A bizarre, exploitation-style feature film about a desperate C.I.A. agent on a mission to find the man who murdered his wife.
Starring Randy Russell (American Job), Mark Borchardt (American Movie), Michael Sottile (Reservoir Dogs), and screen legend Danny Trejo (Heat, Machete). Look for guest appearances by Samwell (What What In the Butt) and Mark Metcalf (Animal House, Seinfeld).
ROGER EBERT, Chicago Sun-Times:
“You need to have paid your dues to appreciate Modus Operandi. Have you marinated in exploitation films? The cheap kind from the 60s and 70s, made by fly-by-night filmmakers on starvation budgets? It’s not enough to like such films because they’re so bad they’re good. You need to specialize, and like the films because they’re so good about being so bad they’re good. Modus Operandi, a film by Frankie Latina that has won praise on the midnight movie festival circuit, is such a film. If you have paid those dues, there is a special pleasure to be had in Modus Operandi. The film is touring the nation in search of those like Quentin Tarantino and John Waters who would stay planted in their seats and watch it a second time.”
Mike Hale, The New York Times:
“With its deliberate clumsiness, its seemingly random juxtapositions and a handmade look achieved through slavish attention to film stock, lighting, fashions and furnishings, Frankie Latina’s Modus Operandi bears a greater surface resemblance to the 1960s and ’70s genre films to which it pays homage than Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse did.”
“Brilliantly sleazy — imagine a 1960s Italian spy thriller shot on Super-8. In Milwaukee. Seriously.” — Los Angeles Times
“A week after Robert Rodriguez’s Machete brought the grindhouse to the multiplex, a far better exploitation derivation slithers out from the sticky-floored theater from whence it came. A handmade, endearingly disreputable valentine to no-budget, maximum-impact cinema, Modus Operandi is seriously seedy and truly inspired.” — Eric Hynes, The Village Voice
“Modus Operandi is genius-level garbage. The entire film is an intricately designed spoof.” — Kyle Smith, New York Post
“I hope Latina never gets discovered so that he can keep making micro-budgeted nuggets of retro trash cinema detritus just like this.” — Simon Abrams, New York Press
“This may be the bloodiest, perviest espionage thriller Ed Wood never made.” — Aaron Hillis, Time Out New York
“Blaxploitation meets Art-House. A mondo B-movie that holds nothing back … Modus Operandi is a movie utterly content with its own insanity.” — Eric Kohn, indieWIRE
“Modus Operandi is a trip. A fuzzed out ode to B-gangster films, ’60s political paranoia thrillers, ’80s late-night Skinemax, and raunchy underground cinema … An act of will shot on Super 8.” — Filmmaker Magazine
“Modus Operandi was the talk of the festival among media and execs after its premiere … It bursts with campiness and odes to ’70s movie outrageousness.” — Steven Zeitchik, The Hollywood Reporter
“Latina is paying tribute to the ’70s here, but in a bizarre, formalist way: One scene might play like a retro spy spoof, the next like a British gangster flick, another like an experimental Warhol piece, and yet another like Italian neorealism … Expect it to appear on Quentin Tarantino’s Best of ’09 list.” — LA Weekly
“The film is a testament to determination … Robert Rodriguez would be proud.” — Todd Konrad, Independent Film Quarterly
“Modus Operandi is masterful.” — Matt Wild, The Onion A.V. Club
“This little gem is one of the better independent films I’ve seen this year.” — Matt Molgaard, Fangoria
“Modus Operandi clearly does not take place in the real world, but in the surreal realm of 1970s exploitation cinema, where strange and outrageous things are bound to happen.” — Kyle Rupprecht, MovieMaker Magazine
“Frankie Latina pulls it off with a freshness and charm that’s unquestionably invigorating … Modus Operandi is what Grindhouse should have been — maybe, would have been — if freed from ego and studio budget bloat … It’s got to be one of the great underground discoveries of the year.” — Karina Longworth, Spout
“A high powered film that surprises with every turn creating something I have personally never seen on the screen. Where Machete fails, Modus Operandi succeeds. A thrilling display of sex, drugs and ultra violence that spoofs the spy genre and turns the James Bond archetype on its head. I guarantee you’ll never see a film quite like Modus Operandi in theaters ever again.” — Rudie Obias, The Criterion Cast
“Frankie Latina’s one-of-a-kind exploitation film has been delighting and confounding audiences at film festivals and midnight screenings all over the world.” — Steve Hyden, The Onion A.V. Club
“Five stars! True Grindhouse! I couldn’t have had a better time.” — Charles Tatum, eFilmCritic.com
“An indescribable James Bondage spoof … Modus Operandi is the jewel of this year’s festival.” — Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago
“Modus Operandi feels like the genuine article, a real piece of forlorn invention and movie affection that is almost beyond questions of bad and good. A classic.” — Jay Stone, The Province Vancouver
