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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grindhouse

I finally got around to going to a UNSW Film Society screening tonight. Luckily it was a really good one: Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's exploitation double feature, Grindhouse.

This movie is awesome. I've never been to a drive-in theatre or anything to see dodgy exploitation films, or double features of any kind, so it was a new experience, and pretty fun to see (simulated) aged celluloid and trailers for schlock horror flicks with names like Machete, Don't and Werewolf Women of the SS.

The first movie, Planet Terror, was basically just a bunch of people running around stabbing and shooting zombies. Well, that's an oversimplification, but not by much. Its director, Robert Rodriguez, was behind the movie adaptation of Sin City, and if you thought that had lots of blood and gore... go see this movie. You'll never look at a hospital the same way again. Actually it reminded me a little bit of that show Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Only with more zombies having their bodies blown in half by single gunshots. It also has a chick with an assault rifle for a leg, which always works in a movie's favour.

Basically Planet Terror was very funny for about half an hour. Then it started to drag on. Towards the end, I was still laughing but also wishing we could get onto the next movie already. Worth seeing once but that's about it.

I can't fault the other feature, Death Proof, on anything really. Quentin Tarantino has proven once again why he's such a respected film-maker - he took a cool idea, applied it to an old genre and then tipped the genre on its head to make something fresh and new. In short, it's about a stunt driver who gets up to dirty deeds in his "death proof" stunt car. I won't give away too much because it took my by surprise in several ways and I don't want it to be ruined when you see it. (Note my use of the word "when" rather than "if" - you have to see this movie.) I don't think I've ever clapped so enthusiastically after a movie - in fact, I'm pretty damn sure I've never clapped after a movie. FILMSOC are true connoisseurs of cinema.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of people in this world who miss the point of everything, and as a result Grindhouse has been a flop at the US box offices. I guess people don't like seeing two films for the price of one? So in Australia (and much of the rest of the globe from what I gather) it's being released as two separate films, thus ruining the whole point. The copy I saw was a bootleg, which is sadly the only way anyone in Australia is going to see it in its true form. That is, until it gets released on DVD. I expect that Grindhouse is going to become a true cult movie, enjoyed in home or university theatres by small groups of film enthusiasts, just like I was part of tonight.

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