Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

WHERE CAN I FIND ME ONE OF THEM FANCY SCHMANCY SWORDS? I GOT ME SOME WEEDS THAT NEED CUTTIN'...




Kill Bill 1 and 2 (2003, 2004)

I'm in a particularly foul mood today, so finishing this review that I started a week ago (or something like that) is perfectly masochistic of me. At least Bill would have thought so.

To those not in the know, I am ill. It is permanent and thanks to the US and its brilliant health care system, I am without insurance. I'm not looking for sympathy - the responses are always either 'Some children will never get to the age of...' or 'You think you've got it so bad but I...'. You can't win those. Ever. If I had the stamina, I'd design a family game (for four players or more so your friends can join in). 


The Game Of 'Life Sucks'...
The rules: A normal looking game board and pieces. You roll the dice to go forward and land on a symptom. You draw a card to get a disease. You then have 30 seconds to pantomime to your family (and/or friends) what you are suffering from. If before that time ends one guesses and says the words "I have/had that! Mine was worse!" they win. You feel worse but all the other players feel a little better. It's not fair, but it's life. 


I saw the one doc I have left for my once a year say-it-as-fast-as-possible-because-apparently-they-all-charge-by-the-minute-now appointment. I was ready. I listed everything in under 5 minutes, including the infection in my arm. What did I get for my money? A letter - which listed everything I said and followed everything with man answers. Sorry fellas, but they were MAN ANSWERS.
  • You cut down on sweets and fat but still gained weight? Try to lose weight better.
  • You have an infection in your arm that is under control? See a doctor if it gets out of control. (Who was he again?)
  • You have an appointment to see your psych? Go see your psych.
  • You have an appointment this year at the county health clinic? Go to the health clinic.
  • You need a cholesterol check for the year? Go get your cholesterol checked.


You can imagine my reaction. I don't care if you're female or male - this would piss you off, wouldn't it? Oh and no, I don't have a psych anymore. She's THERE, but she's not mine. Once a year with the hubby we see her for 15 minutes in order for me to get my meds. What exactly can I tell her in that time that will be clear enough for her to diagnose.... pfft, never mind.

If there was ONE thing I carried away from this past week, it's that my time is shorter than I thought and the projects I wanted to do better be started now. Screw freaking Facebook and its constant errors, changes, 'free' games that are never free (or that just plain crash if you try to block all their ads), and so-called 'friends' that never talk to me anyway. And the news articles that "trend" - pffffft!


This is a real person - at least what guts she
has left are hers. Her name is Valeria Lukyanova
and she has had <ahem> several surgeries in
her attempt to become a human Barbie 

Doll. Is this really what you guys want???...
You wanna know what one was this week? "Gorgeous Celebrities With Ugly Mates". I was already pissed so I thought meh, might as well see... oh hell no! These 'ugly' people were gorgeous! Maybe not beauty magazine cover material, but they looked wonderful! In one example, a handsome male movie star was credited for sticking with his wife "despite her ever-expanding waistline." Things went red and I don't remember much after that...

I've always wanted to start a comic strip - my drawing skills are... meh. But that's what computers are for, right? And there's that novel I've had going for...


Hmm? Oh, the MOVIE. I was going to use my notes to try to condense over four hours of movie down to a shortened review, not a blow-by-blow review so to speak. However, looking through them, I had roughly over an hour and a half of blathering, which doesn't make for a very short review of anything. So, going in completely blind, we start.

First, I thought having the damned thing cut into two movies was stupid - it just encouraged Twilight and Harry Potter to cash in on the 'gee we can't fit this story in one movie like everybody else' method. But that wasn't his intention nor his fault. 

Quentin Tarantino, being a big fan of Chanbara movies, martial arts, spaghetti westerns, and other movies of that type brought forth a hell of a story with a lot of swordplay as well as plain good ole' ultra violence - starring Uma Thurman. Umm, okay. He included some funny aspects in those movies as well as serious, put it together, and presented it to the Cannes Film Festival.


