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Grindhouse:
"Planet Terror"
& "Death Proof"
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: The Weinstein Company
Web Site: www.grindhousemovie.net
Kiddie Movie: For goodness sake leave them at home.
Date Movie: Only if she understands the concept of the Grindhouse movie.
Gratuitous Sex: There a great sex scene only to be ruined by a "film malfunction."
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of quality kills, exploding bodies, and gunfire.
Action: The ending car-chase in "Death Proof" was fantastic.
Laughs: In a campy-movie kind of way.
Memorable Scene: The fight scene in "Death Proof."
Memorable Quote: "As useless as a pecker on the Pope."
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino
Produced By: Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodriguez, Erica Steinberg, Quentin Tarantino

Grindhouse:
"Planet Terror"
& "Death Proof"

A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 3:05 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
So Iím sitting there, in my seat, waiting for "Grindhouse" to start, when one of the theater ushers comes into the theater, introduces himself, and then proceeds to "advise" us that in keeping with the theme of the movie, the film will look scratchy at times, sometimes the sound wonít be that great, and there may even be a scene or two missing from the film. He also needed to mention that "Grindhouse" is actually two movies, "Planet Terror," and "Death Proof," so we shouldnít leave at the end of "Planet Terror." He told us this, he said, because during the previous dayís screenings they had a lot of complaints about the sound and picture quality, and some people also left at the end of "Planet Terror" thinking "Grindhouse" was over. I guess, for those people, the entire concept of "Grindhouse" was already lost on them. For me, I just wanted Cherry to get her machine gun put on sooner. Letís get to itÖ

Starting with a fantastic fake trailer for "Machete," "Grindhouse" set up the concept of the movie from the get-go, with the crackling and popping of the sound, the streaks and graininess of the picture, and the 70ís style intros to both the fake trailers and the feature presentations. "Planet Terror" kicked things off and plays out like a zombie movie, where sad characters somehow all get pulled together to make their escape from the brain-eating morons. We see sort of how the zombies come to be, of course itís some bizarre military experiment gone wrong, entwined with a stories about a doctor and his wife, the go-go dancer who wants to be a stand-up comedian Cherry (Rose McGowan), and her boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriquez) with the mysterious past, and the town Sheriff and his brother who runs the barbecue shack. Sure enough, patients end up in the hospital with their skin all a-bubble, cadavers end up at the hospital with their brains missing, and there is Cherry recuperating from losing her leg. Wray comes to save her, the townsfolk not dead find themselves holed up in the barbecue shack, and then plow their way through the slow-moving zombies only to find themselves kidnapped at the military base, there learning the real reason for the military gas, involving none other than Osama bin Laden. Cherry eventually gets her machine gun for her leg, itís time for one last stand for our non-infected folks, and a new beginning for Cherry.

And so "Planet Terror" ends, we get treated to a few more fake trailers in the likes of "Werewolf Women of the SS," "Donít," and the fantastically funny "Thanksgiving," and now itís time for "Death Proof."

The story for "Death Proof" is a little easier to tell, if only because there arenít many side stories to worry about. Pretty much for this movie you get Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike. Stuntman Mike is a psychopath who uses his car to do the killing. Poor little Pam (Rose McGowan) just needs a ride home, and Stuntman Mike is there to help.  We quickly learn where the title of the movie comes from, but sadly for Pam it is only if you are sitting in the driverís seat. And then comes our trio of Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier), Shanna (Jordan Ladd), and Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito), enjoying a girlís night out, and then being driven by another of their friends, only to have Stuntman Mike ruin all of their nights. The sheriff suspects foul play on the part of Mike, only he canít prove it. And with Mike free to prowl once again, another quartet comes to play, namely Kim (Tracie Thoms), Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Zoe (Zoe Bell), and Abernathy (Rosario Dawson). Once again Mike tries to use his car to kill, but sadly for our Stuntman, Zoe is still alive.

As a movie-going experience I have to say that seeing "Grindhouse" was kind of fun. Not being old enough to have experienced my own Grindhouse viewings growing up, I have, though, been at my share of theaters with scratchy film and sound, and it was sort of sun re-enacting that. As far as the individual movies, though, "Planet Terror" was great when it finally got to the real zombie action, but too much of the set-up just seemed to drag. Rose McGowen was great with one leg, and Bruce Willis was also great as the evil Lt. Muldoon. "Death Proof" suffered from just too much damn dialogue and not enough Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell was fantastic in his role) nor his car. For itís hour and half portion of the film, and maybe my timing is off, but it seemed like we got and hour and fifteen minutes of Quentin Tarantino trying to write witty dialogue like in "Pulp Fiction," and about fifteen minutes of kick-butt action with cars.

And so, on the star scales, I would give "Planet Terror" 3 stars out of 5, mostly because of Cherry, although I still thought it took too long for her to get her machine-gun, but once she did get it, wow! "Death Proof" was really looking like a 2 star out of 5 film because of way too much dialogue, but the carnage from the first car crash and the fantastic ending brings with it another star, for 3 stars out of 5.

My buddy Stu asked me if itís really worth it to see "Grindhouse" in the theater, but thatís a tricky question to answer. As a whole I would say this would be a solid DVD rental, so itís probably worth waiting to see it at home, but the concept of the movie really changes that opinion. If you are used to crisp movie prints, with pristine sound at your local multiplex, "Grindhouse" will take you back to seeing a movie in the cheap, dingy theater, but without the sticky floors and icky seats, unless of course that is usually where you see your movies, in which case you will feel right at home.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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