Author Topic: Grind House  (Read 83322 times)

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MacGuffin

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #270 on: May 14, 2007, 01:18:54 AM »
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Machete movie greenlit!
Source: Moviehole

Since “Grindhouse” made less than whatever-piece-of-shit-it-was-up-against-that-week this news will come as a bit of a surprise – but it does buy the Weinstein boys a couple of points with the fanboys upset over the whole Grindhouse debacle [and split].

Danny Trejo, who played the cjharacter of ‘Machete’ in the faux trailer that was wedged between the two “Grindhouse” movies “Planet Terror” and “Death Proof”, tells IESB that a feature-length film, featuring the character, has been greenlit.

Trejo says low box-office returns aside, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are geniuses and they’re still pushing forward with a “Machete” movie.

“That’s the big one”, says Trejo, who’s appeared in near every one of Rodriguez’s movies. “We’re going to do Machete next, and Bob and Harvey Weinstein have already said, ‘Yeah, we’re gotta do it’.”

There were rumours that “Machete” was going to be a direct-to-video release – possibly released as a triple feature on the same DVD as the other two “Grindhouse” movies. Trejo says that’s no longer the case.

“No. They’re going to make it a movie – because of the audience response”, the actor, who also confirmed he’ll be a part of “Sin City 2”, says.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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socketlevel

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #271 on: May 14, 2007, 01:09:31 PM »
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Taking from my first part that I don't think the film implies Western ideals so much as it implies emphasis and respect with the enemy, I move on by clarifying what I mean when I say Clint Eastwood is representing a national cinema for America. This isn't just to cater to the entertainment value of Americans. It also isn't to cater to their beliefs and sympathies. Some films that represent national interests do this, but I think Eastwood is representing America in that he is representing the American perspective as a theme and viewpoint to the war.

If an English filmmaker was making the same story, he could highlight instances and moments that have English references. He would be explaining the war from the English side as someone would do who was choosing a perspective and theme to their story. It has nothing to do with alienating audiences around the world or promoting a bias. It has everything to do with selections and choices that are in drama.

true, however in almost every case i can think of, in the English story told, there is seldom a character that went to school in an eastern empirical system.  i guess it's just in my opinion more than anything else.   there is no way a character would be aloud to talk about a non-democratic system of government in positive light, and someway through that wisdom of the difference, find the other side is not soulless (it just seems there needs to be that distinction within these films, even if America is wrong, the characters themselves are right i.e. three kings).  a much more satirical approach is to make the characters themselves not above the immoral/unethical conduct, by making these heros/protagonists self-serving it points the finger more at the society as a whole (mainly because the audience sees themselves in the protagonist's POV).  at least jarhead does this, even though i don't like that film all that much.  The classic film that does what i mention, one doesn't let the main characters off the hook to any degree, is Dr. strangelove (FMJ is the same in that respect).

i guess the only example i can think of right now in iwo jima would be when we study the secondary actors  portraying the grunts.  we find that on the American side, when a soldier is cast in a poor light, he is ignorant and malicious (as in the case where the two Japanese soldiers who surrendered were murdered by the Americans).  on the other hand,  Japanese soldiers cast in a poor light are blind sheep to believe in anything other than what the were taught.  this is very commonly the case in american cinema, and there is a subtle level of superiority in that.   i don't know if it's just me, but the blind sheep depiction is more problematic because it suggests lack of individuality.  American soldiers are at least independant despite their insubordanence.  to me, complacency is one of the biggest insults because it suggests that the film maker/writer is looking down on the mentality of the society and the system of what is not democratic/american.


Like I said before, I don't see it at all. The film has numerous vantage points and references that show the humanity and struggle of the characters that have nothing to do with America. The soldiers who begin to defect against the suicide missions and try to fight for their lives may be influenced by the leaders in question, but I do not think those leaders were educated by Western principles to see through the absurdities of war. I just believe they are professional soldiers who understand the nature of their work better.

