“Grindhouse,” reviewed by Susan Granger

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In an affectionate homage to the deliberately tawdry exploitation movies of the 1960s and ‘70s, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have collaborated on this flashy double-feature which captures all the sensationalism and over-the-top violence which characterized that low-budget genre.

“Grindhouse” contains two distinctly different blood-and-guts stories, separated by fake “Coming Attractions” for low-budget thrillers that promise more nudity, lewdness and weirdness.

In Rodriguez’ “Planet Terror,” Wray, a traveler, played by Freddy Rodriguez, finds himself in a town that’s suddenly overrun by alien zombies. Rose McGowan is Cherry, a go-go dancer who has lost a leg and is called upon to save the universe with a machine gun mounted in her prosthetic limb. (Match that Heather Mills!).

In Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” Kurt Russell plays macho Stuntman Mike, a psychotic serial killer who goes after women in his skull-emblazoned vintage Chevy Nova. Rosario Dawson is Lindsay Lohan’s makeup/hair artist, working on a cheerleader movie that Mike is stalking. She and her cohorts (Zoe Bell, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wreak vengeance in their stolen Dodge Challenger. (Lohan herself does not appear in the movie at all.)

Completing this grotesque, three-plus hour anthology are a multitude of allusions and references to the screen characters and pop culture motifs of that bygone era when downtown movie theaters, called Grindhouses, ran double and triple B features, non-stop, rotating perhaps seven different films each week. And stalwart supporting actors like Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Michel Biehn, Jeff Fahey and Naveen Andrews frolic in the deservedly R-rated bloodshed and gore.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Grindhouse” is a deliberately cliché-filled, hyper-sleazy 7. What’s most terrifying is that this cinematic concept could become a franchise. What’s next? Kung fu, blaxpoitation, sexploitation, you name it.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.