SANTE FE - Danny Trejo is taking Vengeance straight to the people. After nearly 20 years and over 100 films of being a memorable supporting player, he’s stepped up as the lead actor and the producer on this movie. Instead of dealing with a video distributor, the actor is offering Vengeance free to fans via http://www.vengeancearmy.com. It’s free, but there’s a $5.99 shipping and handling fee.
Here’s the trailer:
You’ve seen Trejo in numerous films from Heat to Smiley Face. He’s the large actor with the giant tattoo on his chest of a Mexican woman in a sombrero. His fake trailer for Machete in Grindhouse proved more popular than the real features. He’s currently making a feature length version of Machete. Gil Medina, the director of Vengeance, called up the Party Favors hotline to discuss their revolutionary way of taking a movie straight to the fans.
“I read something online that talked about the reason that there were no takers at AFM is because it wasn’t a worthy film,” Medina. “It wasn’t that there weren’t any takers. It’s just that nobody had a game plan. We didn’t feel good about handing (Vengeance) to somebody who was going to put together with 10 films, toss it out and we’re in the discount bin. We can’t do that. Trejo has way too many fans to let this hit the discount bin.”
So far the website has received close to 75,000 pre-orders for the DVD. They’re doing much better than most titles that vanish into the vortex that is the discount bin at Wal-mart. “The Midwest is responsive like you wouldn’t believe,” Medina said.
Trejo and Medina are more than actor and director on this project. They’ve been friends for a while. The two men met a decade ago when a club Medina owned hosted a pre-party for a movie that featured Trejo. “Danny was my favorite actor from Heat, Con-Air, Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn. He has always been my inspiration. I didn’t pay any attention at the other actors at this pre-party, I saw Danny standing against the wall. I said, ‘Hey man, do you need a place to sit.’ I got him a place to sit. I tried to get him a bunch of drinks, but he doesn’t drink. I didn’t know that. I got him some water and he took my number. He called me the next day and said, ‘I need a healthy place to eat here.’ I took him to some healthy restaurants. We just started working out together. I was very interested in film. He took me to the set. He said, ‘I can probably get you a job as my assistant.’ I wanted to watch the director and see how he works. I want to see how things happen.’”
This was not his first film set visit. He knew Ice Cube and was able to hang out on the set of Friday. “Cube said, ‘You can do this. You can do what I’m doing for the brothers, you can do this for the Hispanics.’”
The moment Vengeance took shape was at the top indie film festival.
“We were at Sundance a few years ago,” Medina remembered. “We were with Kevin Costner and started talking about Danny. How strong he is on film. He played a (Charles) Bronson type of character. I said, ‘Look Danny, you can lead off something. We got to do it.’ He said, ‘Write it. Let’s see what happens.’ That’s where it was born. I came up with the story.
Nobody believed in Medina’s vision of Trejo as the Bronson character filled with vengeance. Medina and Trejo had to invest in their vision. They also used their connections when it came to casting. Medina had known Tech Nine for years. He also helped bring in Baby Bash. Trejo called favors from ex-wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, Donal Logue (Grounded For Life) and Jason Mewes (podcaster on quickstopentertainment).
Trejo is noted for his work in helping others with their trouble. Medina saw this in the actor’s work with Mewes.
“Danny is a good influence trying to keep everyone straight,” he said. “You can be in this world and still be straight. I think Jason and Danny have that relationship. Danny didn’t have Jason in the movie playing a guy smoking dope. He was a tattoo artist in the joint. It was opposite what he plays. I think that’s why Jason liked it. He didn’t have to be stoned.”
The prison location wasn’t movie magic.
“It was a full running prison,” Medina said. “We bought it out for four or five days. They moved the prisoners over to a different tier. When we went in, the prisoner’s stuff was still there. Their pictures were still up. It cost us an arm and a leg to shoot there, but we saved on production design.”
Before he got into the acting game, Trejo was had a troubled past that led him to long stays in prison. His lifestory can be found in the documentary Champion. How was Trejo inside a working prison?
