Category Archives: Films of Quentin Tarantino
KILL BILL VOL. 1-United States-2003
It’s really difficult to call this a review. To call it that would indicate that I have criticisms about the particular films that I am writing about. I can assure you before we even get started down that bumpy road that I do not. This is not a review. This is not a critique. This ain’t no foolin’ around. This is an all-out balls to the wall, pedal to the motherfucking-metal appraisal of two of the most awesome films in the history of cinema, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2, respectively. Now I suppose you’re asking yourself why I’m writing about both of these films at the same time when they are two totally different films. Well yes, they are two totally different films; and no, they are not two totally different films. Yes, the tone of each film is decidedly different from the tone of the other, but in the end when all is said and done they are about one thing and one thing only; sweet revenge served up on a dish that is as cold as the steel on a Hattori Hanzo sword.
We have The Bride, a beautiful young lady on the happiest day of her life, for on this day she’s going to walk down that aisle and marry her handsome, blond-haired beau, Tommy Plympton. But, alas, the plot doth thicken. The Bride was once a member of The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by none other than the titular man himself, Bill. The DVAS doesn’t like it when one of their own leaves the group and decides to make a life of her own. So, they shoot up the chapel and the guests and Bill delivers the coup de grace to The Bride in the form of a bullet in the head. He should have made damn sure that she was dead, because from now on her only mission in life is the total annihilation of the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and it is all going to end with Bill dropping dead at her feet.
Quentin Tarantino worked at a video store before becoming a film director. That was his film school and everything he has ever learned and nearly every film he has ever watched has made its way into the directing, writing and filming of the Kill Bill Saga. This is QT’s homage to the films of Sergio Leone, the Shaw brothers, giallo films, anime, horror, b-movies, Z-movies, Kung- fu movies and nearly every known genre of film known to man. No other director could have even dreamed of making a saga of this magnitude. This is one of the few films where every scene, every word, every character is an important piece of a larger part of the picture. The dialogue is sharp, funny and cool, sometimes all at the same time. The action is intense, visceral and cartoonish and is a wonder to behold. The showdown between The Bride and the Crazy 88′s at the House of Blue Leaves is without question the single greatest fight in the history of cinema. Yeah, I said that.
If you’ve seen Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t then for God’s sake get off your ass and get down to the video store. Rent it, watch it, and love it.
One more thing; one day the critics, film historians, bloggers and the like will say that Pulp Fiction was Quentin Tarantino’s greatest achievement as a filmmaker. But I say, no, ‘tis Kill Bill that is his masterpiece.
TRIVIA VOL. 1
Written and Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino
When I was growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the 1970′s I used to go to the movies. A lot. I’m sure I told you that once already. One theater in particular that I frequented quite often was the Palmetto Theater. The Palmetto was a run down old theater with the stickiest floors, the smelliest bathrooms and some of the best popcorn I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.The Palmetto played the B-movies and exploitation films of the era. Films like Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Gone in 60 Seconds, the Hammer horror films, and any film with Pam Grier that you care to mention. I had so much fun at that theater that I can easily say it was some of the best times of my young life.
Grindhouse is a loving homage to the films and the theaters of that era. The film is a double feature exploitation extravaganza as directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. From Rodriguez comes the survival horror zombie epic PLANET TERROR. Led by the mysterious El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) and the gorgeous and hilarious go-go dancer Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan), the survivors of a deadly gas that turns the infected into brain eating zombies make their way to safety. This is clearly Rodriguez’ best film since Sin City and it is easy to see the love he has for the production in every single frame. I never understood why Rodriguez has never achieved a larger and more respectable reputation as a filmmaker. I’ve seen every one of his films (sans the SPY KIDS series, I only saw the 3D one) and I have never been disappointed in his work.
Then we come to the second half of our double feature, Quentin Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF. I went to see Grindhouse with my wife and both of us absolutely loved this film. My wife hasn’t been a Tarantino fan for as long as I have, but she’s coming around and this film is a big step in that direction. Tarantino assembles not one but two groups of the hottest women in cinema today as the protagonists for this film about a deadly driver with his foot to the floor and homicide of the vehicular kind in his heart. This film works for two reasons. One, the driving stunts are done the old fashioned way, with real drivers performing real stunts that could easily get them killed. With DEATH PROOF, Tarantino commits one of the most harrowing chase scenes ever filmed to celluloid.
The other reason this film is such a huge success can be summed up in two words. Kurt Russell. Quentin Tarantino has said in interviews that although he enjoyed Russell in films like MIRACLE and SKY HIGH, but he wanted to see him be a bad-ass again like Snake Plissken or RJ MacReady. In DEATH PROOF Tarantino all but gets his wish for most of the film. If you haven’t seen the film you are missing out on one of the best performances from Kurt Russell since TOMBSTONE. He is totally bad-ass in this film. However, fair warning: Russell does a complete 180 degree turn toward the end of the film. You truly have to see it to believe it.
There are several small things in both films that add up to a worthwhile motion picture experience. The dialogue in both films is top-notch banter that you come to expect from a Rodriguez or Tarantino film. Both films use characters from each film (the Crazy Babysitter Twins are featured in PLANET TERROR and make a cameo in DEATH PROOF). Rose McGowan does double duty as two seperate characters in both films. I could go on and on. There are of course tons of references and homage to other Tarantino-Rodriguez films as well as several pop-culture references.
Okay, I’m finished blowing sunshine up your skirts about this film. See it. Buy the Blu-Ray that features the film as it was shown in theaters. It includes the original faux trailers as they were presented in the original theatrical release (with the exception of Machete).
Speaking of faux trailers…
PREVUES OF COMING ATTRACTIONS
Written and Directed by Robert Rodriguez
WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE SS
Written and Directed by Rob Zombie
Written and Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Jeff Rendell and Eli Roth
Directed by Eli Roth
In the Death Proof (2007) segment when Kim, Zoe and Abby are in the Challenger, ready to go on their “test drive”, they pull up by Mary and Abby says, “Hey good looking, we’ll be back later for YOU!” This was a line in a commercial for a cheesy Ronco product, Mr. Microphone, in the ’70s.
The film is meant to be an homage to the double features that played in grindhouses. However, during the initial weeks of release, exhibitors were reporting that many audience members were leaving the cinema after the first feature (“Planet Terror” byRobert Rodriguez), apparently not realizing, or forgetting, that a second feature was going to be shown. One reason cited was that many of audience members were too young to remember when theaters showed double features. The distributor planned some changes in the campaign while some exhibitors solved the problem by posting employees by the auditorium doors to remind departing patrons that the program contains a second feature.