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Antonio Banderas

The Legend of Zorro (2005)

DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell

CAST:

Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian Alonso

REVIEW:

Like a depressing number of sequels, The Legend of Zorro, despite reuniting the same director and two of the stars from the original installment, feels like a tired, hollow afterthought that shouldn’t have been made. Despite numerous attempts to recapture the entertainment value of the first Zorro, The Legend of Zorro never comes close to the high energy level and exuberance of its predecessor. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez

CAST:

Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Eva Mendes, Ruben Blades, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Enrique Iglesias, Gerardo Vigil, Pedro Armendariz, Julio Oscar Mechoso

REVIEW:

To put it simply and bluntly, Once Upon A Time In Mexico is a mess of a movie, but it’s enough of a colorful, stylish, entertaining mess that it’s possible to enjoy as a series of action/comedic setpieces even if the overall story is a convoluted jumble. Continue reading

The Mask of Zorro (1998)

DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell

CAST:

Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Stuart Wilson, Matt Letscher, L.Q. Jones

REVIEW:

The Mask of Zorro provides just about everything we could ask for from a crowd-pleasing summer action-adventure blockbuster: swashbuckling derring-do, romance, and action-comedy, helmed with a high level of energy and flair by director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye), and a somewhat irreverent tone that doesn’t go so far as to parody the legendary character. Continue reading

Assassins (1995)

DIRECTOR: Richard Donner

CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas, Julianne Moore

REVIEW:

If not for the involvement of action star Sylvester Stallone, one senses Assassins would be straight-to-video fare, and that’s where the quality level lies.  For helmer Richard Donner, this is a disappointing step down from the Lethal Weapon series, and doesn’t represent anything more than a mindless diversion for any but the most undemanding of action fans. Continue reading

Desperado (1995)

DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez

CAST:

Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino, Danny Trejo, Carlos Gomez

REVIEW:

In 1992, film student Robert Rodriguez took a group of complete unknowns (his personal friends) and $7,000 to Mexico and filmed El Mariachi. The so-called ‘$7,000 Wonder’ was successful enough for Columbia Pictures to give Rodriguez a Hollywood-scale budget to essentially remake the unpolished indie (although it’s technically a sequel). The concessions to Hollywood influence over indie freedoms are obvious. Continue reading

Philadelphia (1993)

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme

CAST:

Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas, Jason Robards, Joanne Woodward, Mary Steenburgen, Bradley Whitford, Charles Napier, Daniel von Bargen

REVIEW:

AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome) emerged as a major crisis in the early 80s but was largely ignored into the beginning of the 90s in the United States even though the US had more cases than any other nation. Educational programs were well underway in Europe, but US politicians gave it low priority, and President Ronald Reagan did not mention it in a speech until 1987. By that time there were 51,000 cases in 113 countries. Reagan’s administration resisted congressional efforts and the crusading of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to increase funds for AIDS research and prevention. To many Americans, AIDS was a ‘gay disease’ and was not considered a subject for polite conversation due to its (exaggerated) association with homosexuality. Media treatment focused on the relatively few heterosexuals who had contracted the disease through blood transfusions. This partially changed in 1985, when archetypal Hollywood leading man Rock Hudson announced that he was gay and dying of AIDS. Hudson died in October of that year, leaving $250,000 to an AIDS research foundation, and while the revelation that a popular celebrity was infected prompted more coverage of the shamefully ignored plight of thousands of infected homosexuals, many Americans continued to inaccurately view AIDS as a disease which only pertained to homosexuals, who were largely viewed with indifference or even considered to deserve it. Despite its status as the worst epidemic of modern times, it was the subject of extraordinary ignorance and fear, with infected individuals ostracized and even attacked by others who believed incorrectly that you could contract it through casual contact. The epidemic peaked in 1993, the same year of a second step forward in AIDS awareness, director Jonathan Demme’s (The Silence of the Lambs) flawed but courageous and socially important drama Philadelphia. Continue reading

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