Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Can't Help Myself

I went to see "Grindhouse" last night with my husband, because I'm the sort of person that thinks a one-legged go-go dancer with a machine gun for a prosthetic is awfully funny. I'm also a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City" and Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill Volumes I & II". How can I resist a double bill from those two fellers?

Of course, my husband is the proud owner of books like THE PYSCHOTRONIC VIDEO GUIDE by Michael J. Weldon, essentially a primer on any film considered to be grindhouse material. Plus my husband used to go to a few grindhouse theatres in Toronto in the early 80's to take in his favorite guilty pleasures, like "Convoy" with Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw, "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" with Peter Fonda and Susan George, and "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" with Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges, to name a few. Outside on the marquee were signs like "Four Great Movies For One Great Price!" and shows ran continuously from 8:30 in the morning to 4 am, the tail end of the following night. Inside he once watched a patron destroy the seats for no apparent reason. Meanwhile the rest of the audience carried on watching the movie.

Since my husband and I met each other while working as ushers at the old Runnymede Theatre in Toronto's west end, we found the little "Grindhouse" touches like the skipping and repeating dialogue as the 'reels' changed were priceless.

I won't get too specific in case anyone else ventures out to see it, but I have to admit I liked the second flick, Tarantino's "Death Proof" the best. While overtly referencing films like "White Line Fever" with Jan Michael Vincent, and "Vanishing Point" with Barry Newman and Cleavon Little, as well as featuring an identical 1970 white Dodge Challenger, Tarantino subtley builds his story arc over Hitchcock's classic "Psycho" format. A nice touch for cinephiles.

Also, I really enjoyed Kurt Russell's performance in "Death Proof". Not for people who can be disturbed by visual images that come without warning. Generally I can see those moments coming, but there were a few images that arrived onscreen without my violence-sixth-sense registering an in-the-next-second appearance.

However, Kurt Russell makes his Stuntman Mike character charming and flirtatious enough to have the women in the film willing to fall for him, while keeping the sinister edge apparent to the moviegoer. I think he did a kick-ass job.

Two beautiful things about Kurt Russell I've always admired - his lovely voice, and those I've-got-a-secret twinkly blue eyes. Great choice for Stuntman Mike, Mr. Tarantino.


Christine said...

I really want to see this. I'm going to have to spring for a babysitter, grab my husband, and go!

julia said...

I hope you get a lively audience. Penhorn is not the place to see it, even though it was closest for us. I'd go to Park Lane for the university crowd - at least then you'd probably get some audience reaction. Oh, how I miss the audiences in Toronto for a flick like "Grindhouse"!

Kelly said...

I love Kurt Russell but this movie just does not appeal to me in the least. Although I have to say when I saw the trailer I kept saying, does that chick have a gun for a leg? Now I know.

julia said...

Kelly, when it comes out on DVD you can go straight to the Kurt Russell part and still avoid the gruesome stuff. A win-win situation.

Julie S said...

I've been hearing good things about this! I'm a sucker for Quentin and how often do you get to see someone with a leggun?