Day: December 17, 2007

Robbed Zombie: Review for Planet Terror DVD

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I know, I know, everyone who saw Grindhouse in theaters is in fury. The reason it was so much fun to watch was beacause you got the feeling of actually being in a grind-house theater; what with the fake trailers (which are not included on any of the DVDs), the scratched film reels, the missing reels, etc. And releasing Planet Terror and Death Proof separately (not even in the order they appeared: Death came after Planet) takes away the fun and excitement of a Grindhouse. But nevertheless, the films are sitll great fun. Robert Rodriguez’s (Spy Kids, Desperado, Sin City). Planet Terror is the esential grind-house film, what with all the blood and melodrama and corny effects. It’s up to El Wray (Freedy Rodriguez), a stripper with a machine gun posthetic leg named Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan), and a anestesiologist named Dakota (Marley Shelton) to save the world from a virus that turns people to zombies. Even from this very brief review, you can tell that it’s probably the cheesiest movie you’ll ever see in your life, but it’s better than it sounds. It really makes you feel that you’re in a grind-house theater and the feeling is great. It purposely is trying to be an exploitation film, a genre that contains cult classics like John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. This film is part a cinematic histrory, because to great directors are bringing back the films they love: grind-house films. Though it’s really cheesy, the film is extremely well (or horribly) made, containing scratched film reels, missing reels, etc. The special features very fun to watch (Marley Shelton can do weird things with her hands) and have great little anecdotes. But it still dioesn’t make up for the fake trailers.
Grade: Overall: A-
Stars: 4.5/5
Stars: 8/10
Film: B+
Special Features: A-

No "Proof" Needed: Review for Death Proof DVD

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I know, I know, everyone who saw Grindhouse in theaters is in fury. The reason it was so much fun to watch was beacause you got the feeling of actually being in a grind-house theater; what with the fake trailers (which are not included on any of the DVDs), the scratched film reels, the missing reels, etc. And releasing Planet Terror and Death Proof separately (not even in the order they appeared: Death came after Planet) takes away the fun and excitement of a Grindhouse. But nevertheless, the films are sitll great fun. Death Proof, the second part of Grindhouse, was directed by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill) and definately has his style all over it. Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russel) is a long forgotten TV stuntman who has since then gone on a rampage, first taking down four pot smoking beauties, then three women on location for a movie shoot. Only, the latter group of women decide to fight back and what comes is the most exciting car chase in years. The chase ia all real and adrenaline pumped. Though we all miss the fake trailers, the movies are great, but wait a little before getting them, there might be hope for a theatrical version on DVD. The special features are interesting enough, but not enough to distract you from the absent trailers. There is an interesting doc on Zoe Bell and on the car chase.
Grade: Overall: B+
Stars: 3.5/5
Stars: 7/10
Movie: A-
Special Features: B+

Only at the Grindhouse: Review for "Grindhouse"

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The title of this review says it all. Only at the Grindhouse can you see two highly acclaimed directors, blood, gore, zombies, cars, machine-guns, stunt drivers, an fake B-list cast (kind of), and Tarentino in both films making cameoes.

The first film to feature is Robert Rodreguez’s Planet Terror. Just like a real grindhouse film, the film features melodrama, blood (lots of it), a stripper with a machine gun prosthetic leg, and most of all: zombies. The film plays well on the zombie effect and there is a lot much melting flesh and a truly horrific scene that has Quentin Tarentino playing a rapist who wants to do Rose McGowan. There is a funny scene, which does greatly with the “Grindhouse” effect, where Bruce Willis’ head blows up, who plays a scientist in the army, which is very cheesy, just like the Grindhouse films.

Then the fake trailers appear with such titles as Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the S.S., Ed Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead) Don’t, and Eli Roth’s (Hostel, Cabin Fever) Thanksgiving (honestly, who would think of a holiday horror movie like this?). Each are very funny and give the film a realness to it. In real grind-house theaters, they would show trailers for other exploitation films, so to add that to a movie pretending to be a grind-house film is really a smart move.

