Movie Review: GRINDHOUSE
One movie that definitely seems to be another victim of "overhype". Now, I'm not saying that this film wasn't amazing but it was definitely a step below what it should have been...a masterpiece. It didn't execute in many places where it should have. Now, I know all about how Quentin was the one who came up with this idea and that just disappoints me more. Later you'll find out why...
Now if the entire film had brought to the table what Planet Terror had done, then this would've been the best movie in years. But alas, things didn't go the right route. Rodriguez definitely knows what he's doing and he shows it here with stylish camera angles, tremendous action, over the top gore, nudity, and Freddy Rodriguez kicking all kinds of zombie ass.
Going into it, you can definitely tell that this is a Robert Rodriguez flick. The certain tone and atmosphere he sets up in all of his films is well established here within the first twenty seconds of celluloid. We see Rose McGowen give a genuine striptease which if you are a male with a pulse, then you will love it. The names in this are classic too. There's Cherry, El Wray, and my favorite The Rapist.
The gore in this is so over the top, that when a person gets shot in the arm, a pint of blood sprays out. I kid you not. The violence here is so plentiful that, if you're like me, you'll be salivating at the mouth. We get heads chopped off, balls ripped off, nasty gunshot wounds, melting genitalia, bubbling faces, and one hell of a great decapitation due to a gunshot.
And for you males out there we get some great shot of Stacey Furgeson bending over doing here thing while she shows off ample cleavage, and well, everything else that that girl has. Rose McGowen struts around with not only a machine gun leg, but also a nice little skimpy outfit. Like I mentioned earlier, McGowen does a striptease not do be missed.
One thing that makes this film so great are the wonderful performances given by each member of the cast. There is not one poor performance in this segment of the film. Freddy Rodriguez does a stand up job and I'm quite happy to say that he's one of my new favorite actors. Rose McGowen takes home my award for Best Actress in this flick because she portrays everything with such realism that you can't help but relate to her character. Out of the many small roles in this film my favorite would have to be Naveen Andrews. He does a phenomenal job and I wish I could get more of him.
The gritty look of the real "grindhouse" films are in full swing with the film scratched up, burnt, dust particles covering it, and the classic "missing reel" bit. Even if you weren't alive in this era, the look will take you back to good ol exploitation films. I was also lucky enough to view this in a small theater with very few people scattered throughout, so the illusion was full swing.
This is definitely my favorite of the two segments and one of the best times I've had at the theater. This film has all that I want in a movie including gore, babes, action, and subtle humor. I laughed, I cringed, I screamed (on the inside), and I fucking loved every minute of it.
Now onto the lesser of the two segments, Mr. Tarantino's little bit known as "Death Proof". Talk about a pretentious movie. The first fourty or so minutes are nothing but some annoying characters (Ladd, Ferlito, Poitier) yacking about getting pot, and this girls radio show. It's some of the most mundane, uninteresting, and just plain stupid dialogue. The second group of girls is a little better (Winstead, Dawson, Bell) but their dialogue is still dumb and...dumb. I do like them more since it has Winstead who, if you know me, you know my obsession.
Now, this film isn't all just dumb characters, and horrible dialogue, there are some tremendous car chase sequences. The first being a small bit where a car crashes into another causing many different shots of absolute carnage. As a gore fan I loved it, but it didn't touch on the stuff in "Planet Terror". Next came the best car chase shown on film. There has never been anything like this before and there never will be. The final car chase is a shining example of how Tarantino's isn't a complete waste of space. Zoe Bell does great work here, doing absolutely death defying stunts. The camera work is ridiculously good, making it go in places where I never would have thought possible.
One thing that Tarantino definitely dropped the ball on was the look of the film. Like "Planet Terror" this was supposed to have dust, scratches and burns but in most of the film, the picture with clear and crisp. With the exception of a 'missing reel' bit which came out of nowhere, there was barely anything to make it look like a 60's or 70's movie like it was supposed to. It looked like something that came out this year. Talk about being too full of himself.
The acting is absolutely atrocious in parts which makes me wonder why the hell people would cast these morons. Of the first group of girls, the only one with an ounce of talent is Vanessa Ferlito who always delivers great performances even in the smallest roles. The rest are a complete waste of space. Ladd gives a cute but flimsy performance but doesn't have much to do or to work with. I already know how she got the role though, a little friend called Eli Roth. And anyone that says that Sydney Tamiia Poitier can act has to answer to me because she's one of the worst actresses I've seen. She doesn't have one millionth of the talent of her father.
Now, the second group of girls isn't nearly as bad. Rosario Dawson gives good performance though she doesn't have that much to work with (which I am VERY disappointed in Tarantino for not having good characters). Tracie Thoms does the impossible by becoming one of the most annoying characters in the history of film. Her vocabulary doesn't span much further than 'fuck' and dozens of racial jokes. She also manages to be one of the dumbest characters (hmm...how about you STOP when someones trying to kill you with a fucking car!) She's atrocious in every part of the movie she's in. As much as I hate to say it, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is pretty bad in this. I'll admit it even though I'm crazy about her but she didn't do good. Then again she also had nothing to work with whatsoever. Nothing but horrible lines were given to her and her character was just a no brain "actress". The definite standout was Zoe Bell. She took on the role like a pro and handled it extremely well. Sure, she was playing herself but put in front of a camera, the most real people can look like idiots. Her action bits were absolutely off the wall with insane stunts which she did tremendously.
The best performance in this film (with Zoe following right behind) was of course Kurt Russell. He went back into his "Escape" days and brought insanity back to the screen in a great way. He managed to be absolutely sick and sadistic but so likable. When the third act came, you just wanted him to kill the girls and get his jollies off. His look in the camera bit was priceless and had me laughing my ass off.
Though this is a definite plus for the movie the bad definitely outweighs the good. The horrible dialogue, unlikable characters, and slow pace beat out the amazing car chase sequence unfortunately. Let's hope that Tarantino knows what to do and what not to do with his next film but with my luck, he'll think he's a god again and loose sight of what he's really supposed to do.
The Fake Trailers
This was definitely my favorite of all of the fake trailers made for the film. It had all the basic elements of a great slasher. The out of nowhere and peculiar gore and the great corny dialogue meant to pay homage to all of the great slashers of that age. I particularly loved the trampoline bit. Absolutely legendary! I can't to see the uncut version of that! I loved it every time the narrator would say "Thanksgiving" in a low, monotone voice. Priceless. Roth certainly has some talent and it shows by this trailer. Let's hope he makes movies that are as good as this trailer.
Rodriguez directed this great trailer about a hitman out for revenge. The over the top voice over was great, the gore was funny, and Danny Trejo shows just how much of a badass he is. The random scene with him and the two naked girls in the waterfall was just great and had me laughing like no other. I can only hope that Rodriguez is able to make this into an actual movie.
Edgar Wright spoofs pretty much everything you can spoof in this crazy trailer. Is it a ghost, slasher, cannibal, or demon movie? I guess only Wright knows for sure but I know I loved it for what it was, a great little spoof of everything I love. Great cameos from Nick Frost and Jeremy Irons make this all the better.
Werewolf Women of the S.S.
Zombies trailer was definitely the weakest of the four. It had some funny little moments (Nic Cage's cameo was priceless. It also had Sheri Moon Zombie looking gorgeous but when doesn't she? The idea was intriguing but this was just poorly executed. It tried to be too hip and cool and it just failed completely.
Overall the experience was fun and enjoyable. Death Proof definitely brought everything down with it's horrible dialogue and characters but Planet Terror brought it up with it's tremendous characters, great dialogue, and gore off the whazzoo! Go see this movie now and you won't regret it...too much.