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Grindhouse Premieres in L.A.

by Anne Thompson
March 27, 2007 5:23 AM
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After all the Comic-Con build-up and rumors about length, rating and rushing to the finish line, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino delivered their salacious, leering, gross, disgusting, violent B-movie splatterfest in the nick of time to screen it Monday night at L.A.'s downtown movie palace The Orpheum. The movie hits theaters April 6.

The audience groaned and screamed and ducked in their seats with sheer pleasure throughout the three-hour running time. At the tent party afterwards the debates ranged on which trailers were best, was Rodriguez better than Tarantino, etc. It all depends on your own taste. You could argue that red-blooded males will love both, while more discerning males and women will vote for the Tarantino. But who knows?

The movie is broken into two 85-minute halves; one trailer (Machete) unspools in front of the first and three more (Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the SS, Edgar Wright's Don't and Eli Roth's Thanksgiving) in front of the second. Rodriguez's film, shot digitally, is a wild careening episodic crazy zombie flick with tongue planted firmly in cheek, artificially scratched and mauled to resemble the crap B-movies he and Tarantino are honoring. That the scene in which a mutating dripping gloppy Tarantino attempts to rape peg-legged femme fatale Rose McGowan (who comes off well in this flick, as does her stalwart gun-toting swain, Freddie Rodriguez) passed with an R-rating not only surprises me but Tarantino and Rodriguez as well. Check out their interviews on MTV.com. "Did you forget about the melting penis?" they ask incredulously.

As grungy and entertainingly gross as Rodriguez's Planet Terror is, Tarantino's Death Proof is sleek and 35 mm gorgeous, smartly written and paced. It delivers a satisfying female empowerment pay-off as Kurt Russell plays a bad guy who makes Snake Plissken look like a wimp and stuntwoman-turned-actress Zoe Bell (above, with the directors) delivers the goods in an extended (dangerous-looking) live-action chase sequence that leaves Thelma and Louise in the dust.

Print reviews should start breaking by week's end.

[Photo by Wireimage]

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

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