“It was difficult,” Medina declared. “He got really intense when the doors would close. I had to tell him, “Look, we get to leave.’ I think something snaps when the door closes and you see that environment and you’re in those clothes again. Something changes.”
The pressure of being back in the joint led to some uncomfortable exchanges between the star and a former wrestling champ.
“Him and Diamond Dallas Page got intense,” Medina said. “I thought these guys were going to go to blows. It was crazy. It was tense, but it sure made for some good filmmaking.”
Besides acting in the film, Tech Nine will be contributing a song to a soundtrack. Melina promises another act will be pitching in music, but can’t release the name yet. “The songs we have coming in from these artists could delay our release time until 2010,” he said.
Trejo and Medina have a gameplan to turn the character of Jack Santos into a series. “We have five of these films. Vengeance 2 is written. When Machete is wrapped, we’re going to work on Vengeance 2. The sequel will deal with terrorists disguising themselves as Mexicans to sabotage the oil fields of the Midwest.
Medina maintains that Hollywood studios don’t have a clue about the people who are fans of Danny Trejo. He does have the most iconic tattoo in showbiz since Popeye’s anchor. His fans are everywhere as he travels around the country. “It’s busboys, waiters and dishwashers. They’ll shut down the kitchen to get a picture with him.” And the do ask him to open up his shirt before snapping the picture.
Medina is excited about the revolutionary process of using the internet to go directly to people who are eager to see Trejo get his chance to be the star for the entire film. “It’s a good movie,” Medina promised. “But for free, it’s a great movie.” Visit the website for information about getting the film and a chance to have a part in Vengeance 2.
The Perfect Getaway just seems like another film that was paid for by the package tourism industry. A couple decides to avoid the tourist traps of Hawaii and head to the wilderness. Naturally they run into homicidal killers who are butchering fellow vacationers. Will Milla Jovovich survive? This is Taken where the daughter gets kidnapped and turned into a drug addicted hooker when she’s going to randomly follow U2 around France. What about The Ruins? That was kids going their own way in the jungle. Have you ever noticed there’s rarely any films about travelers on a package tour being systematically butchered while following their trip itinerary? Or has Big Travel shutdown those productions? Somebody has to die with a shuffleboard stick shoved down their throat eventually.
Seems Jon Gosselin was not feeling secure in his title of the Biggest Douchebag in America. He decided to do the biggest douchebag dad move of the year by hanging out with Michael Lohan. What child in the world wants to know that there dad is getting child raising tips from Lindsay Lohan’s old man. I’d rather see tabloid pictures of my dad partying with Charles Manson. The duo want to have a reality show about “famous” divorced dads. I got the perfect title: Murder-Suicide. They can fight over billing order.
Why exactly does MTV have a Music Video Award ceremony? All I see on that channel are whiny 16 year old girls getting knocked up and begging daddy for a car. I feel like I missed out on high school by not getting a classmate pregnant. Do you know what the secret lesson of Sixteen and Pregnant is? Get knocked up in groups. Those girls in Gloucester, MA had the right idea. Most of the girls on the TV show complain about how the baby ruins their ability to party. But if 8 high school girls get sperminated, they can make a pact so that each weekend 2 of them will babysit the kiddies while the other six hit the town. The girls will only miss out on partying once a month. It’s a win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win situation. Don’t tell your guidance counselor where you got this genius idea.