Consider the point of Grand Illusion. It was about World War I and showed the nature of the war as the last war where Generals where made to treat ranked prisoners of war with respect and courtesy. The comment on the film years later said there was a striking difference between the first two world wars as the second one was an ideological brain wash to convince the soldiers and elites to find evil and disgust in their enemy. Many soldiers and ranking officers did believe the ideological spin, but also many experienced officers did not and saw their work as a duty and job that needed to be carried out with professionalism. The order and clarity that Ken Watanabe's character enforces into the regiment may be an example of this and the reason why many soldiers started to think outside of the ideological box they were forced to believe.

I'd love to hear a detailed explanation with examples and references to how this is a Western spin instead of just what I said. I have absolutely respected and loved every portion of your argument, but I also cannot see it in the film.

i guess i kind of explained it.  i do see your point however.  it would just be nice to see the opposite of what i said.  imagine casting American soldiers as sheep, juxtaposed to an open minded enemy/opposition.  American soldiers as sheep has been done, but contrasted to a different army would suggest a fundamental problem with the American army.  however this would never happen, we would much rather cast them as savages killing innocent men who surrendered, because what that does is paint a negative note on those individual characters, it doesn't comment on the whole system in suggesting it might be inferior.

i like what you say about the message of the film, i think it's a great notion, i just think too much gets in the way for me to see it.  maybe because I'm not American myself.

I think Full Metal Jacket and Thin Red Line go for what you say they do, but I also believe they are works that simplify their subjects. The insanity of war...the internal factors that come into play to make a soldier of war...these are all general themes that have been around forever. Almost every film about war that is quasi serious attempts to detail these broad and general ideas. Both of these films barely cover these themes.

For instance, in The Thin Red Line....the film surveys different battles and numerous deployments of soldiers everywhere. It shows chaos in battle and the struggles soldiers have to go through. Fine. To give this a context, the film tries to show the peace that these soldiers once knew. One remembers their wife swinging on a tree swing back home. They reminiscence about their memories of home. Scenes show a soldier walking with native children through a village and enjoying the simplicity of their life. It shows the peace we have infringed upon with war, but...it ends there.

There is nothing deeper. There are no ideas the explain in more detail the personal agony that the soldiers went through. The characterization is an array of voice overs about the general feelings for being in war. If the film wanted to delve into their personal agony, it would have had much more details to show the depths of horror these soldiers have to go to to just survive war. Because the film focused on the surface level details and was continuous with the personal sentiments of the soldiers for home, I'd say that is melodramatic. Letters from Iwo Jima delves much deeper.

A soldier running through a hornet's nest of Japanese soldiers, killing them all and surviving is not a statement about how soldiers became killing machines. A statement like that would have come in scenes that focused on the preparation and aftermath of a killing. It would focus on the potential guilt of that soldier and how he carred on. Instead the scene is a rare action one in the midst of a deliberately paced film. It becomes acceptable because of the rest of the film around it doesn't give into those easy action sequences. But the scene should have been dropped. It is a cliche because 99% of actual soldiers who would have done that would have been killed. If it was going to be in the movie, it should have showed him dying badly instead.

i think iwo jima lacks depth because it doesn't try to give new insight on the subject matter, it is not a lesson but rather just preaches to the converted.  everyone in that theatre already feels the way the characters are talking.  it's not attempting to open our minds, it's attempting to show us that the characters already feel the way we do.  that's not a bad thing to do in a film,  it's just safe and imo lacks depth.  as i've stated elsewhere in this post, depth isn't required for me to think something is great, but iwo jima decided to be deep, and thus i feel it doesn't deliver.  i think challenging the way we think, by doning some of the things i stated above like make the american army more of a threat then anything else, would warrent a progressive stigma.  it should not critic the men themselves (good or bad), but the system.  because it is the system that is flawed.

the hornet's nest scene has the classic monologe "what is this evil, where does it come from.." it works on a existential level, it hits me not so directly but leaves me with a sense of loss.  the images and the acting over this monologe shows sociopathic behaviors, i like that synergy of sound and images.  like i said it's not a didactic message, i just think it's powerful in that it leaves the audience disturbed by the scene are shows the utter insanity of the actions.

Characters feeling guilt doesn't resonate with me, that's a different film, this film is about loss, and when the soldiers leave the island at the end the loss happened for no reason.  it makes you angry because you see the superiors driven by ego (nolty and Travolta).  this is how I'd picture it, one mans mission to have his own war.  egos drive a lot of things we do in day to day life, i believe it would for the people commanding war as well.  there are many stories of this.  so when you juxtapose the personal struggle and loss of the soldiers against the egos of the commanders, it leaves you with a very bad taste in your mouth.  At the end of the film they have made no progress, yet lost so much.  that is very sad to me.

