Saturday, April 30, 2016

American Grindhouse (2010)

Director: Elijah Drenner
Narrated by: Robert Forster
Interviewed: Eric Scharfer, Eddie Muller, John Landis, Kim Morgan, Fred Olen Ray, Allison Anders, Joe Dante, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Jeremy Kasten, William Lustig, David Hess, Bob Minor, Jack Hill, Fred Williamson, Larry Cohen, Jonathan Kaplan, Judith Brown, Ted V. Mikels, James Gordon White, Don Edmonds

Simple doco retraces the existence of the exploitation film, beginning from the silent era and the films of Edwin S. Porter through to Freaks, wildly regarded as one of the first outwardly exploitive films, all the way the Grindhouse and Drive-in phase of the 70's and up to it's affect on current day blockbusters, including discussions that Passion of the Christ and American Gangster are essentially of the same exploitive ilk.

It doesn't dazzle or capture the imagination that other more successful documentaries have managed, the best being Not Quite Hollywood, and covers way too much ground within an 80 minute running time. There's no real specifics about any of the movies, certainly no one film is talked about in great detail, and nothing really of any great interest that would warrant credibility. Even directing greats Landis and Dante's stories are quite wishy-washy.

Film historians and critics Muller, Morgan and Schaefer waffle on about things that essentially don't matter much. This job should have left to Forster whose already narrating everything else. It all seems like a little bit of a rushed job and not one that anyone is anywhere near passionate about, which is surprising because of anything, Grindhouse fans are passionate about their movies.


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