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Monthly Archives: May 2007

Here’s a sample review of what you might see in the future:

Though I am not at all a Tarantino or Rodriguez fan, I have come to deeply admire the process both young directors use in making films, particularly Rodriguez, who takes such an active role in every part of the filmmaking process. Both directors have shown the ability to take just about any irrelevant or uninteresting subject and make it profound, entertaining, and even moving. When I learned that the two were to team up, I immediately researched details about the project. What I heard about the film frightened and worried me, an attitude I maintained until about two months before the film. The trailers exhibited a deep respect for the genre they were imitating, and led me to read ever article that passed into my possession on the emerging details of the film. When the weeks before its release dwindled, I began to apprehensively fear that the film would become another victim of hype and obsession a la Snakes on a Plane. I didn’t even expect to see it opening weekend, but somehow it ended up replacing a film on an entirely different spectrum, The Lives of Others. The three hour gore, violence, sex-fest won its way into my heart, but is by no means flawless.
Since the film is advertised and screened essentially as a double feature, and since both directors stress the importance to consider it as such, I will review it in an appropriate manner. First up, after a hilarious and adrenaline-building trailer for faux-film Machete, Rodriguez’s Planet Terror comes on. Right from the start, an appearance by Bruce Willis and a scene that I might never forget, along with an uncannily similar one in Apocalypto, got me right into the premise. The film never drags with non-stop action and intensity, and the style is an exact replica if not exaggerated of the grindhouse films he attempts to pay respect to. Despite some incredibly hilarious moments, surprising cameos, and deep similarities to the exploitation and sensual style of seventies cinema, the film gets caught up in its own premise and fails to leave the audience with anything memorable they couldn’t have gotten from the trailer or casual word-of-mouth. Much of the action is laughable and not terrifying or even suspenseful. Still, there are some scenes that stick with you days after, and for that, Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is a respectable homage to Grindhouse with a steady flow of adrenaline, but it never moves beyond parody. Therefore, the film is more agonizing then exciting B-
What most excited me about the film was the promised trailers to link each feature from directors like Rob Zombie. Each one is outrageous and promising at the same time; one can hope maybe one of these films could actually come to fruition. Clearly the most memorable part of the experience, the trailers are worth the $8 even if you don’t watch either film. A.
By the time Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof comes on, my bladder is full to bursting, my legs numb, and my abdomen sore from laughing. When the opening credits ended, I began to think the put the wrong reel on, which wouldn’t come as a surprise given the earlier intentional errors. I most anticipated this film for a gritty performance by Kurt Russell, but he has a rather minimal role until the final twenty minutes. It feels instead like a remake of Dazed and Confused with a group of girlfriends driving around town, stopping at bars, and casually discussing sex. While funny at times, the humor is such a contrast to that of Death Proof that the laughs are forced. The climax is intense and gratifying, but the film isn’t damaged enough, the humor not absurd enough, and the action not cheap enough. The major and perhaps only flaw is that its too good. Tarantino actually has a message beyond commentary on the faults of modern cinema, and it doesn’t come across effectively. The film is somewhat tiresome and dry, but the classic Tarantino dialogue wins you over even after 3 hours of grindhouse fun. B.
Even though the individual films aren’t masterpieces, the experience of Grindhouse is unforgettable. Both directors are effective in both satirizing seventies cinema and sharing an important message about the need for more entertainment and less politics in modern film. B+.

Welcome to another film blog site. Posts will mostly consist of reviews of movies both new and old as I see them. Stay tuned for the first review: Ocean’s Thirteen