Full Metal Jacket does better because it focuses on the road one soldier takes to challenge himself to actually kill someone. It shows a personality in the soldier that is more relatable to the audience than the typical portrait. It shows that joking about killing is easy, but doing so is another matter. My problem with the film is that it could have been more. It was drawn out to make one small point. Many people like to talk about the dense textures in a Kubrick film, but in this one, it wasn't there. When the end of the film becomes understood, the only question is how to connect the first half with the second half. When that explanation comes with Kubrick purposely going against expectations because the war genre may be the most overdone ever, it becomes obvious he is trying to challenge narrative norms.

i agree it's not too dense, but i still love it for the reasons you state.

But it doesn't make a great film for me. One of Robert Bresson's weaker films was Lancelot of the Lake. It was a film focused on narrative. It told the conventional story of Lancelot but focused on the repetitions of getting off and on the horses with multiple edits and then showed other repetitions we don't see generally highlighted in a conventional narrative. The film was meant to be disturbing and jarring to the senses because it was challenging the norms of one of the most normal stories. Full Metal Jacket challenges the narrative norms for one of the most popular genres, but since his ideas are so simple and lightweight compared to his other work, it does not make a great film.

i have never seen the film you mention, it sounds interesting and I'd love to check it out.  i think FMJ doesn't have to be more complex to be a great movie.  i think the message like you say is simple yet poignant.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2007, 11:59:52 AM by socketlevel »
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socketlevel

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #272 on: May 14, 2007, 01:21:46 PM »
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the original dead movies are great, i love them.  they're fun, silly, exciting and make socio-political comments.  they walk a beautiful fine line between being shlock and having an important message (something i'll never wrap my head around).  something that for myself seems like the hardest tight rope to walk.  i'm utterly amazed and humbled by those films.

I've only seen Dawn of the Dead and I wasn't impressed by the filmmaking or the political comments. I've read some comments that try to explain the political nature of those movies, but because the explanations were vague and had little to do with anything that was concrete and real, I felt that the argument was stretching the limits of the movie. I know many people enjoy the movies, but I'm just not a fan of the zombie genre.


regarding tarantino, this is just an idea, not making any claim to your way of thinking, but do you think because the cast was all female you didn't identify with what they were saying?  cuz i really liked the dialog, it was the female version of the openning scene, and subsequent group scenes, in reservoir dogs.  i don't know, tell me what ya think.

See, I thought the dialogue was good. Tarantino has a knack to adapt himself to invent conversations with different groups of people. On a surface level, it reminds me of what Tom Wolfe can do. My problem is that he didn't have structure and dimensions to the story to give us a break between the very long conversations. No matter who wrote it or who the characters were, these conversations were going to get old very quick. The exception is unless a character was telling an elaborate story that required 30 minutes of dialogue. Tarantino just needed to add more to the story.

i guess with dawn of the dead, it's kind of a weird thing, you're not supposed to go in looking for the subtext.  you're suppose to go in with a "sweet zombies kick ass" mentality.  then when you're watching this fun and cheesy movie, at some point you say, damn that's a sick idea.  zombies do what was important to them in a past life, which in this case is shopping.  that in death all they're left with is materialism... and you see the breakdown of hording from the then 70s "me" generation.  it's kind of like the cause and effect, the main characters are no better than these zombies due to the hording of excess.  at some point we even route for the zombies because we are disgusted with the humans.  They horde everything in the mall from the other (human) characters rather than share it; therefor they pay the ultimate price for this decadence.  I just wish Romero kept his original ending in which the black character (sorry forget the name) stays behind for the loot, then is killed by the zombies.  the female flys off and after the credits end we hear the sound of the helicoptor's motor dying.  that is the perfect, yet very bitter ending to this tragedy.

with all that said, first and foremost it's a schlocky horror movie, which in restrospect makes you think "why did they do this".  after you realize why they did it you then realize, damn romero was saying something there.  i absolutly love the film for that reason.  it walks such a fine line, and i think it's genius.

