Monday, June 18, 2007

Grindhouse (2007)

(Planet Terror directed by Robert Rodriguez,
Death Proof directed by Quentin Tarantino,
Trailers: Machete directed by Robert Rodriguez,
Thanksgiving directed by Eli Roth,
Werewolf Women of the SS directed by Rob Zombie,
Don't directed by Edgar Wright. USA, 2007)

"Grindhouse" consists of two movies: "Planet Terror" directed by Robert Rodrigues and "Death Proof" directed by Quentin Tarantino. Along the way, amid vintage '70's coming attraction notices are trailers, spoofs of imaginary films: "Machete" directed by Robert Rodriguez; "Thanksgiving" by Eli Roth (of the "Hostel" and "Saw" franchises fame), Werewolf Women of the SS" directed by Rob Zombie and my ultimate favorite "DON'T" directed by Edgar Wright (of "Sean of the Dead" and the recent "Hot Fuzz").

I saw this for free and would like to say I enjoyed it... but I didn't. OK, "Planet Terror" was fun, except that Rose McGowan doesn't get her machine gun leg until nearly the end of the movie, later she returns as a blonde for Tarantino's "Death Proof", and ultimately gets dispatched. "Planet Terror" was good trashy fun, "Death Proof" was rather boring and I snoozed through a small part of it. "Planet Terror" does take on every 1970's zombie horror movie cliche and gets a lot right. "Death Proof" is more of an homage to "Two Lane Blacktop", "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" and other 1970's car chase road flicks. "Death Proof" neatly divides itself into two: the first part with the grisly demise of radio female disk jockey Jungle Julia with a few gal pals by 'Stuntman Mike' (Kurt Russell channeling Kris Kristofferson)in his suped-up 'death proof' car and the second part deals with Stuntman Mike getting his comeuppance by a stuntwoman and her badass gals who take him on. Along the way, there is talk, driving, more talk, circular talk, circular talk with circular camera pan...around that point I snoozed for a few. The ultimate showdown speeding life-or-death car race (after the first brutal part of the movie) is a bit of a let-down, but then we're seeing the theatrical version; the 'new and improved' version of "Death Proof" hasn't been released yet. Tarantino fans should be overjoyed. Others will feel nostalgia and turn on any dreaded late night movie....oh no! INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS!

"Grindhouse" just made me long for the real thing, it was fun but a carbon copy of something that shouldn't be copied in the first place.


Anonymous said...

And its lack of mainstream success (arguably) proved that these genre films don't work outside of their own niches where their fans absolutely adore them.

Cinema High and Low said...

Usually these B-movie grindhouse flicks are guilty pleasures. This was made by two afficionados of the genre who had ridiculous budgets. The lack of mainstream success might have been due to the overall length of "Grindhouse", at a bit over three hours, it was rather self-indulgent and a bit much for ADD audiences. Quite an expensive double-feature, I'd say.