Grindhouse: The Poll

Grindhouse: The Poll

****
1
6%
*** 1/2
3
18%
***
7
41%
** 1/2
3
18%
**
1
6%
* 1/2
1
6%
*
0
No votes
1/2 *
1
6%
0
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 17

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Postby Sabin » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:37 am

I saw 'Death Proof' again. This movie is nonsense with occasional moments of genius found in the impromptu narrative restart, Kurt Russell's performance, and some deft set pieces. But by in large, this is as boring a moviegoing experience as one is to see. I admire Q.T.'s aspects of vengeful feminism but I can't help but think there must be scores of more entertaining depictions out there. Good intentions, painfully self-indulgent results. This is the first Tarantino movie I can say that I outwardly do not like. I want to say these women are not people, but that may not be true...they are not interesting.
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Postby rain Bard » Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:58 pm

I slightly preferred Death Proof as well, but loved the entire package. Seeing it in the most dive-y theatre in town (even if it's not one of the original Market Street grindhouses, which have all shut down) with a packed audience late in the film's run made for a perfect evening at the movies.

The only one of those "fake trailer" movies I'd like to see actually made into a feature is Machete. But the others were terrific pastiches.

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Postby Heksagon » Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:48 am

I was apparently the only one who preferred Death Proof.

And even more - except for Machete, I didn't much like the fake trailers.

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Postby Precious Doll » Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:23 am

I much preferred Planet Terror and found Death Proof felt so drawn out.

The trailers were the best part of film. My favorite was Machete.

I wonder if Grindhouse had been a commercial successes we might have seen feature versions of the trailers.
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Postby FilmFan720 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:12 am

OscarGuy wrote:I preferred Rodriguez' film to Tarantino's. I thought Tarantino laid it on too thick. He was TRYING to make a good bad movie. Whereas Rodriguez was just making a bad movie and I thought it worked quite well.

Zombies 1. Chicks with Attitude 0.

Ditto here too. Death Proof was painful.
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:55 pm

I preferred Rodriguez' film to Tarantino's. I thought Tarantino laid it on too thick. He was TRYING to make a good bad movie. Whereas Rodriguez was just making a bad movie and I thought it worked quite well.

Zombies 1. Chicks with Attitude 0.
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Postby Zahveed » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:53 pm

Best parts were the trailers. Turkey anyone?
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:47 pm

vote and discuss
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Postby Leeder » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:13 am

To my mind, Death Proof succeeds exactly where Kill Bill failed: in justifying woman's revenge without undoing everything by fetishizing her suffering excessively to begin with. Kill Bill reeks of a male director keen on enacting his fantasies of woman as buttkicking love goddess on one hand but also subjecting her to utter torment -- aestheticized torment -- on the other.

One odd element of Kill Bill's construction is that we never really get a sense of what the Bride has lost. We only get brief glimpses of this, and only very late in the narrative when we've already gotten used to her as an avenging angel. Whereas in Death Proof, we get to know all the women in this lazy, unforced way, get to know the rhythms of their lives, to the point that we see their deaths (or potential deaths) as legitimate tragedies, not mere pretexts for cool vengence.

It's fascinating the way we identify with Stuntman Mike, even after we realize that he's pure evil, precisely because, in Laura Mulveyan terms, he is active, the possessor of the gaze, doing just what we're doing -- looking at attractive women. But this is where his pain is key. Far from the John Wayne character he impersonates at one point, he's a hysterical crybaby once he gets hurt, stripping away all the macho posturing to show the emotional eunuch underneath.

So I think Death Proof is a sign of a maturing, more contemplative Tarantino getting some distance on his own style, and that's great. I think it's the best thing he's done except Jackie Brown.

