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Culture: Grindhouse Release Halted in the UK
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 Written by Alexander G. Rubio
Rose McGowan with machine gun
peg leg in "Grindhouse".
(Click for larger image)
Richard Brunton of Filmstalker online movie magazine, reports that Momentum Pictures, the UK distributor of the release of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature "Grindhouse", which was slated for a 1st of June premiere in the UK, has been halted. This follows less than stallar takings at the US box office, with just $23 million in three weeks in American cinemas.

There have been rumours that the Weinstein Company were considering splitting the film into its two constituent halves (thereby also weakening the double billing concept) for non-US markets. And it might be this very thing that is behind the delayed UK release. Momentum Pictures made the following statement:
"We are reviewing the release date and the release plans in the UK. It will definitely be released here but we don’t know in what form."

They might try to split the feature and relaunch it. But the heart of matter probably is that the sell by date on this brand of ironic "trash as art" movie making that Tarantino spearheaded has come and gone for most viewers.

Quentin Tarantino
There was something vaguely unsettling about the whole project almost from the very beginning. "Reservoir Dogs" was and is one of the most well thought out debut efforts in film history, a masterclass in how to craft a first feature. The script for "True Romance" had heart, as well as being clever. And "Pulp Fiction" is a bona fide classic.

But it was also "Pulp Fiction" that began to raise questions. Clever as it all was, wasn't there an underlying lack of deeper empathy in the picture, a youthful callowness that didn't bode well for the future? Was there more to Tarantino, and the disciples he was already inspiring, than clever quips, cool stylings and ironic pop-culture allusions? Would he stretch his undoubted talent by trying his hand at a different, and perhaps more mature, subject matter, and prove those who already hailed him as one of the great directors right?

By the time "Kill Bill" volumes I and II came around the answer had been clear for some time. Tarantino and his idiom was stuck in the '90s, and stuck with what was almost becoming an embarrasing case of arrested development. Watching his films a decade on was akin to going to a high school reunion, and meeting the cool guy with the black leather jacket again. And it's still him. And he's still acting the exact same way as he did back when he was "The Fonz". And he's still got the black leather jacket. Only, there's a beer gut hanging out of it. There's a jowl thing going on. The jokes are stale, and you realise that they weren't all that funny back in the glory days either. And there's an air of repressed desperation in the whole act.

The point is that this might not be a problem with packaging, the PR, the running time, or something that can be fixed by taking a pair of scissors to the celluloid. It might not even be a case of single failed movie. The audience might simply have moved on. Perhaps Tarantino should too?