Sunday, April 22, 2007

GRINDHOUSE (2007)

Planet Terror
Fear 0 - 5: 1
Gore 0- 5: 4
Creepiness 0-5: 0
Entertainment 0-5: 5
Nightmares 0- 5: 0
Death Proof
Fear 0 - 5: 0
Gore 0- 5: 2
Creepiness 0-5: 0
Entertainment 0-5: 2
Nightmares 0- 5: 0


I've been eagerly awaiting the release of this one for a while. Not being a big fan of either Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino, I will admit that it was the concept alone that excited me: two feature length films paying homage and respect to the sleazy exploitation films of the early 1970s. Movies like Big Bad Mama, I Spit on Your Grave and Cannibal Holocaust. Movies that were cheap, stupid and totally entertaining.

The film starts with a fake trailer for a movie about some bad ass prison biker dude who goes around killing guys. I hear it may actually turn into a real film (?). We then launch right into Rodriguez's film "Planet Terror". Think I wasn't a fan of this one? See the blog title. Rodriguez takes the concept of a grindhouse movie and runs with it as far as he can. Plot, if you need it: The military has some vapor weapon that turns people into bubbling, homicidal maniacs. Terrorists have taken control of it and unleashed it on the civilian population. Bruce Willis is trying to get it back. Rose MacGowan is running around half naked with a machine gun attached as her leg. Tom Savini is making guest appearances as a guy getting drawn and quartered by zombies. Tongues bubble and burst, heads explode, guts go flying, the dead walk the earth - seriously what more do you need? The dialogue is melodramatic, very tongue-in-cheek and the action and gore is non-stop. This movie was fucking fun.

Follow that with some more fake trailers made by people involved with Shaun of the Dead, Cabin Fever and House of 1000 Corpses (including a nasty scene involving defiling a severed head) and the film makes a sudden and crashing stop as the brick wall of "Death Proof" appears.

Tarantino has always been a dialogue guy. His characters talk and philosophize about everything for incredible lengths of time. Some find this to be a sign of his genius, his ability to bring humanity to even the most despicable villains. I find it boring. I found "Death Proof" boring. I mean, I get it - have these actors talk to each other about tangential baloney for half the movie and we begin to feel like we are just hanging out, like we're all BFF and shit. Then kill them off, suddenly and coldly, and we are shocked.

Except the conversation isn't the kind I'd every want to be involved with and by the time the mayhem starts (and then stops for almost the remainder of the film) I don't care. I may, in fact, be asleep. Rodriguez has a guy's testicles melt off. Tarantino has his characters talk about about the engine in a Dodge Charger for about 20 minutes. I have to wonder if he and Robert were working off of the same concept.

And what a waste of Kurt Russell. He's Snake Plissken for fuck's sake.

Rumor has it that Planet Terror and Death Proof are being shown separately in the UK. If this is the case, be thankful you wankers, you got lucky.

I am sure that Cortez the Killer and Beard will have differing opinions...

- Complaint Dept

i went into this expecting to dislike planet terror, since i have hated just about everything rodriguez has ever had his hands in. ultimately planet terror was nothing but a shitload of gory fun. if you aren't laughing when the film cuts only to start back up with the bbq joint on fire, then this entire film wil be lost upon you. still, it runs a bit long and rodriguez tries a little to hard to make the movie look fucked up and low budget by messing with the film print, digitally.

unfortunately i had heard that the reviews of tarantino's film were highly polarized and it would have been better had i known nothing about it going in. it seems like tarantino is criticized for making a less exciting than rodriguez, i have even heard people say that death proof was nothing but "chick talk", but as far as i am concerned it was the best film he's made yet.

what tarantino movie hasn't started out slowly with a ton of dialogue? go back and tell me that the useless dribble coming out of reservoir dogs is any more exciting than the dialogue in death proof. like it or hate, that is taratino's style, and i happen to love it.death proof builds slowly, and the first scene of carnage is amazing. the lack of a motive or closure on this single act of violence makes it more disturbing than anything i have seen in years.

it is the second half of the film though that sets this movie apart as more of an excercise of analog stunt art than anything else, and that is exactly what i appreciate about it. the entire last act of the film is an homage to a dying art, shot using only stunt crews with no computer generated effects. In this way tarantino's film is more closely related to steve albini's finest analog recording, edited with 2" tape and mastered directly from said analog tapes so that the music within is never digitized, than it is related to planet terror.

grindhouse would have been so much less effective if both films had been balls to the wall nonstop gorefests, but for some reason this is exactly the problem that most people have with it. i loved both films, for different reasons. planet terror is a hedonistic buffet of everything you ever wanted in a movie, while deathproof is the careful execution of a craft.

oh, and from what i understand, both of these films are set for individual re-release since they saw dismal numbers at the box office with some thinking this was due to the length of the movie. when they come out on dvd, they are slated for individual release as well.

- the Fucking Beard

Dude you totally missed all the other things going on in the background during those conversations. Did you see Russell's character listening in? That made for a creepy experience as the camera panned around. How was his character not bad ass? He used muscle cars to kill his victims. You can't get much cooler than that. Yeah he turned whiny at the end, but his arm was broken and he had 3 stunt actors beat the snot out of him (kind of ironic considering he was a retired stunt man). He picked the wrong people to fuck with and got his in the end. Classic.

- Cortez the Killer

1 comment:

Joe said...

Hey just saw Planet Terror and fucking loved it. AMAZING MOVIE. I could watch it again right now abnd enjoy it just as much as the first time. I googled it afterwards and all I saw were people ripping on it and Rodriguez's work in general. Am I the only one out there that enjoys his work more than tarantino? I mean Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs were great but everything since then has been a disappointment.

Anyway Planet Terror...fave horror film of the year.