Grindhouse (2007)

(In theaters, April 2007) For a movie industry that is renowned for not taking risks and always presenting the same thing, American cinema can still be surprising from time to time. Case in point: the wonderful cinematic experience that is Grindhouse, complete with two full-length movies, fake trailers, fake film damage, “missing reels” and intermission cards. (Canadian theatres even got the bonus trailer Hobo With A Shotgun). It’s long, it’s self-indulgent, it’s hyper-violent… but it’s a trip and one of the best prepackaged movie-going experience I ever had in a multiplex. The movies themselves aren’t all that special, but it’s the whole experience that makes the show. Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is by far the most entertaining film of the duo: A self-aware parody of zombie films, it’s crunchy-delicious in its avowed awfulness, and never misses an outlandish beat when it sees one. In comparison, Quentin Tarantino’s subversive Death Proof is far less even: it dawdles along on Tarantino’s usual verbal pyrotechnics, then delivers a jolt of exploitation adrenaline. But then the movie resets to another format, turning the cards and screwing around with audience expectations. It’s a ride and a half, perhaps too conceptually clever for its own sake. Still, the entire package that is Grindhouse is a success and a great big gift to movie geeks. Whatever you do, don’t miss Don’t!

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