Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Quentin Tarantino

Michael Parks R.I.P

Michael_ParksMichael Parks, a character actor who enjoyed a career renaissance in recent decades thanks to high profile roles in films by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith, died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Parks made his acting debut in a small role in 1961 on the sitcom The Real McCoys, and, racked up dozens of roles on both television and feature films, most notably as the casino owner and drug runner Jean Renault on the second season of Twin Peaks.

After years playing bit roles in made-for-TV movies, Westerns and slasher films, Parks was cast as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in Rodriguez’ 1996 vampire flick From Dusk ’til Dawn. Quentin Tarantino, an associate of Rodriguez’, then cast Parks in a dual role for Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2; in the former, he reprised the McGraw role, while the latter found the actor playing Mexican pimp Esteban Vihaio.

Parks would portray McGraw once more for Tarantino and Rodriguez in the directors’ Grindhouse films. Tarantino also recruited Parks for a small role in Django Unchained.

Parks’ career revival also resulted in roles in Ben Affleck’s Argo, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford and a pair of Kevin Smith horror flicks, Red State and Tusk.

“Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I’ve ever known. I wrote both [Red State] and [Tusk] FOR Parks, I loved his acting so much,” Smith posted on Wednesday. “He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set.”

At the time of his death, Parks was cast in the upcoming Christian Bale film Hostiles.


True Romance – Poster Art

“Coming up with a concept for a movie like True Romance, that I have been a huge fan of for years and is among my favourite Tony Scott films of all time, wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be when I first got the proposal. There are so many brilliant quotes, memorable scenes and a mind-blowing soundtrack on top of it all. The Hawaiian shirted Cupid I went with, symbolizing the bizarre romance between Alabama and Clarence, came to me as a revelation and I felt I had a winner. I desperately wanted to not only catch the mood of the film, but also include as many characters as I could possibly fit. I love every single performance from the movie and I felt like everyone deserved a tribute.” – Grzegorz “GABZ” Domaradzki

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Top 10 Songs from Psychotic Movies

Reposted from Reviewfix.com: Whether it makes one curl up under a blanket in terror or stand to their feet in hair-raising excitement, audiences tend to have a guilty pleasure for psychotic thrillers and characters.

The list below is comprised of the top ten songs from memorable moments in psychopathic thrillers.

The best movies of the genre captivated its audience by taking them on a roller coaster ride where the filmmakers intricately weaved masterful sound design with visuals. They engaged their audience by tactfully placing songs and musical tracks in crucial parts of the film.

Some of them were deemed ironic due to their seemingly irrelevant lyrics, while others told a side story and conveyed a insight into the characters. It is remarkable how these songs and visuals that are sometimes created ages apart can come together on screen and exhilarate us.

These songs and scenes captivated and sometimes repulsed audiences of all kinds. Whichever the case, the duos ranked in this lineup have shocked, amused and offended viewers since their releases.

Whether it is the unlikely combination of the song and the scene, or because the music was harmoniously with the deranged and demented actions of the plot, this top ten list will give psychopathic film lovers a familiar dose of crazy.

10: “After Dark”

Artist: Tito & Tarantula
Movie: From Dusk till Dawn
Criminal brothers Richard and Seth Gecko (Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney) seek refuge at a strip club/brothel called the Titty Twister — also a vampire nest. There they encounter Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), a vampire queen and her hive. Before the hive’s vampire identity is revealed, Hayek seductively dances to Tito & Tarantula’s “After Dark” with a snake on her shoulders, while serenading the men before her meal.

9: “The Greatest Love of All”
Artist: Whitney Houston, instrumental Performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Movie: American Psycho
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) discusses his musical proclivities as the intoxicated Elizabeth (Guinevere Turner) makes out with call girl Christie (Cara Seymour). Bateman speaks about the message behind Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” as the instrumental by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra plays in the stereo. He passionately speaks about self-preservation and bettering one’s self all the while he plans to kill both women after he sleeps with them.

8: “The Ride of the Valkyries”
Artist: from Richard Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” performed by The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Movie: From Dusk till dawn
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) commands a squadron of attack helicopters against a Viet Cong village filled with women and children. The Colonel orders the helicopters to blast Richard Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries” to frighten and intimidate the Vietnamese while simultaneously pumping up his soldiers for battle. As the squadron flies over, the village which moments ago was filled with students and farmers is left ravaged by bombs.

7: “The Way I Walk”
Artist: Cover by Robert Gordon
Movie: Natural Born Killers
Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) are a killer couple who get a thrill out of murder and mayhem. At a diner, Mallory dances alone by a jukebox while Mickey orders some pie. Two men walk in and notice Mallory. The song changes to Robert Gordon’s “The Way I Walk” and Mallory dances wildly. One of the men pursues to join her, a gesture responded with Mallory’s wrath. Within seconds, the loving couple blissfully kills every person there except just one man, who is left behind to tell of their deeds.

