Saturday, April 07, 2007



Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino and Sin City director Robert Rodriquez join forces to offer a cinematic tribute to the blood-soaked exploitation epics of yesteryear with this hyper-violent coupling of two 60-minute features punctuated by a collection of outrageous trailers. In "Death Proof" -- director Tarantino's take on the slasher films of the 1970s and '80s -- Kurt Russell stars as an engine-revving psychopath who prefers to take out his victims hit-and-run style. Rodriguez's segment -- entitled "Planet Terror" -- details the violent struggle between a ravenous army of zombie-like humanoids who have taken over a planet not so different from our own, and the remaining survivors who refuse to go down without a fight. Its tantalizing title borrowed from the term frequently used to describe the seedy, 1970s-era inner-city movie theaters that screened excessive, low-budget independent films containing copious amounts of violence and nudity as a means of offering counter-programming to the decidedly more restrained big-budget studio films, Grindhouse takes its love for these unabashedly sleazy efforts one step further by offering an intermission which showcases a jaw-dropping collection of fake exploitation trailers. (all movie guide)

3 hours and 25 minutes (including the real trailers) of over-the-top guilty, guilty pleasure with a large portion of the time spent laughing. I'm a little twisted, so I had an absolute blast. Rodriguez's sci-fi/horror fest (Planet Terror) was reminiscent of the 70's zombie films, but funny intentionally, and Tarantino's turn (Death Proof) proved to be equally funny with a psychopath in a muscle car up against tough girls with good dialog. The most brilliant part of the combined experience was the fact that each movie had a "missing reel" around the halfway point - meaning there was no real boring part because the perfunctory explanations, dramatizing and hypothesizing were skipped.

All of the actors involved seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their roles which means there were a lot of actors having a good time. It was great to see Naveen Andrews (Sayid!!) having fun along with Bruce Willis , Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Freddy Rodriguez and Michale Parks in the first segment and then getting to watch Kurt Russell play the kind of guy he's probably been wanting to play for so long that he did this movie for next to nothing. For me the standout performance was that of Rose McGowan and while she was a primary character in Planet Terror, she also had a significant role in Death Proof playing an entirely different type of character and doing it well.

If you're familiar with the 'Grind House' type of movie and an excess of really fake gore doesn't bother you - this might be right up your alley. One piece of advice - if you can't make it through the entire show without a restroom break, watch the fake trailers online so when they come on between 'movies' you'll have the opportunity for a quick relief.


Chris said...

I just saw the trailers for this last night when I was watching Sunshine. From what little I saw both directors seem to have perfectly captured the genre, right down to the physical look/lighting of the film.

A point of interest, the theatre I was in had preassigned seating (that was a first for me) and the seats themselves were huge wide cushy leather seats. I felt like I was watching a movie at a friends house. All that was missing was a big blanket to curl up in and my cat. Here's a link to the theatre:

John Taylor said...

hi chris,
Wow - great theatre and I see what you mean about the seats. If the movie sucks, at least you could catch a great nap. Very cool and thanks for the link.

And you're right about Grindhouse - they captured the look all the way down to the grainy/scratchy film and audio errors. What a great time.

And thanks for the link (on your blog) to Sunshine. I hadn't seen anything about it and now I'm really looking forward to it. I'm a fan of Cillian Murphy and the 28 Days Later crew as well as being a fan of Michelle Yeoh - so, again, thanks.