Seeing Evil! Curandero: Dawn of the Demon review!

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By now I imagine we’re all, by all I mean avid movie-goers, familiar with the director Robert Rodriguez. The balls-to-the-wall flare for action Rodriguez has written and directed some of the most memorable movies in nearly the last two decades – Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn, Planet Terror and, yes, even Spy Kids. Rodriguez is now a well-known household name now that he has his own production company – Troublemaker Studios – and is a hot-shit friend of Django Unchained writer and director Quentin Tarantino (they’re always in each other films if you haven’t noticed). Now, I had thought that I’ve seen all of Rodriguez’s work with the exception of Spy Kids, but I was wrong. Curandero: Dawn of the Demon is a latest release from Lionsgate; however, the movie was completed and released in 2005 – why such a delay? Perhaps the delay was a product of the film being made in and using the language spoken in Mexico. I wouldn’t doubt this as El Mariachi was not known to the American audience until Antonio Banderas and Selma Hayek starred in Desperado, a sort of sequel or remake of El Mariachi, and an American DVD of El Mariachi was released later.

Curandero, which translate to The Healer, follows the healer Carlos – a practical man who uses his knowledge of healing on those he think are weak minded fools just so they feel better about their lives. That is until he meets Mexican Federale Magdalena who hires him to become involved a case where a satanic cult terrorizes Mexico City. Carlos beliefs will be challenged as black magic becomes ultimately real and the forces against him are closer to home than what he could ever imagine.
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Curandero grabs you right from the start as we’re thrown into Carlos’s simple hometown world where he competes with another curandero named Alex Munez who is more popular around town, but even though Carlos thinks his line of work is a bit of a sham, he still makes an effort to please other people making him well liked in the community and has been given respect due to his father’s healing services. The horrifying action begins when Agent Magdalena enters the story; the saucy tall Latina is a realist and doesn’t much in the mumbo-jumbo that is black magic, but her story makes a complete 180 degree turn at the finale and so does Carlos. The story is well written by Rodriguez giving the both Carlos and the federale the same view on spirituality yet making both reason completely different.

Robert Rodriguez’s style directorial feels implemented into Curandero even though Robert Rodriguez didn’t direct the film. It is another Rodriguez who takes the credit for Curandero’s fast-paced, over-exaggerated action. Director Eduardo Rodriguez tries to recreate Robert Rodriguez, but does molds his own take to reconstruct the elements and add great horror qualities that contribute to the action.
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This 2005 cult/possession film should have had a much earlier release in the U.S. There is definitely an appeal here for niche horror fans. Would Curandero have done well with mainstream audiences? No because there is just too much working against Curandero when considering American mainstream audiences – it’s in Spanish, it’s lost in translation with the dialogue, and it deals with some Mexican traditions. Certainly pick this up from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Curandero will fill your cup of blood and horror.

Sofia Vergara’s Big Evil Guns! Machete Kills poster!

To be honest with you, I was not a very big fan of Machete. Robert Rodriguez’s concept of a vengeful former Mexican Federale out for blood came off as a neat idea when previewed as a spoof trailer from Grindhouse. And having the hard-ridden look of Danny Trejo portray the character is a match made in hell! What was not to love when the news broke that Rodriquez would actually be writing and directing a feature film a few years later. Yet, I was let down and the sort of slap-stick, roughly edited film just didn’t hold the same thrill as the trailer had spun into me.

Machete must have done well enough to warrant a sequel that I will surely grant audience, but the new poster feature Sofia Vergara and her machine gun tits just screams bland, same old exploitation by Robert Rodriequez, feeling the same similarity with From Dusk till Dawn and the crotch gun worn by Tom Savini. Does Robert Rodriguez feel that privates are ultimately dangerous and should be considered hands off in the eyes of a good Catholic? See the poster below.

Sofia Vergara and her heavy artillery.

Sofia Vergara and her heavy artillery.

Machete Kills does sport a motley crew of a cast that includes fallen angels as Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson. Also appearing would be William Sadler, Cuba Gooding Jr, Amber Heard and Lady Gaga. But of course this would not be a Robert Rodriguez film without his usual cast of actors such as Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Tom Savini, Antonio Banderas, and Electra and Elise Avellan. Machete Kills is slated for a September 13, 2013 release.

Wan Conjures Evil! The Conjuring trailer is HERE!

James Wan

James Wan

When I see the name James Wan, I think Saw and thats about all that comes to mind. But I do know of, have seen of, and have enjoyed much of Wan’s work. Dead Silence was a solid sophomore film while Insidious gave Wan a second look by not only fans but by studios as well, proof is in the Insidious sequel. Death Sentence strays away from his horror roots yet still delivers a dark and gritty atmosphere and one of my favorite Kevin Bacon movies. Also, Wan is part of the R-rated, low-budget group of filmmakers called the “Spat Pack” which has pretty much dissolved now, but this group consists of Eli Roth, Alexander Aja, Rob Zombie, Darren Lynn Bousman, Neil Marshall, Greg McLean, Robert Rodriguez, and Leigh Whannell.

