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Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Robert Rodriguez Rating:7.9/10 (15 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on June 14th, 2004:Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
"If you're into methodology, you'll get a lot of that here," says Rodriguez on this fantastically informative track to his third Mariachi film. Rodriguez' enthusiasm for digital production is very much in evidence on this track, as it is in the equally enlightening supplements, and its clear the man's ahead of the pack when it comes to ditching the unwieldy medium of film. Whether one loves or hates his films, one could come away with a lot of insider information just listening to Rodriguez' tracks and watching his mini-docs on their own. Turns out he shot this prior to SPY KIDS 2 and 3, but after screening footage from George Lucas' second STAR WARS installment, which all but converted him. After testing the new cameras on a small portion of the original SPY KIDS, he was sold, and, desperately wanting to produce something before a looming actors strike, he pulled together the next installment of the Mariachi series as a full-blown digital feature.

Knowing the director's history of do-it-yourself filmmaking, its not surprise that he wrote, directed, scored, photographed, edited and partially production designed his latest epic for far less than most studio productions, and in far less time (the entire "coup d'etat" sequence, for example, was filmed in two days!), treating his actors to a whole new style of production that allowed them fewer takes (as his cameras could fly all over the place without necessitating multiple setups and lighting changes (in fact, he notes, much of the film was shot at frighteningly dark levels, but when crew members watched the playback, they were astonished to see their work in nearly-finished form on the monitors). Actors found the improvisatorial atmosphere greatly improved over filmed productions because Rodriguez usually left the camera running between takes.

Rodriguez' offers up the usual background stories - the church gunfight was allowed because the production gave the minister enough money to run his orphanage for another two years, Ruben Blades' character is based on the director's uncle, a former FBI agent, the matador showed Rodriguez' a video of his gruesome goring in a bullfight-gone-bad - but it's in his unflagging enthusiasm for - and willingness to discuss all the technical secrets of - the digital format that both fans and wannabe filmmakers will find much to admire, and perhaps one day imitate.

As someone who likes Rodriguez' films, but does not overly love them, I still highly recommend this track - as well as the attendant supplementals - to behind-the-scenes junkies and aspiring filmmakers of all stripes.
Reviewed by Magneat-o on July 22nd, 2015:Find all reviews by Magneat-o
Awesome commentary as usual from Rodriguez. He really tries to be the mentor to aspiring filmmakers and continues the trend in this commentary. The added features of 10 minute film school and cooking school are great as well. Make sure to check this commentary out, it's well worth it and probably one of the best you'll hear.
Commentary 2: Isolated score and soundtrack, with commentary by director Robert Rodriguez Rating:6.0/10 (4 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review