Miguel Penabella | 7 June 2011
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, dir. Andrew Dominik, 2007
No Country for Old Men, dir. The Coen Brothers, 2007
There Will Be Blood, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007
2007 is hands down, my favorite year in film. Three specific features – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood – instantaneously come to mind when reflecting upon the year. The trio all shares a stirring melancholy atmosphere, with sparse dialogue and a striking, seemingly unending open landscape that encompasses the cinematography. All three movies also feature reflective, hauntingly-presented characters played by actors who give defining performances: Brad Pitt as Jesse James, Casey Affleck as Robert Ford, Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh, and the forceful Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview. Yet with all the similarities, the three films focus on very distinct concepts: Assassination reflects on obsession; No Country for Old Men on evil; There Will Be Blood on greed.
Miguel Penabella | 16 February 2011
Once Upon a Time in Mexico, dir. Robert Rodriguez, 2003
Machete, dir. Robert Rodriguez, 2010
Wanted, dir. Timur Bekmambetov, 2008
Funny how it takes two foreign directors to create a handful of action flicks that can completely wipe the floor with American ones. Recently, Hollywood has had a relatively bad reputation with unveiling some pretty lackluster shoot ‘em ups. The A-Team, The Expendables, Gamer and all the God-awful action films with those wrestler-turn-actors are all uninspired and rather dull despite their seemingly macho appearance. Robert Rodriguez and Timur Bekmambetov (of Mexican and Russian origin, respectively), understand how to create exciting, if not campy, action films. There’s a sense of validity though to the amount of blood and bullets sprayed on camera. American films are often hesitant to jump the MPAA rating from PG-13 to R, and when they do, they just weren’t balls-to-walls* enough (for lack of a better term) to authenticate what they display. John Woo, Don Siegel, and Quentin Tarantino are perhaps the best at releasing the pinnacle of action movies, complete with blood and unrelenting violence that audiences expect.