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Recreation of a Bygone Cinema Experience
on October 21, 2013
I will start by saying that I am a big fan of the classic grindhouse features. Those 1970's-80's films that were so bad that they were good.Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino attempt to recreate the grindhouse experience for the multiplex crowd in their double feature Grindhouse.
First up is Rodriguez's Planet Terror an evocation of the monster/zombie film that brings to mind the zombie films of Roger Corman. Following a coup at a Texas military base the population of a small town becomes body eating "sickos". The horde of zombie like creatures comes up against El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) and Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan)a go-go dancer whose leg is replaced with a large caliber gun. The story is nothing entirely new but it features lots of blood and gore. This is not intellectual entertainment but is pure popcorn munching excitement. The film opens with what was then a trailer for a fake film called Machete.
Following Planet Terror we get three more trailers: Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the SS, Edgar Wright's Dont and Eli Roth's Thanksgiving. All three trailers recall the various styles of 1970's exploitation cinema.
The second film is Tarantino's homage to the slasher flick: Death Proof. The twist here is that the killer uses a car to kill his victims. Death Proof is a slower film that boasts some of the better dialogue of the experience. Tarantino shows his great knowledge of both cinema and car culture. Tarantino says in one of the featureetes that he wanted to make one of the great car chase films and it is very possible that he has achieved his goal with this film.
I saw Grindhouse on the two disc blu ray collector's edition. While i enjoyed the films and the numerous special features, I will admit that I was a little underwhelmed by the discs themselves. The dics took what seemed like forever to load and the quirky menu configuration made finding what you were looking for somewhat of a chore. It took forever to get to Rodriguez's commentary track on Planet Terror and I had to switch players to get to the Roth commentary on Thanksgiving.
The non user friendly discs are the reason that one star was removed from this review. The films are extremely well done and quite fun to watch. There is a ton of bonus material that covers just about all aspects of the project. There are even audience reaction tracks and a featurette on Texas BBQ. With all this material this should be a no brainer to highly recommend but sadly because of the problems with the disc authoring it sometimes becomes a chore.
The blu ray discs contain both features and trailers on disc one. The menu for the films and the commentaries are somewhat hard to navigate if you choose not to watch both features in one sitting.The second disc which loaded very slowly contains the bulk of the bonus features on the films and the trailers. Thre is an hour long interview with the directors conducted by the New York Times that is well worth checking out. Unfortunately I could never find the BD live feature.
Check it out for the films and features but good luck getting througn the the discs.