tarantino is following the structure of the low brow exploitation movies at the time.  they very often were set up the same way, two act kinda deal.  there is a rawness to the genre i really like, yet it's true there is no depth.  abel ferrara's film mrs. 45 is like this, it's a straight up revenge film... like so many expliotation films at that time.  so is deathproof.  the only difference with deathproof is that the dialog is much better than the former incarnations, and it is a cool slasher meets chase film, with revenge flick tying it all up into one nice package.  i'm not really looking for depth, i'm looking for the excapist feel the movie provides.  getting lost in this kinda world is fun for me.  and it's kinda like the FMJ thing i said, it doesn't need anything more to be a great movie to me.

-sl-
« Last Edit: May 15, 2007, 12:02:06 PM by socketlevel »
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Stefen

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #273 on: May 14, 2007, 10:51:00 PM »
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Tarantino used to be the guy nerdy video store clerks worshiped, now he's the guy that the video store clerks biggest enemy worships. The maxim reading frat boy who listens to nu-metal and rap-rock.

Crazy.
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socketlevel

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #274 on: May 15, 2007, 07:53:43 AM »
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Tarantino used to be the guy nerdy video store clerks worshiped, now he's the guy that the video store clerks biggest enemy worships. The maxim reading frat boy who listens to nu-metal and rap-rock.

Crazy.

i lol'd, however i think RR is more that guy than tarantino.  the frat boy must really like dialog and some serious slow moving parts in his movies to like death proof.

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MacGuffin

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #275 on: May 17, 2007, 01:11:31 AM »
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International Death Proof Trailer here.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Re: Grind House
« Reply #276 on: May 17, 2007, 01:20:28 AM »
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Good thing I've already seen Death Proof, otherwise I wouldn't have to. I thought international trailers were supposed to be better than the all-revealing American kind.

Also, will there be footage of the "lost" lap dance scene?

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #277 on: May 17, 2007, 04:13:41 PM »
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true, however in almost every case i can think of, in the English story told, there is seldom a character that went to school in an eastern empirical system.  i guess it's just in my opinion more than anything else.   there is no way a character would be aloud to talk about a non-democratic system of government in positive light, and someway through that wisdom of the difference, find the other side is not soulless (it just seems there needs to be that distinction within these films, even if America is wrong, the characters themselves are right i.e. three kings).  a much more satirical approach is to make the characters themselves not above the immoral/unethical conduct, by making these heros/protagonists self-serving it points the finger more at the society as a whole (mainly because the audience sees themselves in the protagonist's POV).  at least jarhead does this, even though i don't like that film all that much.  The classic film that does what i mention, one doesn't let the main characters off the hook to any degree, is Dr. strangelove (FMJ is the same in that respect).

I guess I would say it is unlikely that an English story would feature a general getting an Eastern education, but since there isn't a specific story to reference, I also could say it is possible. You say it is unlikely for a Japanese general to speak about a non-democratic society in a positive light, but I'd say it is more unlikely that a General would be allowed in a non-democratic society to go to the United States to be awarded a major award. But yet the evidence in the film suggests exactly that happened.

This also happened, historically, when FDR issued major economic sanctions against Japan that was crippling them and FDR, since being named President, showed nothing but hostility toward the country.

i guess i kind of explained it.  i do see your point however.  it would just be nice to see the opposite of what i said.  imagine casting American soldiers as sheep, juxtaposed to an open minded enemy/opposition.  American soldiers as sheep has been done, but contrasted to a different army would suggest a fundamental problem with the American army.  however this would never happen, we would much rather cast them as savages killing innocent men who surrendered, because what that does is paint a negative note on those individual characters, it doesn't comment on the whole system in suggesting it might be inferior.

You're also responding to a large history of Hollywood making war films that portrayed the enemy of any American war in marginal terms. They are shown as soul less and with little regard. That is the history of bad movies. It makes American grunt soldiers look positive even in a negative light because their portrait can never be simple evil. I'm not defending that.