Less crazy about Planet Terror. It reminded me a certain amount of Amazon Women on the Moon, especially John Landis's segments (Joe Dante's segments are glorious), a winking homage to something that was much funnier when it was deadpan. One thing that nobody seems to be talking about is the film's timeframe; both halves, but especially Planet Terror, take place in a kind of no time (sort of Sin City in this). At first one thinks it takes place in the 70's but then you realize the technology is modern but the clothes and cars and attitudes 70's. I'm not sure if Brecht would approve of Planet Terror but there's sure a lot of distantiation/alienation going on, including the "aged" film stock, which prevents emotional engagement with the material. So when Bin Ladin's name pops up, it plays as a postmodern joke on the fact that films, even Grindhouse films, used to be filled with anger (find me a more model anti-Nixon film than the much-mentioned Vanishing Point), but now can only be empty pastiche.

I laughed like crazy at the trailers, though, especially Don't, a hilarious parody of the British haunted house films I love -- one guy is even dressed just like Roddy McDowall in The Legend of Hell House (which I wrote a chapter of my M.A. thesis on)!

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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:51 pm

Indeed, the "coming attractions" (not "trailers"; don't forget, we're in the 70s) are hysterical, the best fake trail- um, coming attractions I've ever seen, not to mention the other interstitial inserts. "Thanksgiving" is even more appalling/hilarious than anything in "Borat", and is the most dead-on acknowledgement about the intermingling of sex and violence in gross-out horror films we'll probably ever see. The Rodriguez feature is also a hoot, really fun, outlandish, disgusting trash, yet it somehow manages an aura of innocence, just like those early 70s grindhouse movies. Top to bottom, the cast is perfect, particularly Rose MacGowan and Freddy Rodriguez who manage a very fine balance of providing a moderate amount of camp without going over the edge.

But if there is a more boring film out there than Tarantino's segment, someone kill me before I see it. I think Quentin missed the pre-production meeting; the film is NOT called French New Wave Arthouse Theatre. Gab gab gab blah blah blah talk talk and more talk. Then a very good car chase and then immediately to the end credits while we leave a character thread unresolved. Tarantino is obviously someone who loves to make movies, and he trusts his instincts enough to abide by them. But he is utterly bereft of judgement and discernment. Not only is his film stylistically at odds with everything that came before, it's not even good on its own terms. It's recognizably Tarantino, but it's refried beans.

One item of note: both the Tarantino and the Rodriguez films cheekily inserts a "Reel Missing" sign that interrupts the proceedings. Both of them happen as a sexual encounter is about to take place, wink wink. All the violence, however, is left untouched. Some boys never grow up.
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Postby Eric » Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:16 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:Sabin and Screendaily says the Rodriguez feature is superior, Variety and Hollywood Reporter says the Tarantino is better. We'll need a poll to settle this one... assuming we can rouse ourselves to see the thing. (Three hours and twelve minutes?!)

The trailers are better, on the whole, than either half of the double feature.

But I liked the whole package just fine.

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Postby kooyah » Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:01 am

Sonic Youth wrote:Three hours and twelve minutes?!

Yeah, and it feels like it, too.

I didn't enjoy this as much as Sabin, I don't think. I think that Tarantino's half is better than Rodriguez's, but overall Grindhouse just felt so contrived. As a result, I wasn't able to enjoy myself very much.




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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:45 pm

Sabin and Screendaily says the Rodriguez feature is superior, Variety and Hollywood Reporter says the Tarantino is better. We'll need a poll to settle this one... assuming we can rouse ourselves to see the thing. (Three hours and twelve minutes?!)

I'm usually good with hiding the spoilers, but not this time. Sorry.

Grindhouse
Brent Simon in Los Angeles
01 Apr 2007 17:30
Screendaily



Intended as an enthusiastically grimy, collagist tribute piece to low-budget, ultra-violent and offbeat exploitation flicks of yore, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse delivers an uneven mixture of patchwork, sugar-rush thrills.

Consisting of two discrete features strung together by a series of fake trailers shot by Edgar Wright, Eli Roth and Rob Zombie, it benefits mostly from the recombinant pop of Rodriguez's Planet Terror, a strikingly well designed and tackily atmospheric zombie action flick, before the twin-bill's finale, Tarantino's muddled Death Proof, fumbles its way through a pointless set-up to an undeniably invigorating car chase climax.

