axe to "Grindhouse"


Since the “Grindhouse” people decided not to screen the film until Wednesday night, way too late for alternative weeklies, my review won’t appear in print until next week. If you’re interested in an early look, however, here’s what I wrote:



Too bad Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino didn’t make the “Prevues of Coming Attractions” — Rodriguez’s “Machete” and Rob Zombie’s “Werewolf Women of the SS” — into their “Feature Presentations” in this “parody” of a 70s Z-movie twin bill. Both get more laughs than Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” or “Tarantino’s Death Proof.” “Terror” draws more on “Dawn of the Dead” and “Toxic Avenger” than anything by William Castle, with flesh-eating zombies spawned by chemical weapons terrorizing a Texas town. It consists mostly of exploding heads, bodies splattered by vehicles and Rose McGowan with an M-16 for a prosthetic leg. Unexpected flashes of wit and black humor kept my interest. As for Tarantino, he’s aging badly: he has a role in both films and looks like a cross between Dan Aykroyd and Bob Hope on a bender. Nor do his trademark affectations, trivia and fetishism (must a woman’s foot hog the foreground of every scene?) charm any longer, though a car chase and a psycho’s (a lovable Kurt Russell) comeuppance end the tedium on a high.

Otherwise, legions of critics have been tripping over fanboys in the mad rush, motivated perhaps by a feeling they might have missed the boat with "300,"  to lavish the hippest praise on the film. For a voice of reason, take a look at Armond White’s intelligent, insightful, and already derided review  in the "New York Press" or James Verniere's smart take in the "Boston Herald."

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