“Review Proof” is a phrase that gets tossed around from time to time when a film in question is clearly made to be enjoyed on a basic level. It implies that the filmmakers behind it knew they were making a less-than-stellar movie but it didn’t matter because they also knew that they had a built-in audience that wouldn’t care about all the problems that emerge along the way. Basically “Review Proof” is code for “If you didn’t like it it wasn’t made for you.”
I however do not think that any film is “Review Proof.” It doesn’t matter if you’re making a feature adaptation of a fake trailer about a Mexican day laborer (Danny Trejo) out for head-chopping revenge against the man who framed him for murder (Jeff Fahey) and the man who killed his family (Steven Seagal) or a film about the liberation of a concentration camp. All films even the silly ones need to deliver on a fundamental set of criteria of dynamic characters involved in an interesting storyline that’s edited together coherently. If any of those elements are too far out of line it cripples the entire thing.
With Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis' grindhouse throwback film Machete there’s nothing wrong with the characters. Trejo was born to play the eponymous all-that-is-man stoic hero but the glue that holds the often messy film together are all of the supporting players particularly Fahey Jessica Alba Don Johnson and Seagal each of whom is having a ton of fun chewing into their extreme characters (no one can be just a federal agent or just a racist sheriff or just a drug lord; they have to be the most outlandish these-colors-don’t-run version possible). The film’s story isn’t exactly original but the “framed for an assassination” plot is a tried and true staple of the action genre for a reason so it hardly holds the film back. That pinpoints the weakest link in this rather simple chain as the film’s editing.
Unless one is curious as to how long a certain scene was one should never be motivated to look at their watch during a movie. But during Machete I couldn’t help but find myself constantly reaching for it as though it were some kind of lifeline wondering when the minute hand would discover the magic number that could rescue me from the increasingly grating affair. It’s disappointing that a film with as many decapitations and naked Lindsay Lohans as Machete can be boring but sadly that is the case here. Much of the film slogs through a swamp of story arcs that were seen coming from miles away completely forgetting that a movie of this nature needs to sustain its high (which essentially comes whenever Machete picks up well any object) without any dragging
distractions to kill the buzz.
It’s easy to admire Robert Rodriguez’s intended goal with Machete - to make the kind of offensive politically incorrect film that played in grindhouse theaters in the ‘70s and ‘80s - but good intentions only go so far. In a strange way Machete is almost too faithful to its ancestry. Sure the violence is awe inspiring (at one point Machete repels down the side of a building using someone’s intestines for crying out loud) and its adamant refusal to keep things comfy and PC is more than welcome but its pacing gives the film too much slack rope with which to hang itself.
Linda Ronstadt ejected by Vegas casino
Singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas Saturday night after she dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to filmmaker Michael Moore and his latest documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Aladdin spokeswoman Sara Gorgon told Reuters the dedication angered some Aladdin guests, who booed, spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded refunds, while about a quarter of the 4,500 people in the audience left before the performance had finished. A statement issued by the Aladdin said Ronstadt had been escorted out of the hotel just after her performance and said the performer would "not be welcomed back." The statement added Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not to promote political views. Ronstadt was unavailable for comment, but in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal before the show Ronstadt was quoted as saying she hoped the casino gig would be her last. "I keep hoping that if I'm annoying enough to them, they won't hire me back," she said. Her next performance will be at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.
Britney swigs ginseng, not whiskey
Britney Spears is threatening to sue the New York Post after the paper printed an image of the pop star drinking from a tiny bottle on its cover Thursday, with the front-page headline "Britney Hits the Bottle" and an inside headline that read "Boozer Britney: Daylight Bottle Blonde." The story claimed Spears was drinking was Glenlivet whiskey. Spears said she is actually drinking a vial of the herbal supplement ginseng, which she bought from a Venice, Calif., liquor store on July 12. According to MTV News, the singer is prepared to sue the Post unless the paper prints an immediate retraction. The paper argues it twice gave Spears the chance to dispel the whiskey story but said her rep she declined to comment each time.
Advocacy groups challenge Fox News' "Fair and Balanced" slogan
The political advocacy groups MoveOn.org and Common Cause filed a petition Monday with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming Fox News' use of the slogan "Fair and Balanced" constitutes deceptive advertising. The groups claim that Fox News' reports are "deliberately and consistently distorted and twisted to promote the Republican Party of the U.S. and an extreme right-wing viewpoint." FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris said in a statement late yesterday that the petition has little chance. "There is no way to evaluate this petition without evaluating the content of the news at issue. That is a task the First Amendment leaves to the American people, not a government agency." A Fox News spokeswoman told The Associated Press: "While this is clearly a transparent publicity stunt, we recognize all forms of free speech and wish them well."
Waco finally gets Fahrenheit 9/11 print
Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 is set to open Friday at a theater in Waco, Texas, about 20 miles west of President Bush's Crawford ranch. Fahrenheit 9/11, which has grossed $93.8 million to date, opened nationwide June 25 but theaters in Waco--the largest city closest to Bush's home--have yet to show the film about Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The AP reports Moore contacted the newspaper after a column last month pointed out his documentary wasn't showing in Waco, and urged the filmmaker to send a copy. Since the film opened last month, the closest place Waco residents could see it was in the town of Temple, about 35 miles south.
Andre 3000, Silverstone named sexiest vegetarians
On a lighter note, Andre 3000 of the Grammy-winning hip-hop duo OutKast has been voted the "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" in PETA's annual online poll. The 30-year-old rapper shares the honor with 27-year old Alicia Silverstone. According to the AP, more than 12,000 votes were cast in the annual poll run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Silverstone and Andre 3000 beat out other contenders not normally known for their eating habits, including John Cleese, Prince and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Previous winners include Tobey Maguire, Lauren Bush and Shania Twain.
Nelly becomes part owner of Charlotte Bobcats
Rapper Nelly is now part owner of the NBA's North Carolina expansion team the Charlotte Bobcats. Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes Jr., said he looks forward to learning the business of professional sports and becoming active in the Charlotte community. "Of the many dreams that I have fulfilled in life, being an NBA owner is certainly one of the biggest achievements," Nelly said in a release issued by the Bobcats. "To be able to make this move with Bob Johnson and to be a part of the first-ever minority owned professional sports franchise in history is a great opportunity." Nelly joins an ownership group that includes former NBA player and executive M.L. Carr; Felix Sabates, owner of NASCAR racing teams, and Hugh McColl Jr., former CEO of Bank of America.
Napster signs agreement with universities
Napster 2.0 online music service announced Monday it has signed agreements with Cornell University, The George Washington University, Middlebury College, the University of Miami, The University of Southern California and Wright State University to offer students its digital song subscription program beginning in the fall. Similar to deals Napster struck earlier this year with Penn State University and the University of Rochester in New York, the universities will receive access to unlimited streaming and song downloads at a discount but will be free to set the price students must pay for the discounted access, the AP reports. Penn State and the University of Rochester provide Napster service to their students at no extra charge. If students wish to burn songs to a CD, they will still have to pay Napster's regular 99-cent charge for a permanent download or $9.99 per album.