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Grindhouse Premiers at The Smith

“Grindhouse,” an exuberant double feature by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, screens at 7 p.m., June 15, 16, 18, and 19, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 17 at the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St.Revisiting the movies of their youth, directors Tarantino and Rodriguez have re-created the ultimate drive-in exploitative double feature, glorifying sleazeball flicks of the ’60s and ’70s that reveled in heaping helpings of graphic sex, violence, nudity, and nonstop action. With all this as their sandbox, they are playing at the top of their game, delivering a dazzling, eye-popping, jaw-dropping, pulse-pounding double dose of excitement and fun the screen hasn’t seen in a long time. Add to this four hilarious coming attraction trailers created for nonexistent movies and you’ve got the recipe for a rippingly good night out. At just over three hours, these two are certainly giving you your money’s worth of hanging eye balls, puss-filled heads, brain-munching zombies, exploding faces, killer stuntmen, and a one-legged chick with a machine gun attached to her stump.Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” is an homage to zombie movies, while Tarantino’s “Death Proof” pays tribute to highway action thrillers. Rodriguez’s way-over-the-top horror flick is funnier in a silly way, but Tarantino’s white-knuckle thrill ride has sharper dialogue and one of the most dazzling car chase scenes in recent memory.The first half of the program, “Planet Terror,” is set in a small Texas town where zombies have been spawned by a chemical experiment gone awry. Rodriguez wore all the hats — wrote, directed, produced, shot and edited — just as he had done, on a $7,000 budget, for his 1993 debut feature “El Mariachi.” But this, like its companion piece, is far from a low-rent affair — it’s only made to resemble one with simulated scratches and title cards proclaiming “missing reel.” (That touch is more affectionate than factual, since projectionists and sleazy distributors of the slasher/horror genre didn’t brag about such omissions.)Freddy Rodriguez, who is light-years away from his mortician role in “Six Feet Under,” plays the ostensible hero when a mysterious plague overtakes a town. He’s Wray, the quickest draw and surest shot in town. His lover, go-go dancer Cherry Baby (Rose McGowan), is about to change careers and become a stand-up comedian. That dream is dashed when her leg is broken off and eaten by zombies. Similar groan-inducing puns abound. When a patient with a head injury is admitted to the hospital, a doctor declares: “It’s a no-brainer” — and he’s not referring to the simplicity of the procedure required.Cleavage, explosions, martial arts, fancy gunplay and clipped tough-guy talk round out Rodriguez’s playful celebration of the best of the worst. His bold cinematic exercise — an adrenalized, heavy metal, sex ‘n’ gore hash, made entirely in Austin — has zero nutritional value. But like most vices, it’s good, guilty fun.Rob Zombie then directs “Werewolf Women of the S.S.,” one of the very funny fictional trailers between the films. And there’s the hilarious “Don’t,” a cheesy Thanksgiving horror film.Finally Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” is a high-speed hybrid that juxtaposes comedy, jeopardy, a psycho killer and an action climax of remarkable emotional intensity. (The writer-director also served as cinematographer.) Kurt Russell stars as a maniacal stuntman who drives unsuspecting young women to their deaths, until he meets his match in four hot things ready to rock on deserted back roads (Rosario Dawson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tracie Thoms, Zoe Bell). Although this film is full of dialogue, when the cars rev up, watch out. It’s pure adrenaline driven, non-CG motor action, and it’s exhilarating to watch.”Grindhouse” is a movie lover’s dream come true. A rowdy jolt of quasi-nostalgic escapism, it is rated R and has a running time of three hours, 11 minutes. Tickets are $5 general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens. Call 315-781-LIVE (5483) or toll-free 866-355-LIVE (5483) for details or to order tickets. Tickets may also be purchased on-line at www.TheSmith.org.The Smith Opera House is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.

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