As prospective plans go, it was foolproof.
Quentin Tarantino, God himself to many a director, and Robert Rodriguez, who made the jawdropping Sin City, coming together. Two fanboys bonding over their love for bad posters and awful trailers, an adoration for cheap seats and slickly made low-budget bloodfests.
The result: Grindhouse, a two-part labour of love, which included Planet Terror, Rodriguez' zombie movie, and Death Proof, QT's take on the slasher film. The reviews were ecstatic, even by Tarantino standards, and all seemed well with the world.
Until the film bombed.
Grindhouse, despite much hype and many tasty women in the cast, died a B-movie death at the box office, earning itself a straight-to-DVD future. Not altogether a bad fate this; Tarantino is the king of DVD marketing, releasing his films in varied packages over a period of years with slight special-features and covers changes, and garnering major cash. To wit, Reservoir Dogs has a collectors' edition series sold in five boxes -- one for each of the film's major characters.
The problem now is for Rodriguez, because the reviews have favoured Quentin's section, and his B-movie attempt seems to have been too authentic in its schlock. And this seems to have effected his work on Sin City 2.
While writer Frank Miller -- the iconic comic-book writer behind Sin City, 300 and the new Batman movie, Dark Knight -- who is now working on adapting Will Eisner's groundbreaking 1940s comic, The Spirit, told Rottentomatoes.com that Sin City 2 won't be out till 2009, actor Michael Madsen admitted to Premiere magazine that Grindhouse hadn't worked out exactly as expected for the filmmakers, and that he's yet to see a script for the new film.
RR has recently announced he's moving on to Barbarella, a reimagined version of Jane Fonda's cult sexy 1968 comic book film. Suddenly, his projects don't look quite as high-profile anymore. And the 'B' tag might be very hard to shake off.
Tarantino, on the other hand, has emerged from the flop smelling of roses -- or whatever it is that the cult filmmaker would like to smell of, possibly a mix of gunpowder and ketchup? He's garnered applause from top critics -- David Denby of the New Yorker, Stephanie Zacharek of Salon -- so far disenchanted by his Pulp Fiction styling, and is fast moving on towards his long-delayed project, Inglorious Bastards, a war film with Michael Madsen leading an ensemble cast -- also rumoured to include Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp and John Travolta.
Okay, that's a big film.