The whole point of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima is to show soldiers on both sides who shared the same sensibilities and fears with going into battle. There are numerous stories in Letters that has no shaping or molding by Western perspectives. It delves into the back stories of the Japanese soldiers. They want to go home but are blinded by the fear of death if they do not carry out their duties. Their desire to stay out of battle or risk harm has nothing to do with the few characters who speak out in empathy toward the enemy.


i think iwo jima lacks depth because it doesn't try to give new insight on the subject matter, it is not a lesson but rather just preaches to the converted.  everyone in that theatre already feels the way the characters are talking.  it's not attempting to open our minds, it's attempting to show us that the characters already feel the way we do.  that's not a bad thing to do in a film,  it's just safe and imo lacks depth.  as i've stated elsewhere in this post, depth isn't required for me to think something is great, but iwo jima decided to be deep, and thus i feel it doesn't deliver.  i think challenging the way we think, by doning some of the things i stated above like make the american army more of a threat then anything else, would warrent a progressive stigma.  it should not critic the men themselves (good or bad), but the system.  because it is the system that is flawed.

Letters from Iwo Jima offers so much more than that. It a dense and detailed look at the complexities of a battalion of soldiers in retreat. It shows most of their history to get where they are and why they decided to revolt against dying in a losing war.

Then it is a portrait of professional soldiers at the end of their rope and realizing their excellence could do little to save them in a losing war. Their is a national identity of loyalty for these soldiers.

This isn't simple "preaching" to the converted. It isn't simply telling stories we already know. Just because the audience can relate to the stories and say, "Oh, their soldiers went through the same as ours" doesn't begin to describe the greater complexities of the story.

the hornet's nest scene has the classic monologe "what is this evil, where does it come from.." it works on a existential level, it hits me not so directly but leaves me with a sense of loss.  the images and the acting over this monologe shows sociopathic behaviors, i like that synergy of sound and images.  like i said it's not a didactic message, i just think it's powerful in that it leaves the audience disturbed by the scene are shows the utter insanity of the actions.

Alright. Usually when someone tells me it works for them on an "existential level", I think they can't describe or explain how they feel, but the rest of your post has to do with your feelings. I know other people who know and respect my feelings on Mallick, but buy into everything he does anyways. I can't argue feelings.

Characters feeling guilt doesn't resonate with me, that's a different film, this film is about loss, and when the soldiers leave the island at the end the loss happened for no reason.  it makes you angry because you see the superiors driven by ego (nolty and Travolta).  this is how I'd picture it, one mans mission to have his own war.  egos drive a lot of things we do in day to day life, i believe it would for the people commanding war as well.  there are many stories of this.  so when you juxtapose the personal struggle and loss of the soldiers against the egos of the commanders, it leaves you with a very bad taste in your mouth.  At the end of the film they have made no progress, yet lost so much.  that is very sad to me.

As I remember, Travolta and Nolte really have walk in roles. Their isn't much to their performance besides a few speeches. Is that the proper to way to give context to an hour and a half of grunt soldiers trying to save their own skin? I felt both of their roles were add ons that had little weight. Your idea of the difference between commanders and soldiers makes sense on paper, but the film doesn't go the lengths to really show that.

I also have another point of contention with The Thin Red Line. Many people claim bias and racism in films about America dealing with other countries. Many say these films promote American greatness. Well, I say there is a reverse racism in The Thin Red Line. The film digs into the insanity of war and tries to find a counterbalance with soldiers finding peace and tranquility elsewhere. The place they find it is in a native village with simplified life and what looks like peaceful living that is outside of the larger societies that makes war normal.

Well, c'mon. This undermines the society of that village. Every society has war as a fact of life. But yet Mallick is so limited in his ability to find a great counterpoint to the insanity of war that he simplifies another culture and implies that they have greater wisdom because they are not caught in the net of war. Pauline Kael use to say that too many films assumed higher knowledge in primitive societies because they didn't complicate their lives. But no society stands outside of war and this film does not show the depths of what feelings go through those people. It is a broad stroke of generalizing another culture as peaceful.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #278 on: May 17, 2007, 04:22:06 PM »
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i guess with dawn of the dead, it's kind of a weird thing, you're not supposed to go in looking for the subtext.  you're suppose to go in with a "sweet zombies kick ass" mentality.  then when you're watching this fun and cheesy movie, at some point you say, damn that's a sick idea.  zombies do what was important to them in a past life, which in this case is shopping.  that in death all they're left with is materialism... and you see the breakdown of hording from the then 70s "me" generation.  it's kind of like the cause and effect, the main characters are no better than these zombies due to the hording of excess.  at some point we even route for the zombies because we are disgusted with the humans.  They horde everything in the mall from the other (human) characters rather than share it; therefor they pay the ultimate price for this decadence.  I just wish Romero kept his original ending in which the black character (sorry forget the name) stays behind for the loot, then is killed by the zombies.  the female flys off and after the credits end we hear the sound of the helicoptor's motor dying.  that is the perfect, yet very bitter ending to this tragedy.

