April 24, 2014

Tarantino and Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse” Blu-ray a giddy, gory treat for fans


Hollywoodnews.com: HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:

“Grindhouse: Two-Disc Collector’s Edition”
Every once in a while, a Blu-ray arrives that furthers the format and (hopefully) convinces a few more film fans to upgrade their systems so they can enjoy the highest-quality presentation. Francis Ford Coppola’s restored “Godfather” trilogy comes to mind, as does the five-disc complete set offering every possible cut of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.” Those are must-owns for any collector. So is the new “Grindhouse.”

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s retro double feature offered fans a time machine of sorts, an experiment in exploitation cinema that produced two intentionally dated, extremely gory grindhouse films surrounded by bogus trailers and clever marketing materials. The directors attracted a fair share of A-list friends for the fun, from Bruce Willis and Josh Brolin to Kurt Russell. On a side note, I would watch as many “Stuntman” Mike films as Russell wanted to make. I love him in that role. He’s the most alluring serial killer we’ve seen on screen in years.

As for the Blu-rays, they manage to make the intentionally grainy visual presentation pop in ways that weren’t exactly possible on the big screen, when “Grindhouse” opened in theaters. The quality audio presentation also amplifies all of the scratches and drags the director’s added to dirty their modern films. That same audio elevates Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” which concludes in a symphony of motor engines that must be experienced in digital, high-def audio. For the first time, the “Grindhouse” Blu-ray brings the grindhouse experience into your own house.

Plus, “Grindhouse” pairs the two films on Blu-ray for the first time, finally recreating Tarantino and Rodriguez’s double-feature intentions. The fake trailers are here (though “Machete” isn’t so fake anymore, not that the movie actually exists). A ton of supplements are included. I’ll feature them below.

These movies aren’t necessarily my taste. Once you get past the shock value, the cleverness of the homage fades (in my opinion). I do love the second half of Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” but again, that’s mainly due to Russell’s maniacal turn as a vehicular psychopath. But I’ve seen enough Blu-ray conversions to know that the “Grindhouse” treatment is something special, and fans of the movie and these directors should be ecstatic.

Bonus features on the “Grindhouse” Blu-ray include:

DISC ONE
“Planet Terror” feature film
“Death Proof” feature film
Intermission Cards
“Don’t” trailer
“Werewolf Women of the SS” trailer
“Thanksgiving” trailer

DISC TWO
Robert Rodriguez’s 10-Minute Cooking School
The Badass Babes Of Planet Terror
The Guys Of Planet Terror
Casting Rebel
Sickos, Bullets And Explosions: The Stunts Of Planet Terror
The Friend, The Doctor And The Real Estate Agent
Poster Gallery
Trailers
Intermission Cards
Extended “Werewolf Women Of The SS” trailer with commentary by director Rob Zombie
The Making Of “Werewolf Women Of The SS” Trailer
Extended “Don’t” trailer with commentary by director Edgar Wright
The Making Of “Don’t” Trailer
“Don’t” Storyboard/Trailer Comparison
“Don’t” poster
The Making Of “Thanksgiving” Trailer
Hot Rods of Death Proof
From Texas to Tennessee, The Look of Death Proof
New York Times Talks With Quentin Tarantino and Lynn Hirschberg
Comic Con 2006 Featuring the Directors and Cast of Grindhouse
Stunts on Wheels: The Legendary Drivers of Death Proof
Quentin’s Greatest Collaborator: Editor Sally Menke
The Guys Of Death Proof
Kurt Russell As Stuntman Mike
Finding Quentin’s Gals
The UnCut Version of “Baby, It’s You” Performed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Introducing Zoe Bell
Extended Music
Poster Gallery

As for grades, let’s go:
“Planet Terror” – **1/2 out of 4
“Death Proof” – *** out of 4
The Blu-ray – **** out of 4

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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