Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror), Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof)
Written by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror), Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof)
Not released in the
As an American teenager in the
My interest and appreciation for QT’s films hasn’t waned, even as a proper grown up I’ve made it to the opening screenings of both Kill Bill films, though I was both disappointed and aggravated that it wasn’t shown as a single four-hour revenge epic, as Tarantino had intended. I can understand Harvey Weinstein’s reasoning for splitting up Kill Bill – American audiences are (apparently) simply too impatient, plus two separate releases doubles the profits (the combined US gross for both films was around $137 million). I’m still waiting for the director’s cut of Kill Bill to surface on DVD, though I’m not holding my breath. And if you live in the
By now you know the deal – Grindhouse - a nearly three-hour long double-feature directed by Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez – has been hacked like an infected zombie into two separate features, with separate release dates, and, also like Kill Bill, will be released separately on DVD. There are a lot of reasons why the film is being mutilated, but the one that seems to matter most is financial – the film opened behind the monumentally awful Are We Done Yet? with only $11.5 million. But is that a legitimate reason to send a film across the
I’m not about to give Harvey Weinstein and his new (modestly named) outfit The Weinstein Company, a lesson in marketing. As a matter of fact, I’m going to give him at least twice as much money as most of you by the end of the year. This past month, I was back in
For all of its hype, Grindhouse is a film made by enormous talents, loaded with familiar faces, who all happily contribute to something that is very aware of its so-bad-its-good appeal. When I think about this, I’m disappointed with the film. Why waste all of this talent on something that’s purposefully silly? On the other hand, it makes sense to just sit back and enjoy the ride; these guys clearly know how to entertain me. QT has been the king of genre reinvention – heist, gangster, blaxploitation, kung fu, and now grindhouse round out his oeuvre of 70s pastiche.
Here’s how it rolls - Robert Rodriguez directs the first faux-trailer, Machete, which is so outrageously fun that the entire audience is buzzing with palpable joy and anticipation. Then there’s the first feature, the blood-soaked zombie slasher Planet Terror. Then, presumably when a bunch of dim Americans left the cinema, come three more trailers – Rob Zombie’s Nazi-porn Werewolf Women of the SS (featuring a fu-manchu Nicholas Cage), Brit Edgar Wright’s hilarious Don’t (featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as cannibals), and Eli Roth’s deeply lame holiday slasher Thanksgiving. Then there’s the grand finale, Tarantino’s muscular Death Proof.
In Planet Terror, mysterious rebel Freddy Rodriguez and go-go dancer Rose McGowan battle a bunch of horny military zombies in some remote
Death Proof is Quentin Tarantino’s 70s thrill seeker, with yet another terrific QT hand-picked soundtrack to boot. It is also by far his most uneven and least satisfying film – which is not to say that it is bad. The film is split into two segments, each featuring a group of attractive women chatting in Tarantino-esque patter, then encountering Stuntman Mike (the perfectly cast Kurt Russell). After being saturated with explosions and gore in Planet Terror, Death Proof takes a while to establish its own tone, but the payoff is worth the wait, as the second half of the last feature literally races to the finish. Full of inside jokes and references, Death Proof wears the Tarantino medallion of cool on its hood, though it is too self-obsessed and the dialogue seems awkwardly stale, (I couldn’t help but feel that some of these lines were just picked off the pages of deleted scenes from Reservoir Dogs.) But where the chat fails, the action picks up, and the final high-speed chase scene between Stuntman Mike’s Nova and the girls’ Dodge Challenger (featuring real-life stuntwoman Zoe Bell) is perhaps the most exhilarating non-CGI chase scene since The French Connection. But it is too long. Death Proof would be more effective if it were 30 minutes shorter, and it troubles me to hear that the new cut of the film will actually be about 30 minutes longer.
I find myself in an oddly unexpected place regarding Grindhouse. I’m happy to have seen it in its intended format, and I’ll certainly shell out the extra dough to see the separate, extended cuts when they come to the