A History of Robert Rodriguez's Films
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Humble Beginnings - El Mariachi(1992)

Veteran filmmaker Robert Rodriguez returned to the Sundance as part of the 'From the Collection' series, which brings back classic indie flicks to the film f...
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Robert Rodriguez’s first venture into feature films was the low budget film, El Mariachi (1992). Rodriguez managed to shoot the film in one take and on a budget somewhere around 7,000 dollars. Although it was intended to be a direct to home video picture, El Mariachi’s unique style made it a huge hit at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and later to audiences around the world. It was during this production that Rodriquez developed his belief that “Creativity, not money” should be used to solve problems that arise in the making of films.  

 

Rodriguez, Robert. Interview by Vibe Magazine. Vibe Magazine. Vibe Magazine. 28 January 2013. Web. 19 November 2013.

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Spy Kids Series(2001)

Spy Kids Series(2001) | A History of Robert Rodriguez's Films | Scoop.it
How a one-man studio produced the SPY KIDS series without ever leaving home. Hint: he works some weird hours
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Departing from the violent movies of his early career, Robert Rodriguez released the family friendly Spy Kids in the spring of 2001. Despite the lack of his signature action sequences, Rodriguez still manages to instill within the film his distinctive style.  In typical fashion, Spy Kids features an overwhelmingly Hispanic cast. Additionally, the characters in Spy Kids are poorly developed; a theme that is prevalent in many of his films. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the entire Spy Kids series is Rodriquez’s ability to make extremely profitable films with a relatively small budget.

 

Booth, Cathy. “The Family Man.” Time Magazine. 28 July 2003. Pg. 60-64. Print. 

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Sin City(2005)

Release Date: April 1, 2005 Robert Rodriguez ("Spy Kids," "Once Upon a Time in Mexico") and comic book icon Frank Miller co-direct "Sin City," based on the s...
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Together with graphic novel writer, Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez directed and produced a film adaptation of Miller’s Sin City in 2005. It could be considered the black sheep of Rodriguez’s films. True to the source material, the film’s style is similar to the crime dramas of the 1940s. Accordingly, Sin City is in black and white and features serious monologues. The three main protagonists are effectively developed, and their psyche is thoroughly explored. Nevertheless, the film is still violent. It should be noted that like the pervious Spy Kids films, photography for Sin City mostly took place in front of green screens.

 

Sin City. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. Dimension Films. 2005. Web.

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Machete (2010)

Machete (2010) | A History of Robert Rodriguez's Films | Scoop.it
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Continuing the trend set in Planet Terror, Machete is an exploitation film that bills itself as a low budget movie.  Consequently, it touches on some polarizing issues such as illegal immigration and government corruption.  Nevertheless, as can be assumed from the promotional poster, it mainly portrays violence and sex. The leading female roles, played by Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, and Lindsay Lohan are not complex characters, and one could argue that they are only in the film so they can be displayed in a sexual manner. Machete is arguably one of Rodriguez’s more shallow films; however, that might have been done intentionally. 

 

Machete. Advertisement. October 2010

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Sophomore Effort - Desperado(1995)

Sophomore Effort - Desperado(1995) | A History of Robert Rodriguez's Films | Scoop.it
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Robert Rodriguez’s sophomore effort is an interesting hybrid of both a remake and a sequel to his initial success El Mariachi. Given the funding provided by a major studio, Rodriquez was able to improve every aspect of his first film. The result was the action-packed, gun slinging film Desperado, starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. The film is distinguished by its excessive violence and superb musical score that successful blends Latin and rock music. All of these elements contribute to the refinement of Rodriguez’s over the top and surreal style that becomes more apparent in his later films. 

 

Maslin, Janet. “Desperado (1995) Film Review; Guitarist’s Repertory of Songs and Gunfire.” The New York Times. 25 August 1995. Print. 

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Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2003)

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In his third Mariachi film, Robert Rodriguez takes his interpretation of the Western and blows it out of proportion. The end result is a blend of guns, girls, and guitars.  While the films have never been solemn, at certain points the film doesn’t seem to take itself seriously.  For example, in this clip El Mariachi fights scores of goons inside of a church.  One has to question the necessity of El Mariachi crossing himself; the old lady, the usage of the guitar as a weapon; and El paying tribute.

 

Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. Columbia Studios. 2003. Web.

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Grindhouse, Planet Terror(2007), and Exploitation Films

In PLANET TERROR, married doctors William and Dakota Block (Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton) find their graveyard shift inundated with townspeople ravaged by ...
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In 2007, Robert Rodriguez, alongside longtime collaborator Quentin Tarantino, decided to make a movie that paid homage to the exploitation films of the 1970s. The result was the double feature Grindhouse, composed of Tarantino’s Death Proof and Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Planet Terror is a zombie apocalypse film with more grounded subplots. Considering the goal the film is trying to accomplish, the characters are surprisingly likable. One of the more striking characteristics of the film is the intentional degradation of quality. Akin the run down movie theaters the filmmakers are trying to emulate, the film is made to look like it has not been looked after properly. 

 

Planet Terror. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. Dimension Films. 2007. Web

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