Grindhouse will try to position itself as hipster genre entry when it opens in the US later this week, and no doubt achieve solid opening returns given the high profiles of its makers. But how far this charm offensive of cool lasts, and the degree to which it successfully spreads outside of the chief demographic target, depends on word-of-mouth amongst those for whom referential lionisation for lionisation's sake means very little.

A besting of Rodriguez's Sin City US box office, which pulled in just under $75m and for which Tarantino directed a segment, seems unlikely, not only because of Grindhouse's three-hour-plus running time, but also because the film lacks the groundbreaking sumptuousness and hook of that aforementioned movie's starkly rendered visual palette.

Foreign reception for the project - including a separate release of the films in most markets -should be quite warm, given the embrace of Sin City and Tarantino's Kill Bill pictures, all of which grossed more abroad than Stateside, especially in Tarantino-friendly territories such as the UK.

Ancillary value will also remain quite high, given not only the novelty of the joint presentation, but Rodriguez and Tarantino's status as standard bearers of the modern-day nonconformist auteurs.

In Planet Terror, an Austin hospital is inundated with townspeople ravaged by oozing sores. Soon their symptoms take a turn for the worse, and a full-fledged zombie attack is underway.

Enigmatic junk-trucker Wray (Rodriguez), meanwhile, reconnects with his former significant other, go-go dancer Cherry (McGowan), who, in the course of the evening, loses one of her legs in an attack.

Together with a wary Sheriff Hague (Biehn), Wray and Cherry lead a motley crew of survivors into the night, trying to stay ahead of the marauding hordes. Captured by the military, they eventually learn of a dark conspiracy behind the infection, and work to try to ensure its suppression.

Also set in Austin, and sprinkling in cameos from a few of the Planet Terror characters, Death Proof presents two separate female ensembles of dissimilar tone, only mildly linked by Kurt Russell's intriguing Stuntman Mike character, who disappears for an ungainly stretch in the middle.

The first segment centres around local DJ Jungle Julia (Poitier) and her gal pals Shanna and Arlene (Ladd and Ferlito), who, at a neon-infused dive watering hole, catch the attention of Mike, a rumpled relic of the all-or-nothing days of practical effects work and chase sequences.

From here we shift to a quartet of women on break from various film set gigs (Zoe Bell, Dawson, Thoms and Winstead). When this group test drives a car on a deserted back country road, an amped-up, Duel-type showdown ensues.

As a film-maker, Rodriguez has always been chiefly a visualist, a purveyor of hyper-stylised genre pictures. In Planet Terror, though, he constructs a pop diorama of singular vision, folding in plenty of scuzzy, low-rent touches (grain and film scratches, sound pops) and locating the dark humor of these affectations, and the fashion in which they intersect with and affect the narrative.

The story itself owes a lot to Dawn Of The Dead, but Rodriguez sketches his most effectively sympathetic characters in years, and all of the film's period detail is appropriate, right down to the more diluted, Karo syrup blood and globs of yellow pus.

With his penchant for decorative language, Tarantino has always had more of a preference for garnish over the main course, and this is usually aided by a diversity of colourful characters (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction) or orgiastic style (Kill Bill).

Death Proof , though, is two or three half-baked ideas tossed together - part dawdling psycho killer tale, part feminist revenge picture - with no codifying elixir; ultimately, enthusiastic air-quote homage largely trumps cohesion.

It's obvious that a big part of the inspiration was to work with Bell, Uma Thurman's stunt double in the Kill Bill series, as well as more generally celebrate practical stuntwork, and those that perform it.

The problem is that there are no true characters of deep consequence here, and certainly nothing to warrant the repetition of so much inane dialogue, a lot of it centred around girls talking in circuitous fashion about their sex lives or scoring marijuana. These chatty passages are deadly dull - a first for a Tarantino picture.

On the performance front, Death Proof serves mainly as an on-camera introduction to Bell, a sunny presence, and an amusing showcase of wildly varying tonalities for a game, veteran Russell.