Today, Wan’s latest venture has been given a trailer and was released to us. The Conjuring which tells the story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who were hired to help a family against a terrorizing dark spirit in their farmhouse. Sounds simple enough, right? The trailer itself leaves a good taste in your mouth and doesn’t market itself as your run of the mill haunted house film. I, for one, am excited about The Conjuring and movies about hauntings are low on the totem poll for this guy. Lili Taylor, whom I haven’t seen in a movie since…well…1999’s remake of The Haunting, stars along side her on screen husband Ron Livingston (Office Space) and paranormal investigators played by Vera Farmiga (Orhpan) and Patrick Wilson (Insidious).

A scene from Insidious

A scene from Insidious

I’d like to say a little something about the spirit in the trailer; though too early to tell how the film will play out, the trailer makes the spirit seem playful yet personally dark. The trailer builds the suspense with long, still, and quiet scenes – which makes every scene on high tension terms.

Warner Brothers is behind James Wan and his film which is penned by Chad and Carey Hayes – the duo behind the remake of House of Wax so we have quite of bit of Vincent Price homagers behind The Conjuring. July 19th is the release date and I’m holding this film in high regard. Can’t wait! #theconjuring http://theconjuring.warnerbros.com/

Sushi Never Tasted so Evilly Delicious. Sushi Girl review!

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Sushi. A Japanese delicacy which numerous people fear to digest because the fish is raw and cold and that which is raw and cold usually disgusts us. I should know – I was one of those ignorant people. However, being exposed to sushi for four years now, I’m confident in my opinion that sushi is exceptionally tasty and good for you without all the mayo-like sauces that are sometimes put on top of the rolls. But I can not say that I’ve had the pleasure of dining with a sushi spread laid out among the smooth and creamy body of a young naked woman. Though the idea sounds novel and sexually stimulating, the idea that someones dirty body touching my sushi makes me more nauseous than the raw and cold of the sushi itself.

This brings me to Sushi Girl from first time director Kern Saxton and Saxton has become an impressive director just from his work on this revenge crime thriller. Fish has spent six years, five months, and 17 days in prison for diamond heist crime. In all that time, he did not rat out his accomplices and in return, Duke, the ringleader of the heist, holds a special naked girl sushi dinner for Fish and also invites the rest of the gang. After the pleasantries are quickly established, the truth becomes clear among them that bad blood on the botched crime those many years back have spoiled their beliefs in one another and each wants a cut of the diamond profits and they suspect that only Fish knows where the diamonds are since he was the sole bag man.

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Sushi Girl doesn’t pull any punches and his with such ferocity you’ll inch to the edge of your seat to figure out how the situation will all turn out. The trust is thin among the group and rightfully so as the characters in this game of chess are personally all different. Six years ago, Fish is a rookie looking to score big, but when he does his stint in prison and is released, all Fish wants to do is go home and wash his hands clean of the everything. The other characters don’t see it that way. Max is the hasty muscle of the group and can barely maintain his psychotic nature, most likely caused by his mountain of daddy abuse issues. Crow is also a psychotic individual, but a different kind of species; Crow’s wit, flamboyant, and sadist qualities make him a sheep and wolves clothing. Francis is like Fish by trying to come clean, but this former coke addict doesn’t have the fortitude to save anybody nor save himself from his addiction. And then there is Duke. Duke is educated, suave, a con man, and a killer. He can control the wound up Max, he can out wit the wolf Crow, and he can get under the skin of recovering druggie Francis. Fish is the only character who can stand up to all three of them, but the scenario is nothing as it seems.

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I never thought Mark Hamill could be a character actor. Hamill, to me, will never break away from being Luke Skywalker – I mean he is even rumored to be in J.J. Abrams Episode VII – but Crow could be Hamill’s saving grace. Hamill’s range as an actor has expanded two folds and I have a theory that Robot Chicken and the animated superhero movies have helped Hamills out by utilizing his voice talents. The character has become the most unique character I’ve seen in a year. Good for Hamills as he has earned my respect as an actor. As for the other cast, well they’re a bit overshadowed by Crow, but they’re still worth mentioning. I’ve always had a soft spot for James Duvall ever since I saw him play another drug addict named Jimmy in Cornered! Duvall is like Tracey Walter in the sense that Duvall is a great supporting actor for any film – big or low-budget. Candyman himself Tony Todd, also executive producer, handles the role of Duke with ease. The man is a pro at being heartless, ruthless, calm and collective. His tall stature and baritone voice doesn’t hurt either. Plus, Courtney Palm, the sushi girl, has a drool-over body to die for.

Don’t be fooled by advertising that state this film has the Robert Rodriguez line up of stars like Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and Danny Trejo in it and though the statement is true, their total screen time is about three minutes at the most..? I did read on IMDB’s trivia page that Biehn waved his acting fee due to a favor for smoking hot actress and Sushi Girl producer Electra Avellan (aka Babysitter Twin in Planet Terror). But these brief scenes of great actors don’t make Sushi Girl the greatest cult crime thriller since The French Connection, no. Saxton creates tension between the main characters, in a small room, with sushi on top of a naked woman and he delivers such a twist at the end, you won’t see it coming. You know there will be one, but what exactly the twist is will be unexpected.

Sushi Girl is brutality at it’s bare-bloody-knuckled best and really does resemble a sort of Reservoir Dogs feel with the trust issues amongst the group and the terrific torture scene goes without saying. Magnet Releasing has yet another winning release. Pick up your copy today!