6: “Hold Tight” (1966)
Artist: Dave Dee, Dozy,
Beaky, Mick & Tich
Movie: “Death Proof” (2007)
Arlene, Jungle Julia, Shanna and Lanna (Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Poitier, Jordan Ladd and Monica Staggs) drive down the highway with their stereo blasted. “Hold Tight” by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich plays as the girls get in their groove and horse around. Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russel) speeds past the girls’ car in his 1970 Chevy Nova. He makes a u-turn ahead, turns off the headlights and speeds right back towards the girls. Unknowingly, the girls cruise ahead turning up the volume. Mike turns on the headlights before impact and crashes into the girls’ car. The car crash is shown repeatedly from various angles to showcase the severed body parts and the gruesome deaths of each girl.

5: “Banana Split” (1979)
Artist: The Dickies
Movie: “Kick-Ass” (2010)
Vigilante superhero Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) comes to the rescue of Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), another costumed hero, in a drug dealer’s den. With a butterfly knife and her Mindy Stick (a staff weapon with two katanas at each end) Hit Girl stabs, slashes and chops off body parts until every criminal in the apartment is dead. The Dickies’ “Banana Split” is used as a soundtrack while the 11 year old girl kills everyone with glee.

4: “Hip to be Square” (1986)
Artist: Huey Lewis & The News
Movie: “American Psycho” (2000)
The complexity of Patrick Bateman’s (Christian Bale) intellect are exemplary in this scene. Bateman drugs his coworker, Paul Allen (Jared Leto) with a drink . The couches are covered with sheets and the floor with the style section of the newspaper. As he talks about Huey Lewis to Allen, Bateman puts on a rain coat and turns on “Hip to be Square.” He dances back to pick up an axe and speaks about how the band makes a statement through the song, all the while making a statement about himself. Bateman then axes down Allen with raw vigor and excitement.

3: “Goodbye Horses” (1988)
Artist: Q Lazzarus
Movie: “Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Jame Gumb aka Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), a serial killer has kidnapped a young girl, Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) and locked her in a well in his basement. Q Lazzarus’s “Goodbye Horses” plays as Bill dresses in a women’s clothing and puts on makeup. He uses lipstick, jewelry, human skin and hair to doll himself up. Bill then sets up a camera to dance and experiment in front of it. The scene crosscuts between Martin trying to escape out of the well with Bill’s playtime. The scene shows the extent of Bill’s insanity and foreshadows what could become of Martin’s future.

2:”Stuck in the Middle With You” (1972)
Artist: Steeler’s Wheels
Movie: “Reservoir Dogs” (1992)
Vic Vega aka Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) has kidnapped a cop, Officer Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) after a heist. While his crew is out, Mr. Blonde is left alone in the safe house with a wounded accomplice and Officer Nash. Seizing the opportunity, he turns on the radio and takes out a razor from his boot. As “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Steeler’s Wheels plays on the radio, Mr. Blonde dances and slashes the officer’s face while taunting him. He then cuts the officer’s right ear off and gets a gallon of gasoline from his car. Still dancing, he drenches the officer with gasoline for what’s next.

1:”The Last Waltz” (1941)
Artist: from “Masquerade,” Last Waltz by Aram Khachaturyan
Movie: “Oldboy” (2003)
Aram Khachaturyan’s “The Last Waltz” is perhaps the most diversely and widely used soundtrack in a single film in the realm of psychotic thrillers. The movie depicts the life of Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi), an industrial worker, as he tries to find out the truth behind his mysterious imprisonment of 15 years. This terrifyingly beautiful melody is elegantly played through the most violent and delightful scenes in the movie. Through moments of love, death, sex and incest, the film shows the beauty in something ugly and the horror in something beautiful.


Tarantino Art by Ken Taylor

Tarantino_Miramax_Poster-ArtMiramax are now selling the art Ken Taylor created for the Tarantino XX DVD/Blu-ray set as a series of limited edition silkscreened prints. They have released five prints in all which span Quentin Tarantino‘s Miramax film career. Each print is silkscreened on 24 x 35 130lb acid free paper stock using archival quality inks, and is individually hand numbered edition of only 500. Get them HERE

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R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

Elmore LeonardLegendary American novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard passed away late yesterday in Detroit following complications from a stroke. He was 87. A last post on his Facebook page said he was “at home surrounded by his loving family” when he died at 7:15 AM. Some of the author’s works to be transformed into Hollywood movies included Hombre52 Pick-UpOut Of Sight3:10 To YumaGet Shorty and Jackie Brown (which was based on his Rum Punch). The FX series Justified is based on his novella Fire In The HoleLife Of Crime, adapted from Leonard’s novel The Switch, is to have a gala presentation in Toronto next month.

Leonard was born in 1925 in New Orleans and settled in Detroit in 1934. In the 1950’s there, he started out writing Westerns while also toiling as an ad man. He went on to specialize in crime thrillers with his trademark brand of simple dialogue and indelible characters who sometimes appeared across several of his works. Among his 10 Rules Of Writing were, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it” and “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” At the time of his hospitalization in early August, Leonard was “very much” at work on his 46th novel, his researcher Gregg Sutter told The Detroit News.


