I apologize to my regular readers that this column is appearing much later than it normally does. This week I endured the hysteria many apartment dwellers suffer from around the beginning of September, known as moving. Now that I have my movies and the rest of my place unpacked though I’m ready to get back to business as usual.
I’m incredibly excited that this week Robert Rodriguez is finally bringing his “Grindhouse” creation “Machete” to theaters. It will be accompanied by George Clooney as a charming assassin in “The American,” the Justin Long/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy “Going the Distance,” the gripping documentary “The Tillman Story,” the crime biopic “Mesrine: Public Enemy #1,” the sports comedy “The Winning Season,” and the docudrama “Last Train Home.”
After he’s double-crossed by the organization who hires him, the ex-Federale Machete (Danny Trejo) embarks on a savage rampage of revenge against his former employers.
Ethan Maniquis, a frequent Rodriguez editorial collaborator, co-directs this explosive action film with Robert Rodriguez. In trademark fashion, Robert Rodriguez also pens the screenplay with the assistance of his cousin Álvaro Rodríguez. This gritty revenge flick features the additional talents of Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, and Don Johnson.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Fans of over the top Rodriguez films like “From Dusk Til Dawn” and “Planet Terror” should be the first ones in line for this action epic. If you crave gratuitous guns, explosions, and violence typical of old school exploitation movies then you should catch “Machete.”
An assassin (George Clooney) hiding in an Italian village while awaiting his final assignment, tempts fate by pursuing the friendship of a priest (Paolo Bonacelli) as well as the affection of a local woman (Violante Placido).
Music video director Anton Corbijn helms this thriller about an American hitman in Italy. Rowan Joffe, the scribe for “28 Weeks Later,” adapts this story from a novel by Martin Booth called A Very Private Gentleman.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers that find George Clooney charming no matter what the role he’s in should be the ones to see this film. If you appreciate action films that take place in Europe then you should watch “The American.”
GOING THE DISTANCE
This romantic comedy focuses on a couple (Justin Long and Drew Barrymore) who try to keep their love fresh as they travel back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles to see one another.
It was Justin Long and Drew Barrymore’s real life former relationship that inspired documentarian Nanette Burstein to make the leap into feature filmmaking as this movie’s director. Newcomer Geoff LaTulippe pens the screenplay for this comedy which also stars Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, and Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Audiences that enjoy honest romantic comedies filled with truthful humor should see this movie. If you like Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as a couple and you believe that will have good on-screen chemistry then you should check out “Going the Distance.”
THE TILLMAN STORY
Professional football player Pat Tillman left the NFL after 9/11 to enlist in the U.S. Army. Upon his death in combat two years later, the military awarded him posthumous honors like the Purple Heart, however his family set out to reveal the truth behind the events that claimed his life.
Documentarian Amir Bar-Lev directs this gripping story about the death of a talented athlete in service to his country. Mark Monroe, the writer of last year’s award-winning documentary “The Cove,” pens this chilling script as well.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Those interested in the conspiracy surrounding Pat Tillman’s death should see this documentary. If you believe that Pat Tillman did a great service to this country by leaving professional football to fight overseas then you should view “The Tillman Story.”
MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY #1
Picking up where the biopic “Mesrine: Killer Instinct” leaves off, the internationally known criminal Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) returns to France to stand trial. What follows is an amazing true story of courtroom escapes, imprisonment, his reinvention, and his ultimate downfall.
French filmmaker Jean-François Richet, the man behind 2005’s remake “Assault in Precinct 13,” directs this crime biography. Richet and Abdel Raouf Dafri collaborate on the movie’s screenplay.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Foreign film aficionados should catch this thriller in theaters. If you enjoyed the predecessor to this movie “Mesrine: Killer Instinct,” then you should watch “Mesrine: Public Enemy #1.”
THE WINNING SEASON
A washed-up alcoholic coach (Sam Rockwell) is given a second chance after he is asked to run his local high school’s girls basketball team.
He won audiences over with his heartfelt independent film “Grace is Gone” starring John Cusack in 2007, and now James C. Strouse directs his second feature with this sports comedy. Strouse also writes the screenplay for the movie, which includes Rob Corddry and Emma Roberts in supporting parts.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Sports lovers that appreciate stories about down and out guys who get a second chance through coaching are the type that should see this. If you think Sam Rockwell is a talented actor then you should see “The Winning Season.”
LAST TRAIN HOME
A family sets out on an annual tormenting trip alongside 200 other million peasant workers to see their distant family.
Newcomer Lixin Fan directs this film which was honored as the Best Feature-Length Documentary at the 2009 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Americans curious about a glimpse into the hardships of poor workers in a more densely populated nation should see this documentary. If you are engaged by foreign documentaries then you should watch “Last Train Home.”