GRINDHOUSE – Sean’s review

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This was the film that I looked most forward to this year.  I thought,
“How could Tarantino go wrong with this?  Nevermind Rodriguez and
Roth…Tarantino is the mastermind here… has the perfect sensibilities
for this film…he will guide it to perfection.”  I was wrong.  This
is a long review with spoilers… if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t
read this..just know that I am very disappointed.


First off, I know there are readers out there who think that I’m just
a hater.  It is true, recently I’ve been hating alot.  But not
entirely the truth… I really enjoyed Zodiac, Children of Men and
Science of Sleep.  But honestly, even though there has been a plethora
of interesting films out there..I been disappointed way more than
satisfied.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning.. why did they put up the title
“Grindhouse” after the first trailer?  It should start off with the
title and then the film should get messy..and we’re now in the body of
the film…Â Â instead it says “Grindhouse” after the “Machete” trailer
followed by the title for “Planet of Terror.”  Very strange.

“Machete” is a good trailer.  Very true to the old school
trailers…except for the motorcycle / explosion jump on the title card.
Those b-movies never had the budgets to do stuff like that…. which
brings up an important point…. if “Planet Terror” had actually been
made back in the day… it would be the biggest, goriest and
fast-paced grindhouse, b-movie ever made!  Those old films (and you know
I’ve seen a ton) never would have had the budget to have a helicopter
mow down zombies with its blade.  Or Rose McGowen leap over a wall
shooting rockets from a grenade launcher.

So at first, I was thinking like a purist… “he should have scaled
down on the big budget stuff.”  But now that I’m at home thinking bout
it… this was a good decision..and doing a shot for shot homage to
these old films should be kept to music videos and short films.  I’ve
actually always found the old trailers to be much better than the actual
films… for example…have you ever seen the “Dolemite” trailer? …it’s
pure brilliance, while the film itself is a bore-fest.  So I actually think
that Rodriguez did the right thing by making “Planet Terror” play like
a 90 minute trailer.

So what I thought of “Planet Terror”…  pretty good.  Fun stuff.
Didn’t care that it didn’t make sense…. it’s not really supposed to,
right?  Rose is sexy.  Acting is good.  Tons of gore and action.
Music could have been better though.  He dropped the ball there…
should have hired Carpenter to do it.  But the most positive thing
about “Planet of Terror” (and all of “Grindhouse” for that matter) is
Marley Shelton.  She is amazing.  Perfect look.  She has those
eyes…those eyes that actresses seemed to have in the late 70’s and
early 80’s.  She sexy as hell and the character actually had an arc…
the audience hates her at first and then loves her by the end.  Bravo
on casting her.

It really looked gorgeous and Rodriguez really got the 70’s lighting
down… very nice colors.  Biggest problem with the look… he should
have kept the scratchy film look RANDOM!!!!  Instead, he pumps up the
scratches, dirt and pops when the scenes get intense… WHY???
Usually the reels get dirty near the reel changes…Â Â they are about
to kill Bruce Willis and the film gets all warped…I’m sorry, I’ve
seen a million dirty, old film prints and I’ve NEVER seen a warped
film look like that.  And also, usually when a DP screws up
exposure… it is like that for an entire scene… why would random
shots within a single scenes have more grain than other shots… I
would have understood if an entire reel had grain but not random
shots.  Don’t get me wrong, the grain looked beautiful.. no problem
with the grain itself..just the placement of it.

So in all, “Planet Terror”… pretty good. Never was really rooting
for the characters but who cares.  Some excellent sequences.  Didn’t
have to actually shoot in Mexico though.  In the past, that would have
been a crappy matte shot.  I would much rather have seen that.

Okay..on to trailers.  Rob Zombie’s trailer.  Not so hot.  I’m
sorry..looked pretty good..but Sherri Moon Zombie is terrible.  And
why use real names?  Wouldn’t it have been funnier if we just saw Nick
Cage do a cameo instead of it saying…”And Nicolas Cage as Fu
Mancho!”  Strange choice there.

Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) – “Don’t” trailer… too jokey.  I
would love if this film rode the fine line between parody and
homage…too often it became parody.  Some of the shots looked right
out of “Suspiria” which is nice but it played like an SNL skit.

Eli Roth’s trailer – probably the best.  Because he really nailed it.
I remember plenty of trailers in that style.  Great voice-over and
hilarious title.  “Thanksgiving”..probably the only holiday never
exploited by a horror film.  This is the best thing Eli has ever done.

And now.. the biggest disappointment of Grindhouse… “Death Proof.”
My god..what went wrong?  First off, a bore-fest.  Second, terrible
casting.  Third, terrible dialogue.  Fourth, no character
development..which is such a shame..cause Kurt was wasted.  Fifth, Rosario is freaking annoying!!! True the film had amazing stunts in the final chase but why couldn’t the driver just slow down?  Whe Kurt passed in front of their car, all they had
to do was brake to get the girl on the hood out of danger. And couldn’t have Tarantino made a “Vanishing Point” homage without mentioning the film a thousand times?  Damn.

And also, I truly believe that the films would have been better if they took place in the late seventies/early eighties… the presence of cell phones and text messeging really took me out of the film.  These should have been unearthed films from that era.

Anyway, I’m done. Basically I’m disappointed.  One last thing… I don’t understand why they didn’t cover the Italian explotation shlock that was VERY important to the genre.  I would have loved to see an “Emmanuelle” homage… or an Italian cannibal homage…for example, I love that Muse video that I posted a little while back… that is what I wanted from Grindhouse.

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No Responses to “GRINDHOUSE – Sean’s review”

  1. Lekker Ding says:

    Agreed on many points.  Not too crazy about the film as a whole.  But it’s got some great parts.  Marley Shelton is great.  Rose McGowan is pretty good too (for her) but I wasn’t as hot for her as I usually am.  Does she look a bit different than she used to to anyone else?  Not showing her nude was lame.  The Death Proof missing reel felt like a cruel joke after having to sit through so much setup.  Tarantino still comes off like a complete goon everytime he’s on screen.  In Planet Terror he practically brings all of the momentum to a grinding halt the moment he enters frame.  The Bruce Willis part didn’t do much for me either.  Death Proof is a terrible movie (with the exception of a couple good car chase scenes).  Sitting through those unnecessarily long, self-indulgent dialogue scenes about nothing that couldn’t be summed up in thirty seconds was torturous.  Tarantino’s writing felt regurgitated from past films, at times it seemed as if one of the girls was trying to channel Sam Jackson.  As usual there was a fair share of n-words, pop culture references (namely films/music that hot women would only sit around talking about in a fantasy world), and a handful of very cool songs playing in the background (always been one of his strengths).  Kurt Russell did a solid job.  Enjoyed all the trailers.

  2. cybergosh says:

    Yes..and, umm – oh…see the above article!

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