The materialism idea is funny. I never heard that one, but you imply either you love it you don't. I agree. I just don't which is why I'm staying away from movies like 28 Days Later.

tarantino is following the structure of the low brow exploitation movies at the time.  they very often were set up the same way, two act kinda deal.  there is a rawness to the genre i really like, yet it's true there is no depth.  abel ferrara's film mrs. 45 is like this, it's a straight up revenge film... like so many expliotation films at that time.  so is deathproof.  the only difference with deathproof is that the dialog is much better than the former incarnations, and it is a cool slasher meets chase film, with revenge flick tying it all up into one nice package.  i'm not really looking for depth, i'm looking for the excapist feel the movie provides.  getting lost in this kinda world is fun for me.  and it's kinda like the FMJ thing i said, it doesn't need anything more to be a great movie to me.

Well, maybe because Tarantino writes the dialogue so much better he proves another point: that improved dialogue can not make an exploitation film any better.

Maybe I'm wrong to assume Tarantino can twist genre the way he did with Pulp Fiction anymore. Now all he can do is replicate it at its very worst and keeps the enjoyment limited to those who already bought into it. If he keeps this up I may have to bow out from following him.

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #279 on: May 22, 2007, 07:30:58 PM »
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Critic's Notebook: 'Death' reincarnated
By Kirk Honeycutt; Hollywood Reporter

CANNES -- So how does Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" look now that it has been liberated from the "Grindhouse" conceit? The opportunity to find out has come as his film, in a format designed for overseas distribution, is showing In Competition at the Festival de Cannes.

The gimmick of "Death Proof," of course, was for Tarantino and his filmmaker buddy, Robert Rodriquez, to create two separate exploitation flicks that might have played together on a double bill at a grindhouse cinema in the 1970s, complete with missing scenes from beaten-up prints and Coming Attractions for other low-budget B movies.

Dimension Films suffered at the boxoffice when young audiences either didn't get the concept or simply didn't care. Also, a running time of more than three hours didn't help. The plan was always to release the two films, Tarantino's female revenge car-stunt movie "Death Proof" and Rodriquez's zombie horror film "Planet Terror," as individual movies in foreign territories. But "Grindhouse's" failure in North American certainly underscored the wisdom of that strategy.

What you lose when you separate these retro exploitationers, of course, is the tongue-in-cheek context. These two directors spent countless hours in grindhouses and certainly absorbed much of their cinematic aesthetic from those experiences. In "Grindhouse," they fondly remember those '70s movies which broke all the rules of film decorum to give mostly young audiences hot girls, fast cars and buckets of blood.

It was probably predictable that at its initial press screening at the Palais on Monday night boos and applause would mingle at the end. Meant to look cheap and nasty -- while in fact this is anything but a low budget movie -- the film feels out of place amid the subtitled angst and measured drama of Competition films. It also doesn't look like a film that measures up to Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," which won the Palme d'Or 13 years ago, or the "Kill Bill" films, the second of which screened at the festival in 2004.

Yet "Death Proof" remains a film that does take its artistic chances. It's a film that bears only a superficial resemblance to a '70s exploitationer. It is constructed in two acts rather than the traditional three and spends more time on two different posses of hilariously gabby young women than on action. Indeed playing on the bottom end of the "Grindhouse" twin bill, the non-stop gab at the beginning of "Death Proof" caused more than a few young men, with attention spans not tuned to three-hour movies, to vacate theaters since no action was on the foreseeable horizon.

