Monday, April 09, 2007

Sleestak's Movie Review: Grindhouse

I went and saw the Tarantino and Rodriguez offering Grindhouse last Saturday night and for the most part thoroughly enjoyed myself. The double feature was mostly fun to watch though I think that younger people had no idea what was going on with all the misleading gags throughout the movie. Prior to the film starting an usher actually came in to the theater and announced the scratches and poor quality of the film were intentional effects and to not go complaining to the manager about it. I don't know if that was being repeated in all theaters showing the movie and was just part of marketing or if they producers actually thought it was necessary to not have negative feedback and droves of angry walk-outs.

The cheap exploitation films of the 70s that Tarantino and Rodriguez are so enamored of had a story and pacing that usually followed this formula:

Dull crap, dull crap, dull crap, ACTION! Dull crap, dull crap, dull crap, DOUBLE-ACTION!
As someone who spent many a weekend in the 1970s in the old Horton Plaza movie theater in downtown San Diego watching some of the worst B-Movies of the era, I'd have to say Grindhouse was just about as dead on a parody/homage to the genre as you can get without resorting to the unintentionally awful Sci-Fi Channel library of original world premiere movies. I don't share the weird love some have for those films. I saw Switchblade Sisters way back in the 80s while in Korea (the local markets were flooded with imported or bootleg VHS tapes mostly comprising the action films of Joey Stallone and Wings Hauser) and I despise it with incredible passion. Tarantino seems to want to marry it and liked it enough to include in his Thunder Road collections of a few years back. I am mostly unable to enjoy them even ironically because I can't get past the bad, bad acting.

Of the two films, Planet Terror was the winner for me. Give me a good old zombie feature any day. I am now an unabashed Rose McGowan fan after this (at least until her creepiness factor gives me the chills again. It will eventually) and I will buy her Cherry Darling action figure as soon as it comes out. I won't even keep it in the package, man.

The entire film itself had some great gags that almost made up for some of the parts that dragged interminably even though they were accurately in the style of the cinematic ancestry. I had a real hard time getting through the long set up of unlikable characters in Death Proof and just about lost it when I discovered that Tarantino was putting me through it twice. But the payoff with the gals getting revenge on the serial killer was worth it. Professional stunt woman Zoe Bell, who plays herself in Death Proof, is so awesome she takes awesome off the charts. I was very...Let's say intrigued...by the prospect of Zoe Bell even though I kept thinking she was actually Jennifer Grey doing an accent.

Tags: Quentin Tarantino Robert Rodriguez Movies Death Proof Planet Terror

8 comments:

  1. I'm intrigued by Grindhouse, but haven't seen it yet. I've seen some of these B-Movies, but I'm not a huge geek for them like Tarrantino is. Most likely, I'll see it on DVD. I have to admit, though, that you have me really intrigued by your exuberance for Zoe Bell.

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  2. It isn't lust, kinda an attraction based on fear.

    http://www.whoosh.org/issue87/ibell1.html

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  3. I'm with you all the way on the unlikeable characters in the first half of Death Proof. I still can't decide whether they were intentionally unlikeable, of if it was just a quirk of the casting and/or performances.

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  4. A friend claims that he has seen the actress who portrays Jungle Julia in a few shows and says she is just as bad an actress as she appears to be in Death Proof. That might be on purpose though, because Tarantino is clever that way and can be a bit of a prankster jerk. "Tee-hee. I hired her because she sucks! Ha ha!"

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  5. Sometimes Tarantino forgets "There's a fine line between clever and stupid."

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  6. "Dull crap, dull crap, dull crap, ACTION! Dull crap, dull crap, dull crap, DOUBLE-ACTION!"

    Yes! I was trying and failing to explain this to my roommate, that those chicks were all boring and annoying ON PURPOSE! It takes some kinda balls to replicate lousy filmmaking so accurately. Death Proof did end spectacularly well, but I also preffered Planet Terror. Also, Don't!

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  7. Death Proof was too Tarantino-y, I am referring especially to the scene in the second part at the table with the single rotating camera. He loves his 'dialogue' parts. "Oh look how natural my characters talk!" It was a fun few hours anyway and the dvd should have some nice commentaries

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  8. Zoe Bell is badass, plain and simple.

    http://livejournal.com/community/zoebell
    and
    http://myspace.com/zoebell

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