Archive for September 17th, 2017

Fandango Groovers Presents21st Century Grindhouse

When Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino announced their Grindhouse project, knowing me as “the film guy”, lots of people asked me to explain what Grindhouse was, I struggled. It’s not that I didn’t know what Grindhouse is/was, it was finding the language, relevance and context.  Within in a minute I said genre and exploitation, then had to explain both terms.  Tarantino and Rodriguez’s idea was to replicate and to pay homage to Grindhouse by recreating exploitation movies of the 60s and 70s then stripping them down to show in a double feature.  The films would be shown with fake trailers, previews of “coming attractions”. We never got to see the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse project in the UK.  After underperforming in other territories the films were split and shown individually with Death Proof hitting cinema screens a decade ago in September 2007.  Planet Terror followed in November. This is only half the reason for this post.  Not only is it a decade since Tarantino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse, but we now have Grindhouse on TV.  Blood Drive is a totally bonkers TV show, set in a dystopian near-future, a cop and lollypop sucking bad girl are forced to work together in a death race driving cars that run on human blood.  Given all this exposure, things have moved on, and I think most people reading this will know what grind house is. For those that don’t, Rather than try and explain it it’s probably better to demonstrate. For my Grindhouse project imagine a week of double features; a week of movies edited down to somewhere around 60 to 80 minutes. As was the case back in the day with the real grind house the movies will be a mix of exploitation and more fanciful movies. The one catch, unlike reel grindhouse, they all must be good movies in their own right (in my opinion). I have also limited my choices to 21st century movies.

Before we start, coming attractions, the trailers to be shown before or between the movies

coming attractions 2

Monday: Women Kicking Ass – Haywire (2011) and Doomsday (2008)Tonight only Haywire and Doomsday

Exploitation films were big in the 60’s and particularly 70’s, the idea was to exploit current trends and zeitgeist to make financially successful movies.  Haywire fits the bill in a very 21st century way.  The story goes that Steven Soderbergh saw a Gina Carano MMA fight on TV and decided to write a movie for her.  At 93 minutes it is already very lean but could be trimmed to the required length with a slightly simplified plot.  It’s hard to believe Neil Marshall’s Doomsday is nearly two hours long as it zips by.  Cut the prologue and epilogue and concentrate on the best of the action and you have a dystopian action movie.

Tuesday: The Road – Highwaymen (2004) and Zombieland (2009)tonight only Highwaymen and Zombieland

At 80 minutes Robert Harmon’s criminally underrated Highwaymen already fits the time constraints, it’s just a little low key.  That, is why it needs to be paired with the pure fun of Ruben Fleischer Zombieland, a film so good that you wouldn’t want to trim it down to fit the grindhouse ethos, fortunately at 88 minutes you don’t have to do much cutting.

Wednesday: Girls with samurai swords – Kill Bill (2003 -2004) and Azumi (2003)Tonight only Kill Bill and Azumi

Quentin Tarantino’s true grindhouse movie could be Kill Bill.  When played back to back, the two movies run for over four hours, to make them into half of a grindhouse project you could take the best of the action scenes, most notably the epic showdown at house of blue leaves.  While I would never normally advocate dubbing films grindhouse and reading subtitles doesn’t go together.  For this reason, the story of a teenage assassin in feudal Japan from cult director Ryûhei Kitamura would need to be dubbed, not show in its original Japanese.  At over two house it needs to be cut in half.  most of this would be achieved by jumping in to the second act.

Thursday: TV Special – Blood Drive (2017) and Firefly (2002)Tonight only Blood Drive and Firefly

As we reach the halfway point of the week we go a little leftfield and pick two TV shows: The Grindhouse inspired TV show Blood Drive, coupled with Firefly, one of the best cult TV shows of the century.  At 45 minutes the first two episodes of blood drive could be trimmed to less than 80 minutes.  The first The F…ing Cop introduces the idea of the race, the second Welcome to Pixie Swallow is a total hoot.  Although there are some ongoing stories in Joss Whedon’s Firefly each episode is essentially individual, you could therefore show any of them, I would start at the beginning with The Train Job.

Friday: Friday Night Action Fun – Atomic Blonde (2017) and John Wick (2014)Tonight only Atomic Blonde and John Wick

Two action movies that fit together perfectly and are closely linked.   The cold war, action, spy, thriller Atomic Blonde is David Leitch’s  first feature as director, he was previously the uncredited co-director of John Wick.  The revenge thriller about a legendry hit man who reluctantly comes out of retirement directed by David Leitch.  At five and ten minute short of two hours respectively, they would need some harsh trimming to fit the bill.

Saturday: History and Horror – Centurion (2010) and 28 Days Later… (2002)tonight only Centurion and 28 Days Later

I could have picked any or all of Neil Marshall’s movies for this list, Joining Doomsday from earlier in the week is one of his most under seen and underrated movies Centurion.  A chase movie with Michael Fassbender as part of splinter group of Roman soldiers chased by a killer as single minded as The Terminator, played by a devastatingly brilliant Olga Kurylenko.  If 28 Days Later… didn’t reinvent the zombie genre, it certainly rejuvenated it. Directed by Danny Boyle with a script by Alex Garland, it is a perfect horror movie.  Beyond the gore and the action it reminds us the people are more scary than the monsters.

Sunday: GrindhouseTonight only Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse

There is only one place to finish the week, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse screened as intended.

Now all I need is someone to fund and screen it.  Any takers? Thought not! It’s a fun idea though. 

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