Jeff Dashnaw serves as in the capacity of stunt coordinator on both films, but it's Death Proof's blacktop thrills - easily on par with Ronin, The French Connection and the original Gone In 60 Seconds - that give that film its cathartic redemption. With Bell strapped to the hood of a 1970s Dodge Challenger (a much-discussed homage to Vanishing Point), she's the human ping-pong ball in a vicariously thrilling game of automotive chicken.

Planet Terror , meanwhile, provides a more rooted backdrop for its characters, and Rodriguez and McGowan each deliver. Bringing a charged electricity to their roles as hung-up ex-lovers, they each, under Rodriguez's direction, strike the right chords of noirish imperturbability that anchor the movie.

Jack-of-all-trades Rodrigue provides the film with some spot-on musical compositions. Heavy on the affected synth that was a staple of cheap horror genre pics of the 1980s, it alternates in resonant fashion between the purposefully tremulous and the swaggering.


----------------------------------


Grindhouse
By Kirk Honeycutt
Apr 2, 2007
Hollywood Reporter


If you were keeping score, it would be Quentin Tarantino 1, Robert Rodriguez 0. This scoring involves "Grindhouse," two new action-packed films masquerading as a double bill of '60s- and '70s-era exploitation flicks.

Each of the two writer-directors made a movie in the grand tradition of Samuel Z. Arkoff and William Castle. The package includes four goofball "Coming Attractions" for nonexistent B-movies, scratchy prints, missing scenes plus an ad for a local take-your-chances diner. The thing runs 11 minutes past the three-hour mark and nicely straddles the line between tongue-in-cheek spoof and genuine homage to the outrageous vitality and extreme situations moviemakers once crammed into cheap genre films that demanded sex, action and gore. The only things missing are sticky floors and a guy snoring in the seventh row.

Rodriguez fulfills his end of the bargain by turning in a deliberately bad zombie horror movie, "Planet Terror," with overzealous acting, paper-thin characters, scratches and splotches everywhere and absurdly fake gore. Bodies crumble with remarkable ease and gushing blood looks like raspberry jelly.

But Tarantino cheats. He actually makes a good movie. Oh sure, the characters in his psycho-car chase movie, "Death Proof," don't have the depth one finds in an Ingmar Bergman film, and it follows all the genre conventions. But in what low-budget exploitationer would you find a single take lasting untold minutes as the camera pirouettes around four characters in deep discussion at a diner? Or, for that matter, multimillion-dollar smash-and-accelerate car chases that go on forever? The print doesn't even look that scratched.
"Grindhouse" is, necessarily, an uneven and compromised movie adventure. Of course, no one can complain it's bad because that's the point. But how about, in the case of the overly repetitive, one-note "Terror," boring?

Paired together, the double bill will hit boxoffice gold. If the two are to separate, as they might in non-English-speaking markets, Rodriguez's movie could lose out, especially given the plethora of zombie movies in recent years.

In "Terror," the characters are all Id and action, and plot barely exists. A biological chemical escapes into the atmosphere in a small Texas town. As the virus spreads, nearly everyone turns into a bubble-skinned, flesh-eating fiend. Those resistant to the strain must fight off the ghouls.

The only remarkable character is the movie's heroine, Rose McGowan's Cherry, a go-go dancer whose leg gets torn off. Her boyfriend (Freddy Rodriguez) helpfully substitutes first a wooden stick, then later, most ingeniously, a machine gun. Thus, all the ex-dancer has to do is kick and point and she can eradicate dozens of zombies. Neat, huh?

There isn't much more to the film, other than to enjoy cameos by Bruce Willis and Tarantino and smirk at the acting on steroids. The film develops a bad habit of repeating lines, jokes and zombie bits many times. You wouldn't mind a few more missing reels.

