Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse is so richly evocative of an earlier generation's guilty cinematic pleasures that you can practically smell the faint aroma of bum emanating from the row behind you. With their three-hour doubleheader, Tarantino and Rodriguez are telling us something about what turned them on at the picture show back when the thrills were as cheap as the tickets. Any fears about nostalgia's heavy hand are quickly obliterated (along with just about every living thing onscreen) by Rodriguez's Planet Terror, a 90-minute jolt of zombie mayhem that gets the audience worked up into such a frenzy that you start to wonder how Tarantino can possibly top it. The surprise of Death Proof is that he doesn't even try. Rather, Tarantino mellows the mood with an unpredictable road movie in which laconic passages of girl-bonding give way to sudden bouts of vehicular manslaughter. Death Proof feels especially personal because its main characters are the very movie performers and craftspeople with whom Tarantino clearly feels a special kinship. It may be the most revealing thing he's ever done -- a full-throttle expression of a singular artistic temperament disguised, like so many gems of grindhouses of yore, as a glittering hunk of trash.
Quentin Tarantino, Robert RodriguezRose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Naveen Andrews, Stacy Ferguson, Nicky Katt, Hung NguyenQuentin Tarantino, Robert RodriguezBob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Quentin Tarantino, Robert RodriguezThe Weinstein Co./Dimension