Robert Rodriguez‘s Grindhouse installment, a zombie movie called Planet Terror, “wins points on the basis of sheer accuracy for more exactly replicating the hollow, soul-sucking badness of many low-grade gore films,” writes Variety‘s Todd McCarthy. “By contrast, Quentin Tarantino‘s Death Proof, a road-rage opus, so far exceeds almost anything made [in exploitation films of the late ’60s and ’70s] in terms of dialogue and performance that it seems like a different beast — one half plotless gabfest, the other half insane car chase.

“The dialogue in Death Proof‘s first section, an Iceman Cometh-like segment with Kurt Russell dispensing smoothie chit-chat to some hot ladies in an Austin bar, is “great, ” says McCarthy, “with a touch of the poet at times. Tarantino here lays a claim to being the Joseph L. Mankiewicz of trash talk, so easily does he create reams of dialogue in distinct voices and so well does he direct it.”