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Kill Bill...
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 2:46 am    Post subject: Kill Bill... Reply with quote

Why did they have to split it into two parts? While I still enjoyed Volume 1 the way it is, the ending finale is as abrupt and nonconclusive, as they come. Why couldn't they have made it 2 hrs and 30 minutes, and trimmed 3 minutes off of each of the fight scenes? Money? Budget? MPAA Rating? Could it actually be creative? We can only guess... It's certainly still worth a positive recommendation because of the tremendous choreography and Tarantino's weirdness, but the 2-part split is insanely aggravating. Does anyone else feel the same way?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm seeing it tomorrow with a colleague, and while I was initially disappointed in the decision, I also now find myself not very interested in second-guessing it. We have been given a movie, and I suppose I'm more inclined to examine what is rather than what might have been, or should have been. To me, the split is merely a sidebar, an anecdote--and one of the least interesting aspects of this first film.

Of course, I may have a different opinion once I actually see the picture.

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with you, Danny. And I thought the last-second "shocking" revelation felt like a cheap soap-opera cliffhanger. But, other than that, I had a great time. I have a few gripes, but I'm eager to see it again. I'll drag a few friends to see it this weekend, maybe, then come back to discuss it in this thread. Rob's review should be in by Sunday.

In the meantime, check out the opposing takes on it by Sean O'Connell and Jeremiah Kipp at filmcritic.com.
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I went to see it tonight. The damn projector in the theater stopped working with only fifteen minutes left. From what I saw, though, it's incredible. What sucks is that I won't be able to see the whole thing again until Tuesday because of an overloaded weekend of projects, so don't expect a review of it from me for a while.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a blast. Anyone who thought Tarantino was a one-trick pony, well, here's a gob of other tricks. Quentin knows what makes a great action movie great; it's not just the flash-and-dazzle (taking notes, Mr. Bay?), it's pauses in between that count just as much. Frankly, I like that it was broken into two parts, and I liked the fact that the "shocking revelation" capped off this Volume. I do wish I didn't have to wait till February for Vol. 2, but, que sera, sera.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Of course, I may have a different opinion once I actually see the picture.


You will. You don't yet know what it leaves off on.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Kill Bill... Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
the ending finale is as abrupt and nonconclusive, as they come.


Yeah, but I loved that it was abrupt and nonconclusive. Of course, I was expecting it. My wife, when the end credits appeared, went, "That's it!?" She didn't want it to end there, either. But I loved it, what can I say?

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Why couldn't they have made it 2 hrs and 30 minutes, and trimmed 3 minutes off of each of the fight scenes?


I don't think there was one wasted frame in this movie. I don't think anything could have, or should have, been trimmed for time constraints. Unlike a lot of action movies that just seem bloated with loud noises and flashing images, "Kill Bill" seemed crafted to precision, and cutting off three minutes here and there would have been like cutting off the top and bottom of the Mona Lisa to get it to fit in a smaller frame (apologies to Eric, I think I ripped off that metaphor from one of your other posts).

EDIT: I mean simile, not metaphor. Rolling Eyes
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with every word here, Night Watchman, and also every word of your review (posted in another thread).

I'm afraid, Danny, I haven't changed my mind: The "controversial" split remains far less interesting to me than what Tarantino has accomplished as a genre alchemist.

I actually think the stop-point seemed perfectly natural. Two comparisons to emphasize: How is this different from the cliffhangers of the old Thirties serials, another genre Tarantino might be mining? Also, how is this different from other split stories, such as, say, Lord of the Rings? The same people who leapt to the defense of Fellowship of the Ring and its that's it?!? ending are now complaining. Seems odd to me.

As with Jackson's three-part opus, it's important to view this as merely the first installment of a complete story.

As for the violence--well, I'm reluctant to describe Kill Bill as violent. Everything is so over the top, so stylized, so aestheticized, that it transcends violence. Yellow isn't just yellow here, it's Yellow. And blood is never really blood, it's Red. For me, the images work on a purely abstract level--abstract expressionism, abstract representations of violence, abstract emotions, abstract suffering--and they flow with a pop grandeur unlike anything I've seen before. This is the movie Robert Rodriguez has been trying to make for years with no success--Tarantino might be his pal, but he's also twice (no, quadruple) the artist that Rodriguez is.

