25 June 2007

Rodriguez (1995)

1995 - Desperado - It's a lot slicker than El Mariachi, but it's lost the guerilla filmmaking charm of its predecessor. Actually, Desperado, having a similar plot to the previous movie and shot in the same Mexican town, shows what effect increasing a filmmaking budget by 1000 times will have. You can replace the leads with a pair of pretty faces. You can burn down a building and shoot the hell out of a bar. You can have rockets blowing up people and cars. You can have animal wranglers. You can hire Los Lobos. Still, though I think it's a bit better of a film that El Mariachi, it's not 1000 times better.

What I think would've been cool -- and maybe I think this because his previous film was highly stylized -- was if Rodriguez had shot the entire movie in the style of the opening "tall tale." Maybe that would've been impossible, but that's always been my favorite part of the movie. The vigilante's face is eternally in the shadows. Guns are so powerful they propel badguys 15 feet into the air. He could've made Buscemi's tale a framing device and had the preternaturally powerful Mariachi reign vengeance upon vengeance upon the criminal element.

Anyway, this is some solid, gunfightin' fun. (7/10)

1995 - Four Rooms: "The Misbehavers" - This was always my least favorite segment of this movie. This is not because it's bad or poorly made. The ending is an image of a ridiculous predicament that you can't help but smile at. I think it's just that the precocious kids vs. loser adult dynamic feels overused. Kids annoy adult. Adult gets comically annoyed. I've seen this in too many cartoons to be fully interested.

Luckily, this is probably Tim Roth's best segment. From his explosions directed at the ringing telephone to his impossibly cool-voiced cooing used to convince the kids to behave, he's in complete control of his performance. I've read that Steve Buscemi was the original choice for the bellhop. That would've been a different -- darker, maybe -- movie. Roth never fails to impress. (7/10)