12 April, 2007

TO BE OR NOT TO BE...?



Should I see this? I do feel like I should after blasting it on the Latarnia Forums sight unseen. Hey, this is my blog and I can admit fault now and then. Perhaps I was unfair. But WTF, I didn't feel like a 3+ hour gorefest after Easter Mass and dinner and if I knew it was a stupid weekend to release it why didn't they?

In the meantime, Bob and Harvey are shitting bricks so I think I'll try to catch it before it disappears forever in its current form (I don't really think they'll lose their 100mil investment due to international venues and DVD sales, they might even turn a nifty profit). Apparently, there's even a different version playing up in Canada. Has anyone seen this? There's so much rumor, hysteria and hype around what is quickly building as a disaster of epic proportions or at least an event in the history of theatrical exhibition. It's already disappeared from two screens around here (Syracuse, NY) and there's a local newspaper article about numerous confused and angry patrons.

On QT: JACKIE BROWN is my favorite of his films. Loved the music, Pam, Robert Forster (a Jess Franco alumnus, btw) and everything about it. Parts of PULP FICTION, the KILL BILL films and the first scene of RESERVOIR DOGS are interesting. That's about it. I'm not a real big fan. And I've never seen a film by Rob Zombie, much less Robert Rodriguez or any of the rest of the directorial participants. But Tarantino worships Godard, goes out of his way to cite Jess Franco, so that right there makes him unique among contemporary mainstream US directors...

So, have any of our readers seen this and have the courage to venture some opinion or comment? Time is running out, though, for Bob and Harvey, not to mention Quentin...

If I do see it I'll return with a review. If not, I'll wait for the DVD with all the inevitable special features, cut scenes, et al and be able to relax while watching it. But don't get me going on the horrors of mainstream movie exhibition!

Reports from the teletype have Harvey already speaking of stand alone releases of PLANET TERROR and DEATHPROOF, with added footage and possibly cleansed of their CGI "Grindhouse" appearance, appearing sooner than later...

(C) Robert Monell, 2007

9 comments:

Swany said...

I saw it in an almost empty theatre in Canada, four days after its release. The first segment, Planet Terror, was fun, but QT's segment, Death Proof, was one of the most boring films I've seen in a long while. Even the scene of Kurt Russell being beat to shit by three girls did not provide relief. Although the two friends I went with liked it a lot.

Anonymous said...

The only difference here in Canada is that we get an additional fake trailer: HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, which was produced in this country and winner of the contest in conjunction with the movie. At the screening I attended, the theatre stuck it on the end of the real previews, a nice touch that clearly confounded some of the audience. It be viewed on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LlazPgxKrA

cinebeats said...

I vote no. Don't go. My hope is that Grindhouse will fail and Tarantino won't be able to make another movie for awhile. I've never liked him or his films, mainly because I had the misfortune of watching City on Fire a month before I saw Reservoir Dogs when it was released. Tarantino dosen't need your sympathy or your money. I personally think the guy is a con artist, not a filmmaker and I don't think he's ever had an original idea. Some links I like:

- http://www.impossiblefunky.com/qt/

- http://www.ronlim.com/worldarchive/tarantino.html

- http://www.therealgrindhouse.com/

p.s. My comment is not a swipe at his fans so I hope nobody takes it personally.

Mirek said...

Exploitation films were not merely gore/violence, but also sex, and GRINDHOUSE fails to deliver in this important category. There may be a breast or two in a strippers' dressing room scene in the Rodriguez film, but that's it! (The fake trailers showed more flesh.) Having been part of many audiences in many double-bill theater experiences (I don't know if Times Square theaters qualify as "grindhouses," but they're close), I can tell you that the men in those audiences would have been pissed at not seeing the female form exposed. Distributors would likewise have been up in arms.

Self-aware and self-congratulatory, GRINDHOUSE still has moments of cinematic brilliance, but rare doses of those, making the movie okay, but not the complete grindhouse experience it was meant to be.

