Grindhouse is this year’s two-movies-for-the-price-of-one bargain: a double-bill horror duo directed by Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) and Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof). It’s 3.5 hours of romping over-the-top B-movie fun. These are movies made with edge and verve and they are both exceptionally violent. They are not for kids nor the Sunday tea crowd.
The stronger of the two is Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. It is your classic zombie movie with just enough purposefully bad acting and silliness, and a brilliantly dumb plot to make it, what I’ll call, an instant classic. I mean, com’on, any movie that has a character with a machine gun prosthetic has got to be good! My rating 8 out of 10.
Tarantino’s effort, Death Proof, is a ‘quieter’ film in a manner of speaking. It stars Kurt Russell (appropriately enough as this lad was born for B-movie greatness) as a psychopathic stunt car driver who gets his thrills offing lovely young lasses using his car. Sounds dull, I know, and for much of it, this is true. Why Tarantino bothers to spend so much time developing characters – Tracie Thoms aside, who is brilliant in this film – we don’t particularly care for is beyond me. In the end, I found this film too self-indulgent (a hallmark of so many of Tarantino’s films). My rating 5 out of 10.
The Lake House
This film proves two points I’m continually making: 1) just how bad Hollywood movie-making is today; and, 2) just how far ahead the South Koreans are when it comes to story-telling and movie-making. Lake House is a remake of the Korean film, Siworae, released in 2000. While I haven’t seen Siworae (it is on my long, long list) I’d wager a penny farthing it’s better than this Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock effort. What does make this movie interesting, however, is the premise. Single, lonely doctor Kate (Bullock) lives in a beautiful house on the lake … the same house frustrated architect Alex (Reeves) lives in … except Bullock is living in the house 2 years ahead of Reeves. She’s in 2006; he in 2004. A magical mailbox in front of the house connects them in ‘real’ time. Despite Reeves woeful attempts at acting, the two do fall in love and concoct a plan to meet in Bullock’s time. Gosh, got all that? …. The problems with this film are many, the most distressing one being the utter lack of chemistry between Bullock and Reeves trapped as they are in two different times. Yet, despite it’s star power, and the hope of its premise, no amount of time travel would convince me to revisit this slow, dull, ultimately boring Hollywood effort. My rating 5 out of 10.