Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Planet Terror (Robert Rodriguez, 2007)

As you probably would expect, I took in the first possible showing of Grindhouse yesterday (thank God for flex time on Fridays). I think it's too hefty of an undertaking to talk about both of the films at once (although most print reviews have done so, and rightfully, I think), so today, I will talk about my favorite of the two, Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror.

Again, most print reviews I've read have said that PT is the weaker of the two movies, I definitely disagree. Neither inappropriately campy nor cartoonish, both accusations I have heard, it stars a smoking Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling, go-go dancer turned zombie killer, and Freddy Rodriguez as El Wray, her former lover and head zombie fighter. Although, to be truthful, they aren't really zombies, but have instead been infected by some kind of chemical weapon. Or something. That's one of my favorite part about exploitation films: nothing has to be concretely explained. The fun is in getting wrapped up in the story, something Rodriguez clearly is playing with in his missing reel. Also joining the zombie fighting is Marley Shelton, as Dr. Block, and other fun characters, including the insane Mexican babysitting twins. Lots of people, lots of guns. The bad guys, most notably Bruce Willis and Quentin Tarantino, are grotesque fun, especially when their bodies are melting or something like that. Naveen Andrews, from Lost (a show I've never even seen!), is particularly great as the scientists who collects an interesting prize from his enemies.

All of these elements - sex, violence, melting flesh, even some political commentary - add up to a fun time in the theater, one that had me jumping, cheering (inwardly), and even feeling like I might puke. Everything you want from a zombie exploitation film. Throughout the homage, as well, there's always the distinct feeling that this is a Rodriguez picture, from the sin City-esque opening sequence with Cherry Darling dancing, to the score, composed by the man himself and basically the same as his other scores. This is pure expolitation fun, right down to the last shot, which is as authentic as it comes. Were more movies like this...


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