REVIEW: Little Fockers

Little Fockers
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Written by: John Hamburg & Larry Stuckey (screenplay)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, and Owen Wilson

It has always been about fear for the Focker franchise.  The fear Greg (Ben Stiller) has of his father-in-law/ex-CIA agent Jack (Robert DeNiro) and vice versa.  For two films, thanks to a handful of other comic aids, that unlikely comic duo has become weirdly iconic.  Like The Godfather franchise, which this movie apparently thinks it’s worthy of spoofing since it stars DeNiro, it’s time for the unnecessary third installment.

In yet another uncomfortable moment between Jack and Greg, this time at some snooty prep school that Greg is trying to get his kids in, Jack talks about being a shepherd taking his family out to graze.  This is the central conflict of the movie, the passing of that title onto Greg and seeing if he is worthy.  Unfortunately, there is no such figure to guide either the horrendously unfunny screenplay or the large, famous ensemble cast to greener pastures.

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REVIEW: Machete

Machete
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis
Written by: Robert Rodriguez & Álvaro Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, and Robert DeNiro

The official end of the Summer 2010 movie season roars by with Robert Rodriguez’s blood-splattered message movie Machete.  Originally showcased as a fake trailer at the beginning of the Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse double-feature in 2007, the cult following of this idea pushed it into production.  Now that the final product is here for everyone to see, they may scratch their heads.

For one, Rodriguez has decided to make the full film version of Machete an indictment of U.S. immigration policy.  If that doesn’t throw B-movie gore-seekers off, Robert DeNiro cheesing it up as a Texas Senator yelling “Welcome to America!” as he blasts immigrants at the border might.  You can’t help but laugh at both of these, the latter pleasantly and the former not so much.  It is this battle of the pleasant surprises duking it out with the unpleasant ones that is at the core of Machete.

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