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Quentin Tarantino – Bodycount Infographic

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Django Unchained – Poster Art by Matt Butkus

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Pulp Fiction – Fan Poster Art

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Samuel Leroy Jackson

Samuel L Jackson_movie bannerSamuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. Initially intent on pursuing a degree in marine biology, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. After joining a local acting group to earn extra points in a class, Jackson found an interest in acting and switched his major. Before graduating in 1972, he co-founded the “Just Us Theatre”.

Pulp Fiction_Samuel L Jackson movie posterJackson began acting in multiple plays, appeared in several television films, and made his feature film debut in the blaxploitation independent film Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York City in 1976 and spent the next decade appearing in stage plays. Throughout his early film career, mainly in minimal roles in films and various television films, Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play A Soldier’s Play, Jackson was introduced to director Spike Lee who would later include him in small roles for the films School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989). He also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards.

Pulp Fiction_1994_wallpaperAfter gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever (1991), he appeared in films such as Patriot Games (1992), True Romance and Jurassic Park (both 1993). In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Directed in a highly stylized manner by Quentin Tarantino, who co-wrote its screenplay with Roger Avery; the film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay. It was also awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. A major critical and commercial success, it revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who with Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, received Academy Award nominations.

Pulp Fiction_Vincent Vega_Jules Winfield_John Travolta_Samuel L JacksonPulp Fiction connects the intersecting storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, fringe players, small-time criminals, and a mysterious briefcase. Considerable screen time is devoted to conversations and monologues that reveal the characters’ senses of humor and perspectives on life. The nature of its development, marketing, and distribution and its consequent profitability had a sweeping effect on the field of independent cinema (although it is not an independent film itself). Considered a cultural watershed, Pulp Fiction’s influence has been felt in several other media.

The Avengers_movie wallpaperJackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, Unbreakable, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Shaft, Deep Blue Sea, Snakes on a Plane, 1408, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Tarantinos’ Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds. 

The-Avengers-Nick-Fury-posterMore recently, he played Nick Fury in the Marvel films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers, the first five of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson’s many roles have made him one of the highest-grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. He is next up in another Tarantino movie, Django Unchained, and in the ever-delayed remake of Robocop.


Franco Nero

Franco Nero (born 23 November 1941) is an Italian actor, best known for his roles of the title character in Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western, Django (1966). He also featured in Camelot (1967), Tristana (1970), Force 1o From Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981), reprised his role again as the title character in Nello Rosatti’s Django 2 (1987), was General Ramon Esperanza in Die Hard 2 (1990), Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001); he also played the narrator in the film Rasputin (2010) and voice the character of Uncle Topolino in the animated film Cars 2 (2011) directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Brad Lewis.

Nero was born Francesco Sparanero in San Prospero Parmense (province of Parma, Italy), the son of a sergeant in the carabinieri, originally from San Severo. He grew up in Bedonia and in Milan. He studied briefly at the Economy and Trade faculty of the local university, before leaving to study at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano.

Nero’s first film role was a small part in La ragazza in prestito (1964), and he had his first lead role in Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966) a spaghetti western and one of his best known films. The film earned a reputation as being one of the most violent films ever made up to that point and was subsequently refused a certificate in Britain until 1993. Check out the original 1966 trailer HERE

There are rumored to be over 100 unofficial sequels, though only 31 have been counted. Four were made the same year, in 1966. Most of these films have nothing to do with Corbucci’s original, but copy the look and attitude of the central character. Although the name is referenced in over 30 other movies to capitalize on the success of the original, none of these films were official, featuring neither Corbucci nor Nero. Nero did reprise his role as Django in 1987’s Django 2: Il Grande Ritorno (Django Strikes Again), in the only official sequel to be written by Corbucci.

In 1966 from Django he went on to appear in eight more films released that year including Texas, addio (1967) and Tempo di massacro. In 1967, he appeared in Camelot as Lancelot, where he met his long time romantic partner, and later on in life his wife, Vanessa Redgrave. Following this he appeared in the mafia film Il giorno della civetta opposite Claudia Cardinale released in 1968.

A lack of proficiency in English tended to limit these roles, although he also appeared in other English language films including The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981) and Die Hard 2 (1990).

Although often typecast in films like Los amigos (1972) or Keoma (1976) he has attempted an impressive range of characters, such as Abel in John Huston’s epic The Bible: In the Beginning (1966), the humiliated engineer out for revenge in Street Law, the gay lieutenant in Querelle (1982) and Serbian mediaeval hero in Banović Strahinja (1983). He has appeared in over 150 films, and has written, produced and starred in one: Jonathan degli orsi (1993).

