Hollywood Movie Roundup: ‘Machete,’ ‘American’ vs. Drew Barrymore

This is it. The end of the summer box office season and three releases aimed at three different demos are set to split their cash evenly at $15 million apiece per media pundits.

Leading the fray is Robert Rodriguez/Ethan Maniquis’ high-octane actioner “Machete” starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan. The Fox film is tracking well among Latinos and men and is receiving a wonderful 70% approval from Tomatometer critics. “Machete,” which was featured in a faux trailer in the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez horror-thriller hybrid “Grindhouse” follows an ex Mexican cop, transplanted in the U.S., who slashes away at his enemies in an effort to clear his name after being framed for the assassination of a politician. The story is set against the backdrop of the tense U.S.-Mexico border debate.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone exclaims “This unholy mess replaces the artful ambition of (George Clooney’s) ‘The American’ with torture, blood spray, kinky sex, twisted fun and a bizarro critique of U.S. policy on illegal immigration.”

Hollywood News critic Anthony D’Alessandro also loved “Machete” heralding it as “the best action film of the summer, sniping ‘Salt’ in its twists and kicking Adam McKay’s ‘The Other Guys’ in the cajones with its comedy.”

Getting a leg up on the competition, Focus Features released George Clooney’s $20 million Italian-western “The American” on Wednesday. “American” follows a hitman on the lam from Swedish killers in a Abruzzo, Italy medieval town. “American” has already cashed in $1.67 million in its first day. Pic is directed by Danish helmer Anton Corbijn. Critics are also giving “American” a thumbs up with a 60% fresh score per Rotten Tomatoes. Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News says that “American” is “a movie as coiled as a snake and as still as a sleepy villa, is the rare grownup thriller that knows the link between peace and danger and the tension that comes from both.”

Hollywood News’ D’Alessandro also adored Clooney in the film saying that the actor “captures the complexity of his feelings throughout each crevice of his face” and “executes his less is more style with sublime grace.” Older adults are the shoe-in crowd for “American.”

Last, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long will give moviegoers another shot at romantic comedy after audiences deep-sixed Jennifer Aniston’s “The Switch” two weeks ago. Priced at $32 million, “Going the Distance” looks to profit off of females. Vying to play off their real-life relationship, Barrymore and Long portray a couple, separated by the San Francisco and New York that they live in, who aim to make good on their long-distance affair.

Of the three films, critics are a bit snobbish toward “Distance,” giving it a 45% rotten on the Tomatometer. Slate’s Dana Stevens nit-picks “There’s just not quite enough to the movie: not enough jokes, not enough obstacles, not enough sex.” Warner Bros./New Line is releasing “Distance.”


Photo Credit: Fox, Focus Features and Warner Bros./New Line

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