Making good on a promise from three years ago, when Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino unleashed the 70s B-movies double feature Grindhouse into theaters with a number of intriguing fake trailers in between the two features (my favorite being Edgar Wright’s Don’t), Rodriguez has turned one of those fake trailers, Machete, into a full-length feature—opening at local theaters this Friday.
Character actor Danny Trejo, best known from other Rodriguez films (From Dusk Until Dawn, Predators, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) plays Machete, who’s offered an easy assassin job by a Senator’s aide only to be betrayed by both the aide and Senator McLaughlin (a fancy-free Robert DeNiro). What they don’t know is that Machete is an ex-Federale, and he’s got revenge on his mind. Machete is low on character development and has a herky-jerky storyline, but then again, I went itto looking for a fun, entertaining, action-packed film, and it does deliver some terrific one-liners and cornball scenarios. The rest of the cast seems to have a good time with the material—other performers include Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, and (“introducing”) Don Johnson. While Machete won’t win any Academy Awards, it could possibly be nominated for a Razzle (the anti-Oscars) for Jessica Alba’s blank and terrible performance as a so-called “Immigration Agent.”
Opening this Friday at the Trylon Microcinema is “Mel Brooks: The Orgasm of Insanity,” a monthlong series showcasing seven films—starting with probably my favorite Brooks film, The Producers, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder as two producers who try to produce a flop on Broadway only to see the production become a huge success. The (comedic) screenplay alone is easily one of the sharpest in American film history; it won Brooks an Oscar in 1968, and hearing “Springtime for Hitler” still brings a smile to my face. The Producers will also be the only film in series projected from a 35mm print. The other films in the series include History of the World, Part 1, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Silent Movie, Young Frankenstein, and—the one I’m most looking forward to seeing—High Anxiety, a spoof on films by “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock.
Image: The Producers, courtesy Rialto Pictures