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The Independent Critic

Directed by
Jakob Bilinski
Written by
Christopher Wilkerson, Edward Hatfield and Jakob Bilinski
Starring
Monica Barajas, Jomar "Dez" Banks, Scott Ganyo, David Barajas, Jennifer Berkemeier
Cinephreak Pictures Website

 "Foxxy Madonna vs. The Black Death" Review 
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I love surprises.

Having offered to review Jakob Bilinski's newest short Obsolescence, I was pleasantly surprised to open up the shipped DVD and find this 2007 gem from Bilinski included.

Remember the inconsistent Tarantino/Rodriguez project Grindhouse? It was an admirable if uneven effort to recapture the glorious 70's grindhouse flicks, essentially exploitation pics with wildly erratic production qualities, often graphic violence and an almost cult-like following. It should come as no surprise that Tarantino would be a fan of the genre, and while Grindhouse wasn't exactly a disappointment it's clear from watching Bilinski's National Film Challenge award-winning Foxxy Madonna Vs. The Black Death that he'd have been a much better collaborator for Tarantino as Bilinski nails the attitude, the tone, the look and the dialogue of a true grindhouse pic.

Foxxy Madonna (Monica Barajas) is an agent for G.O.D. tasked by her superiors with stopping the infamous Black Death (Jomar "Dez" Banks) from unleashing a virus into the world that, well, it's not going to be a good thing. That's for sure. As is true for nearly all grindhouse pics, plot isn't the point ... Action is the point, and Bilinski tosses in lots of great stuff here.

There's no question that the Director's Cut edition of the film is the preferred version, a full seven minutes longer with color touch-ups and a few extra adds that make all the difference in the world. While Bilinski's NFC award-winning film is good at eight minutes, it kicks ass at just over 15 minutes in length and practically begs to be a full-length project.

The film works largely on the strength of lead Monica Barajas, whose energetic and inspired performance captures Foxxy Madonna to near perfection and blends in the required grindhouse attitude. While the rest of the cast is a bit more hit-and-miss, the nature of grindhouse is incredibly hit-and-miss so that if you lose yourself to Bilinski's top notch camera work and the film's atmosphere you'll likely not even notice.
Kudos as well to Edward Hatfield for a sound design and mix that elevates the film above the usual low-budget indie short, especially noticeable in the Director's Cut.

For more information or to order the film on DVD, visit the Cinephreak Pictures website above.
    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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