Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back to back brilliance

Movies (Double Feature) • GRINDHOUSE • PLANET TERROR / DEATH PROOF • 2007
It was important to me that I review these movies together because the mood of the the two films together along with the fake trailers is part of the art. Quentin Tarantino has explained that it’s about the experience of the grindhouse double feature that he was raised on. I’m a television buff, so it was an entertaining and educating experience to know why these films were put together this way. Truth be told, I’ve seen Death Proof as a stand alone as well; and though I still loved it, there was no comparison to seeing the two together in the theater last year. Watching them together again for only the second time on cable, I was smashed! This double feature is a box of Raisinets sprinkled in your buttery popcorn.
Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) and Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof) team up well, and though the movies have very little in common aside from a few nods to each other using the same actors and similar characters, they work together like ice cream on cake. The formula is à la mode, and I hope we see this team-up again.
Be ready for some serious splatter gore that goes way over the top in Planet Terror. I got super thirsty when those watermelons were exploding all over the place. I was suddenly in the mood to open a can of cherry-pie filling too. Rose McGowan is absolutely brill in her portrayal of the go-go dancing stand up comedian, Cherry Darling. Her quivering lips and teary face at the end of the opening credits were straight out of exploitation films of the 70’s. She played in both films, with completely different roles, and convinced me in both the lost heroine who faces adversity, and the blond girly-girl who faces the dashboard.
Kudos th Stacy Ferguson (Fergie) too. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her presence originally; but her short screen time along with what I am sure was excellent direction gave her the opportunity to shine.
The soundtracks were appropriately balanced. My favorite part to note was the section in Planet Terror where our old friend Kyle Reese from The Terminator (Michael Biehn) shows up as the sheriff. The music turns reminiscent of the 80’s synthesizer music we hear in the original Terminator movie, and similar sci-fi/action movies of the time. It was a better nod than the typical Wilhelm Scream. The other note (and I always love QT’s soundtrack compilations of buried treasures) is the scripted mention of a great song to close your eyes to and swing your head (perfect for crashing your car). The song, Hold Tight by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch (get it right) was that momentous scene and song combination that Quentin Tarantino is famous for.
The girl power theme in Death Proof was unmistakable. You’ll get choked up after the thrills and kills when vengeance pays a visit. I was introduced to several new heroines to idolize. Not to take away from the perfection of Rosario Dawson and her excellent delivery of all QT’s lines (and that her character’s name was Abernathy), but Rose McGowan, of course, is the most famous. That’s why I was happy to see QT wasn’t afraid to make fun of her a bit. Pay close attention to the scene when she’s “driven home.” There will be a close up of the duck hood ornament on Stuntman Mike’s car. Immediately afterward we see a comparison of McGowan’s scrunched ski-slope nose. It was especially cute.
This review has gone on too long. I hope it’s somewhat cohesive. Last thing: Don’t watch these pictures without the trailers. You would hate to miss teasers for Machete, Werewolf Women of the SS (a fake film by Rob Zombie), Thanksgiving, and Don’t. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t!

PS. Who is Chris Simonson, and is he another one of those Waiting for Godot references?

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