill the man who he believes killed his parents. The plot thickens when he falls for the man’s daughter and must decide between leaving her an orphan or forgoing the revenge he’s waited for his whole life.

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We’ve been training all our lives for this, and it’s finally here. Fantastic Fest 2009 promises to remove our eyeballs, pour blood, sex and ninja moves all over them and then shove them right back in our face. These are the 20 films that have us most excited about that upcoming amateur surgical procedure.

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