The only problem with "Proof" is an unnecessarily protracted setup. You watch a group of sexy young women drink and party through several bars on a hot Austin night. They are stalked by a jigsaw-faced man who calls himself Stuntman Mike, played with grizzled smarminess by John Carpenter veteran Kurt Russell. Finally, he contrives a head-on collision between the women's car and his own "death proof" stunt car on a dark road that kills all the women. Tarantino shows the wreck four times so you can witness the destruction of the four women's bodies in slow motion.

Awhile later, Stuntman Mike is back on the prowl, stalking another group of women. Only this time, two are movie stuntwomen (Zoe Bell, an actual stuntwoman, and Tracie Thoms), and one packs a gun. So, deliciously, it's ladies' revenge time.

"Proof" is an exploitation, but then again it isn't. The women's characters in both groups have strong, vivid identities. The acting is purposeful and the car stunts are terrific.

The reference point of "Proof," of course, are such movies as "Vanishing Point," "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry" and even Steven Spielberg's TV film "Duel." "Proof" might lack the existentialism that some of those films wore with pride, but this mock film is a far cry from a cheap splatter film or sexploitationer.

The crews on all the films -- including the trailers made by directors Edgar Wright ("Shawn of the Dead"), Eli Roth ("Hostel") and Rob Zombie ("The Devil's Rejects") -- do terrific jobs at being awful, or maybe just being awfully good. Everyone gets into the spirit of the grindhouse. But Tarantino does cheat.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:01 am

Three hours and twelve minutes?!


Grindhouse
By TODD MCCARTHY
Variety


The 1970s exploitation movie gropes, bites, kicks, slugs, blasts, smashes and cusses its way back to life in "Grindhouse," a "Rodriguez/Tarantino double feature" that lovingly resurrects a disreputable but cultishly embraced form of era-specific film production and exhibition. A pair of pictures devoted to re-creating their progenitors' grubby aesthetics and visceral kicks, but with vastly greater budgets, higher-end actors and a patina of hipster cool, they part company when it comes to talent and freshness. The numerous marketing problems for this bizarre pop-culture artifact begin with the three-hour-plus running time and young auds' unfamiliarity with the format. But the B.O. strength of "Sin City" and "Kill Bill" alone suggests the helmers' loyal followings will produce a very potent opening frame, with fairly steep fall-off thereafter in the manner of most horror films.

The United States may be the only territory, however, where the whole shebang will come out as one feature, as each picture will be released separately in slightly longer versions overseas.

As genre rehabs go, "Grindhouse" is more daring and audacious than most, partly due to its conception as an entire program complete with two pictures, four tailor-made trailers and various for-real interstitial bits, but more so because of its stylistic fidelity to its source material. Hollywood cinema, from "Jaws" and "Star Wars" onward, is filled with B-movie material served in A-picture bottles, but Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" and Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" mean to reproduce the shot-on-the-run look and feel of genuinely down-and-dirty pics of 35 years ago, all the way to scratchy prints and missing scenes. One certain difference: Neither early George Romero nor the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" had seven-minute end credits scrolls listing things such as director's chef and greens gang bosses.

On the basis of sheer accuracy, Rodriguez's installment wins points for more exactly replicating the hollow, soul-sucking badness of many low-grade gore films, even as he raids Romero's great "Dead" cycle of zombie splatter epics. By contrast, Tarantino's road-rage opus so far exceeds almost anything made at the time in terms of dialogue and performance that it seems like a different beast, one half plotless gabfest, the other half insane car chase.

Presentation begins with an authentic, beat-up "Prevues of Coming Attractions" banner, which intros a hilarious trailer for a faux actioner called "Machete," about a mean Mexican hombre on a violent rampage on behalf of illegals. This is one cheapo picture that could do some business, and evidently Rodriguez, who helmed it, thinks so too, as he's already said he wants to expand it to feature-length.

Accompanied by the built-in sound of projector noise and terrible scratches on the print, "Planet Terror" focuses on a demoralized go-go dancer, Cherry (Rose McGowan), who gets more than she bargained for when she sets out late one night to change her life.

