Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Mexico/USA; 102 min.)

directed by: Robert Rodriguez
starring: Antonio Banderas; Salma Hayek; Johnny Depp; Mickey Rourke
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Hilary says in response to Ivy: "I also think this is one not to miss on the big screen, though matinee pricing would be plenty to pay. It's not an "important" film, but it's a fun one and in the spirit of being a completist, if you have seen EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO it's interesting to see the story continue, with some liberties taken with the plot.

"The cast is an interesting mix, anchored by Johnny Depp in another show-stealing performance. This is HIS summer at the movies, and his costuming alone is worth coming to see him. I especially liked his homage to Brandon Lee in THE CROW. Overall, it's a big, sprawling, violently fun time. The final act would be perfect for consideration if we ever create a Best Spectacle category."

Howard says: "As exciting as the trailer was, the film is not. Robert Rodriguez has attempted to make another Mexican mythology picture in his 'El Mariachi' series. Oh, it's pretty, there are a couple of great action sequences and all the actors look great, but it's just not very interesting. Again, Rodriguez's weakest is his storytelling. The characters are just paintings against a vast canvas of reds, browns, yellows and oranges. Wait for video on this one." 2 cats
Ivy says: "Howard is right that ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO isn't the film that the trailer makes you think it is, but I think that he was a bit harsh. The film is slower than DESPERADO, but it's not nearly as slow as EL MARIACHI. I felt in some ways it was a nice marriage of the two.

"I agree that the film was pretty slow, and it looked like it had been given a bit of a job in post-production (I heard that Depp's character was beefed up) but I felt that the end of the film pulled everything together quite well and at least made it obvious that Rodriguez had a master plan - maybe without the best pacing, but a plan none the less.

"And, when I thought of it as a 'Once Upon a Time in...' film the pacing made a lot more sense. 'Once Upon a Time in...' films tend to be epic, full of expository, and based on a metaphor for the entire country.

" I'm not saying that it's great, but I do think that you might miss something by waiting unti it comes out on video... Maybe see it at a second run theater or a matinee when it won't cost $10.00. Like most action films, I do think it should be seen in the theater just to keep it in scale."