It got a lot of good reviews, but for it to show in America, they told him he'd have to screw it up. Okay, not screw it up, but... and they gave him a list. Damn. He was proud of his creation but to get it to theaters he chopped here, changed there, adjusted this, and that's why we have two movies.

Aspects that didn't seem to make sense now do and others that I thought were trying to be artistic weren't. The ending of the first one had to be adjusted to BE an ending, which meant there had to be an extra scene plus another extra scene to be a beginning to the second (Uma's overacting as she narrates the story thus far)...

These two movies I imagine must have frustrated more than a few moviegoers in that the storyline wasn't linear - it went back and forth, with title cards to let you know where you are in the story. I was impressed with Uma's performance, as The Bride she's in most scenes in both of the movies. That does not mean that she is alone however - besides the main characters, there must be dozens of good actors and actresses that have bit parts in both parts one and two.

The basic synopsis of Kill Bill is that there is this assassination team who do... something which they do not really explain, and one of their members, code named Black Mamba, has taken off to have a life of her own. Well that's no good for the rest of the group. They track her down, beat the ever-loving holy hell out of her, and then shoot her in the head, despite the fact she is obviously pregnant. This starts our movie.


Four years pass. The woman, known only as The Bride, wakes up for what ever reason and starts doing physically impossible things. That was my problem with these two movies, although there were some very cool aspects. It seemed the movie went from good, to no - that's not right, back to good, to excellent, to no - that's impossible, to that's just plain awful. If that sounds a little schizo, that's because this movie was schizo.

After four years in a vegetative state, she sits up gasping like everybody does who has bad dreams in movies. Uh, no. There's a little thing called orthostatic syncope (a fancy way of saying you pass out when you change position). I know of someone who was in bed not near that long and the nurses sat him up too quickly - and he promptly fainted. 

Four years? And she has stomach muscles capable of pulling her up? Nope. The following half hour or so is a major NOPE. No, she couldn't fight someone off of her, no she couldn't get out of bed, no she couldn't wheel herself out of the hospital... stuff like that was the massive duh part. Yeah, yeah I know - it's a fantasy movie but hey, it's what I do. I bitch. And I'm telling you it would take her a year or more just to walk around, much less...


And so her self-described 'rampage of revenge' begins. All of the remaining members of the 'team' have scattered and all live new lives doing something else. (Raises hand) Umm, excuse me, why was it okay for them to all go off and have new lives but they were so wildly vindictive when The Bride wanted to do it, to the point of (they thought) murdering her? (Lowers hand) You know, if I don't shut up, this WILL be the length of two movies.

Bud (brother of Bill) is now a bouncer somewhere in Arizona.

Vernita is in Pasadena, the wife of a doctor and mother of a school-age girl.

Elle... they don't really say what Elle does, but she gets a cool Firebird.

O-Ren is in Japan, busy being the head of the Yakuza.


There is a very cool (and bloody) anime sequence in the first one to explain the backstory of one of the characters - that was wicked and wonderful at the same time. Again, because of the censors he had to edit it - which is a damned shame. I mean c'mon, it's animation for crying out loud!

Which reminds me, if you plan to see these movies, I warn you, this is an homage to other film genres. However, being a Tarantino film, it also takes all the violence over the top. In fact, it was because of this that the censors required that part of the fight scene at the end of the first movie be put in black and white (blood looks better black than bright red I guess). 


I have no idea why black-and-white would be less offensive to people, I thought he was doing it to be artistic not to satisfy censors. So I'm kind of disappointed, but it still was the best kick-ass fight scene that has been in a movie for a very long time and I haven't seen much better since. And notice the suit and shoes The Bride wears during this fight? Pure Bruce Lee - except he didn't have a stunt double.