The last fim is Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the fatser paced, women’s revenge themed, and more psychologically powerful film of the two. The film ia a homage to films like Vanishing Point and has an A-list cast including Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms, who both were in Rent. Kurt Russel stars as Stuntman Mike, a forgotten TV stuntman, who decides to go on a rampage. He first picks up Rose McGowan, who already had a role in Planet Terror (In grind-house films, the budget was often so low, they had to hire the same actor for different roles in the same doubvle-feature). She ends up being thrown around in the passenger’s seat of Russel’s skull and crossbone laden car. She hits her head too hard and dies. Then he goes after a threesome of pot smoking girls and purposely craches into them, leaving them dead. After a few months, he targets Zoe Bell, Dawson and Thoms, who play a game of shipmast (you haang onto the front of the car by hanging on to a belt…while the car is in drive). He tries to kill them, which pushes their buttons. Now it’s time for revenge. In a heart pounding car chase, the best car chase in years, the women fight back and go after Mike. Both films are great and Tarentino and Rodreguez have made a masterpiece. Both films have sctaches on the film and “missing reels”. A truly great peice of film from great directors, this film is one of their best. You get a sense of realness to it, and after the film is over, you may be left breathless.

Grindhouse: A

Planet Terror: B+

Death Proof: A

Faux Trailers: A

Pretty Good Room Service: Review for 1408

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John Cusack is a good actor. In 1408, the new horror movie based on the Stephen King short story, he gives the performance of the year for horror movies (which, I guess, isn’t really sayng much, considering the acting mess that is Hostel and Saw). But the point is, that when he is trapped in the hell-bent room, his acting is soectacular and powerful. 1408 is about Mike Elinson (Cusak), a skeptical writer that researches haunted houses and basically debunks them. Among the famous Mote-hells is the Dolphin Hotel in New York. It’s not the actual hotell that’s evil, but it’s room 1408 that gives reason for 53 people to commit suicide in the room (est. 1952). Mike doesn’t take the dire warnings from the hotell’s manager, played brilliantly and maliciously by Samuel L. Jackson. It is said that no one can stay an hour in the room without commiting suicide. Mike ignores him and goes to the room…ad he’s fine. The first couple of minutes are completely normal, but the rest of the hour is one hell of a ride. But when the subject of his dead daughter and his estranged wife is brought up (by the room), you cand feel his pain; his need of someone he loved. Yet the room taunted him by giving him his daughter back, and then torturing him by having her die again. But there are parts that the cinematography is sometimes very cheesy. Also, there’s the cliche of him waking up to find none of it was true, then realize that he was still in the room the whole time. But other than that, it’s all pretty good.
Grade: B+
Stars: 3.5/5
Stars: 7/10

Weird (and Annoying) Science: Review for New Fall Show: The Big Bang Theory

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For a lot of people, watching quality programming that is also chock full of smart subjects and anecdotes is often entertaining (like Fraiser), but those of who are math geeks and those of who are expecting a great comedy from The Big Bang Theory, they will be sorely disappointed. The two main characters are absolute geeks, not even mentioning easy things like E=mc2, they mention things far beyond and a little irrelevant (“Did you know that if a stair is even 2mm off that most people will trip?” says Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons). Two geeks, Sheldon and afore mentioned Leonard (Johnny Gelecki), get a kinetic shock when a blond “beauty” moves in across the hall. Then “evolves” a relationship between desperate Sheldon and bimbo Penny (Kaley Couco); relationship meaning Sheldon will do ANYTHING for her and stares at her. Considering she works at the Cheesecake Factory, this relationship sounds unbelievably cliche. The fact of the matter is that you don’t need to know the difference between 3x (-4ab + y) and 3+5 in order to get the jokes. Worst part is that there’s a laugh track. The hype of the show makes it look like the jokes are cunning, snarky and very geeky (kinda like the jokes that make The Office‘s Dwight so funny), but the jokes always fall flat (not by means of gravity). The jokes very rarely have anything to do with being sophisticated and scientific, no inside jokes. They are mostly picking at Beauty and the Geek romances. A few of the jokes are mildly enjoyable and Leonard plays a very good sidekick/pal who often enjoys giving random anecdotes. In a nut shell: you don’t have to be smart to watch this show, it’s important that you enjoy dumb jokes. Grade: C
Stars: 2.5/5
Stars: 5.5/10