More recently, he starred in Hungarian director Gábor Koltay’s Honfoglalás (Conquest) in 1996, in Li chiamarono… briganti! (1999) by Pasquale Squitieri and subsequently in Koltay’s Sacra Corona (Holy Crown) in 2001.

In 2009 he played an eccentric author called “Mario Puzzo” in Mord ist mein Geschäft, Liebling (“Murder is my trade, darling”, Italian title “Tesoro, sono un killer”). German critics found his performance was the best part of the film: “Having Franco Nero playing in this film is really a great joy – it is only regrettable that after his appearances there is still so much film left.”

In 2011, he received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada. He’s about to become even more famous with the forthcoming release of the Quentin Tarantino movie, Django Unchained.


Roger Avary

Roger Avary (born Roger d’Avary; August 23, 1965) is a Canadian film and television producer, screenwriter and director. He worked on the screenplays for Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the latter of which earned both him and Quentin Tarantino an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards. He also directed the cult films Killing Zoe and the excellent The Rules of Attraction among other film and television projects.

When in 1981, Video Out-Takes co-owner Lance Lawson (a name that comes up repeatedly in Avary and Tarantino’s films) left to open the now famous Video Archives, Avary went along, writing the store’s database program. Under the vision of Lawson, Video Archives became a gathering place for a group of cinephiles, who became known as “Archivists”. Among this group, Avary met an odd and brilliant film enthusiast, Quentin Tarantino. The two became friends, introducing each other to their favorite films.

Early in his career, Avary made a number of contributions to some of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. He worked as a cinematographer on Tarantino’s unfinished first film, My Best Friend’s Birthday. He had written a script called “The Open Road” which Tarantino rewrote. Avary took on the producer’s role, and he and Tarantino tried unsuccessfully for several years to get funding so that Tarantino could direct the script himself. Eventually, the script was sold to French producer Samuel Hadida and became the movie True Romance. 

Avery and Tarantino worked together on Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone; Avary also co-wrote the background radio dialogue in Reservoir Dogs (1992), and designed the “Dog Eat Dog” logo which appeared in the end credits.

Most notably however, Avary contributed material which, combined with Tarantino’s, formed the basis of Pulp Fiction (1994) for which he and Tarantino won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Avary’s bizarre 1994 Oscar speech (for Best Original Screenplay) consisted of “I want to thank my beautiful wife, Gretchen, who I love more than anyone else in the world… I’m gonna go now ’cause I really got to take a pee.” The “pee comment” was a reference to all five films nominated in 1994 for Best Picture having a key scene where a character excuses themselves to use the bathroom.

Avary also wrote and directed the neo-noir cult thriller Killing Zoe (1994) which Tarantino executive produced. Avary had initially intended to write a screenplay completely devoted to his travelling experience through Europe, for which Tarantino suggested the ironic title Roger Takes a Trip. But when producer Lawrence Bender called Avary during location scouting on Reservoir Dogs asking if he had a screenplay that took place entirely in a bank so that they could take advantage of an inexpensive location they had no use for, Avary told Bender that he had such a script—and quickly wrote Killing Zoe in under a week, using elements of his European trip as inspiration. The film was honored with le Prix très spécial à Cannes 1994, the very same year that Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or.

From 1985 to 1986, Avary attended Menlo College, in Atherton, California. The school, “a West coast Bennington”, laid the foundations for his film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel The Rules of Attraction. In 2002, Avary directed his adaptation of the novel, which he also executive produced. His film from within the film, Glitterati (2004), used elements of Victor’s European trip and was shot on digital video. In 2005, he purchased the rights to another Bret Easton Ellis novel Glamorama, and is currently developing it for himself to direct.

In 2006, Avary wrote a screenplay adaptation to the hit videogame, Silent Hill (2006), with French director and friend, Christophe Gans, and Killing Zoe producer Samuel Hadida.

According to Avary’s biography on the American “Killing Zoe” DVD, Avary directed a small, independent musical production of “Beowulf” for the stage in Paris in 1993. Beowulf seems to have been a lifelong obsession with Avary.

In the late 1990s, Avary was hired by Warner Bros studio to adapt Neil Gaiman’s comic series The Sandman to the big screen. After he was fired, Gaiman and Avary started work together writing an adaptation of the epic poem Beowulf. The film was finally produced in 2007 with Robert Zemeckis directing, utilizing performance capture technology.

On January 13, 2008, Avary was arrested under suspicion of manslaughter and DUI, following a car crash in Ojai, California where a passenger, Andreas Zini, was killed. In December 2008, he was charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. He later changed his plea to guilty on August 18, 2009.

On September 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 1 year in work furlough, (allowing him to go to his job during the day and then report back to the furlough facility at night), and 5 years of probation. However, after making several tweets about the conditions of his stay on Twitter, Avary was sent to Ventura County Jail to serve out the remainder of his term. On July 10, 2010, after spending eight months in jail, Avary was released.


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Robert Rodríguez

Robert Anthony Rodríguez (born June 20, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. He shoots and produces many of his films in his native Texas and Mexico.