"Death Proof" fits in nicely with Tarantino's growing oeuvre, even if it is a film with rudimentary motives and action. The filmmaker is still rethinking pulp movie fiction with a post-modern sensibility. His point is that you can sneak in a lot of subtle philosophical and psychological depth into sex talk and car stunts. As far as he is concerned, the best exploitation filmmakers always did that.

The new version clocks in at 113 minutes. Only two notable additions have been made to "Death Proof," one in each act. In both, Kurt Russell's Stuntman Mike, a riveting portrait in grizzled, pathological evil, stalks two sets of beautiful young women in his "death proof" stunt car.

In the first act, these chicks, out for a night of heavy partying in Austin, Texas, are lead by Sydney Tamiia Poitier's bad-ass drive-time radio DJ and local celebrity, Jungle Julia. The ongoing intrigue is whether any male listener to her program is going to take up her challenge that evening to buy a drink for her female companion -- Vanessa Ferlito's 'Butterfly' -- while quoting a Robert Frost poem and thereby win a lap dance.

In the earlier version, Butterfly agrees to give the winner, none other than Stuntman Mike, that lap dance. But this proves to be one of the print's "Missing Scenes," as some projectionist long ago snipped it for his own private collection. In the Cannes version, that scene is no longer missing. Let's just say that Ferlito's sexy dance routine proves worth the wait over these several months.

In the second section of the movie, 14 months after Stuntman Mike's car has killed all the girls in a head-on collision, he has moved on to Lebanon, Tennessee. Here he stalks a new set of hot babes -- this time crew members of a movie shooting locally -- as well as one stuntwoman. This proves to be Stuntman Mike's undoing as they are better at this game than he.

The addition here doesn't really add much. Before the game gets underway, there is an encounter between Mike and his new intended victims at a roadside convenience store. The sequence goes to black and white. While one woman goes to buy a magazine, Stuntman Mike menacingly plays with the dangling bare feet of another girl as they hang from the backseat window. About all this adds is an opportunity for Mary Elizabeth Winstead to sing, quite well by the way, the classic rock ballad "Baby It's You."

The final chase duel of the Dodge Challengers in the thrilling climax still bothers you a bit since some logic drops away. Stuntman Mike's car is reinforced everywhere since it is a stunt car. The girls' Dodge is not. So how does it survive?

You can shrug that off to movie magic, but more problematic is how the women allow Stuntman Mike to toy with them in the initial moments of the showdown. By simply applying the brake, their car could fall suddenly behind so New Zealand stuntwoman extraordinaire Zoe Bell, basically playing herself, can climb down off the hood where she has been fooling around in a deliberate death-defying stunt.

Oh well, Tarantino would probably argue that logic was always missing in grindhouse movie action, and he wouldn't be wrong. If "Death Proof" is his way of marking time before his next big project, it is certainly interesting that at this stage of his career he can throw together such a compelling and funny time marker.
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polkablues

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #280 on: May 23, 2007, 02:41:50 AM »
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More Mary Elizabeth Winstead could only make this a better film.  Now if only he could do that while at the same time completely removing Tracy Thoms, Zoe Bell, and Rosario Dawson.  Then he'd have a winner on his hands.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

grand theft sparrow

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #281 on: May 23, 2007, 09:54:54 AM »
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More Mary Elizabeth Winstead could only make this a better film.

Only if Tarantino gives her something to do besides make dumbass "girlie" comments and be Adam Sandler's assistant's potential rape victim.  Her uselessness made her more annoying than the characters who had a purpose in the movie.

In the second section of the movie, 14 months after Stuntman Mike's car has killed all the girls in a head-on collision, he has moved on to Lebanon, Tennessee. Here he stalks a new set of hot babes -- this time crew members of a movie shooting locally -- as well as one stuntwoman. This proves to be Stuntman Mike's undoing as they are better at this game than he.

Was this ever mentioned in the movie?  I thought both parts took place in Texas.

MacGuffin

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #282 on: May 23, 2007, 11:38:49 AM »
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Infighting dogs Tarantino's latest release
· Producer defiant over Grindhouse 'sacrilege'
· Outburst at film festival after Kurt Russell remarks

Source: The Guardian

Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof - a contender for the Palme d'Or at this year's film festival - plays out in a blaze of car wrecks, vengeance slayings and expletive-fuelled stand-offs. For a moment it appeared as though yesterday's press conference might follow suit as the iconoclastic producer Harvey Weinstein stormed on stage to defend the film against its critics.

