The great, if terrifying, Danny Trejo finally lands his signature role, as an ex-Federale hired to assassinate a virulently anti-immigrant U.S. Senator (a brilliantly hammy Robert De Niro). Trejo discovers too late that the job is a set-up, manufactured by the Senator’s aide to boost the representative’s chances of re-election. Suddenly a wounded fugitive, Trejo sets out with an eclectic mix of characters to take down the people responsible for the double-cross. Machete began as one of the terrific faux trailers in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation epic, Grindhouse (2007). That short promised a cornucopia of violence, blood, gore and sex (as required byRead More →

George Clooney figures in one of his best performances as Jack (or Edward, or who knows), a skilled assassin sent to the Italian countryside to await his next–and hopefully last–assignment. His mission, as it turns out, is a simple one: supply a weapon for the beautiful and deadly Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), who has been hired to hit a target unknown to all but her. As Jack methodically takes to his task, his focus and determination both frightening in their intensity, he meets two people: a local priest (Paolo Bonacelli) bent on digging into Jack’s past, in the hope of helping the assassin atone for hisRead More →

Bruce Willis (in a performance mix of John McClane and AARP) plays retired CIA operative Frank Moses, who finds himself on a death list being carried out by the very organization he served. Frank goes on the run, and it’s to the misfortune of Sarah, his lonely Social Security administrator (a hilarious Mary-Louise Parker), that she’s been conducting an over-the-phone flirtation with him: the CIA have her on radar, so Frank drags her along for the ride, ostensibly for her own safety. Along the way, they meet up with Frank’s former colleagues–all of them over the hill and on the same execution schedule–and that they’reRead More →

A late-night cable staple of my 80’s childhood, Looker claims to be about…well, I don’t really know what it’s about. What I do know is, Albert Finney plays an L.A. plastic surgeon whose patients begin to die off with startling frequency. His investigation leads him to a shady market research organization (headed by the ancient James Coburn) that’s engaged in something that has to do with something that has to do with something else, and it’s all tied to a little gun that makes neat sounds and puts people into trances. End credits. The rad (and quite possibly bitchin’) 80’s synth soundtrack, big hair, off-the-shoulderRead More →

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck, who also directed) commands a small group of Boston bank robbers fresh off a recent heist, in which they kidnapped and subsequently released bank manager Claire. MacRay’s mentally unstable “brother” and cohort, Jem, convinces himself that Claire will talk to the FBI and recommends taking care of things. Doug, ever the polite criminal, promises to smooth things over by arranging an accidental run-in with Claire at a laundry mat (they were masked, of course, so she doesn’t recognize him) and soon finds himself falling in love. This leads Doug to think it might be time to leave the business–much to theRead More →