Due to some nasty business at a nearby military base, local residents are lurching around with pus-filled abscesses on their skin and unwholesome appetites. Human roadkill litters the highways and the hospital becomes overrun with disfigured and increasingly violent sickos.

Forced to deal with the crisis are some questionable but mostly attractive lowlifes, including Cherry's mysterious ex Wray (Freddy Rodriguez); a cop (Michael Biehn) who's heavily on Wray's case; feuding married medics (Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton) in a race to kill one another before the zombies get the chance; and a barbecue shack owner (Jeff Fahey) on the verge of perfecting a recipe.

Given the recent surfeit of zombie movies, and pretty good ones at that, it's simply not enough to re-create a highlights reel of favorite genre motifs. Rodriguez occasionally extricates himself from the muck with some genuine gross-out moments, beginning with an exchange over a bulging bag of testicles between Naveen Andrews and Bruce Willis, both in extended cameos.

But when all the generic filler of the episode has been forgotten, "Planet Terror" will still be remembered for one indelible iconographic sight, that of the scantily attired McGowan, her character having lost her right leg in the mayhem, striding back into action with her missing appendage replaced by machine gun. Needless to say, the weapon is put to excellent use in the Romero-inspired finale.

There is a measure of wit in some details -- McGowan's hair and makeup remain impeccable no matter the havoc around her -- and some of the thesps, notably the leading lady and Freddy Rodriguez, create something resembling characters in the one-dimensional circumstances. But with the majority of the running time devoted to overly familiar territory, "Planet Terror" delivers only momentary kicks.

An eight-minute "intermission" serves up tasty trailers for three more excellent candidates for exploitation immortality. "Werewolf Women of the SS," about "Hitler's plan to create a race of super-women," stars Udo Kier, Sybil Danning and "Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu," and is helmed with dead-on crudeness by Rob Zombie. "Don't," directed by Edgar Wright, trades hilariously on the enticing "Don't go in the ... " motif of horror-pic advertising, while "Thanksgiving," from Eli Roth, cooks up a startling and grisly holiday-themed gorefest.

All this is table setting for the main course, and while Tarantino's "Death Proof" is a juicy, delicious treat, its pleasures stem much less from the play with genre conventions than from great dialogue and electric performances. The chick-power movie is divided into two parts, both of which are exhilarating for the vibrant bonding and camaraderie they develop among two different sets of young women.

Opening scene simply puts three attractive femmes in a car riding down the main commercial drag in Austin, Texas, talking about sex and drugs. Much as the driving conversation between John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction" was captivating for its heightened naturalism and specific detail, so does the girl talk here instantly mesmerize through its casual frankness and relaxed humor; so natural are the rhythms of the banter that you instantly believe the women played by relative newcomers Sydney Poitier, Vanessa Ferlito and Jordan Ladd are best buds, have no secrets and constantly kid one another about their peccadilloes.

A daytime meal eventually becomes a night of drinking at the funky Texas Chili Parlor. The level of raunch is amped up by booze but the talk remains great, with a touch of the poet at times. Tarantino here lays a claim to being the Joseph L. Mankiewicz of trash talk, so easily does he create reams of dialogue in distinct voices and so well does he direct it.

As boldly as in a late Howard Hawks film like "Hatari!" or "El Dorado," Tarantino confidently keeps his characters chattering away and lets about a third of the picture go by before anything much happens. Some guys (Roth, Michael Bacall and Omar Doom) try to hit on the girls, and eventually attention turns to the bar, where an older man named Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) strikes up a conversation with slinky Pam (McGowan again, this time as a blonde).

A vet movie stuntman with an easy manner, Mike offers Pam a ride home in his mighty Dodge Charger, a stunt-ready vehicle so reinforced as to be "death-proof." But it doesn't turn out to be for Pam, as the Jekyll & Hyde-like Mike uses his car like a killing machine.