Death Proof originally formed one half of the Grindhouse double bill that Tarantino conceived alongside fellow director and trash culture devotee Robert Rodriguez.

But following its flop release in the US this year, Weinstein ordered that the two sections - Tarantino's Death Proof and Rodriguez's Planet Terror - be expanded and re-released as separate pictures. He has been defending the decision ever since.

Weinstein's abrupt arrival appeared to be prompted in part by remarks made by Kurt Russell, who plays the role of Stuntman Mike in the film. Russell admitted he had yet to see the new version. But he added: "I'm disappointed for every audience that they won't get the full Grindhouse experience.

"For now these movies are going off on their own. But my prediction is that 20 years from now the people will want to see these movies back the way they should be. Two movies together, the complete three-and-a-half hour ride."

The producer hit back, insisting that the new versions were superior to those on offer in Grindhouse. "What you see when you see the new Planet Terror and Death Proof is Robert Rodriguez making a pure Robert Rodriguez movie and Quentin Tarantino making a pure Quentin Tarantino movie. What they did in cutting those films down for Grindhouse was a mistake. It removed the very essence of both movies."

Weinstein acknowledged that he had been accused of "sacrilege" for cutting Grindhouse in two. But he claimed he had been vindicated by his decision to expand the films. "See these movies," he said. "They will dwarf Grindhouse, believe me."

In the meantime, it was left to Tarantino to play the unlikely role of peacemaker. "Grindhouse isn't going anywhere," he assured reporters. "You will always have Grindhouse. It will be back." As yet, however, there are no plans to resuscitate the concept.

Devised as a homage to the exploitation features of the 60s and 70s, Grindhouse offered two movies for the price of one, complete with various spoof trailers for such fictitious titles as Werewolf Women of the SS. But the concept appeared to flummox audiences in the US, with reports of viewers abandoning the cinema after the first feature, apparently unaware that there was another one right behind. Others did not even get that far, put off by the prodigious running time. In the event, Grindhouse's opening weekend takings were barely half of its predicted box office haul of $20m.

Death Proof will now be released in its longer, two-hour format in the UK in September. "If you count the minutes, the movie hasn't changed that much from the Grindhouse version," the director explained. "But it's changed 180-degrees in emotional terms." The chief addition appears to be an extended lap-dancing sequence, which should appeal to die-hard fans of exploitation movies if no one else.

Tarantino is a long-time favourite of the Cannes organisers and scooped the main prize for Pulp Fiction in 1994. But most experts rate Death Proof as at best an outside bet to repeat the feat this year.

Yesterday the director appeared oddly sanguine about his chances. "Hands down my proudest moment in terms of achievement was winning the Palm d'Or for Pulp Fiction," he confessed.

"But you gotta keep it in perspective. There's only one list that's more illustrious than the list of directors who won the Palme d'Or. It's the list of directors who didn't."
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RegularKarate

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #283 on: May 23, 2007, 04:37:48 PM »
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In the second section of the movie, 14 months after Stuntman Mike's car has killed all the girls in a head-on collision, he has moved on to Lebanon, Tennessee. Here he stalks a new set of hot babes -- this time crew members of a movie shooting locally -- as well as one stuntwoman. This proves to be Stuntman Mike's undoing as they are better at this game than he.
Was this ever mentioned in the movie?  I thought both parts took place in Texas.

Yep, they mention it a couple of times... I mostly noticed the first time because I was like "HEY, They're not in Tennessee! Thems a breakfast place just yonder!"... I would have noticed it the second time, but I was too busy sleeping through that scene, maybe that's why you didn't notice either.

polkablues

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #284 on: May 23, 2007, 05:23:33 PM »
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More Mary Elizabeth Winstead could only make this a better film.

Only if Tarantino gives her something to do besides make dumbass "girlie" comments and be Adam Sandler's assistant's potential rape victim.  Her uselessness made her more annoying than the characters who had a purpose in the movie.

And that was exactly the problem.  She was the only one of the four actresses who was actually capable of making that shit dialogue sound like an actual person saying things, and of course she was the one of the four that was given jack-all to do in the movie.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

 

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