ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO
2003, Sony Repertory, 102 min, USA, Dir: Robert Rodriguez

The final installment of director Robert Rodriguez’s Mexico Trilogy stars Antonio Banderas as the gunslinging El Mariachi, hired by a CIA agent (Johnny Depp) to kill a renegade general (Gerardo Vigil) working with a drug-lord (Willem Dafoe) to overthrow the Mexican government. Like the Leone Westerns that helped inspire it, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO is packed with larger-than-life characters and bravura action sequences. With Salma Hayek, Eva Mendes and Mickey Rourke.


WHITE DOG
1982, Paramount, 89 min, USA, Dir: Sam Fuller

Virtually unseen outside of a few retrospective screenings, this film is the story of “a four-legged time bomb,” a powder-white German shepherd trained to attack black people. In a fit of inspired casting, teen queen Kristy McNichol (TV’s "Family") stars as the dog’s owner - but the film really belongs to Paul Winfield as an Ahab-like animal trainer, obsessed with de-programming the dog. Music by spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone.


SIN CITY
2005, Dimension Films, 124 min, USA, Dir: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Director Robert Rodriguez - with a little help from Quentin Tarantino - turned graphic novelist/co-director Frank Miller’s neo-noir tales of dark doings in Basin City into one of the most visually striking films of recent years. An anthology of several short stories (“The Hard Goodbye,” “The Big Fat Kill,” “That Yellow Bastard” and “The Customer Is Always Right”), SIN CITY features an all-star ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Josh Hartnett, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro. The violent crime thriller was one of the first films shot on a digital backlot, with most of the sets (and color accents to the high-contrast B&W cinematography) added in post-production to create a look of glittering grime.


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