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Grindhouse Premieres in L.A.

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 27, 2007 at 5:23AM

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.
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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]

This article is related to: Box Office, Independents, Genres, Directors, Quentin Tarantino, Horror , Weinsteins


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.