“Machete” is based on the fake trailer in the Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 “Grindhouse,” featuring Danny Trejo and Jeff Fahey reprising their original roles.
The feature version of the trailer finds Machete (Trejo), a renegade former Mexican Federale, roaming the streets of Texas after a shakedown from drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal). Reluctantly, Machete takes an offer from spin doctor Benz (Fahey) to assassinate McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), a corrupt Senator.
Double crossed and on the run, Machete braves the odds with the help of Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), a saucy taco slinger, Padre (Cheech Marin), his holy brother, and April (Lindsay Lohan), a socialite with a penchant for guns. All while being tracked by Sartana (Jessica Alba), a sexy ICE agent with a special interest in the blade slinger.
Going The Distance
Erin’s (Drew Barrymore) wry wit and unfiltered frankness charm newly single Garrett (Justin Long) over beer, bar trivia and breakfast the next morning. Their chemistry sparks a full-fledged summer fling, but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home to San Francisco and Garrett stays behind for his job in New York City. But when six weeks of romping through the city inadvertently become meaningful, neither is sure they want it to end.
And while Garrett’s friends, Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day), joke about his pre-flight calorie-cutting and his full-time relationship with his cell phone, they don’t like losing their best drinking buddy to yet another rocky romance. At the same time, Erin’s high-strung, overprotective married sister, Corrine (Christina Applegate), wants to keep Erin from heading down an all-too-familiar road.
But despite the opposite coasts, the nay-saying friends and family, and a few unexpected temptations, the couple just might have found something like love, and with the help of a lot of texting, sexting and late-night phone calls, they might actually go the distance.
Academy Award winner George Clooney stars in the title role of the suspense thriller “The American.”
As an assassin, Jack (Clooney) is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town.
While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten). Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara (Violante Placido).
Jack and Clara’s time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.
ALREADY IN THEATERS
“Lottery Ticket” — The odds of winning the lottery are what, like, 1 in 175 million? The laughs aren’t quite so hard to come by here, but they’re not a safe bet, either. The feature debut from longtime music video director Erik White, which he co-wrote with Abdul Williams, starts out amiably enough, with a shaggy, shambling vibe. But it eventually devolves into a weirdly violent streak, followed by some seriously heavy-handed sentiment. Still, the ensemble cast manages to keep things sporadically enjoyable. Rapper-actor Bow Wow is all grown up here as Kevin, a recent high school graduate who’s stuck working at Foot Locker, but dreams of creating his own shoe line. “Lottery Ticket” is at its strongest off the top, as Kevin tries to make his way to work at the mall one morning, but keeps getting delayed by the random neighbors in his Atlanta housing project. Brandon T. Jackson has a loose, easy energy about him and gets many of the best lines. But when Kevin plays the lottery and wins the $370 million jackpot, everything changes, with people cozying up to him or trying to kill him because he’s now a rich man. And because he wins over the extended July 4 weekend, he must wait three days to cash in. PG-13 for sexual content, language including a drug reference, some violence and brief underage drinking. 95 minutes. Two stars out of four.
“Nanny McPhee Returns” — The Nanny McPhee movies may be principally for kids, but make no mistake about it, they are, quite literally, a parent’s dream. Overwhelmed single parents with unruly kids are rescued by a magical nanny (Emma Thompson) who seemingly appears out of nowhere. And at no cost! For some older moviegoers escorting little ones, this premise might be impossibly alluring. And they said fans of “Avatar” were depressed when they left the theater. This sequel to the 2005 movie, “Nanny McPhee” – both penned by Thompson, adapting Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books – largely keeps the original’s formula. McPhee, a witch-looking fairy godmother of tough love, comes to the aid of a parent trying to manage a litter of kids alone (Maggie Gyllenhaal, filling Colin Firth’s shoes). McPhee obviously owes much to P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, but there’s still a warm, British naturalism to the film and an old-fashioned cheerfulness uncommon to most of today’s kids movies. PG for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements. 109 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
“Piranha 3D” — Mere words cannot describe how awesomely gnarly this is, how hugely entertaining and how urgently you must get yourself to the theater to see it. This is not a joke, by the way. This movie is a complete blast. To borrow a phrase from the kind of B-horror flicks to which “Piranha 3D” is such an effective homage – RUN, don’t walk. Like “Snakes on a Plane,” which came out in the dead of Summer four years ago, “Piranha 3D” knows exactly what it is and does exactly what it should do. It’s about piranhas … in 3-D. It’s cleverly knowing without collapsing into parody. It makes great use of its extremely random cast, including Elisabeth Shue in an unusually bad-ass role as a sheriff, Ving Rhames as her deputy and Jerry O’Connell as a Joe Francis type. But the whole point of this kind of movie is the gore and French director Alexandre Aja finds hilarious and creative ways to kill off his characters – drunk, horny college kids who have descended on a lake for spring break. R for sequences of strong bloody horror, violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use. 82 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.
“The Last Exorcism” — One of the scariest movies to come along in a long time – until the last five minutes or so, when it completely falls apart. Director Daniel Stamm’s faux documentary starts out with deadpan delivery and a dry sense of humor, then it turns riveting, then truly frightening, then just plain silly. It’s like it morphs from being a Christopher Guest movie to “The Blair Witch Project.” Until then, the filmmakers keep you guessing as to what’s real and what’s imagined, what’s a disturbing mental disorder and what’s actually demonic possession. And the fact that this Eli Roth production uses all unknown actors helps us get sucked into this eerie world. Evangelical Louisiana preacher Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) has been performing exorcisms for the past 25 years but he knows they’re all a sham. He long ago lost his faith, and for a while has had no qualms about taking money from true believers in the name of supporting his own family. Now, with his conscience weighing on him, he lets a camera crew come behind the scenes to expose his tricks as he “performs” one last exorcism. Fabian finds the balance in his character’s conflicting motivations, and Ashley Bell is extraordinary as the teenager who’s been acting strangely. PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material. 88 minutes. Three stars out of four.
“The Switch” — Not a single moment rings true in “The Switch,” which is unfortunate because it’s actually about a situation in which a lot of women find themselves. Jennifer Aniston’s character, Kassie, is a single, 40-year-old New York TV producer who wants to have a baby, but doesn’t want to wait around for a man – or worse yet, the wrong man – to make that happen. So she turns to a sperm donor, only to have her longtime best friend, the uptight stock trader Wally (Jason Bateman), switch the specimens in a drunken stupor. Why, you may be wondering, does Wally even have access to the cup that contains the makings of Kassie’s future child? Because the whole deal is going down at an insemination party thrown by the movie’s obligatory wacky best friend (Juliette Lewis), complete with jokey turkey basters. Like most situations – and like the similarly hokey “The Back-up Plan” from earlier this year, starring Jennifer Lopez – this one is played in broad, sitcom fashion, utterly divorced from the way people behave in real life. PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language. 100 minutes. One star out of four.