Monday, September 6, 2010
A mainly all foreign cast The American is based on a book A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth. George Clooney stars as an assassin that is near the end of his career, and at this point may just be looking for companionship. At this point in his career, Clooney is able to pick his movies carefully and rarely does something that isn’t good. While The American may not be the best of his latest movies, Clooney is excellent in his performance.
After surviving an ambush while in Sweden his contact sets him up in a small country town in Italy. Offered a job, not to kill, but to construct a gun for a fellow assassin, Jack tries to keep a low profile. Befriending a local priest, Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli), helps with character development allowing the audience to get a sense of who he is. A lonely man in a lonely profession finds himself becoming close with a prostitute, a beautiful woman Clare (Violante Placido). Still being followed in Italy, Jack remains paranoid and vows this will be his last job. As the movie progresses he allows himself to become closer to both the priest and the prostitute while still keeping up his guard. Little dialog works well for what the film is trying to do, but it emphasizes that the film has something missing in its plot.
Overall I would give it a 2.5 out of 5, and I would not recommend it to many. Although I enjoyed it, slow moving plot development, and a shallow story makes the movie fall short to the average moviegoer. It’s long sweeping camera shots showcases the beautiful Italian countryside. The movie is well shot and well acted, but ultimately falls short. It is another example of a trailer misrepresenting the product.
Grindhouse is a term that commonly refers to theaters that specialized in playing B movies. Many times these movies were exploitation films that were in double feature formats. Popular in the 1970s and typically low quality and low budget, exploitations in these movies are an over exaggeration of the subject, usually violence, sex, and special effects.
2007’s release of Grindhouse, co-written and directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, played as a double feature, included the films Planet Terror and Death Proof. When released, the film featured several fake trailers, advertisements, and announcements. One of those trailers was for Machete, a screenplay that was originally written in 1993 for Danny Trejo, after casting him in Desperado.
A former Mexican Federale Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) is betrayed and attacked by his former boss and druglord Torrez (Steven Seagal), after he is unwilling to be bought he is left for dead after his wife is murdered in front of him. After three years Machete shows up in Texas as in immigrant trying to make a living. He is picked up by Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) for a job to assassinate the Senator (Robert De Niro) during a reelection rally that focuses on tough immigration policy. Set up by Booth, Machete, now on the run, tries to get his revenge and help the network against radical anti-immigration vigilantes led by Lt. Von Jackson (Don Johnson). The movie also stars Jessica Alba as Sartana Rivera an immigration agent torn between helping the cause and enforcing the law, Michelle Rodriguez as Luz the leader of the network that helps immigrants transition into America and find jobs.
Overall I give this movie a 3.5 out of 5, and would recommend this to most people. A very enjoyable experience that was well paced and did not disappoint, for what it was, the acting was good and the story was entertaining. A true exploitation film, Machete has it all. Not taking itself to serious as it becomes comical at times. Opening with a second place finish of $14million during a stretch where moviegoers are tightening their wallets may not be seen as a total disappointment.
Of the other fake trailers, Hobo and a Shotgun, which won Robert Rodriguez’s South by Southwest Grindhouse trailer contest, is currently being filmed as a full-length feature staring Rutger Hauer as the hobo. Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving is also in the works as a possible full-length film.