Eric
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just came back from seeing it again, and it confirmed just how much I love this ridiculous movie with a passion. I didn't mind the split at the end at all (though this is certainly a movie to be digested as a whole) because I liked how abrupt it was. Here's what I wrote in my screening log after seeing the film opening night:

[Was actually going to see Intolerable Cruelty instead, but hearing "Stuck in the Middle With You" play on the radio today pretty much sealed the deal for me; it was Tarantino telling me to see his movie. And no, I was not disappointed. For a while, I thought about saving my comments until Vol. II, but I had to discuss here about how my breath was literally taken away by one of the most absafuckinglutely cool movies I've ever seen, and sitting in the very back row of the theater (stadium seating) just made the experience one to savor more. I was not, mind you, pysched about this movie like everyone else, but in a way, this also had the upmost positive effect on me. I'd be lying if I said that I am not displeased like everyone else is with the split that Tarantino was forced to make by the studio. A half of a movie, really, I can't imagine how much more Kill Bill would benefit if it was seen the way that Tarantino intended, as the pure extravanganza it would be with two parts into it. Maybe the seperation of the two will pay off tremendously, by filling in major blanks in the way that what is displayed here is proudly empty and hollow. Then again, maybe not. What m'da said, about this being a "killer mix tape" couldn't be more dead-on when we key into what Tarantino wants from us: nothing. We shouldn't bring anything to the movie that the it doesn't bring itself, meaning that Tarantino disposes of characterization and story the best of his ability. If you thought that Tarantino ever hinted at his influences in his other films, just fucking wait until you see what he did in Vol. I, already brilliantly displaying his homages to more films than I can count. Off the top of my head, an overview of what influences I came across: They Call Her One Eye, Lady Snowbound, Jin-Roh, The Game of Death, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, Coffy (other assorted blaxploitation, I'm sure), Leone, Truffaut, Suzuki, DePalma, and the Shaw Brothers. In approach, this may be a B-movie at heart, but its design makes it phenomenally gorgeous. I can say how accomplished Tarantino's film is, but I'd be getting it all wrong since this is him gathering as much awesome shit as he can, then combining it, having great fun doing so; this actually is him thinking of a movie all in his head. Along with their director, the cast is having great fun, but it is the frustrating, intense pyshical fun that has their poorly sketched characters act dead serious while looking silly. I love it, and the confrontation acting between Uma Thurman and Lucy Lui at the end was wonderful. There is no way I can patiently wait for the continuation (the last dialogue is some of the best cliff-hanger dialogue I can think of ever in a movie, period), and I'll hold off on a review until I have the chance to cover the entire movie.]
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I actually think the stop-point seemed perfectly natural. Two comparisons to emphasize: How is this different from the cliffhangers of the old Thirties serials, another genre Tarantino might be mining? Also, how is this different from other split stories, such as, say, Lord of the Rings? The same people who leapt to the defense of Fellowship of the Ring and its that's it?!? ending are now complaining. Seems odd to me.

As with Jackson's three-part opus, it's important to view this as merely the first installment of a complete story.


Well, Jackson's films actually have conclusions to them. SPOILERS What kind of ending does three left on the list make? And, if you are judging it as its own seperate film, what kind of ending would it be for a single movie to end like this one.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the influences are endless. I was most struck by the Shaw brothers, Suzuki, and De Palma, as you mentioned, fRp. (The Daryl Hannah sequence absolutely screamed "De Palma," especially Dressed to Kill.)

To add to your list, I'd mention Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu is even mentioned in the end credits' RIP section!), Naked Killer, Ringo Lam, Akira, Kurosawa (especially the exploding heart in Sanjuro), Takeshi Kitano, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Oshii, Chen Chi-Hwa, Lo Wei, Ching Siu-Tung, The Heroic Trio, Tsui Hark, and even a little bit of Wong Kar-Wai. I guess the list could go on indefinitely.

Mostly, though, I think Tarantino's largest influence at this point is Tarantino himself.

