In this double-feature nod to the bloody, cheesy, sexy and speedy flicks of the '70s, "Grindhouse" stacks two 90-minute flicks from writer-directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and separates them with fake movie trailers directed by Rodriguez, Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead"), Rob Zombie ("The Devil's Rejects") and Eli Roth ("Hostel"). Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" features infected mutants that threaten to take over a small town. Tarantino's "Death Proof" features a crazed motorist (Kurt Russell) and his quest to run hot babes off the road. "Grindhouse" stars Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Rosario Dawson and many more.
Big question: Can all this homage justify spending three hours in the theater?
Catch it: Two dudes who love movies deliver a flick for guys and gals who love 'em too, playing off an endless list of guilty pleasures (exploding cars, disgusting goo, gratuitous boob shots) while honoring them as well. "Grindhouse" is funny, nasty, and almost literally dripping with film buffs' excitement over how far movies have come, how far they haven't, and the onscreen bits and pieces that will never go out of style.
Skip it: If you can't enjoy a movie with so many moments of giddy, no-holds-barred entertainment that at one point someone in the theater yelled, "Rewind it!"
Bottom line: "Grindhouse" suffers slightly from its length, and "Planet Terror" works less than "Death Proof" to reinvent the cliches. But this is an epic dream-come-true for nostalgia-holics that can still delight anyone who wants their banter snappy, their death scenes squishy and their filmmakers to have as much fun as their audience.
Bonus: The ladies of "Death Proof" insist that a mix tape is far more romantic than a mix CD. Any love for an iTunes playlist?
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
'Grindhouse: Planet Terror'
Written, directed and photographed by Robert Rodriguez; edited by Rodriguez and Sally Menke; production design by Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute; produced by Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan. A Dimension Films release; opens Friday on a double bill with "Death Proof." MPAA rating: R (for strong graphic bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, some sexuality, nudity and drug use).
Cherry - Rose McGowan
Wray - Freddy Rodriguez
Block - Josh Brolin
Dakota - Marley Shelton
'Grindhouse: Death Proof'
Written, directed and photographed by Quentin Tarantino; edited by Sally Menke; production design by Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute; produced by Tarantino and Erica Steinberg. A Dimension Films release; opens Friday on a double bill with "Planet Terror." MPAA rating: R (for strong graphic bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, some sexuality, nudity and drug use).
Stuntman Mike - Kurt Russell
Zoe - Zoe Bell
Abernathy - Rosario Dawson
Kim - Tracie Thoms