Rodríguez was born in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Mexican-American parents Rebecca (née Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. He began his interest in film at age 11 when his father bought one of the first VCR’s, which came with a camera. Rodríguez grew up shooting action and horror short films on video, and editing on two VCRs. Finally, in the fall of 1990, his entry in a local film contest earned him a spot in the university’s film program where he made the award-winning 16 mm short Bedhead.

This short film attracted enough attention to encourage him to seriously attempt a career as a filmmaker. He went on to shoot the action flick El Mariachi in Spanish. El Mariachi, which was shot for around $7,000 with money raised by his friend Carlos Gallardo and participating in medical research studies, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. The film, originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, was “cleaned up” with several hundred thousand dollars before being distributed by Columbia Pictures, while still being promoted as “the movie made for $7,000”.

His next feature film was Roadracers, a 1994 made-for-television film. The film originally aired on the Showtime Network as part of their Rebel Highway series that took the titles of 1950s-era B-movies and applied them to original films starring up-and-coming actors of the 1990s and directed by established directors such as William Friedkin, Joe Dante, and Ralph Bakshi. Rodriguez was the only young director to participate in the series.

His next film and first major release was Desperado (1995), a sequel to El Mariachi starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in their first American roles. Rodríguez went on to collaborate with Quentin Tarantino on Four Rooms, a 1995 anthology comedy telling four stories set in the fictional Hotel Mon Signor in Los Angeles on New Years Eve. Tim Roth stars as the main character of the frame tale; he also appears to some degree in all four stories. The movie was directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Rodriguez and Tarantino with each of them directing one “room” of the film.

Rodriguez continued his work with Tarantino, a partnership that thrives to this day, on the vampire thriller, From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). The film was followed by two direct-to-video follow-ups, a sequel, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and a prequel, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999). They were both received poorly by critics. Danny Trejo is the only actor to appear in all three. Rodriguez, Tarantino and Lawrence Bender served as producers on all three movies.

He followed up with the science fiction horror film, The Faculty (1998), written by Kevin Williamson (Scream 1 and 2). Then in 2001, Rodríguez enjoyed his first $100,000,000 (USD) Hollywood hit with Spy Kids, which went on to become a 4-movie franchise. A third “mariachi” film also appeared in late 2003, Once Upon a Time in Mexico which completed the Mariachi Trilogy.

2005 was the year that he broke through to a wider market with his adaptation of  the Frank Miller graphic novels series Sin City. Rodríguez insisted that Frank Miller direct the film with him because he considered the visual style of Miller’s comic art to be just as important as his own in the film. However, the Directors Guild of America would not allow it, Rodríguez chose to resign from the DGA, stating, “It was easier for me to quietly resign before shooting because otherwise I’d be forced to make compromises I was unwilling to make or set a precedent that might hurt the guild later on.” By resigning from the DGA, Rodríguez was forced to relinquish his director’s seat on the film John Carter (an lucky break!).

Sin City was a critical hit in 2005 as well as a box office success, particularly for a hyperviolent comic book adaptation that did not have name recognition comparable to the X-Men or Spider-Man. He has stated that he is interested in eventually adapting all of Miller’s Sin City comic books, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is currently in production.

Rodríguez also released The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 2005, a superhero-kid movie intended for the same younger audiences as his Spy Kids series. However, the film was not a major success.

Rodriguez wrote and directed the film Planet Terror for the collaboration with Quentin Tarantino in their double feature Grindhouse (2007). This film was a throwback to the Grindhouse exploitation cinema of the late 6o’s and 70’s.

In 2009 he released Shorts a family comedy adventure in keeping with his Spy Kids style. In 2010 he produced Predators and directed Machete an expansion of a fake trailer Rodriguez directed for the 2007 film Grindhouse. It starred Danny Trejo as the title character. Trejo, Rodriquez’ 2nd cousin, has worked with him on Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Spy Kids, where Trejo’s character was also known as Machete.

Rodriguez has had his name down for countless projects over the last few years, the more (in)famous including remakes of Barbarella and Red Sonja… both are yet to get to pre-production stage.

He operates a production company called Troublemaker Studios, formerly Los Hooligans Productions. Rodríguez not only has the unusual credits of producing, directing and writing his films, he also frequently serves as editor, director of photography, camera operator, steadicam operator, composer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and sound editor on his films. This has earned him the nickname of “the one-man film crew.” He calls his style of making movies “Mariachi-style”


Harvey Keitel

Harvey Keitel (born May 13, 1939) is an American actor. Some of his most notable starring roles were in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott’s The Duellists and Thelma & Louise, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jane Campion’s The Piano, Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, James Mangold’s Cop Land, and Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing.

Keitel grew up in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, with his sister, Renee, and brother, Jerry. At the age of sixteen, he decided to join the United States Marine Corps, a decision that took him to Lebanon, during Operation Blue Hat (to bolster the pro-Western Lebanese government of President Camille Chamoun against internal opposition and threats from Syria and Egypt). After his return to the United States, he was a court reporter for several years and was able to support himself before beginning his acting career.