The pseudo print damage through the Rodriguez film may annoy the hell out of you. (And was it necessary for GRINDHOUSE to have two "missing reels" instead of one? We got the joke the first time.)

Still, I'd say that you should see the film in a theater, so that you can evaluate for yourself if GRINDHOUSE succeeds in its intentions, or whether it is, indeed, impossible to go home again.

Robert Monell said...

I appreciate all these comments and information. Always nice to hear from our Canadian friends. I guess you guys are seeing a somewhat unique version. Was the trailer produced in Canada part of the original plan? In any case, welcome to the Franco blog. Cinebeats, I can relate to your observation that QT lacks originality. BIG TIME. Actually, the movies should probably be SET in the 1970s to get the full effect. You can only take this post modernist game so far. And Mirek, you obviously have seen this and I would say that TIMES SQAURE back in the days was the quintessential Grindhouse site. I used to drive down to Manhattan in the early 70s and frequented many of these myself and once witnessed a knife fight (in the audience) during a showing! The whole idea of using CGI to pretend print damage really turns me off, as I hate CGI as a general rule. And yes I want sex and plenty of it in Grindhouse, so if they skimped on that that's a real problem for me as well. I think Tarantino is actually quite cleverly trying to be politically correct or even have a profeminist arc. Corman also did that, but I wonder about QT's motives a lot.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I went and saw it and laughed and laughed. It was a fantastic homage to a lost art form. The two movies were smart and funny and really the first was the gore filled of the two. Death Proof is great if you have a love for true automobiles. They reference flicks like Vanishing Point. Where else are you going to see that? I think that the entire production was mishandled. Wrong weekend to bring it out. NO hype really. This film deserved better. Go and see it. In the long run you will be glad you did.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I went and saw it and laughed and laughed. It was a fantastic homage to a lost art form. The two movies were smart and funny and really the first was the gore filled of the two. Death Proof is great if you have a love for true automobiles. They reference flicks like Vanishing Point. Where else are you going to see that? I think that the entire production was mishandled. Wrong weekend to bring it out. NO hype really. This film deserved better. Go and see it. In the long run you will be glad you did.

Mirek said...

Tarantino would be clever had his film shown some good old-fashioned sex exploitation, along with his profeminist arc, which is front and center in his film. But all one gets are some slow-moving pans up a woman's leg.

Let's look at the WIP films of Jack Hill. Straightforward exploitation films that gave men the salacious thrills they wanted at that time, with the bad guys getting theirs at the end of the film. This kind of scenario was prevalent in "grindhouse" films of the 1970s.

With Tarantino's film, however, the salacious thrills are just about missing (or are simply teased at), while the bad guy's comeuppance is overweighed in proportionality.

Tarantino may just be into power chicks, which is okay, but I like my exploitation films served up the old-fashioned way.

Robert Monell said...

Well, I just saw it. Whew! It didn't feel like 3+ but I sure am annoyed with Tarantino for casting himself in BOTH features as the same leering jerk. He's got to be one of the worst actors in film history. And I'll never forgive him for cutting to the reel missing instead of showing Butterfly's lapdance. I felt like he was saying, "let's tease em" and I don't like to be teased that way. But this is really a meta-film and SO worth seeing. I can't imagine any other US director doing an extended hommage to Santiago Moncada, one of my favorite screenwriters responsible for two of Jess Franco's best films JUEGO SUCIO EN CASABLANCA and L'ESCLAVA BLANCA. And the car crash (not the chase) is certainly the best one I've ever seen in a film. Tarantino is a gourmand of bad movies, when he needs to be a gourmet. I felt that Quentin was laughing at me for being there. That's a bad attitude and accounts for the monumental flaws in this project. And I mean MONUMENTAL!

But please see both VANISHING POINT (1971) and GONE IN 60 SECONDS. You'll see the clash in aesthetics. I call these films great films without irony, and I appreciate it that he appreciates them. And my friends and I went to FYE after the movie and bought the DVDs. I'll be a writing a long, long consideration of all this.