Dexter: Season Three takes America’s favorite serial killer into the uncomfortable role of fiancé and expectant father. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is no longer a lone wolf roaming the street looking to eliminate the homicidal monsters that lurk on the streets of Miami. He’s got to become a family man as he moves in with his pregnant girlfriend (Julie Benz) and her kids. She wants them to be more social and have friends. He makes a new best friend in Jimmy Smits. There bonding is rather awkward since Dexter accidentally killed Jimmy’s brother while hunting down a drug dealer named Freebo. Smits is a high profile Assistant District Attorney who learns of Dexter’s secret. He wants to help Dexter find victims, however he doesn’t want to operate under Harry’s Code. Can Dexter figure a way out of this that won’t end in Rita being pissed that he’s alienated their new friends? This has been my favorite Smits role and makes me forget he was in those bad Star Wars films. Also Dexter is looking for a new serial killer that takes a piece of flesh from his victims. This Showtime series is part of the cream of current TV. The show gets plenty of talent in the director’s chair including Keith Gordon (A Midnight Clear), John Dahl (Red Rock West) and Ernest Dickerson (Juice). The show looks best on the Blu-ray with the 1080p bringing out the blood in the crime scenes. The bonus features are BD Live so you need a connected player to enjoy them. They include cast interviews and an excerpt of the Dexter By Design novel. The DVD has the first two episodes of United States of Tara. The other bonus features have to be unlocked on your PC including two episodes of season three of The Tudors. Dexter: Season Three reminds us that the most horrific fear besides being cut apart by a serial killer is waiting for your girlfriend’s pregnancy test to go plus or minus.
Dragonball Evolution Z Edition Blu-Ray reminds us that Chow Yun-Fat used to be the biggest bad ass star in cinema. The man who brought bullets to Hong Kong cinema in Hard-Boiled and The Killer, now plays the man that has the knowledge. Goku (Justin Chatwin) gets a Dragonball on his 18th birthday. There’s only seven of them in existence. If they’re all brought together, a wish will be granted. Things go wrong when James Marsters wants to collect them all after busting out of prison. Goku needs Chow Yun-Fat’s help against the evil guy. The film is really goofy on many levels. This was not created for Oscar consideration. Emmy Rossum arrives with a Dragonball detector. Can you register for that at Target? I only wish Chow pull off some two-fisted Dragonball fury. The 1080p image is sharp enough to see a faint glow in Chow’s eyes that he can still rock the two gun fury. There’s plenty of behind the scenes footage including a gag reel. There’s also a digital copy on a disc so you can stick it on a tween’s iPod.
Stargate Atlantis: Fans’ Choice Blu-ray brings two episodes to the Hi-Def love. The series was a spin-off of Stargate: SG-1. They locate Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy. Trouble is when a crew arrives there, they can’t quite get back. They had a big online poll as to what two episodes would get on this Blu-ray. The winners were “The Rising” and “Enemy at the Gate.” “The Rising” is the pilot film. This allows someone new to the series to truly get absorbed into the futuristic journey to Atlantis. The detail looks fantastic on the widescreen. “The Enemy at the Gate” is the final episode of the series that aired during the fifth season. No need to completely spoil the show. The gang gets their chance to return to Earth. It’s almost like a compact version of the series on a single Blu-ray disc.
Mutant Chronicles Director’s Cut: 2-Disc Collector’s Edition immediately gets my attention by giving Devon Aoki (Sin City) a sword and mutants to hack up. If I was a senior citizen who had to pick his death when questioned by government health care experts, I’d pick Aoki with a blade. If you’re going to die, let there be an artistic beauty to the fatal stroke. Mutant Chronicles takes us to an alternate universe where corporations battle it out with World War I technology given a steam punk edge. During an explosion, an army of mutants escape from their underground tomb. The humans can’t hold them back. It’s up to Thomas Jane (Hung), Ron Pearlman (Beauty and the Beast) and Aoki to follow John Malkovich’s orders. It’s the only hope the planet has. Did I mention Aoki gets to use a sword to stop the mutants? The film is a CGI wonderland done like Sin City. The film wouldn’t be that great without Aoki hacking up mutants. The 2-Disc set gives a complete DVD of bonus features to let you know the various secrets from the set. There’s footage of Aoki practicing her swordplay.