In fact I wanted the hubby to see it, although spaghetti westerns are more his thing - he didn't really like it. So I pointed out some of the reasons I did - even though there were excellent, good, poor, and just plain stupid moments in it. One major one I couldn't get over? Where did she get all the freaking money to afford all the stuff she had during this movie?

You really have to pay attention to find fault with the fight scene - but some are obvious. The physical impossibilities such as people flying through the air to sword fight, the fact that Uma is fighting about a thousand Yakuza yet they are adhering to the movie rules - circle the victim, then attack one at a time, and at times it is clearly NOT Uma in the yellow suit. 


There were the limbs being cut off, and the remaining bodies acting like fire hoses, the cool sequence done in blue lighting so you saw only silhouettes fighting, the silly sound effects (every time somebody whipped up their sword or moved their arms it sounded like a Michael Jackson video), and the 'bowling pins' sound of one sorry man hitting a table (it's there, really!).


GO HOME TO YOUR MOTHER!
And, of course, the end of the fight. After everyone is vanquished, The Bride (Uma) declares that those still alive could leave but their severed limbs now belonged to her. She's confronted by a boy who looked anywhere from 14 to 16 and gives him a proper sendoff... (see spanking above). Actually, I really liked that part.

And, because the movie was split in two, we have an ending where Bill learns she is after him. And her baby is alive. So begins movie number two. The Bride spends a couple of minutes describing the first movie, then tells the movie she has one left - Bill. We know there's some we haven't seen yet, so we wait for the title cards to tell us where we are and who's about to die.



Fresh and clean...
Aaaaaand this second installment has serious problems. It has several places where the movie just... stops. We get backstory we don't need or want, conversations that don't make a whole lot of sense, and too much gap between conflicts. But I learned something important though - if somebody throws a can of tobacco spit in your face, a nice swirly in a toilet will clean every bit of it off. Really.

But wait! We now get to know what The Bride's name is. Before if it was mentioned, it was actually bleeped out. No kidding. That's a hint by the way. And when they finally say it, there's this... scene of her (as an adult) attending grade school and answering her name when teacher takes attendance. Ha.



She catches up with Bill (after a few more movie-stopping puzzling moments that mean absolutely nothing to the story) halfway into the movie. This is a two hour movie. That's one hour left of the movie dedicated to her killing Bill without traumatizing her (now) 4 year old daughter, B.B.

Bill asks Beatrix Kiddo (c'mon, really?) if she can really kill him in front of their daughter. Sigh. Here comes some more backstory...


When Beatrix was Black Mamba, her last assassination assignment was fraught with problems - she was sick, she was vomiting, she... uh oh. After checking the infamous pee stick in her hotel room, here comes another assassin (female of course or else this, uh, scenario probably wouldn't have worked - pffft) who blasts into the room, ready to kill Kiddo... until she tells the woman that she just now, this second, found out she was pregnant. The stick and box was where she dropped it - right by the assassin's feet.

If you were a highly trained assassin... why am I asking you?

The woman gets the stick (eww) and the box. She takes a moment, not knowing how these things work (c'mon, really?) so Kiddo explains it to her. The woman asks 'What now?' and Kiddo says 'We both just go home.' And she does.

If you were a highly trained assassin... why am I asking you?

THAT'S when she moved to Texas, started a job, found a guy willing to marry her, and got him and about a dozen other strangers blown away in a hail of bullets. And her into a long coma. She was Bill's favorite and he was jealous. I'm... not touching that one.

Part one was more popular with men. Part two was more popular with women. I'm ashamed of the whole female gender for that one. Movie makers probably had the whole Twilight series mapped out and written when they found that shit out.

Does Beatrix Kiddo (pfffft) kill Bill? In four hours? And how does she do it - gun? Katana? Hand to hand combat? Or does she play it smart, make him keep the brat and take off for the Bahamas... kidding on the last one, sheesh.

For the answers to those and other burning questions...

Both are currently streaming on Netflix if you want to see why Quentin raked in roughly $334 million in the theaters and who knows how much in DVD sales...