New movies this week
The gist: Robert Rodriguez decided to make a full-length exploitation movie out of his Grindhouse trailer about an angry Mexican who likes to slice and dice bad guys. Finally, Danny Trejo gets top billing in something! That's impressive, given this cast. R
Starring: Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan and Steven Seagal.
The buzz: While Machete has some haters, our old pals at the Philadelphia Daily News get the point of this pic: "It was Rodriguez's evident intention to make the most tasteless, weirdly cast, wildly irresponsible grindhouse movie of the year, and he's succeeded." Excelsior!
The gist: Released on Wednesday, this yarn about an assassin who retreats to the Italian countryside after a hit ends up a little too violent turns, well, violent when something bad happens. Karma's a real drag for hitmen that way. R
Starring: George Clooney, Paolo Bonacelli, Thekla Reuten and Violante Placido.
The buzz: Wait, he goes to rural Italy to get away from killing? Did no one see The Godfather Part II? "While many of its elements whet our appetite and make the film well worth seeing, The American doesn't manage to deliver a fully satisfying meal," the L.A. Times opines. "It's against the film's religion to have us believe too deeply in its characters, and that agnosticism, combined with the plot's sense of predestination, put a noticeable crimp in its grand ambitions."
Going the Distance
The gist: Wow, look at that; real-life exes Drew Barrymore and Justin Long in a crude, listless romantic comedy together. Who knew? R
Starring: Barrymore, Long, Jason Sudeikis and Christina Applegate.
The buzz: Not only is it a dull, less-than-believable movie, it's also insanely crass. "This uneven effort saddles its likable leads … with the kind of verbally exaggerated sexual humor that not only comes off as embarrassingly strained and calculated, but also compromises what the picture genuinely wants to be," Variety admonishes.
Nomadic Tendencies Film Festival
Six Pinellas County venues — USF St. Pete's campus, Art ON! Central, the Blueberry Patch in Gulfport, the Dali Museum, Muvico BayWalk 20 and the Beach Theatre — are showing almost 140 features, docs and shorts through Sept. 12. Some are free, some are not. Go to nomadic-tendencies.com for the scoop.
— Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org