Friday, October 1, 2010


So they went and made Machete after everyone cheered during the fake trailers of Grindhouse. I guess there have been worse reasons why a movie was made but not many come to mind. Still, Machete was just a great over-the-top movie that I can’t find too many faults with if we are just looking for a good time at the theater.

The thin premise of the Machete trailer led to an equally thin premise for the Machete movie. People love Danny Trejo so let’s make him look like a badass. There’s your movie. They worked in some sort of Mexican immigrant plot and evil politicians and law enforcement but, in the end, it was all about Danny Trejo killing dudes. So Machete tries to right some wrongs while running into a few regular Robert Rodriguez faces, like Cheech Marin, and some crazy casting choices like Robert De Niro and Steven freaking Seagal. It is exactly what you would expect from a full length Machete movie.

Who doesn’t love Danny Trejo? But be careful what you wish for because the man has gotten a bit old and moves like it. He pulls it off completely because he is Danny Trejo but the fight scenes are some old school shit with everyone moving in slow motion. This became a convergence of hilarity when he has his climatic battle with Seagal. I’m not sure if either man moved during the fight. And, obviously, Seagal dies in a way that only Steven Seagal would allow. De Niro had about the most fun I’ve seen him have in years. Don Johnson follows close behind in the scene-chewing category. I love Lapidus so it will always be a nice reward when Jeff Fahey appears. And throw in both Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba looking all sexy-like and you got yourself a movie.

Machete was good times.

7 out of 10

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Yeah, there was a zero percent chance of me not loving Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It’s adapted from a comic book series I’ve read with a plot heavily influenced by old school video games being directed by Edgar Wright. I was there if the rating on Rotten Tomatoes was in the negatives.

Of all the comics that have been brought to the big screen so far, Scott Pilgrim was one where I truly wondered how they were going to translate book to film. I should never have doubted Edgar Wright. This was closer to his television series, Spaced, than Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz but that worked for all the weirdness that takes place in the Scott Pilgrim universe. He somehow made it work when defeated enemies turned to coins or all the scenes that take part in Scott’s head or just the fact that people are breaking into life or death fights and no one bats an eye. Although, my attention span may no longer work at such a quick pace because things moved at breakneck speed.

For reasons I don’t truly understand, some thought Michael Cera would not be able to pull off Scott. I felt he was a solid choice and brought all of his Cera-ness to the table and delivered. They didn’t make Scott as stupid as he is in the books but there were still plenty of scenes where Cera was just dumbfounded by everyday stuff. And he even pulled off all the fight scenes, which is something he has never really done before. The other major casting choice was Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramon Flowers and once again it worked. She nailed the distinctive look with all the crazy hair colors and the way that Ramona never really helped Scott understand what the hell was going on.

After those two, there is an avalanche of side characters and nearly everyone deserves a mention. Kieran Culkin stole every single second he was in as Scott’s gay roommate, Wallace Wells. He was easily the funniest character in the movie. Now if it was just facial expressions I would give that award to Alison Pill as Kim Pine. Who knew a person could have so many different dirty looks. Mark Webber was great as the leader of Scott’s band, Stephen Stills. Ellen Wong brought the perfect energy as Knives. It should come as no surprise that Chris Evans was easily the best of the evil ex-boyfriends. He is on an absolute tear recently. Evans was the best but Jason Schwartzman pulled off making Gideon Graves a worthwhile villain for Scott to overcome at the end. This was nearly a perfect cast.

Hooray for another movie in 2010 that I loved and no one saw. I wish a few more people saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World ... and by a few I mean literally 3 people. That might have tripled the box office.

9 out of 10

Piranha 3D

I have bashed 3D movies all year but that ends now. Piranha 3D was a completely acceptable use of the ridiculous format because the movie knew it was a joke and just went from there. I’m crossing my fingers for a trilogy.

Do I really need to explain the plot of Piranha 3D. Earthquake, prehistoric hidden lake, piranhas, spring breakers, gore, gore, gore, cliffhanger. Good times … good times. The whole thing was an excuse to show hot chicks in bikinis then murder the hell out of those hot chicks in bikinis. That is a solid premise.

I assume there was supposed to be an emotional arc with Elisabeth Shue’s son but all I remember was lots of nudity with Kelly Brook and Riley Steele during those scenes. Then they brutally died. Aw. Going back to Elisabeth Shue, hey look, it’s Elisabeth Shue! And she brought along with her Ving Rhames and later Adam Scott. Ving is always a good time and got to kill a lot of fish before succumbing to his own brutal demise. Adam Scott is hilarious and definitely brought his full bag of comedic tricks to play here. Sadly, the final twist probably removes him from the sequel. Boo.

And that is about enough time spent on Piranha 3D. To paraphrase Dennis Green, "it was what I thought I was."

7 out of 10