Paolo Bonacelli

Culture Warrior

Considering the history of early September releases, this was an unusually eventful weekend for movies. The champion of the box-office was a slow-paced, meditative art film disguised as a spy thriller, and its major competition was a grindhouse tribute based on a movie trailer and starring a longtime character actor. On the surface, it seems that Anton Corbijn’s The American and Robert Rodriguez’s Machete couldn’t be any different, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that these are two stylistically disparate explorations of virtually the same theme; that is, both The American and Machete are about crises in national and cultural identity that occur when one enters another country and becomes an “other” within their culture.

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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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