Robert Rodriguez

Frank Grillo

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the way to get news regarding all of those upcoming super hero sequels. Tomorrow it might be something else. Though we’ve still yet to have the pleasure of taking in the first two installments of Marvel’s super hero movie Phase II, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already coming up in 2014, so it’s probably about time we started hearing some casting news. And, wouldn’t you know it, Variety brings us just that. Not only has the trade revealed that End of Watch, The Grey, and Warrior star Frank Grillo will be joining the cast as the Red Skull’s brutal henchman Crossbones, but they also have news that some familiar SHIELD faces from The Avengers will be showing back up in Cap’s second solo adventure. More specifically, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, and Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will all be coming back. You remember them, right?

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis In Robert Rodriguez’s instant zombie classic, a small Texas town becomes ground zero for a gruesome epidemic when the Army’s “Project Terror” – a biochemical doomsday weapon – mutates a platoon of soldiers (and eventually most of the townspeople) into raving, pustulent cannibals. Leading the charge against the zombies are a hard-assed sheriff (Michael Biehn), a lone wolf with a checkered past (Freddy Rodriguez (no relation to Robert)) and Cherry Darling – a one-legged go-go dancer (Rose McGowan). Of course, she’s not one-legged at the start of the film. That would make no sense. How she loses the leg and winds up with a machine gun prosthetic is a tale for the annals of horror legend.

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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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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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It seems like Robert Rodriguez has been promising us a sequel to Sin City since the day after the original came out in 2005. His adaptation of Frank Miller’s gritty, stylish world was unique among comic book movies at the time in how closely it stuck to being a panel-to-panel adaptation of the original graphic novels (even going as far as to bring Miller on as a co-director), and though it contained a bit too much shoddy Robert Rodriguez cheesiness, it also had enough unabashed cool that it blew the hair of comic book fans back all over the world. News of the sequel becoming official has been long-awaited. And today is the day we’ve all been waiting for. According to a press release put out by Dimension Films, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is finally on its way with both Rodriguez and Miller back in the director’s chair(s) as the main creative forces. Alexander Rodnyansky and his AR Films are the ones fronting the dough, so the film will be a co-production between his company and Rodriguez’s own Quick Draw Productions, with Dimension handling the distribution. And, of course, Harvey and Bob Weinstein have managed to get their names attached as executive producers.

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If there were ever a director who resembled Lucy from “Peanuts” (in both spirit and looks), it’s Robert Rodriguez. His explanation for all the talk and no action? “You work on a number of projects, and then everything eventually bottlenecks.” What’s bottlenecking currently is his sequel to Machete and about 10 other projects he’s announced over the years, but none of them comes close to the anticipation that grew, waned, resurfaced, died out, and then blossomed again for Sin City 2. The first was a perfect neo-noir that made brilliant use of Frank Miller‘s raw language and story. Now, according to Lucy himself (via Empire), he’ll finally be shooting it this summer while editing Machete 2. Apparently he’ll be beating the heat by staying indoors with his green screens. Miller has stated before that Jessica Alba‘s character Nancy has a continued story, and since it’s partially based off the graphic novel entry “A Dame To Kill For,” Mickey Rourke‘s Marv should also be in the mix. However, no casting has been announced, so if this thing really does go this time, it’s going to be just how Rodriguez seems to like it: on the fly. The only question is whether we, as fans, should keep our eye on the football this time.

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Aural Fixation - Large

Whether purposely sending a helicopter into the eye of a tornado or believing you are a real life fairy tale character, it seems that no matter what films oriented towards the younger generation may be about (or who my star in them), the music featured in these films is not only well done, it is also (maybe more surprisingly) impressive. This fact is proven most handily in animated films like How To Train Your Dragon (with a score composed by John Powell) and Rango (composed by Hans Zimmer) which had the kind of full-bodied, moving sound you would expect to hear in an Academy Award winning film rather than a movie aimed at kids. That’s probably why Powell got his first Oscar nomination for Dragon. Granted Powell and Zimmer are accomplished composers in their own right and regardless of the genre they work in, their music is sure to be impressive, but lesser known composers working on these types of films also seem to create music that stands out. This question has come up several times, as each kid-oriented film would be entertaining enough, but the music would always stand out the most. This question came to the forefront of again while I was watching Journey 2: The Mysterious Island this past week and could not deny that even though The Rock was riding a giant bee with Luis Guzmán holding on for dear life behind him, the music driving the action was decidedly impressive. Composer Andrew Lockington was the […]

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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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Every year, the National Film Registry announces 25 films that it will toss gently into its vault for safe keeping. This year, they’ve chosen a hell of a list, but (like every year), the movies saved act as a reminder that even in a digital world where it seems unfathomable that we’d lose art, we’re still losing art. The task of actively preserving films is an honorable, laudable one, and it’s in all of our best interests to see movies like these kept safe so that future generations (and those attending Butt-Numb-a-Thon 55) will be able to screen them as they were meant to be seen. So what 25 movies made the cut this year? Let’s explore:

