Thursday, May 10, 2007

Grindhouse


Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodiguez can do whatever they want, can't they?

I had time to kill before the show last night so Steve Klausner and I went to see "Grindhouse". We were very glad we didn't bring the wives. The violence in this, especially Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" is far and above anything I've seen outside of Troma.

The conceit here is that both films are homage to the 'b' splatter flicks of the 70's. In other words, the good old days when movies were shitty. Rodriguez and Tarantino have made something unique: a Sci-Fi original that plays in multiplexes.

Both films are a hell of a lot of fun, if anachronistic. With the bleached film look, 80's synthesizers and film scratches I assumed these would be period pieces. That is, until characters started text messaging each other.

Rodriguez really gets into it with over the top violence and characters in a very simple zombie movie. There's not much to tell here because Rodriguez does what he does perfectly. It's crazy, almost comical and built around a few major set pieces.

Tarantino's work is harder to decipher. He goes with the concept but basically makes a Tarantino short film. Well short for Tarantino which means feature length and a simpler plot. There are no twists in "Death Proof". We get the same story twice; once as a horror picture and once as an action picture. I've always said the only difference between action and horror is how the protagonist fights back. Tarantino proves this theory. Oh, and the characters talk. And talk and talk and talk. The 90's dialogue style is back in force. Thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Larry David I didn't write a plot until 2004.

As I watching these films, it made me realize something about the two biggest directors of the 90's: it's not the 90's anymore. The last decade has treated each director very differently. While Tarantino came on as the next Scorcese, his films have become increasingly indulgent and insular. "Jackie Brown" was fascinating but cryptic, "Kill Bill" was one movie too long and "Death Proof" doesn't get going for at least an hour. By refusing to cut his famous dialogue, Tarantino is in danger of marginalizing himself.

Rodriguez on the other hand became a cult icon with "Desperado". And since he's been under the radar, he's had more time to polish his craft with different genres. He's gone from being the man who made "From Dusk Till Dawn" to the man who made "Sin City". He's managed to become a true filmmaker on his own terms, while Tarantino has managed to remain Tarantino.

2 comments:

Renee said...

I can't wait until we get the DVD

Steve said...

Michele said, "I can't wait until we DON'T get the DVD."