Keitel studied under both Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, eventually landing roles in Off-Broadway productions. During this time, Keitel auditioned for filmmaker Martin Scorsese and gained a part in Scorsese’s student production, Who’s That Knocking at My Door? Since then, Scorsese and Keitel have worked together on several projects. Keitel had the starring role in Scorsese’s Mean Streets, which also proved to be Robert De Niro’s breakthrough film. He later appeared with De Niro in Taxi Driver, playing the role of Jodie Foster’s pimp ‘Sport’.

Originally cast as Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Keitel was involved with the first week of principal photography in the Philippines. Coppola was not happy with Keitel’s take on Willard, stating that the actor “found it difficult to play him a passive onlooker”. After viewing the first week’s footage, Coppola made the difficult decision to replace Keitel with a casting session favourite, Martin Sheen.

Keitel drifted into obscurity through most of the 1980s, taking mainly supporting roles in some good movies such as Bad Timing (1981) by Nicolas Roeg, The Border (1982) by Tony Richardson and Falling in Love (1984) with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. He continued to do work on both stage and screen, but usually in the stereotypical thug roles. In 1987 he again worked with Scorsese as Judas in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). Another supporting role to Jack Nicolson in The Two Jakes (1990) before Ridley Scott cast Keitel as the sympathetic policeman in Thelma & Louise in 1991. That same year, he landed a role in Bugsy, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Keitel’s career revival continued when he starred in Quentin Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs (which he co-produced) in 1992, where his performance as “Mr. White” took his career to a different level. Since then, Keitel has chosen his roles with care, seeking to change his image and show off a broader acting range. One of those roles was the title character in Abel Ferarra’s Bad Lieutenant (1992), about a self-loathing, drug- addicted police lieutenant trying to redeem himself. He also appeared in the movie The Piano in 1993, and played an efficient clean-up expert Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994).

Keitel was back in a big way, he starred in Smoke and Clockers (both 1995), then in 1996 he had a major role in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s film, From Dusk Till Dawn, as the religious father of two, whose camper van is hijacked by Seth (George Clooney) and his twisted brother Richard (Quentin Tarantino). In 1997 he starred in the excellent crime drama Cop Land, which also starred Sylvester Stallone, Ray Liotta, and long-time collaborator Robert De Niro.

He’s been incredibly busy through the last decade, featuring in a lot of movies… can someone please give him another gritty leading role to get his teeth in to..?


Eli Roth

Eli Raphael Roth (born April 18, 1972) is an American film director, producer, writer and actor. He is known for his role as Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds for which he won both a SAG Award (Best Ensemble) and a BFCA Critic’s Choice Award (Best Acting Ensemble).

Roth began shooting films at the age of eight after watching the Ridley Scott classic Alien (1979). He made over 50 short films with his brothers Adam and Gabe before graduating at Newton South High School and attending film school (the Tisch School of the Arts) at New York University, from which he graduated in 1994.  By the age of 20, and while still a student at NYU, Roth ran the office of producer Frederick Zollo, eventually leaving to devote himself to writing full-time.

Through his internship with producer Fred Zollo in years prior, Roth met David Lynch and remained in contact with him over the years, eventually producing content for Lynch with his fledgling website in the late 1990s. Roth moved from NYC to LA in 1999; shortly thereafter he wrote, directed, edited, produced, animated, and provided voices for a series of animated shorts called Chowdaheads for Manderlay Sports Entertainment.

In 1995, a year after graduating from NYU, Roth cowrote Cabin Fever with his roommate and friend from NYU, Randy Pearlstein. Roth based the premise of the script on his own encounter with a skin infection he contracted while training horses at a farm in Selfoss, Iceland, in 1991. Much of the script was written while Roth was working as a production assistant in 1996 for Howerd Stern’s movie Private Parts.

Cabin Fever was made in 2001 on a budget of $1.5 million raised from private investors. Roth sold the film to Lionsgate at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival for $3.5 million, the biggest sale of the festival that year. The film was released in 2003 and was Lionsgate’s highest grossing film of the year, earning $22 million at the U.S. box office and $35 million worldwide. The film made Roth a new star in the horror genre. In his 2004 Premiere Magazine interview for Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino called Cabin Fever his favorite new film and Roth “the future of horror.”

Roth’s second feature film, Hostel, was made in 2005 on a budget of a little more than $4 million. It opened to No. 1 at the box office in January 2006, taking in $20 million over its opening weekend. It eventually went on to gross $80 million worldwide in box office, and more than $180 million worldwide on DVD. The movie plot is said to take place in Slovakia, however, all the exteriors were shot in the Czech Republic. The story line is naively simple – three friends are lured to visit a hostel in which they think that all of their sexual fantasies will come true. Instead, they drop into the clutches of an international syndicate offering a first-hand torturing and killing experience to the sadistic pleasure of rich tourists. The film was voted the No. 1 scariest movie moment on the Bravo TV special 30 Even Scarier Movie Moments. Empire Magazine readers voted Hostel the Best Horror Film of 2007.