“An homage to exploitation thrillers from the 70s, with CIA agents, mysterious briefcases, shady underworld double-crosses, and lots of sexy girls … strung together with a splendid funky score. An appropriate formal mishmash that is hugely inventive … A cherishable oddball curio.” — Tom von Logue Newth, ScreenCrave
“A lot more interesting than the low-rent Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino trickle-down you might expect from the film’s description. Modus Operandi is a baffling low-budget curiosity from an alien mind.” — Dusty Somers, BlogCritics
“An indie tribute to exploitation movies that out-grinds even Grindhouse.” — Niehaus, Scene Magazine
“The film indeed looks cool. It’s grainy and rough … but is shot with a verve and style seldom seen in more polished fare. Recommended. Buckets of fun.” — Jeremy Biltz, DVD Talk
“Modus Operandi invokes a checklist of low-budget styles, including: blaxploitation, French New Wave, Nikkatsu gangster flicks, William Castle, Russ Meyer, Seijun Suzuki, and early George A. Romero. Once you add a soundtrack with piano keys and fuzz pedals as ammo and you have a fun, titillating low-rent James Bond!” — Facets Multi-Media Chicago
“A batshit insane no-budget Super-8 film mixing the aesthetics of blaxploitation and European art film. I saw it between Black Dynamite and Machete and it blew both films away.” — Gabe Toro, Jumpcut Junkies “A totally awesome, totally authentic blast of exploitation.” — Roxie Theater, San Francisco
“The cult that is allowing Tommy Wiseau to control their responses to his shitty, shitty, shitty movie, The Room, would do well to discover Modus Operandi — it’s less pretentious and a lot more fun.” — Robson, House of Sparrows
“Winner of the Grand Festival Feature Award. A sleazy retro tour of 1970s underworld blaxploitation chic by way of the back alleys, swimming pools, and abandoned industrial wastelands of Milwaukee in a sort of post-modern James Blond flick.” — Berkeley Video and Film Festival
“A mixture of violence and a bit of surrealism … It’s a combination of spoof, gangster, and experimental.” — Pete Allman, NewsBlaze
“High-concept homage to ’70s exploitation … An outrageous and raunchy experience you are not likely to forget.” — Bryan Wendorf
“If you ever wondered what a James Bond film directed by Ed Wood would look like, here is your answer.” — Benjamin Spacek, Las Vegas Weekly
“It’s totally fun. See it… Drunk.” — Anna Breslaw, Ology
Two briefcases with mysterious contents are stolen from top Presidential candidate Squire Parks, setting off a deadly series of double-crosses and betrayals. Desperate warring factions of subterranean organizations will stop at nothing to gain possession of the sensitive material. A covert branch of the CIA calls on notorious Black Ops agent Stanley Cashay, who has been barely existing in a semi-comatose twilight since the murder of his wife. Cashay is offered the identity of his wife’s killer in exchange for locating and returning the cases.
Agent Cashay uses the most dangerous weapons at his command, the telephone and his reputation, to unleash a bizarre assortment of operatives, including the deliciously sleazy Casey Thunderbird and exotic Tokyo-based special agent Black Licorice. Along with scores of other beguiling rogues, they initiate a horrifying chain of events, including ruthless torture and brutal killings. When Cashay is finally in possession of the stolen materials, the contents of the briefcases shock even him, and he makes a decision that will change the course of history.
Cashay then sets the wheels in motion for bitter revenge and harsh justice, but not before the entire operation is nearly derailed as merciless underworld forces fight back. The final chapters play out as an increasingly surreal vision of modern reality, skirting the edge of sanity and culminating with the wrath of the powerful Director Holiday, a man who would put the fear of God into God Himself.
Modus Operandi premiered at the CineVegas Film Festival in June 2009 where it obtained sales representation from Submarine Entertainment (The Cove, Super Size Me, Man on Wire) and received rave reviews.
The film also screened at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles as part of the American Film Institute festival’s opening night gala. Director Frankie Latina and Special Entertainment were in attendance and walked the red carpet with Bill Murray, Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, and Peter Bogdanovich.
Former adult film star Sasha Grey (The Girlfriend Experience, Entourage) presented Modus Operandi to a sold-out audience at the IFC in New York, with Danny Trejo and Mark Borchardt also in attendance.
American Film Institute Film Festival (AFI) – Los Angeles, CA
CineVegas Internationl Film Festival – Las Vegas, NV
Independent Film Center (IFC) – New York, NY
Facets Cinémathèque – Chicago, IL
Chicago Undergroud Film Festival – Chicago, IL
Roxie Theater – San Francisco, CA
The Cleveland Museum of Art – Cleveland, OH
Berkeley Video & Film Festival – Berkeley, CA
Milwaukee Film Festival – Milwaukee, WI
Pickford Film Center – Bellingham, WA
Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Super 8mm Festival – Szeged, Hungary
Off Plus Camera International Film Festival of Independent Cinema – Krakow, Poland
Kinosmiðja International Film Festival – Reykjavik, Iceland
Lausanne Underground Film Festival – Lausanne, Switzerland
Mayfair Theatre – Ottawa, Ontario