Posts Tagged ‘Quentin Tarrantino’

The Grindhouse: Tarrantino, Rodriguez and me

April 7, 2007

It was an experience alright. Not one many seemed to get. What do I mean by that? That even among the pulp schlock crowd there are idiots who don’t even seem to know what they are watching. Two things stood out among the audience during this film. The first, moments after Rodriguez’s Planet Terror came to a conclusion a good 20 people stood up and left the theater as if the movie was over. I watched in absolute astonishment as this occurred. Did they not realize that Kurt Russell hadn’t appeared in the film yet? That there was no deadly car chase sequences? Very odd. And secondly, only about a quarter of the audience was laughing and truly appreciating the amazing experience that these two talented filmmakers created for our pleasure. They were watching but they certainly weren’t seeing. Every detail of these two films was so minutely crafted to capture the essence of the original grindhouse movies that really its difficult to calm them bad movies. From seeing the crew and camera man in the mirrors in the opening moments of Planet Terror to the constantly shifting backgrounds every time the camera cuts in the first car ride in Death Proof, you know, if nothing else, that Rodriguez and Tarrantino have seen far too many of these movies themselves.

But even where homage is paid, the films stand alone as very entertaining and enjoyable modern films. The car crash sequences in Death Proof are really quite thrilling. The violence is unquestionably and almost realistically violent. If you know someone who has been in a fatal automobile accident, you may want to close your eyes during this sophisticated slasher movies first big death scene. But then if you do, the final 20 minutes of the film won’t be nearly as satisfying. The only problem here is that, well, you’ve seen Tarrantino do this all before. Certainly not with a murdering stuntman behind the wheel, but the whole 70’s exploitation in modern setting, you have…over and over again. So when the camera wraps around the girls in a diner quipping in pulp culture references…you’ve seen it. When you witness the over the top violence…you’ve seen it. This is Tarrantio’s specialty. This is why people love him, and will continue to do so. Because while he takes himself seriously as a filmmaker (my friends would argue too seriously), he takes himself too seriously when concerning film genres that don’t matter as much to anyone else. (Except maybe Eli Roth – who is his own sort of twistedness.) Even when there are a few moments of this film that drag a bit (the second group of girls especially), it’s so smoothly done, and has such an incredible end, you’ll find yourself a fan…I was even hooting and hollering in the end, which is something I don’t normally do. And thank goodness Kurt Russell exists. I don’t know what I would do without the man.

As for Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. It’s just impressive to see a man take such a ridiculous idea and make something beautiful out of it. Oh, and grotesque. But instead of making my own statements about the film, I’m going to pick on someone else’s statements. That being this final statement made by Richard Roeper in his current review “Grindhouse” over at the Chicago Sun Times…

“Rodriguez is a ridiculously talented writer, director, editor, composer, cinematographer, sound designer, etc., etc., and he absolutely nails the tone of the classic zombie gore-fest. Even through all the winks and blood and decapitations, he gives us twisted little subplots and a handful of three-dimensional characters. The cast is strong, though it’s a bit tough to buy the slight (albeit talented) Freddy Rodriguez as the baddest man on the planet. The sole reason I’m giving “Planet Terror” only three stars is I’ve never been a zombie-movie guy; I’ve always found this particular strain of undead, with their limited brainpower and their halting gaits and their dopey groaning, to be among the least interesting horror-movie monsters. But for fans of the genre, “Planet Terror” is just about perfect.” (more…)

Sam Raimi “Haunted” by his past, others influenced

August 27, 2006

We all know that in cinema there are those directors who are strongly influenced by films they grew up on… strongly, Tarantino is one of the biggest ones. He’s not genre busting, he’s a melting pot of genres that are important to him as a person. And he deals with all of it well. I love his movies, probably because I also love the movies that influenced them. Images from Lady Snowblood and Kill Bill; the Villains looking over their victims.
lady snowblood villianskill bill villians

Brian DePalma is another. It’s obvious that his work is strongly influenced by Hitchcock, even when his films are less than mediocre.

evil dead 2But then there are those Director’s who’s visions are unique … or are they? If one searches around enough one can find examples of where influences have been drawn from. Let’s look at Sam Raimi; director of the wonderful “Spider-Man” films and the brilliant “A Simple Plan”. “Evil Dead 2″ was one of the first films that affected me as a youngster. It was viscerally so exciting and created a tangible world for me that existed outside of my own. That was the same night I saw “Bladerunner” for the first time ever. It was a good night in my childhood; and the world of cinema opened up to me. But I digress… Sam Raimi’s style has always felt so authentic to me, so entirely different from anything else out there. Until I saw something the other night – a movie.

The Haunting PosterThe original “The Haunting” from 1963; Black and white film, directed by Robert Wise, rated G. And it felt at times like Raimi was directing it. The camera tilting back and forth as sounds from other sides of walls are heard, dutch angles on doorways and mounted heads of animals, cameras flying at the faces of potential victims. I was watching it thinking to myself, Raimi saw this when he was 10. He had to have! “The Haunting” is worth checking out for any of you die hard horror Raimi fans.

And look what a little hunting got me… the truth.

http://mp.aol.com/video.index.adp?mode=2&pmmsid=1205128

The Innocents

The Others
Another one to see is “The Innocents” which basically became “The Others”. It’s funny because within the movie “The Innocents” the spirits are referred to on several occasions as the Others. It’s quite an obvious update. Both films very creepy and a little melodramatic towards the end, but very different at the same time. There’s even something that draws on familiarity between the posters! (more…)


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