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Reviews for the Week of 10/12:

Kill Bill

 

 

Rated R | 110 mins

IMDB Info

     Quentin Tarantinoís latest film is usually astounding. The fight choreography, dialogue (or lack thereof), and direction are all nearly perfect. I was consistently fascinated and entertained by Kill Bill; itís one of the most interesting and unique productions to come along in the entire history of film. But right when I was having the time of my life, ninety-five minutes into the movie, it came to a screeching, inconclusive, idiotic, and disappointing halt. I had seen Volume One of a two-part journey. When each screening of this movie ends, the entire audience will be very, very angry. We feel as though weíve witnessed an episode of our favorite sitcom finish, right before a very exciting scene is about to take place, and fade to a screen, which features those three dreaded words: ďTo Be Continued.Ē But we donít just have to wait a week to see the rest of the episode, however. Kill Bill: Volume Two will be released in February of 2004; thatís nearly four months away!

     Did Tarantino really split Kill Bill into two parts because he thought that it would be more easily and thoughtfully viewed in such a way? Positively not. It was obviously Miramax who made the decision, for theyíll make double the amount of money that they wouldíve made, if they had released Kill Bill in one extraordinary long epicóthe way it was originally intended to be seen. While they clearly have some great businessmen working for them, the quality of the motion pictures that they release is definitely a second priority.

     Thankfully, even though the split will leave a bad aftertaste in viewerís mouths, after viewing Volume One, most everyone who witnesses it will eagerly await, and come back and see, Volume Two in February. Tarantino has a masterful way of meshing the action scenes together; itís really phenomenal. Stunt choreographers Yuen Wo-Ping and Sonny Chiba obviously spent a gigantic amount of time working on Kill Bill, and the beauty of his work is extremely noticeable in the fight scenes. The cinematography, by Robert Richardson, is also interesting. Every frame of every shot is stunning, intrepid, and one of a kind. While many will not like Kill Bill, simply because itís so violent and disturbing, even they will be able to appreciate the filmmakersí work on it.

     The cast is bold and witty in performing. From the dialogue to the body language, the headlining members of the project, Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah, Lucy Lui, and Vivica A. Fox, are absolutely perfect. Itís much harder than one would expect to actually act in an action film, let alone a Tarantino action film, but these five are tremendous in doing so.

     All in all, Kill Bill is certainly worth a sit, because of the amazing photography, stunt-work, and performances. Prepare for the disappointing ending, thoughóitís disruptively uncalled for. There are certain (even artful) ways that Tarantino couldíve cut Kill Bill into two parts. Sadly, the way it has been, is not one of them.

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After Thoughts (added on 10/20/03): Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my rating for Kill Bill, and why I deducted from its score, simply because of the two-part split. Is this a flaw to the actual volume? Is it any less of a picture the way it is? Perhaps I was being too harsh the first time around, and the film would be better judged if the split wasn't taken into account; I would like to stress the fact that Kill Bill would've earned a perfect score if it hadn't been cut into two different volumes. Anyways, go see it, for that's all that matters. Ratings now suck, in my opinion. People misperceive a reviewer's thoughts greatly, just by reading the term "3/4 Buckets."

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Intolerable Cruelty

 

 

Rated PG-13 | 100 mins

IMDB Info

     Ah, yes, this is the movie Iíve been waiting for all year. The Coenís latest film, done Hollywood-style, has a pleasingly divine atmosphere and an entrancing style. The story and plot are inspired, the dialogue delicious; this is about the only motion picture to come along in the last couple of months thatís actually funny when it thinks it is. The screwball comedy is comically charming, and the smoothly-executed, but rather eventful and twisty plot is always a joy to watch unfold. This is one surprisingly appealing film. George Clooney is fabulously hysterical in his role (almost everyone will love his characterís obsession with the whiteness of his teeth). The lovely Catherine Zeta Jones delivers one of the best performances of the year, and also creates her fair-share of unscripted laughs. Intolerable Cruelty is certainly one of the most watchably well-done popcorn flicks to come along in a long time, and should not be missed.

 

Under the Tuscan Sun

 

 

Rated PG-13 | 113 mins

IMDB Info

     I really, truly wanted to like this one. Starring Diane Lane as a writer, who divorces her husband and ends up moving to Tuscany, only to live in a broken-down, three-hundred year-old home, itís aggravating that the plot of Under the Tuscan Sun couldnít have been a bit thicker. The entire movie is like a soap opera; airy and all over the place, always introducing one character after another. To my knowledge, it has been poorly adapted, as well; those who have read the book tell me that all of the good things featured in it are missing from the movie. Make no mistakeóthere is a lot to appreciate in this pictureóon the contrary. Lane does what she can with a one-note role, and is always charming. The gorgeous photography is fabulous; we always feel enriched when in the presence of the stunning shots of Tuscany. Under the Tuscan Sun isnít bad, but it certainly isnít good, either, which is very disappointing. It may be very enjoyable, when rented, at a cheap rate. But for ten bucks, itís definitely not worth attending.

 

Once Upon a Time In Mexico

 

 

Rated R | 102 mins

IMDB Info

     Once Upon a Time in Mexico masters two artsóbeing cocky and being contrived. Itís a hysterical hoot, full of big explosions, nutty editing, and powerful weapons. Itís also insanely entertaining, and will definitely captivate most audience members. Sadly, watching the same old shtick for nearly one-hundred minutes is a relentless experience. When we finally reach the grand climax, what should be a fabulous finale to a worthy film, all thatís awaiting us is more guns, fighting, and cheesy poses made by Antonio Banderas. Whoopee!

     Essentially, Once Upon a Time in Mexico is Robert Rodriguezís latest Spy Kids movie; all thatís changed is the PG rating. Itís goofy, dumb, and all in good fun. But while the Spy Kids trilogy thrives on these very characteristics, Mexico is able to accomplish very little, because of them. Rodriguez is amazingóhe directs, he edits, he writes, he produces, he composesóbut his talent is best utilized, when heís working with material that involves little kids with superpowers. His personal Apple computer is his film studio, and when watching this movie, it becomes very evident. Mexico is a rather mediocre motion picture.

     There is one fabulous feature to be seen in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, however. Johnny Depp is great; his performance is hilariously funny, brilliantly witty, and ingeniously outrageous. The two projects that heís worked on this year, this one and Pirates of the Caribbean, prove what a tremendous comedian he is. Every time Depp is onscreen, in Mexico, whopping amounts of laughter accompany him. Unfortunately, almost every other component of this entertaining, but jumbled film is either missing or out of place.

     The material had potential, but the execution is flawed. Itíll be a fun rental when it comes out on video, however. Until then, Iíd pass on it, for it certainly isnít worth the ten bucks multiplexesí charge for admission.

 


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