Monday, April 09, 2007


Warning! The following review may contain spoilers!

So I just got back from seeing Grindhouse. It was definitely the most fun I've had at the movies in a while. It brought me back to my youth when I watched tons of cheapo exploitation movies, and double features were still a regular occurrence at the cinema. Starting off with the trailer for fake revenge flick Machete is a great way to set the tone for the whole experience ("They just fucked with the wrong Mexican").

Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror is a lot of fun, even though it doesn't have anything we haven't seen before in other classic zombie films - it's just on a bigger, sillier and messier scale. The John Carpenter-esque score and great cast (Michael Biehn rocks) help add to the appeal. The missing reel (during a sex scene, no less) is hilarious, and the film is full of yucky but funny moments, such as the fate of Rapist #1 (Quentin Tarantino). The film doesn't have anything deep or original to say, but that's kind of the point. And the gun leg idea isn't quite as ridiculous as I thought it would be.

The fake trailers during the break between films are all entertaining. The highlight of Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the SS has to be Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu. Don't by Edgar Wright is just hilarious, especially the more times voice over guy says the title. Thanksgiving is a perfect recreation of those great late seventies, early eighties slasher movies. The trailers made me wish some of these would get made as feature films.

Tarantino's Death Proof is a very different film from Planet Terror, and I can see why some people don't care for it. It's a much more subtle film (even the Grindhouse effects like scratches on the print are less noticeable). The first half is very slow and talky, even by Tarantino's standards, and there's at least one conversation between the heroines that goes on for an uncomfortable length of time. On the plus side, Kurt Russell gives a great performance as Stuntman Mike, both when he's being evil and when the tables turn and he becomes a blubbering victim. The car chase, using no CGI tricks, is one of the best in recent memory. Unlike PT, DP feels like a real film, with real characters suffering real pain. It's flawed, but it's a noble effort from Tarantino.

Overall, Grindhouse goes by quicker than you'd expect for its over three hour length (including previews). It's a unique experience, and it's a shame that more people aren't in on the joke (judging by the disappointing opening at the box office). I'd highly recommend it to anyone who longs for the days when movies weren't so slick and demographically targeted, and just plain old fun.