Tag Archives: Grindhouse

B Movie Glory: Hobo With A Shotgun

When they announced Hobo With A Shotgun, it was a given that it would be a pretty fucked up flick once it hit screens. It’s based on the old 70’s grindhouse vibe and… the thing is called fucking hobo with a shotgun, so it’s got to test some boundaries, right? Well. It sure does. This makes Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s sister efforts at this brand of homage look like Blues Clues in comparison, it’s so messed up. The sheer level of sustained cartoon brutality and cheerful, reckless abandon displayed in violence and mayhem is really something to behold, if it doesn’t induce seizures before you have time to process it. Casting the Hobo was always gonna be a fun boardroom session, and I’d love to see the names thrown around (my initial pick was Gary Busey) before they settled on genre five-star veteran Rutger Hauer, a brilliant actor and a fine pick by anyone’s watch, but also a bit more of a laconic, paced dude than some of the more manic character actors they could have gone with (imagine Robin Williams in Death To Smoochy mode). The Hobo arrives in a hellish nightmare city (actually Halifax) and finds it overrun with crime, depravity and corruption of the highest order, so he embarks on a feverish crusade of street justice with the help of a trusty pump action shotgun and joined by a hooker with a heart of gold (Molly Dunsworth). The film is like skid row had a bad dream, a technicolor galaxy of graphic, relentless violence and terror, as crime boss Drake (Brian Downey) and his two bratty, psychotic jock kids (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman) rule over everyone with a spiked iron fist and dispense literal genocide on civilians at will, until the Hobo steps in to add to the commotion, one shell at a time. The acting (besides Hauer, who plays it dangerously calm for the most part) is so far over the top it would make David Lynch and John Waters nervous, the villain actors reaching heights of mania and having conniptions until we’re expecting them to seize up themselves. The violence ranges from hands in a lawnmower, maiming via ice skates, a gnarly razor blade covered baseball bat, decapitating trip wires and so much more. It gets so far over the top that the human villains feel they’re not enough to match the madness and they summon literal demon biker robots from hell to take the Hobo out, which are a neat effect. If you can stomach an hour and a half of this kind of carnage and chaos, you’ll be in low rent genre heaven, but it’s quite an eyeball melting spectacle to sit though. In any case it should be seen just to see how far some filmmakers are willing to go to shock, awe and gross out an audience, while still retaining an artful flourish, distinctive style and immersive atmosphere.

-Nate Hill

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Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof: A Review by Nate Hill 

Death Proof is… not the best flick in Quentin Tarantino’s career so far, but an entertaining little ride through the B movie corn nonetheless. It’s Quentin playing in the sandbox, and although he tends to fling it about too energetically in spots, and dawdle around listlessly in others, one can forgive such pacing issues when you consider how much fun it is for the most part. It also helps that his Grindhouse effort is heaps better than his pal Robert Rodriguez’s painfully lame Planet Terror, but that’s a whole other chestnut. Death Proof works mostly thanks to the bubbly, endlessly sexy performances from an extensive roster of irrisistable cbicks, and one gleefully evil bit of work from genre legend Kurt Russell, having a devilish blast as Stuntman Mike, a psychopath who batters helpless chicks to death as he rattles them around in his specially rigged vintage muscle car, primed for murder and ready to burn rubber straight to the ER. A fair chunk of the film is spent simply observing these girls talking, bickering, socializing and indulging in idiosyncratic pop culture banter that’s a facet of the Q Man himself. He loves to project his own affinities onto the written page and use them as backbones for his characters, and although that may be one of the core elements of screenwriting in itself, it’s always a little more pronounced with QT. Writers are books, but he is a popup book, always a tad more garish than the rest of the kids on the playground. I don’t wanna say that such lenghthy swaths of running time spent on girls chilling out isn’t fun (it’s captivating, especially with this bunch), but it is essential to the Grindhouse vibe they set out to emulate? A minor quibble, but a quibble all the same. To their credit, the girls are simply terrific. The first bunch include Rose McGowan’s angelic and short lived Pam, Sydney Poitier’s spunky radio DJ Jungle Julia, and Vanessa Ferlito’s wiseass Latina. The first act sees them run into Stuntman Mike in a roadhouse bar owned by Tarantino himself, who just can’t resist casting himself in his own shit lol. Oh well, at least he didn’t try an Australian accent this time around. The second time act we meet Rosario Dawson, stuntwoman Zoe Bell and cutesy pie Mary Elizabeth Winstead, all in the crosshairs of Mike’s radar, but this time he may be in way over his greaser hairdoed head. The vehicular mayhem is traditionalist and non CGI, and quite honestly a spectucalr firework show of blood, glass, metal and scorched asphalt. I just wish there was more of it, man. Sure, the character building with the gals is awesome, but it eclipses the action in gross proportion. A little balance between talky talky and vroom vroom would have been appreciated. Russell is a hoot in a role that was originally going to be played by Mickey Rourke. He just has that knowing gleam in his eye and good ol’ boy charm that makes it work so well, especially in a naughty little fourth wall break that shows you just how much Mike enjoys his sick little game of bumper cars. There’s characters that bleed in from Rodriguez’s side of the fence, including Michael Parks as the seemingly immortal Texas Ranger Earl Mcgraw, and Marley Shelton as his daughter. It’s a valiant effort, with plenty of Mad Max style merit and a seriously smoking lineup of luscious ladies. I just feel like he over fed certain ingredients to the pot when cooking this one up, and neglected others in areas. Still though, even average Tarantino is brilliant, and this one glows, if for a few dull spots.