Roth reportedly turned down numerous studio directing jobs to make Hostel. He took a directing salary of only $10,000 on Hostel in order to keep the budget as low as possible so there would be no limitations on the violence. In January 2006, film critic David Edelstein in the New York Magazine credited Roth with creating the horror sub-genre ‘torture-porn,’ or ‘gorno,’ using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act.

In the country supposedly depicted in the movie, the Slovak Republic, it generated unanimously indignant reaction in general public and official representatives. The artistic qualities of the movie aside, the very story is said to have slandered Slovakia, a country mostly unfamiliar to the non-European audience. Roth argued that he selected Slovakia as a setting for the picture to show Americans’ lack of knowledge. “Americans do not even know that this country exists. My film is not a geographical work but aims to show Americans’ ignorance of the world around them.”

In 2007, Roth directed the faux trailer segment Thanksgiving for Grindhouse in addition to appearing in Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino’s segment of the film.

Roth made a Hostel sequel in 2007, Hostel: Part II opened in sixth place with $8.2 million and went on to total $17.6 million by the end of its theatrical run. The film cost $10.2 million and made $35 million dollars worldwide and another $50 million on DVD and pay television.

In 2009, Roth co-starred with Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, playing Donny Donowitz, a.k.a. “The Bear Jew.” He also guest directed the Nazi propaganda film-within-the-film, Nation’s Pride

Roth, through his company Arcade with Eric Newman and Strike producer Marc Abraham, produced the horror film The Last Exorcism, (originally titled Cotton) which was directed by Daniel Stamm. The Last Exorcism, which cost $1.5 million to produce, opened to over $20 million dollars in the U.S., and earned the #1 opening spots in Canada and the U.K. It earned over $40 million dollars at the U.S. box office, totaling $70 million worldwide. Roth has also produced Hostel: Part III. He is currently working on The Man with the Iron Fists and Endangered Species.


Kill Bill – LEGO Posters


Quentin Tarantino – Poster Art Part 3

Last post featuring more poster art inspired by the films of Quentin Tarantino.


Quentin Tarantino – Poster Art Part 1

The first of a few random postings of poster art from Quentin Tarantino films…


Battle Royale on Blu-Ray

Forget the Hunger Games, Battle Royale is coming to Blu-Ray. “My favorite movie of the last 20 years… I wish I had made this movie.” –Quentin Tarantino

In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation’s youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left. CHIAKI KURIYAMA (Kill Bill) and screen legend TAKESHI KITANO (Boiling Point, Brother) star in the movie that has been argued, acclaimed and banned around the world. More than a decade later, it remains one of the most savage, shocking and emotionally powerful films of all time. Now experience the complete Director’s Cut of KINJI FUKASAKU’s uncompromising masterpiece — nominated for 10 Japanese Academy Awards — available uncensored and unrated for the first time ever in North America.


Jack Hill

Jack Hill (born January 28, 1933) is an U.S. film director, noted for his work in the exploitation film genre. Despite this, several of Hill’s later films have been characterized as feminist works.
Hill was born in Los Angeles. His mother, Mildred (née Pannill), was a music teacher and his father, Roland Everett Hill, worked as a set builder for film studios and was an architect.

Hill made over 20 exploitation movies throughout the 60’s and 70’s including ‘The Wasp Woman’ (1960); ‘The Bellboy and the Playgirl’ (1962) with Francis Ford Coppola; ‘The Terror’ (1963); ‘The Raw Ones’ (1965); ‘Mondo Keyhole’ (1966); ‘Blood Bath (aka Track of the Vampire)’ (1966); ‘Spider Baby (aka The Maddest Story Ever Told)’ (1968); ‘Pit Stop’ (1969); ‘Ich, ein Groupie’ (1970); ‘House of Evil’ (1971); ‘The Snake People’ (1971); ‘The Incredible Invasion’ (1971); ‘The Fear Chamber’ (1971); ‘The Big Doll House’ (1971); ‘The Big Bird Cage’ (1972); ‘Coffy’ (1973); ‘Foxy Brown’ (1974); ‘The Swinging Cheerleaders’ (1974); ‘Switchblade Sisters’ (1975), and ‘Sorceress’ (1982) (as Brian Stuart).

Today his films are hailed as cult classics, thanks primarily to Quentin Tarantino, who saw Hill’s work at Grindhouse theaters and as it made its way to video. He has really championed these exploitation movies and helped revive interest in Hill as well as Roger Corman, the early work of Joe Dante and various other minority cinema. Check out this interview with Jack from February 2008.

