Saturday, April 7, 2007

Film Review: Grindhouse

On Wednesday night I headed out with some friends to see an advanced screening of Grindhouse. There was little benefit to seeing an advanced screening since we got hassled by security people to put our cellphones with cameras in the car (what the hell they think my cell phone is going to capture is beyond me) and they had a security guy in the front watching people during the movie through night vision goggles to ensure that nobody was trying to record the movie. Nobody I was with got any free goodies to really make it worth it. I suppose we did get to see the movie for free which is pretty great.

Anyhow...for those that haven't heard, Grindhouse is a double-feature that echoes the campy, B movies made in the 1970s and shown at small, independent theaters (aka Grindhouses). Robert Rodriguez directs "Planet Terror" and Quentin Tarantino "Death Proof", and in addition several other directors provided faux trailers for the intermission. "Planet Terror" was fantastic. Totally ridiculous, loose plot about a virus that give people open soars and melting flesh and the craving to eat other people's brains and the small group of people that seem to be immune to it. Featuring Rose McGowan as a go-go dancer who dreams of being a stand-up comedian are dashed when zombies eat her leg but is redeemed when her boyfriend is able to attach a machine gun to her stump, the film is just outrageous enough to laugh through all the blood and guts.

Following it, however, is "Death Proof". Somehow the movie just falls short of really paying tribute to the exploitation genre. Kurt Russell is actually pretty great as the villain who kills girls with his death-proof stunt car, but the movie drags on for way too long. Tarantino spends too much time developing the characters of his victims, actually making me long for their death rather than rooting for them to live. I think that I would've liked it a lot better if the movie had ended just after his first killing spree but instead it just dragged on and on. That said, the ending car chase and final ending were fun.

In the middle were some absolutely hilarious trailers for movies which I kind of long to be made - "Machete" in particular was fantastic. "Thanksgiving" was a bit too disturbing with the final scenes crossing my line of distastfulness, but I can see that it at least falls within the genre that they were trying to celebrate.

All in all, a fun set to sit through. There's just something great about not expecting a movie to change your life and having it happily meet that expectation.

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