From my Podcast: Ep. 68 – Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2

Crossposted from:

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 are borderline spoof films based on the Karate, Kung Fu, and Samurai films of the 50’s, 60’s. and 70’s. If you’ve seen these two films, you ay enjoy listening along as I give my reactions. If you haven’t seen them, I don’t reveal too man spoilers but I encourage my listeners to see the films I cover and then tune in after to compare notes with me.

In my next episode (68), I am watching and commenting on the film “American Splendor” with Paul Giamatti. I hope you can watch this along with me before the next show and tune in to compare notes. It has an 81/100 score on Metacritic. Enjoy your day.

Lady Macbeth

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In this gothic, barbaric tale, there are themes of female victimization, male attempts to suppress women, and unrepressed rebellion.

The woman is the thing in this one. I loved her audaciousness and almost animal survival techniques in a stodgy English arranged marriage. I couldn’t help but think about just how bad women had it back then. In this case, she was sold into marriage with a man who didn’t love her. Florence Pugh is the actresses name and I was amazed watching her performance in this. It was electrifying.

The director is William Oldroyd. I don’t recognize any of his titles. This may be why this film is so banal and raw, and all the while, successfully so. Perhaps he hasn’t succumbed to the trappings or ordinary Hollywood treatments. He has made a unique period piece here.

The actors are all new names. I have to repeat that Lady Macbeth was completely shocking and alluring. You’ve never seen a 19-century rural wife behave this way and it’s glorious.

I recommend this to fans of the genre. It isn’t a “feel good” film like Pride and Prejudice but romance fans will be happy with it on one level. It is a very dark film but I found the ending wholly satisfying. I can’t think of any way to improve this film, it’s a perfect and complete message to its viewers, storytelling at its highest.



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One of Director M. Night Shyamalan’s stories was adapted into a screenplay and made into a movie. This is a different way to market something of his because he usually writes, produces, and even acts a small role in everything he makes. This time, he just gets the producer credit.

Devil is a combination of light horror (PG-13), mystery, and thriller. It’s hard to believe all three of those can be pulled off from inside an elevator but they are.

Devil is directed by John Erick Dowdle who recently directed Quarantine and The Poughkeepsie Tapes. He’s created a movie that looks smart and interweaves all three genres previously mentioned to make a scary, engaging movie that adolescents and adults will love. This film is not for kids. There are some bloody scenes that kids shouldn’t see. Having said that, it is pretty tame material for 13 and up.

The premise of this movie is that the Devil has entered an elevator at a metropolitan high-rise. The people locked in the elevator all have one shared flaw: they refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes in life. In each person’s case, the mistakes have caused death or other harm to befall innocent people. The Devil delivers justice in clever ways. There is a twist, as in all of M. Night’s movies. The twist reveals the mystery and so ends the movie.

The acting is top notch. The cast is a set of relative newbies. A notable performance however is given by veteran actor Jenny O’Hara. All the acting in this movie is given with a visible purpose and it makes the mystery all that much more fun to try and figure out. You feel like the characters are so real, you have a chance at figuring out what the end point will be. I find it incorrect that the movie is being marketed as a horror movie. I almost missed it because of such marketing. It is more than that. It reminds me of Rod Serling’s short Twilight Zone episodes. We can take a moral element from it and that is rare in today’s sound byte movie culture. So, to do my part for my blogging ‘compadres,’ I’m clearing up the misconceptions. This is a smartly crafted film. There are a lot of movies out there that are scary, but not many that leave you deep in thought as Devil does.

Two Lovers and a Bear

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I love the novels of Jack London where there’s sure to be snow, whiskey, white fanged husky dogs and other Alaskan treasures. Nature “bites” in this film where we have a couple trying to fight back their demons in this harsh place. Is it a romance? Well, lets examine that too.
Enter Hemingway, Melville, London … you will like what’s being served at this table. We’ve heard of nature being our indifferent enemy but what to do when that enemy is our own nature. We have not yet begun that process in film and literature, but it’s here in this film … along with a few others through the years.

Two Lovers and a Bear (2016)
R | 1h 36min | Drama, Romance | 16 December 2016 (USA)

Set in a small town near the North Pole where roads lead to nowhere, the story follows Roman (DeHaan) and Lucy (Maslany), two burning souls who come together to make a leap for life and inner peace.
Director: Kim Nguyen
Writer: Kim Nguyen
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany, Gordon Pinsent
I almost always love the film when the director also wrote the film. In this case it is Kim Nguyen doing both artistic roles. My hat goes off to him, and I assume he wears a hat also because like me, he is shaved bald. (Gotta love the brother!). I don’t know much about him other than he is known for this and two other films and he is a Canadian: War Witch (2012), Two Lovers and a Bear (2016) and The Marsh (2002). I would put stock in him because this film is something quite different than we are used to seeing. Human v Nature/Human v Self. It’s a gritty psychological drama and God forbid IMDB plot keywords would let us toil in ignorance of these features:

“Plot Keywords: sex on table | sex scene | topless female nudity | female nudity”

Yes, Orphan Black star, Tatiana Maslany, bares her breasts. That’s the easy part of nature no one is too worried about.

All these facts plus the plot basically is two lovers at the North Pole in a barely functioning town. Why they are there is not explicitly mentioned, at least not as much as the breasts are displayed. There is something about an abusive father in her past and he … likes the drink and he likes the hard drink. Sometimes you gotta just go “right now.” Other times maybe your demons are better dealt with by a heater. This couple is fraught with demons and they decide it’s time to go into the snow, into the storm but not without the help of a very helpful? bear. Dane DeHaan seems to like him. BTW DeHaan is there and does a good job as such. Not much more is needed from the, I wonder if he even likes the White Stripes.

This is no family movie. It’s also not a sweet romance, unless you think of Moby Dick as romantic. Having said that, there is a lot to think about romance here, maybe how “not” to support a lover with baggage. For a gritty tale of love? turmoil and t*** on a table, I do recommend.


The Dark

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Welsh legends and ghost sightings permeate this film. Is the daughter really dead? That is the question. Sean Bean’s character as her father seems to be the stoic sensible one while her mother Maria Bello’s is more desperate to believe anything. Was anyone duped? That’s what we waited to see through the running time of this film.

The Dark (2005)
R | 1h 33min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 26 January 2006 (Germany)

In mourning over the tragic drowning of their daughter Sarah, James and Adèle are visited by Ebrill, a young girl who claims she died 60 years ago – and bears a startling resemblance to Sarah.
Director: John Fawcett
Writers: Simon Maginn (novel), Stephen Massicotte (screenplay)
Stars: Sean Bean, Maria Bello, Sophie Stuckey
The director John Fawcett is also a producer, known for Ginger Snaps (2000), and Orphan Black (2013). Ginger Snaps has achieved cult status and is always a hoot to watch for it’s horror and teen ridiculous nature. Orphan Black is a tv show I really enjoyed, mostly due to the lead actress. Both of these works took enormous chances in doing something different. That’s probably why both were so successful.

Sean Bean and Maria Bello do a good job but since Sean Bean is so eponymous with The Lord Of The Rings, I couldn’t help but expect him to pick up a sword or slay and Orc. He wants his ex to accept their daughter is dead because he is rational, not unfeeling. Bello will not accept this and that’s what takes us into the supernatural portion of this film.

I’d have to say this one is a lot more predictable than Fawcett’s other two works I have mentioned. For that reason, I would recommend it as a light mystery/horror but not one you would clear your schedule to see. It does drag on a bit and doesn’t keep you guessing much with it’s simple story line. Add it to your Amazon Prime “worth watching” list, but maybe not your “must see” one.