A second group of women take the baton for pic's ramped-up second half. Dominating these members of a Tennessee film crew on a break is foul-mouthed Kim (Tracie Thoms). Declaring that, "There's no point to living in America unless you drive a Dodge Challenger," fellow stuntwoman Zoe Bell (a New Zealander who was Uma Thurman's stunt double on "Kill Bill") gets her hands on one, turning the seg into a massive homage to the 1971 cult drive-in fave "Vanishing Point" as it sets itself up for an extended duel between the girls' Dodge and that of the now-maniacal Stuntman Mike.

With third wheel Abernathy (a game Rosario Dawson) along for the ride but the fourth pal (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) sitting it out, Kim races behind, alongside and in front of Mike on twisty, hilly roads at breakneck speeds with Zoe, spread-eagled like a hood ornament up front. The hair-raising stunts are clearly absolutely real, making the sequence, among other things, a massive middle finger from Tarantino to the interventions of CGI.

Aspects of the chase, which was filmed in the Santa Ynez Valley above Santa Barbara, raise questions, notably as to why Kim doesn't apply the brakes at key moments when Mike is running alongside her. But the sequence is still a thrill, filled with loads of exciting shots filmed at high speed.

Bell is a relaxed, spirited natural playing herself, and Thoms and Dawson are both a gas. Russell is at his best shooting the breeze in the bar, but also gets off when Mike turns bad.

Tarantino capably serves as his own cinematographer for the first time, and the soundtrack brims with dynamite tunes. Production values throughout boast a deliberately degraded ruggedness.
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Postby Sabin » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:29 pm

Hard to really review these "films". As a whole, the 'Grindhouse' experience makes for a good time, but from an analytical position the result is fascinating but wholly lackluster. Rodriguez and Tarantino are filmmakers who never had to film to survive. They are mavericks like any other at heart but unlike Joe Dante or others they never even had to pretend to conform. 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'El Mariachi' are outstanding films that were instantly canonized. How nice for them! These two 'Grindhouse' features feel like their respective first films, full of promise and revealing subtext, but ultimately nothing too special and made to grapple against the mainstream for attention.

Rodriguez's film fares better. It's true to itself with the lines on the film and the missing reels, a real grindhouse piece of work. It's called 'Planet Terror' and it's pretty entertaining, if way too long. It's a nice, dopey plot with nice intentionally dopey mistakes. There's really nothing much to talk about; it's a zombie disease film that goes on a little too long but makes for a decent time. In many ways, it's my favorite Rogriguez film since 'El Mariachi', which is the best thing I can say about it, even if that doesn't say much for Rodriguez. His 'Spy Kids' franchise bored me and 'Sin City', while an outstanding technical achievement, left me cold.

To look at Tarantino's film however is more a interesting experience because this - at long last! - is the work of self-parody he has been accused of making all along. I love Tarantino's film even though I despise the man's culture, his obsession with the artificial and hip, especially considering this is the least hip dude on the planet. I love 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Jackie Brown', 'Pulp Fiction', and with every year 'Kill Bill: Vol. 1' more and more. I could talk endlessly about how 'Kill Bill: Vol. 2' while more story obsessed reveals the fatal flaw of Tarantino: he works best around the edges, and 'Jackie Brown' aside, has no real feel for the human condition. His attempt to make a Leone Western in 'Vol. 2' was visibly indicative of his lack of patience and vision. It comes close to working as a whole, but lacks any degree of maturity or the skill needed and reveals vapidity at the story's center. WHICH! - as I'm getting back to now - is what's so interesting about 'Vol. 1', as it skirts along the edges of a meaningful story and ultimately feels like the more moving, interesting entry.

His 'Grindhouse' movie is 'Vol. 2' that thinks it's acting like 'Vol. 1'. His Hellman-inspired exploitation flick is a total indulgence with only glimmers of true grindhouse inspiration. When it's there, it's stronger than anything in Rodriguez's, but for the most part it's a slog that I can't say I much enjoyed.

The real treat of 'Grindhouse' is the experience, which will admittedly vary from person to person. The trailers and the ads are hysterical, genuinely inventive. I had a good time, but I can't say the whole of the experience is very worthwhile.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver


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