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Well, Jackson's films actually have conclusions to them. And, if you are judging it as its own seperate film, what kind of ending would it be for a single movie to end like this one.


I won't argue that Kill Bill wouldn't be better as a complete picture--we'll have to wait and see--but it sounds to me like you're trying to wedge Tarantino into a box he neither courts, nor deserves. It seems churlish to bother judging Volume 1 as a single film when we all know it isn't. Isn't that a lot like complaining about how "24" ends with a cliffhanger every week, or complaining about how a Flash Gordon serial episode doesn't wrap things up? Perhaps it's a different kind of cinematic experience than what we're used to, but I don't see why that's inherently negative. That's the same kind of conventional thinking that led so many people to resist John Sayles' Limbo, which had a non-ending that I thought was just right.

And of course Volume 1 has some degree of conclusion; the chapters we had been concentrating on are complete, and the pause seems naturally inserted--the break comes after the first major breakthrough for the Bride, and as she finds a certain degree of psychological relief, as a brief period of down time sets in, and as Bill finally learns what is coming his way. The cliffhanger "twist" (soapy or not) sets the groundwork for the story to turn into a new emotional direction, which is another reason why the break seems appropriate here. It has the shape, the semblance, of a conclusion, at least to my eyes.

(If you ask me, I think the "twist" isn't soapy, but rather a perfect genre crib. Anything less melodramatic, or anything less "soapy" wouldn't seem true to Tarantino's intentions. It's part parody, part tribute, and part Tarantino trying to prove he can tell such a pulpy story, with all of its tacky conventions, better than anyone else.)

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Genre alchemist." I like that.

fPr brought up how, logically, the movie is utterly ridiculous, but you buy into it anyway, feeling no shame and no real need to rationalize your acceptance. Kill Bill really made me want to reassess how I experience film in general. What I assumed were the requirements, at least for me, for enjoying a movie are either absent in Kill Bill, or completely subverted. Take, for instance, a moment early in the movie after The Bride's battle against Vernita. (These aren't really spoilers, so I won't bother with warnings.) The Bride gets back in the truck, takes out her list, and crosses out Vernita's name. We see O-Ren's name occupying the line above Vernita's, already crossed out. By showing us this, Tarantino reveals The Bride's victory over a character who has yet to even have a proper introduction. Such act would seem to completely destroy the suspense and the very point of watching the rest of the Volume 1, since we know the results in advance. Amazingly, nothing is ruined. It's almost as if Tarantino is saying to us, "Yeah, you've seen this before. You know what's going to happen. But don't worry. You're gonna have a blast anyway." And he's right.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
We see O-Ren's name occupying the line above Vernita's, already crossed out. By showing us this, Tarantino reveals The Bride's victory over a character who has yet to even have a proper introduction.


Yes, I noticed that as well. I read it, though, as a continuation of Tarantino's interest in non-linear storytelling. Remember, he did a similar thing in Pulp Fiction. For example, we witness Travolta's demise but then witness his "resurrection" in later scenes. Such timeline tinkering adds dramatic irony, but also, I think, unexpected emotional dimensions. In Travolta's case, our knowledge makes those scenes more poignant--we know his later fate while he does not.

I'm not usually fond of revenge movies--to me, we ought to resist such base emotions--but in the case of Kill Bill, I see the revenge motif as really just an entry point into the genre alchemy (that was for you, NW). That might help explain, to some degree, why our prior knowledge of Liu's fate doesn't detract from the suspense. Besides, like I said before, the events are really just extreme, abstract representations of the genre staples.

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.11.2003 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


In the meantime, check out the opposing takes on it by Sean O'Connell and Jeremiah Kipp at filmcritic.com.


Thanks for the link, Michael. I always enjoy reading Jeremiah's stuff--I think he's an excellent critic and a truly gifted writer--but sometimes I think he betrays an agenda that strikes me as rather insignificant. Too often he sacrifices accuracy in favor of contrarianism, as if to make a point, an extreme, reactionary position is required. While I consider his criticisms of the movie valid, I think he overstates his case. (Perhaps my response is more indicative of my own quirks, which include resisting extreme reactions, either positive or negative. I prefer to keep a certain degree of perspective, for better or worse.)

Eric
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