Demon Warriors brings more action fun from Thailand. The producers behind Ong-Bak has a detective go to a severe extreme to pursue a case. He kills himself gain access to a space between life and death. He’s tracking down a gang of demons. It’s The Exorcist goes Terminator. Can he successful pull this offer or is he going to end up in the morgue? The action has an intensity that makes the ass kicking look realistic in the fantastical storyline. Demon Warriors is a top flight freaking fighting flick.
Everybody Hates Chris: The Final Season proves that the biggest hater of this show was CW network. The fourth seasonal finally put Chris Rock (Tyler James Williams) in high school. These are now the awkward stories about the 9th grade when a comic learns if he really has what it takes to make kids laugh and not shove him inside a gym locker. “Everybody Hates the English Teacher” once more presents the tragic story of what happens when Chris decides to do a book report based on the movie. Didn’t Chris Rock learn this sitcom lesson when it happened on Leave It to Beaver? Although once I did a book report mistaking Melville’s Moby Dick for Hanna-Barbera’s Moby Dick. Learn from my mistakes. The series ends with a cliffhanger. I wonder what happened to Chris Rock? Did he grow up to be Tyler Perry?
90210: The First Season revived Beverly Hills 90210 without merely hiring young actors to play a younger Tori Spelling. Instead we get a whole new batch of kids moving into the world’s most famous zip code along with a few familiar faces. Rob Estes (who starred on Melrose Place) returns to Beverly Hills to become the principal of West Beverly High School. He’d been living in Kansas with his wife and kids (Tristan Wilds and Shenea Grimes). They move in with his drunk ex-actress mom (Arrested Development’s Jessica Walter). Very quickly the kids learn how it’s done in SoCal. Of course the first thing they learn is how to lose weight and fabric. The series makes the original show look so tame and innocent. I blame this bad behavior on Twitter and text messages. Doesn’t help that the most tempting classmate is Annalynne McCord. She was the jailbait in Nip/Tuck. Fans of the old show will watch in glee with the return of Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty. The bonus features on the set include a tour of The Peach Pit. That place was the da bomb in 1992.
Dirty Sexy Money: The Complete (and Final) Second Season presents the last 13 episodes of the Darling family chronicles. Peter Krause (Six Feet Under) is in charge of keeping the rich trainwreck family look presentable for the press. The first season was compelling as Krause kept wondering if he had a real family bond with the Darlings. There’s murder, money and drugs in every episode. It’s kind of like Soap except not played for laughs. The final episode features Gary Collins and John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard). How could ABC have yanked this show with such great guest stars? The final four episodes were dumped into the summer programming so you might have missed it. The boxset gives us a final chance to spend time with the Darlings and their money. Maybe this could have been a bigger hit as Sexy Dirty Money. Always lead with the sex.
Eli Stone: The Complete Second Season - Final Season contains the final 13 cases for the lawyer played by Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting). The season starts with Stone having recovered from the removal of his brain aneurysm. No longer does he suffer from visitations from George Michael. Although they were probably plenty of times Andrew Ridgeley tried to sneak onto the set. How can the show survive without the hook of Stone having freaky visions? Well luckily it turns out that it wasn’t merely the brain aneurysm was causing the loopy moments. The law firms has a lot of issues including a break up. The show also was canned early in the season with ABC burning the final four episodes in the summer. If you’re a fan, at least you won’t have to merely have memories and hope that someday Trio will return to the cable box with its Brilliant But Canceled program.
Delgo brings together Eric Idle, Burt Reynolds and Malcolm McDowell in a CGI animated fantasy flick. This is a fantasy tale inhabited by alien critters. It’s a battle between amphibian and winged inspects in a medieval setting. The only hope of preventing an all out war rests in the love between Delgo (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and a winged princess (Jennifer Love Hewitt). This seems aimed for little girls who like a big of roughness in their fairytales. This isn’t meant to be watched by adults without child supervision. The action doesn’t get too intense. It’s about as dynamic as a wii game featuring Mario. Val Kilmer also lends his vocal chords to the effort. The behind the scenes featurette gives you a look at the stars in the audio booth. Val Kilmer’s red shirt can be seen from space.
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