Michelle Rodriguez

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After fourteen years, the Fast & Furious franchise has gone through quite a few changes. The first three films struggled with changing casts and somewhat unconnected storylines. However, after Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, director Justin Lin took the series in a very different direction. He brought back the original cast, then morphed the series from some street racing flicks to a bona fide action franchise complete with international villains and bigger-than-life action sequences. This second trilogy (!) in the series culminates with Fast & Furious 6, which was one of the highest grossing movies of 2013. Lin lends his voice to the commentary track on the film, which was recorded before the tragic death of Paul Walker. Similarly, the DVD and Blu-ray of the film were produced before this event, making a lot of the matter-of-fact comments in the film, the bonus features and the commentary naturally bittersweet. Still, there’s a lot to be learned from Lin’s commentary, which serves as a look back not only at the film, but the franchise as a whole with a great emphasis on the dynamic of those involved behind the scenes.

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Whether you get into the Fast & Furious franchise or not, there is no denying its massive popularity and ability to rule at the box office. A lot of the success of the franchise has come from the fact that in the past three movies, it has moved from a street racing series to basically a mix of muscle-car James Bond with the Oceans Eleven films hopped up on NoS. This past summer, Fast & Furious 6 went head-to-head in the summer box office with some of the biggest names in blockbusters, including Iron Man, Superman, and Gru’s Minions. While there’s no comparing the characters in Fast & Furious 6 with the Minions (although Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson try their hardest to be that charming), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) gave Superman a run for his money. Not only did Fast & Furious 6 best Man of Steel’s international box office, Dom performed his own Superman-like stunt to save his amnesiac lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) from certain death. This got me thinking: Is Dominic Toretto actually Superman?

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Resident Evil: Retribution represents Paul W.S. Anderson‘s worst tendencies as a filmmaker. Empty, clunky, and ugly, this is Anderson’s most dull picture yet and the weakest installment in an already weak series. Retribution begins shortly after the events of the previous film, Resident Evil: Afterlife. Alice (Milla Jovovich) is shooting quarters off a shipping boat, standing still while simultaneously dodging countless amounts of bullets, and is finally knocked unconscious. When she wakes up — or when her “clone” awakens — she’s been captured and sits isolated in, of course, a very white room in an underground Umbrella Corporation lair. Once she escapes that white room, thanks to a traitor from the inside, Alice has to fight off hordes of the same zombies and beasts we’ve seen her battle far too many times before. However, this time all the battles are done within a virtual dome, which makes no difference whatsoever. She wanders through “New York City” to “Moscow,” and despite the changing environments, all the set pieces stay the same.

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It should be news to no one that a sixth film in the Fast & the Furious franchise is heading into production. The last film, Fast Five, is the highest grossing installment in the series, and regardless of the film’s quality that’s one hell of a feat. Happily, under the guiding hand of director Justin Lin, Fast Five actually managed to be a damn entertaining movie. (Stupid, but entertaining.) Lin is returning to helm the sixth film, and many of the usual suspects are along for the ride including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Fast Five‘s MVP Dwayne Johnson. Previously announced newcomers include the charisma-free Luke Evans (Death Race 2) and Haywire‘s kick-ass leading lady Gina Carano. It’s assumed that both will be playing for the bad guys. If that assumption is correct, they’ve just found themselves a third team member.

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Resident Evil

The Resident Evil series of movies has no special place in my heart and it’s slightly confusing how many there are compared to how many games there are, which characters are which in each installment, and why some characters have developed mental powers. That being said, they’re all pretty watchable in a bad/good battle way. On Friday at San Diego Comic-Con director Paul W.S. Anderson was joined by Milla Jovovich, Mika Nakashima, Boris Kodjoe, Oded Fehr, and Michelle Rodriguez, the latter two who are both returning from the dead for the franchise. What can we expect from what might be – but probably won’t be – the last installment?

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we get furious when we don’t get our fast food. Before you could slam on the brakes, you managed to crash head-on into one of the internet’s most obnoxious dividing walls. Every week I put the pedal to the floor, a floor almost entirely obscured by half-eaten Zero bars and discarded McRib wrappers, to bring you the very best in the very worst cinema has to offer. I will drive a truckload of mockery right up the unsuspecting film’s tailpipe before totally switching lanes and filling your eye sockets with premium unleaded love for that very same lemon. Finally, to really drive home this absurd running metaphor, I will supercharge your taste buds by pairing the film with a greasy snack that will leave tread marks on your esophagus all the way down. This week’s treat: The Fast and the Furious

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Battle: Los Angeles is an unusual movie. It’s an action film with Aaron Eckhart in the lead, it’s pro-military, and it doesn’t feel compelled to answer every question put forth by its premise. There are elements within it of several other films, but it still manages to play out like a somewhat fresh mix of military action and alien invasion. It’s Roland Emmerich without the cheese and laughable understanding of science. It’s Michael Bay without the stupidity and excessive use of ground level POV slow-mos. And most unusual of all, it’s a solidly entertaining action movie releasing in the middle of March.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr finds himself behind enemy lines in Los Angeles. At first, he thought he was the victim of an alien invasion, but then he realized he was just in South Central wearing the wrong colors. Fortunately, Aaron Eckhart came to his rescue. This gave him a chance to put on a red cloak and skip through the woods, searching for Amanda Seyfried. He then capped off the week sneaking on a NASA flight to Mars wearing only boxer shorts, a T-shirt and a space helmet. He plans to return soon because that kind of makeshift space suit worked for the folks in Mars Needs Moms. Don’t wait up, though.

