“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Popcorn Interlude # 236: Death Proof

Atrocious editing, scratchy print, abysmal continuity … the implicit message in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is that he’s so damn good, the only thing left for him to do is make a bad movie. The problem? Making a knowingly shit movie that references other knowingly shit movies results in a shit movie, if you’ll excuse our merde. Kurt Russell stars as Stuntman Mike, a supposedly charismatic killer who gets his kicks from killing girls in head-on car collisions, all of which is very dramatic and not a little scary, albeit not in the sense that Tarantino intended – Orson Welles reckoned a movie set was the biggest train-set a kid could ever have to play with, and Death Proof reads like some self-loathing kid who can’t get to hang out with the sexy girls, and so decides to kill ’em all. Morbidly fascinating, this irritatingly self-referential outing should be a two-hour suicide note, except that it’s pitched at the geekier end of the 16-year-old drive-in demographic. Someone, anyone, should take Quentin to one side and tell him to get back to what he does best – fleshing out Elmore Leonard novels and ripping off Asian movies. The joke just ain’t funny, man. (no stars) – Michael McGowan

4 comments:

Peter said...

That was an interesting comment about Tarantino's being good at ripping off Asian movies. I saw Kill Bill, Part I, and I remember thinking yeah, this was slick, it looked gorgeous, and what was its point? It proved that a white guy from America could make a credible martial-arts/revenge movie in an Asian style. That's probably pretty damned hard to do, but was it worth going to that much effort to make such a point?
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Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Michael said...

Hi Peter - Actually, the 'Asian movies' reference was to Reservoir Dogs ... the Kill Bill stuff is effective (if soulless) pastiche, but Reservoir Dogs was just a straightforward steal from City On Fire (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093435/) .... mind you, I loved Dogs. And they do say talent borrows, genius steals ...

Peter said...

I have to temper my comments on Tarantino with the understanding that I have not seen the two movies regarded as his best: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

Thanks for the heads-up on City on Fire. The next time I sneer at Quentin Tarantino, I may be able to back up my scorn with a bit of knowledge.
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

tessa said...

Kurt Russell is an under-appreciated actor. I hope this proves to be as eye-opening a film for him as PF was for Travolta.