Sunday, April 08, 2007

Three Movie for the Price of Two!

As stated before this weekend included the viewing of two movies that seemed to be made particularly for me: Grindhouse and Hot Fuzz. Jiff asked for reviews, so here it goes. Both of these reviews are spoiler free.

Grindhouse: I feel like I should make known that while I never went to a grindhouse in my youth, I spent many late nights with watching these kind of movies on Mom's satellite dish or renting them. Grindhouse is sort of an homage to these movies. Rodriguez and Tarantino are trying to recreate for the audience that experience of a double feature in a grindhouse. I think they succeed.

The first movie, Rodriguez's Terror Planet, is basically a zombie movie. Toxic gas is released on a small Texas town and all hell breaks loose. A Go-Go dancer with one leg and a tow truck driver with a mysterious past are required to save the day. Also, populating the town is a disgruntled doctor scheming on her husband and fellow doctor. There's the owner of BBQ establishment who won't tell his brother the sheriff his secret recipe. Rodriguez throws it all into this film: government cover ups, crazy twin babysitters, and a zombified Bruce Willis. This is probably my favorite Rodriguez film since El Mariachi, which really isn't saying much. Rodriquez keeps everything moving from one outlandish sequence to the other. It's clear he's simply throwing everything into the pot and having fun with it. It comes across a lot like two high school students one upping themselves with each outlandish idea after another. The movie does work on that level, and works well. It's fun, crazy, and cool and you can't ask for more from it.

The second half of the double feature is Tarantino's Death Proof starring the always underrated Kurt Russell. This comes across as Tarantino's experiment in writing for women. The first half hour is spent simply watching these women interact with a little ogling. Then Kurt Russell shows up and plays the creepy but cool killer. One of my favorite things is Russell's change in the character near the end. Also, the car stunts are very old school and very cool. There's one long stunt that still amazes me. Death Proof doesn't move at the speed of Terror Planet till the end. Still, I enjoyed Death Proof more than Terror Planet. I like the characters and I love the car chase.

One thing that irritated me a little in both films is the "winking" that the filmmakers make letting the audience know they are in the on the joke. The most blatant is the "missing reel" gag that appears in both movies. Personally, that gag was a little too knowing to me.

Finally, I feel I should say a little about the trailers in Grindhouse. Most likely you've seen most of the Machete trailer. That appears at the beginning. In between there is Rob Zombie's ode to Ilsa She Wolf of the SS only the the She-Wolf is actually taken the horror movie route. Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) does a send up to British mansion horror movies. It's the funniest of the trailers and my favorite. The last one is Eli Roth's (Hostel) Thanksgiving. It starts off well enough, but ends with the most offensive parts of the whole movie.

But let us get to the movie that you should absolutely not miss: Hot Fuzz. Along with Bobby, Tim and Gina, I got to see an early showing of Hot Fuzz with director/co-writer Edgar Wright, co-writer/actor Simon Pegg, actor Nick Frost, and special guest Timothy Dalton for a panel discussion afterwards. Hot Fuzz is the funniest movie you will see this year. Pegg plays a hard nosed and by the book cop that is sent off to the safest town in England because he was making all the other cops in London look bad. Pegg is teamed up with dufus Frost who loves action movies like Point Break and Bad Boys II and feels like he is missing out on not being a supercop. What follows is both an homage and a spoof of those action movies as Pegg and Frost try to prove that a group of accidents are actually murders. Ok, at this point I realize that anything I say isn't going to do this movie justice. Trust me and go see this movie when it comes out. It's very funny. You will miss half of the jokes, but just go see it again, This is smarter and funnier than any Blades of Glory that will be released this year.


JIFF Divingboard said...

Thanks, man.

As a guy who won't see Grindhouse for a LONG time, this was helpful.

Why does Rodriguez BOTHER ME so much?

This Fuzz film looks fun. I'm interested...

I need GUY-BUDDIES who live near me who I can go see GUY-BUDDY movies with.

bobby said...

Big Yes on Hot Fuzz. Maybe too slow a build up compared to Shaun of the Dead, with too much reliance on that "quick cut with loud, bassy thump" transition style from Shaun and Spaced. But from about 45 minutes on, perfect. The photo you chose about sums it up.