• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Machete

TITLE: Machete

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Action/Adventure

Back in 2007 Quentin Tarantino released a little film called Grindhouse that really was a double feature. To fill in some gaps in between the films Tarantino requested some of his director friends to create fake film trailers that would salute the 1970’s exploitation and 1980’s horror films. One problem arose: the fans loved the trailers and wanted to actually see these trailers turned into full-length pictures. Rob Zombie has been quite public that Werewolf Women of the SS will never see the light of day, but the Robert Rodriguez quasi-trailer Machete has fortunately been produced with satisfying end results. Machete is a joyfully over the top, bloody action film that never takes itself too seriously.

Machete Cortex (played by Danny Trejo) is a former Federale who is now an illegal immigrant day laborer. Machete is hired by corrupt political worker Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) to assassinate anti-immigrant Senator John McLaughlin (Robert DeNiro), but Machete later learns that he has been set up as part of a plan by drug kingpin Torrez (Steven Seagal) to boost McLaughlin’s ratings through a supposed attempt on the senator’s life which the end result would be increased profits in his drug trade. Machete survives the attack and ends up on the radar screen of illegal immigrant investigator Sartana (Jessica Alba) and Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), the leader of a movement to help the immigrants settle and receive bogus paperwork. Machete also solicits the help of his brother (Cheech Marin), who has become a priest and has taken a vow of nonviolence. The unlikely group vows to take down the senator and his drug-laced supporters, but how does one take down a Senator?

The topic of the Texas/Mexico border politics is brought up, but those expecting an expose on the topic will be disappointed as the subject is never investigated seriously. Instead it is used as a backdrop to create a blood-soaked salute to those nasty 1970’s and 80’s action exploitation films such as The Exterminator and They Call Her One Eye. The carnage throughout the film is extreme and at times ridiculous: the street cage fight scene where Machete kicks the crap out of another Mexican without putting down his burrito is funny as the dickens; the scene where Machete uses the intestines of one of his assailants as a rope is straight out of a comic book; and the crucifixion scene is downright appalling. The collection of actors is interesting but strange enough they play on each other to give more than acceptable performances; one surprise is Lindsay Lohan who plays a strung-out rich kid who spends more time naked than clothed but gives a fun performance especially when she dons a nun outfit. Keep an eye out for Grindhouse veterans Electra and Elise Avellan (“The Crazy Babysitter Twins”) as Uzi-toting nurses. Director Rodriguez (whose work also includes Once Upon A Time In Mexico) gives Machete a fast pace and wastes little time on conversations and the minimal plot development, which for what he is attempting to accomplish is the right approach. One negative was the death of Torrez at the end of the film, which came across as stupid complete with Seagal’s usual hammy acting.

Good news for fans of the Grindhouse trailers: Eli Roth is in pre-production for his Thanksgiving entry and the film should see the ligth of day in 2013. This is not a perfect movie but Machete is a whole lot of fun for those who like breakneck-paced action and a lot of bloodshed. Yes Machete does touch on some important issues of the day, but that is not what the true Machete is all about. This is a true exploitation film on just about every level: cast lots of beautiful women and dress them as minimally as possible, show many female body parts without receiving an “X” rating, destroy as much property as the budget can afford, and shed as much bad guy blood as can be stomached. On this level Machete is a rousing success. Fans of the older exploitation with find a welcome addition to their collection, and newer fans that are just discovering this genre will be able to get an introductory lesson in this nasty yet at times entertaining genre. Recommended.

* * * *

–Mark

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