Thursday, 4 March 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 170 - Woah, oh, we're halfway there...

... as the famous Bon Jovi once said, and it is true today as I have reached the halfway point in the challenge with the Kill Bill double bill. 250 films have been watched and reviewed in 169 days (an average of 1.48 a day). Looking back over the films it looks like 21 films have achieved the prized Dallas 5 star rating, with 12 films getting the 1 star wooden spoon!
Highlights so far have included my trip to Brighton and the grand old Duke of York's Picturehouse; our Big Lebowski bowling night; and meeting Mark Kermode at The Cameo.

Roll on the next 250...

325 - Kill Bill Vol. 1 - 4 stars
423 - Kill Bill Vol. 2 - 4 stars
Thought I would review these two films together as this was how Quentin Tarantino originally envisioned the film, although I think that if it had been released all together it would have been quite different, particularly the pacing and structure.
At the moment The Bride's bloody quest for revenge in Kill Bill is very much in two parts. Volume 1 is an Eastern (with the use of Anime and Sonny Chiba) and volume 2 is his Western (use of Morricone Spaghetti Western themes, extreme close up of eyes, etc). If it had been presented in one film the dramatic change in tone following the outstanding Battle of the House of Blue Leaves, would have disappointed by lots of talky scenes and little comparable action.
In my review of True Romance I talked about Tarantino's problem of writing terrific scenes rather than a flowing cohesive story and once again this film is split into chapters but I won't go on about it again.This time I want to focus on Tarantino's true gift; music selection. He has an uncanny knack of finding the right song for the right scene and turning it into something iconic and instantly absorbed into pop culture: Stuck In The Middle With You, Misirlou, Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time, Theme from Cat People. And for Kill Bill it was Battle for Honor and Humanity that became synonomous with the film and was in endless parodies and used in The X Factor. The use of Santa Esmerelda's Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood is inspired and fits perfectly within the scene between O-Ren Ishii and The Bride.
Speaking of The Bride, it is an iconic role for Uma Thurman; a smart, sassy and superbly physical performance.
When watching the films back to back, the impact of the first volume cliffhanger is diminished and I feel that Tarantino played his hand too early by introducing Bill early into the second volume when it would have been better to only see him at the end of the film.
Was I alone in thinking that Darryl Hannah looked incredibly sexy with an eyepatch? I had an idea for a spin-off film featuring Elle Driver and Johnny Depp's Agent Sands from Once Upon A Time In Mexico as a team of blind assassins. Could work?!
On initial release, like most other people, I preferred the first part to the second part, and probably still do but volume 2 grows better every time I see it.

So there we have it. 250 films out of the 500 have been watched and reviewed. And 12 days ahead of schedule. Not bad going at all. Just 250 more to go...

Days remaining - 195 Films remaining - 250

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