ALTERNATE REALITY, since we opened in August of 1994 its been: "15% Off ALL New Comics, Everyday for Everyone!"  That's over 1400 weeks of savings!                                                                                                    We started at the Comicbook Emporium in February of 1978, thats over 40 years of serving Chicago South Side Comic Fandom                                                                   SAVINGS! SERVICE! SELECTION! HISTORY! We have it all!

 

GRINDHOUSE (**½)

Movie Review by: Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Running time:  192 minutes Released: 04/06/07
Rated R for strong graphic bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, some sexuality, nudity and drug use.


PLANET TERROR:
Directed & Written by:
Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Danny Trejo, Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez.


DEATH PROOF:
Directed & Written by:
Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Kurt Russell,
Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito.
"Too often the films fail to separate what made drive-in shockers good-from what made them bad "
"Grindhouse" is a passionate ode to Mondo Culto exploitation movies from indie auteurs Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Like a lot of love letters, it contains more ardor than common sense.

Unless you live in a publicity-proof cave, you're aware that "Grindhouse" is a double feature. Rodriguez leads off with "Planet Terror," a whirligig parody in which nerve gas turns most of Earth's population into pus-faced monsters. Then, after a handful of trailers for nonexistent movies, the best of which is “Thanksgiving Day”, Tarantino presents "Death Proof," a loving homage to '70s stalker movies, with a stuntman who uses vintage muscle cars to kill young women. The filmmakers so adore the energetic trash that inspired them as teenagers that they assume camp nostalgia is enough to carry viewers through a three-hour-plus double bill.

For film geeks who know the difference between "Macon County Line" and "Jackson County Jail," maybe it is. For everyone else, it's doubtful. Too often the films fail to separate what made drive-in shockers good (unapologetic bad taste and an ability to generate excitement on a shoestring) from what made them bad (the kind of self-indulgence that homogenized studio products filtered out.)

One thing the production gets right is the pacing. It comes roaring out of the gate with a preview of "Machete," a gory revenge movie that distills 90 minutes of hard-R action and overacting into 90 seconds of pure pulp poetry. It's an ideal appetizer before Rodriguez's first course, an apocalyptic rave-up that somehow manages to combine pole dancing, motorcycles, brain-gobbling mutants, high-caliber weapons and the best chili recipe in Texas.

Rodriguez captures the skittish visual vigor of cheapo movies, which covered up shoddy sets and gaps in logic with a lot of distracting jump cuts. Though he shot his film digitally, Rodriguez made it look like an aged celluloid print with scratches, pops and missing frames. And he uses the gimmick creatively. When Rose McGowan is introduced, doing a sizzling go-go dance, Rodriguez has the film "burn up" in the projector.

The story is demented, but so shamelessly illogical that it makes us co-conspirators. The action unfolds in a small Texas town where everyone seems to have an absurd, plot-advancing connection to everyone else. McGowan and Freddie Rodriguez play ex-lovers who rediscover their feelings in the midst of a zombie attack. Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton are married doctors whose bad relationship gets a lot worse, adding a murder/adultery subplot. Naveen Andrews, wearing a gloriously tacky thrift shop wardrobe, is a mysterious scientist who knows how to stop the plague, and is extremely proficient with automatic weapons for a biochemist. By the time a rescue helicopter zooms low, its rotors decapitating a score of the stumbling undead, you're willing to go with it.

Tarantino's contribution isn't awful but by comparison it's awfully slack. Kurt Russell is the ideal actor to play Stuntman Mike, a homicidal lecher who stalks women in supercharged hot rods. Russell can switch from charming to chilling with the cant of an eyebrow, and he brings a proud history as the antihero of many a John Carpenter thriller. Here he preys on two posses of women, first attacking a quartet of helpless damsels in Texas, then setting his sights on a trio of much-tougher women in Tennessee. It seems they're on location shooting an action film themselves, and two of them are hard-as-nails stuntwomen. They fight back in a metal-mangling chase scene that ends in a bloody, giddy victory dance of female empowerment.

Tarantino packs the film with his favorite things -- obscure pop songs, close-ups of shapely female feet, cascades of colorful dialogue -- but his segment suffers from sluggish pacing as the characters are introduced. He eats up precious screen time with epic swaths of girlish gossip that will have action fans impatiently drumming their fingers. The stunts are impressive, especially an extended sequence with real-life stuntwoman Zoe Bell hanging on the hood of a 1970 Dodge Challenger as it careens at top speed. But the story takes forever to get out of first gear. Stunt professionals have a motto: "Screw dialogue. Let's smash something." Tarantino should have listened.

GRINDHOUSE © 2007 Dimension Films.
All Rights Reserved

Review © 2007 Alternate Reality, Inc.

RELATED REVIEWS...

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS

"...it feels trivial, the work of a kid who can't stop grabbing his favorite shiny plaything." (JR)

BABEL

"The beauty of this film is in its lapidary details, which sparkle with feeling and surprise." (JR)

FLAGS OF OUR  FATHERS

"..It's about heroes, and how a country can need them so badly that it simply manufactures them." (JR)

RETURN TO TOP

 

 
ALL NEW COMICS
EVERYDAY FOR EVERYONE!
25% OFF
2 NEW FIRST ISSUES
7 FULL DAYS
25% OFF OUR KIDS BOOK OF THE WEEK AND 25% OFF OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK

ALL WEEK LONG
EVERY WEEK!
20% OFF EVERY 20TH
SAVE 20% ON THE 20TH OF EACH MONTH!
EVERY SUNDAY
ALL KIDS CORNER COMICS & BOOKS 20% OFF
LADIES DAY THURSDAY
EVERY THURSDAY LADIES SAVE 20% OFF!
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION BUCKS
GOOD FOR VARIANT SETS, CLEARANCE COMICS & BACK ISSUES!
GOOD GRADES DESERVE A REWARD
BRING IN YOUR REPORT CARD!