The most famous of Hills movies are the women in prison movies ‘The Big Doll House’ and ‘Big Bird Cage’ as well as the Pam Grier starring ‘Coffy’ and ‘Foxy Brown’. Hill regulars Sid Haig and other notable B-movie stars can all be seen talking about the fun they had making these movies in the Philippines in the excellent documentary ‘Machete Maidens Unleashed.

Machete Maidens Unleased: Karate-kicking midgets! Paper-mache monsters! Busty babes with blades! Filipino genre films of the ’70s and ’80s had it all. Boasting cheap labour, exotic scenery and non-existent health and safety regulations, the Philippines was a dreamland for exploitation filmmakers whose renegade productions were soon engulfing drive-in screens around the globe like a tidal schlock-wave! At last, the all-too-often overlooked world of drive-in filler from Manilla gets the Mark Hartley (NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD) treatment in Machete Maidens Unleashed! This is the ultimate insiders’ account of a faraway backlot where stunt men came cheap, plot was obsolete and the make-up guy was packing heat! Machete Maidens Unleashed! features interviews with cult movie icons Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sid Haig, Eddie Romero and a large assembly of cast, crew and critics, each with a jaw-dropping story to tell about filmmaking with no budget…


Hostel part 2 *½

The Hostel sequel was always going to happen after the first one inexplicably made $80m..!

So the second hostel features 3 girls instead of 3 lads; see what he did there, totally different approach. They are the apparently as-rich-as-Bill Gates Beth (Lauren German), her feisty friend Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and tag along nerd Lorna (Heather Matarazzo – who deserves better material than this and is given nothing to do).

The movie opens with Paxton from the first movie waking from a ‘oh no it was a dream’ shot, it wasn’t he’s decapitated. The girls head to the hostel in Slovakia and are drugged, kidnapped and we’ve been here before.

The major difference this time around is we get to spend some time with a couple of rich American business men who bid to kill the girls.

The killings this time around include an Elizabeth Bathory style bathing in a bath of blood, a guy torn apart by the facility guard dogs and a circular saw to the face, well, hair but the face comes off with it…

SPOILER ALERT. Beth turns the tables on her torturer and makes a deal with the mafia types to escape. To do so though, she must kill as apparently that’s house rules. So she cuts off her would-be-torturers genitals and throws them to a guard dog!

Worse than the first one; it repeats the same structure without improving on it which shouldn’t have been too difficult. There are a few scenes that you know are added to set-up another possible sequel… please God NO.

A disappointing effort from Eli Roth who’s really enjoyed the limelight he’s been thrust into over the last few years since. ‘Cabin Fever’ was a great debut; it promised so much and won him so many fans as he spoke like a fan of the genre. He seems to be coasting along when he really should be pushing to make something great, he probably has the ability we’re just waiting to see it.

Quality: Averagely well made 2 out of 5 stars  

Any good: Not really 1 out of 5 stars


Hostel **½

Three backpackers in Amsterdam are locked out of their hostel. They trawl through the red light district, get drunk and are given information about a hostel in Slovakia where the girls are beautiful and love American men. The hostel is ‘To die for’

These opening scenes are supposed to give us some time to get to know our lead characters and therefore have some empathy for them when they’re inevitably tortured and killed.

Anyway the guys, Americans Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Icelander Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) head off to Slovakia and check-in to the hostel. On first impression it seems like the hostel is as they were led to believe. Not at all a front for a rich man’s club where they pay small fortunes to torture and kill backpackers with impunity… Or is it..?

Soon enough, they’re drugged, kidnapped and strapped into chairs in murky rooms… Torture ensues: tendons cut, fingers and toes severed etc, the usual stuff… then it’s a blow torch to an eye.

This is Eli Roth’s second feature after his fun debut ‘Cabin Fever’. Despite the bigger budget, higher production values and Quentin Tarantino as executive producer it’s not as good as his debut. Sure it’s a good idea for a horror film; it’s just not that good an idea. We’ve seen similar themes before and I’m sure Roth and Tarantino have seen the same movies being fans of horror and Grind house.

It’s well shot and the leads are okay. The gore when it arrives is suitably gruesome and it would seem that Roth has spent some time thinking how to hurt people.

I just don’t buy it. The whole premise of a hostel where these kids disappear from was like an ‘anti-The Beach’ and pointless.

SPOILER ALERT. Paxton’s escape and revenge is a little too contrived and totally unbelievable. The car chase killing of the bastards who led him to the hostel is a bad joke and the train station revenge feels like an add-on idea.

Not as bad as I’ve described it. But if you like this sort of thing, seeing people tortured then you’re sick and fortunately for you there are better movies out there. The horrific ‘The Girl Next Door’ was made on a fraction of the budget and has realistic, empathetic characters. Also ‘Martyrs’ leaves this in its wake for creepy chills and disturbing scenes of torture. If you can handle it ‘Salo: 120 Days of Sodom’ will disturb, horrify and scare the shit out of you in equal measures.

Quality: Well made 3 out of 5 stars

Any good: Not really, 2 out of 5 stars