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Fantastic Fest preview: Robert Rodriguez talks about opening night film 'Machete Kills'

How do you get your film screened as the opening-night movie of Fantastic Fest? Try making a joke. That, at least, was the origin of Machete Kills, the sequel to 2010’s action-packed Machete and the film whose world premiere will kick off proceedings at this year’s genre event in Austin, Texas, which runs September 19-26. “At the very last minute, I put at the end credits, as a joke, ‘Coming soon Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again,’” explains director Robert Rodriguez. “But people thought for sure they were coming and kept on asking for it. So because of popular demand, we went and made another.”

Machete once again stars Danny Trejo as the titular hero, and he is again surrounded by a starry cast of actors, including Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen (credited under his birth name of “Carlos Estevez”), Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Lady Gaga as a hit woman called The Chameleon.

Below, Rodriguez talks more about Machete Kills — which screens at 5:45 p.m. this Thursday — and the likelihood that Trejo’s Machete will indeed … kill again!

Michelle Rodriguez is back (with her eye patch!) in 'Machete Kills' preview -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

“It takes a bitch to make a bitch,” Michelle Rodriguez snarls (among a few other, taco-related one-liners) in this exclusive sizzle reel from the upcoming Machete Kills.

Rodriguez’s Shé is the perfect female counterpart to Danny Trejo’s Machete, and the leather-clad duo are back to kick some more ass — in seriously over-the-top, campy fashion — in the sequel to 2010’s Machete (which was, in itself, an adaptation of Robert Rodriguez’s fake trailer from 2007’s Grindhouse … got all that?). Michelle, complete with badass eye patch, keeps her underlings in check (“Keep fighting, goddammit!”) and, just like every other character the actress has played, she isn’t afraid of a girl fight.

And this video is just the latest example of why Michelle Rodriguez will be part of Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, alongside Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany and The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira, kicking off at 2:55 p.m. in Hall H.

Check out Michelle’s 30 seconds of mayhem below:

Open Road Films to distribute Robert Rodriguez's saucy sequel 'Machete Kills' -- NEW PHOTO

If the lap dance in the newly released photo above is any indication, the Machete sequel Machete Kills, both directed by Robert Rodriguez, will be yet another sassy, violent romp starring perennial tough guy Danny Trejo.

Open Road Films announced Thursday it’s distributing the film, out in wide release in 2013. The second movie in the trilogy, about Trejo as craggy faced ex-Federale agent Machete, hails from a screenplay by Kyle Ward, based on a story by Marcel Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez. Besides Trejo, the movie stars a long list of known names, including pop diva Lady Gaga, making her acting debut, as well as Oscar nominee Demian Bichir, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mel Gibson.  READ FULL STORY

Lady Gaga is making her acting debut in 'Machete Kills' -- POSTER


Lady Gaga will make her acting debut in Machete Kills, the 2013 sequel Robert Rodriguez’ bulletsoaked ode to exploitation cinema. Earlier today, Rodriguez tweeted: “I just finished working with @LadyGaga on @MacheteKills, she kicked SO MUCH ASS! Holy Smokes. Blown away!” Rodriguez included a poster proclaiming that Gaga is playing “La Chameléon,” a character who apparently enjoys wearing wolf fur and shooting silenced pistols, which in context makes her seem rather demure. Gaga confirmed on her own Twitter account: “Yes its true, I will be making my debut as an actress ln the amazing MACHETE KILLS BY @RODRIGUEZ IM SO EXCITED!!! AH! Filming was insane.” READ FULL STORY

Robert Rodriguez confirms production on 'Machete 2,' 'Sin City 2,' 'Heavy Metal,' and more

There’s a whole subgenre of Movies Robert Rodriguez Never Got Around to Making. At various times in the last decade, the filmmaker was attached to/was working on/was caught on a microphone musing about the possibility of a Red Sonja remake, a Barbarella remake, an adaptation of the cult comic Madman, and an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. (So he dodged at least one bullet.) Still, last summer at Comic-Con he promised me to my face that he was working on a pair of Machete sequels, a remake of the animation classic Heavy Metal, and a long-promised Sin City sequel, and apparently he wasn’t kidding.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Austin-based filmmaker announced that he would begin filming a new Machete movie — tentatively titled Machete Kills — next month. He also said that Sin City 2 will film this summer, so put that grain of salt in your pipe and smoke it. READ FULL STORY

'Machete,' 'The American,' and 'Going the Distance': Did you agree with me? And which one did you like best?

machete_danny-trejoImage Credit: Joaquin AvellanBased on Friday’s returns, Machete, with $3.9 million, has cut off the competition so far, but the full weekend box-office report isn’t in yet. (There could well be a horse race for first place.) When the 1-2-3-4 slots are as closely lumped together as it appears they might be, it can be a challenge to look at the numbers and say what they really mean — assuming, that is, that they mean anything at all. (Sorry, but I’m not here to parse the metaphysics of pop-culture consumerism.) My gut analysis is this: Going the Distance (my favorite of the three films), which took in a scant $2.2 million on Friday, had a softer opening than it should have, and The American (my least favorite), which made $3.8 million, did stronger than I expected — a sure testament to George Clooney’s star power, but also, perhaps, to a genuine audience desire to seek out a quiet-cool, dramatically oblique ’70s-Euro-style thriller. What I want to know is this: How did you feel about these three films? Do you think I was too kind to Going the Distance? Or too hard on The American? (I wanted to like it; I just found it unconvincing on its own terms.)

And I’m especially curious about what people thought of Machete. In a strange way, Robert Rodriguez’s gory-witty badass-illegal-immigrant revenge thriller is two movies bundled in one. If you loved the now-classic, super-sly trailer for it in Grindhouse (“He just f—ed with the wrong Mexican!”), then you may well have gone in seeking out a rush of smart/dumb pulp-movie action that dances on the knife blade of parody. In a sense, though, the whole inside joke of Machete becoming a feature-length, wide-release movie is that a trailer conceived as knowing trash could now be expanded, a touch subversively, into a meat-and-potatoes lunkhead action movie for the same crowd that flocked to The Expendables — in other words, for a lot of people who might never dream of watching a movie like Grindhouse. I hope that we can at least agree on one thing: Danny Trejo (pictured above), as the brooding, monosyllabic slasher-stud Machete, rocks, rules, and does everything else that is awesome.

So who liked which movie? And why? And who disgrees with me about Going the Distance? Did it open soft because it didn’t fill the romantic-comedy bill, or because Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, charming as I think they are, still don’t pack the star power of a George Clooney?

From 'Spinal Tap' to 'Machete' to 'Black Dynamite': My favorite movie parodies put the machete to reality

When you think about movie parodies — we could be talking Airplane!, the Austin Powers films, or one of those great old Mad magazine satires, which were really the first place that a lot of us, as kids, got to “see” movies made for adults — the key to a terrific send-up would seem to be the art of exaggeration, pure and simple. But there’s a particular brand of cinematic parody that I love, at this point, almost more than any other. And though it does employ the art of exaggeration (in very, very deadpan ways), far more than that, it uses the art of almost unbelievably sly and subtle re-creation. We’re talking parody that’s so perfect in its detail, so utterly and deviously close-to-the-bone, that it almost threatens to become the thing it’s making fun of. READ FULL STORY

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