4/06/2007

Grindhouse

In true grindhouse fashion, right as the film was about to begin, a reel broke. At first we all thought it was part of the gag, but after about 10 minutes, we began to think that, no, it might very well have simply been a coincidence. I got a free pass for the inconvenience.

Grindhouse, if you're unaware, is Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's love letter to the trashy exploitation flicks of the 1970s. It's a double feature, two for the price of one, with Rodriguez's zombirific Planet Terror preceding Tarantino's psychotic car chase thriller, Death Proof.

Terror is really nothing more than a live-action cartoon, with gratuitous explosions and gore galore. The plot, such as it is, involves a stripper who wants to be a stand-up comic, her ex-boyfriend with a mysterious past, biochemical weapons, Bruce Willis, and oodles of violence and blood, with the occasional titty shot thrown in for good measure. It's frantic, frenetic, and absolutely, wonderfully insane. All sense and logic gets thrown out the window (how does Rose McGowan fire that rifle-leg of hers, anyway?) almost immediately, and you really don't care. It's just too damn fun. Rodriguez is like a kid in a candy store, throwing every conceivable idea against the screen and not even noticing if it sticks. He's already moved on to the next sight gag.

Tarantino's Death Proof is a more methodical film, with long stretches of Quentin's famous dialogue between bursts of manic activity, mainly in the form of intricately-filmed car chases. And crashes. Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell in his best performance since ... I don't know what) likes to hurt women with his souped-up muscle car, but can he take it as well as he dishes it out? Has he met his match in the form of three tough stuntwomen in town to make a movie? Has he finally bit off more than he can chew?

These two films are so much fun, and I haven't even mentioned the fake trailers by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), Rob Zombie (duh), Eli Roth (Hostel) and Rodriguez. The most bizarre, awful movies you'll never see, like Machete, starring Danny Trejo (which I just read will actually be made into a real film to be released direct-to-DVD when Grindhouse comes out on DVD), and Werewolf Women of the S.S., with Nicholas Cage hilariously as Fu Manchu.

If you enjoy Tarantino and/or Rodriguez flicks, and have a healthy appetite for splatter and gore, you'll absolutely love going to the Grindhouse.

(And did I mention that Rosario Dawson is just amazingly gorgeous and funny? Sin City, Clerks II, Grindhouse and she even co-created a comic book - she is the dreamgirl for thousands of fanboys everywhere.)

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