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Looks pretty freaking badass doesn’t it? Like the best parts of Independence Day minus all the schmaltz.

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Tomorrow evening at the Fantastic Debates, one of the most talked about nights every year at Fantastic Fest, actress and noted wife-beater aficionado Michelle Rodriguez will be engaging in a boxing match with Alamo Drafthouse owner and master of ceremonies (and by ceremonies, we mean boozing) Tim League. If you’re not going to be there for it, I feel for you. That said, there is a Fantastic trailer running before some of the films this week that features Ms. Rodriguez as Citizen Jane, a bad mamajama who just wants her damn sled back. You can check it out above. Just another brilliant moment, courtesy of Fantastic Fest 2010.

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The temptation to refer to Robert Rodriguez’ new film as Brown Dynamite is strong but for two things. One, while Machete fits a similar mold as Scott Sanders’ hilarious riff on blaxploitation films it just isn’t as consistently good as Black Dynamite. For another, the term “brown dynamite” conjures up some unpleasant imagery especially in the context of spicy Mexican food. But enough about intestinal explosions (for now at least)… let’s talk about this tastelessly absurd, cartoonishly violent, and often ridiculously fun movie!

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr jumps feet first into the world of exploitation pictures. He rips off his shirt to show his prison tats when he sees Machete and then becomes a weapons expert to go head-to-head with George Clooney in The American. Finally, he cringes and rolls his eyes at yet another crappy real-life couple love story with Going the Distance. It’s sad when the highlight of his moviegoing weekend is a Lindsay Lohan nip slip.

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I highly doubt that the marketing team behind Machete intended for anyone to use their nifty new internet toy in the way I have, but I figured it would spice things up. After all, there are enough photos of sad-looking men in sunglasses who have inserted Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez into their bathroom with the click of a mouse. For those hoping to be fans of the movie, here’s a great opportunity to snap a shot of yourself wielding a heavy knife or jumping across a flaming parking lot on your motorcycle so you can be in your very own Machete poster. You can then, of course, share it with your friends on the facebook and the twitter. Or you can just go to the site to enjoy the soothing music. Machete, starring Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, and Steven Seagal hits theaters this Friday. As you can tell by the unofficial poster (pictured right).

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Don Johnson? Bowie knife. Jessica Alba? Pistol. Michelle Rodriguez? Unnecessarily large machine gun. Robert DeNiro? Double fisted handguns. Steven Segal? The same black Nehru jacket he always wears. Lindsey Lohan? Anonymity. Danny Trejo? A massive amount of throwing knives, machetes, and what look like giant scalpels already stained with the insides of men tougher than you. If you’re the type of person who loves to see a Mexican on a souped-up motorcycle, jumping into the air propelled by a massive explosion, then you’re no doubt gritting your teeth until the day you get to see Machete. In the mean time, check out these posters that let you know the exact implements that each character will use to draw blood.

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Machete

20th Century Fox has released a brand new trailer for Machete, the Danny Trejo led grindhouse style action movie from Robert Rodriguez and co-director Ethan Maniquis. And like the first trailer, there is certainly a lot of promises made. It promises to deliver a movie that’s full of sex, inventive violence and all of the Grindhouse spirit that was infused into the faux trailer upon which it is based. But even though I’m excited — very excited — about the very existence of this movie, I can’t help but feel as if the best shot of this entire trailer is the one taken directly from that same faux trailer. Danny Trejo flying through the air on the motorcycle of doom. And if that’s the best shot they can muster for the trailer, what does that say about the rest of the movie? Alright yeah, it’s still probably going to be a badass ride. Watch the trailer for yourself after the jump…

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Robert Rodriguez has released a special Cinco De Mayo themed trailer for his upcoming action flick, Machete, and it manages to look all kinds of awesome even with Lindsay Lohan in it…

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Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Avatar, Did You Hear About the Morgans? and Up In the Air can make the grade.

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Sometimes we like to let it all hang out there. And when 20th Century Fox released their final press kit for James Cameron’s Avatar this morning, we found something worth laying on the table.

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In about 10 hours, the first trailer for Avatar, the highly anticipated CGI-driven 3D sci-fi epic from director James Cameron will be online. But before we can get to that, we need pictures!

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Robert Rodriguez is moving forward with his long-rumored flick Machete and it looks like may have one-upped sexagenarian stallion Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables in the casting department.

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