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Culture Warrior

The self-reflexive practices of the meta-film take various forms. On the one hand, there’s the legacy of cinephilic directors from Brian De Palma to P. T. Anderson to Robert Rodriguez who shout out to specific films through their in-crowd referencing, or even go so far as to structure entire narratives through tributes to cinema’s past. Then there’s “the wink,” those film’s, like this weekend’s The Muppets, who exercise cheeky humor by breaking the fourth wall and by constant reference to the fact that they are in a heavily constructed film reality. The third category is less common, but perhaps the most interesting. There has been a recent influx of films that don’t use past films to construct present narratives or engage in Brecht-light humor, but have as their central narrative concern the broad developmental history of the medium itself, from practices of filmgoing to particularities of projection, and anything in between. Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is a good example of this mode of meta-filmmaking, but more high-profile films have begin to make this turn, specifically by directors who formerly operated in the first (and perhaps most common) category, like Tarantino with Inglourious Basterds two years ago. Now Martin Scorsese has followed suit with the 3D love letter to early cinema and film preservation that is Hugo.

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Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)

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There is nothing like the hope that springs eternal for cool movie projects. The first Sin City was noir perfection with different kinds of eye candy (technical and biological) and a tapestry of a script that flew right off the pages of Frank Miller’s saturated graphic novels. Talk of Sin City 2 has gone on for far too long. It’s gone on so long that new information about it came with an Arrested-Development-Movie-sized-grain-of-salt, but the storm clouds seem to be lifting to reveal new light shining down on the sequel. Robert Rodriguez made a big noise about it at Comic-Con, claimed that funding had been found, and now The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that The Departed screenwriter William Monahan has signed on to do some work on Miller’s latest draft. That’s quite the pedigree for a polish. On the one hand, it’ll be great to have a pair of eyes like Monahan’s on the work, but it’s unclear as to whether this is uncredited doctoring or whether he’ll have the go-ahead to make significant changes if needed. Even if it’s a smaller role in shaping the story, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited for a sequel. Chief among them is Rodriguez claiming that the characters that survived the first film will make it to the sequel, and on that front, his track record of getting the talent he wants speaks for itself. Hopefully all of this comes together with relative speed, and we get a sequel worthy […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr flexes his rippling muscles and sets out to live a warrior lifestyle, just like Jason Momoa in Conan the O’Barbarian. But before he can do that, he has to drive a stake through his neighbor’s heart, since he’s certain he lives next door to a vampire. What else could all those sparkles be about? Meanwhile, he sends his kids off to a dangerous 3D, Aroma-Vision mission, hoping they can make it as real spy kids so they can teach him to put on a fake British accent and woo a not-quite-British Anne Hathaway.

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In a presentation he gave a couple weeks back at Comic Con, Robert Rodriguez had some encouraging news about potential sequels to some of his most beloved works. He said that the long-awaited Sin City sequel was a distinct possibility, as long as he could squeeze it in sometime by the end of the year, that a sequel to the B-movie schlock-fest Machete was definitely in the works, with rumblings of a third one already going down, and that it was all going to be possible because of his new company Quick Draw Productions, which will allow him to quickly put together, fund, and film movies without having to deal with all the typical red tape of the studio system. Just a few weeks later, Rodriguez already has an update on how all of his best laid plans surrounding Quick Draw productions are going, and it looks like they’re very quickly paying off in just the ways he hoped they would. We Got This Covered had a chat with Rodriguez, mostly about Spy Kids 4 and smell-o-vision and all of that nonsense, but they managed to also briefly question him on the development of projects that I’m actually interested in, namely Sin City 2 and Machete 2. Rodriguez said, “Sin City 2 is going good, we’re just finishing the script for that, we already got the money. We have everything we need so we can just start shooting as soon as we get the pages. And it’s the same thing […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that happens nightly, only on Film School Rejects. Well, unless you count the spam sites that scrape our content and post it as their own. We know you’re out there, and we’re going to get you. In the mean time, here’s some news for all you readers, no matter where you’re seeing it. We open tonight with the new image from Jeff, Who Lives At Home, another TIFF ’11 premiere. It’s the latest from the Duplass brothers, about a man who lives at home with his mother, until the day when the universe begins showing him signs about his future. It has Ed Helms, I’ll watch that.

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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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Not content with three fake dimensions, Dimension Films (seriously) is going to release Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World with one more facet: the sense of smell. Smell-o-Vision was an abject failure as a movie fad – only appearing in the 1960 movie Scent of Mystery after its development by Hans Laube. The idea was that it could add to the film-watching experience by allowing an audience to smell what was happening on screen. Although there were competing technologies like AromaRama, the concept was one that never worked in a real theater setting (because scents don’t just go away instantly when you need them to, and the room ends up smelling like burnt roses buried in cigarettes and maple syrup). Learning from the overkill of Scent of Mystery‘s 30 smells, Sky Kids 4 will only have 8 points during the film where the audience can smell what’s happening on screen. Plus, instead of a puff of air, the movie’s “Aromascope” will achieve the effect by use of a rub-and-sniff card with corresponding numbers. That method was used with John Waters’s re-release of Polyester in 1982 (although he called it Odorama), and it worked well, but it’s all still a huge gimmick. And before you think it’s the studio that’s forcing it on the helpless artiste Robert Rodriguez, here’s his near-robotic statement included in the press release: “Families are going to love the interactivity of this new addition to the movie going experience. And best of all, you […]

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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