moonpie madness movie blog

Monday, April 23, 2007, grindhouse

hey people, as of late ive been writing a movie review column for the website, the first movie that i reviewed for them was grindhouse. here's what i wrote:

Cult movie directors pay tribute to a long forgotten genre

In early January I began to hear rumors about a new Tarantino movie slated for a spring release. The news was soon followed by word that Robert Rodriguez would be co-directing, which was then followed by an announcement that it would be a double feature B-movie thriller. To say the least, I was puzzled. How is it that two of the most renowned cult directors of our time would come together to work on such a picayune film?

Though Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino had worked together before (Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn), the idea to collaborate on a double feature didn't come about till a party at Tarantino’s Los Angeles home. Tarantino, who most recently has been producing films (Hostel, Hero, etc.), is known for showing double features to large groups of friends, and one of those friends was director Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez was so inspired by the idea of a double feature exploitation film, that he immediately pressed Tarantino to do it, saying “We have to re-create this experience for people.” In late March of 2006, Rodriguez began work on Planet Terror and in August of 2006 Tarantino began filming Death Proof.

In Planet Terror, a small town is forced to deal with a deadly outbreak that turns people into flesh-eating zombies. Everyone from the town sheriff to the local BBQ owner gets in on the action, taking out A-list zombies such as Fergie, Bruce Willis and even Quentin Tarantino. I give Robert Rodriguez a lot of credit for pulling this one off, the plot is so far fetched yet while watching, it doesn’t feel out of the realm of possibility. Other standouts are Lost’s Naveen Andrews, playing a weapons dealer who collects testicles, and Freddy Rodriguez, who plays the film’s knife wielding protagonist, El Wray. The two storylines in this picture weave together very well and keep the viewer thoroughly entertained, but beware this movie is not for the faint of heart. There are some extremely gruesome scenes involving needles in eyes and testicles coming out of scrotums, so don’t see it if you can’t stomach it.

The same can be said for the latter half of Grindhouse, Death Proof, Tarantino’s homage to psycho stuntmen. Captivated by the way they “death proof” their cars, he set out to create a slasher film about a stuntman who stalks and kills girls with his car. Tarantino recalls, “[I wanted to] take the structure of a slasher film and just do what I do. My version is going to be fucked up and disjointed, but it seemingly uses the structure of a slasher film, hopefully against you." Hoping to cast Sylvester Stallone and Kal Penn as the two leads, Tarantino settled for Kurt Russell who delivers one of the best performances of his career as stuntman Mike.

It takes some time to get into Death Proof as it begins like most Tarantino films do, with conversations about random subjects that surface as the story proceeds. The movie takes off and begins to rival Planet Terror when the car scenes come into play, particularly the dueling car chases, something that Tarantino felt was lacking in films. “I don't think there have been any good car chases since I started making films in '92,” recalls Tarantino, “to me, the last terrific car chase was in Terminator 2...In between that, not a lot. Every time a stunt happens, there's twelve cameras and they use every angle for editing, but I don't feel it in my stomach.” If Tarantino’s goal was for the audience to feel it in their stomachs then he accomplished his mission; I spent most of my time in the theater wiggling around in my seat, kicking the chair in front of me. The standouts in this one are Kurt Russell, who might have revived his fledgling career, and Rosario Dawson, who impressed me as the makeup artist whom Russell stalks. Of the two movies, Death Proof is definitely the weaker one, but it still manages to captivate with its high speed car chases and fast track action.

As a whole, Grindhouse is a hardcore, three and a half hour movie experience. I Wouldn’t say that it leaves you wanting more, but it definitely fulfills its purpose as an entertaining thriller/horror movie. Sadly, its extended running time limited the theater count and its box office results were very weak (especially for a Tarantino movie), but there is no doubt in my mind that this movie will be remembered as a unique excursion for these two distinguished directors.

Monday, April 09, 2007

do you also miss siskel?

soooo much new stuff, where to start? i've seen everything but i dont have a lot of time so im just gonna give some grades:

The Lives of Others-B+-was anyone else really surprised that this won the oscar for best foriegn picture?

Blades of Glory-B+-I really enjoyed this, even though all the jokes were stock will ferrel.

Grindhouse-B+-Rodriguez's movie was soooo much better. still tarantino's was great. "i'm gonna get my dick wet" great line.

Ghost Rider-C-after this one sat atop the box office for three weeks i decided that i had to see it. the intro was so terrible that i walked out, however i did end up seeing it at a friends. not bad but not good.

300-A-if you are like me, you were waiting for this movie for a longggg time. it definitely met my expectations. good job animation+gerard butler