Quentin Tarantino

Hell Ride

Poster for Larry Bishop's Film 'Hell Ride', released under the Tarantino Presents bannerUnder the 'Quentin Tarantino Presents' banner, a new film called 'Hell Ride' has had its trailer released on the net - and has obviously made its way onto youtube. It features Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, David Carradine, Eric Balfour (one of the early Buffy vampire victims, and he played 'Milo' in 24), Vinnie Jones and Larry Bishop (the director and writer who plays 'Pistolero').

It looks good, very 'grindhouse'. Unfortunately I've not been able to find a UK release date. It was seen in the US at the Sundance film festival, and will be released there on the 8th August.

I simply adore the movie poster seen on the Hell Ride website.

Death Proof

Having missed it at the Cinema (it wasn't on for long and Real Life prevailed) we finally saw Tarantino's "Death Proof" today. We were denied the opportunity for the full 'Grind House' experience, as we live in the UK, and Death Proof and Planet Terror were separated for their UK release. This isn't a film for high concepts and big plots, if you want that, go elsewhere. However, it is an action film of the first order, with its roots strongly in the 70s 'B-movie' cinema. It has car chases of the first order - the car chase at the end of the film is simply awesome, as Tarantino points out in the DVD extras, the chase is in two segments - the chased and the chasing.

Zoë Bell, the stuntwoman used in Kill Bill as well as in Xena, Warrior Princess, is given a starring role in the second half of the film - and she truly is great (we loved her first moments on film after the bonnet sequence). Of course, she does all her own stunts - and is truly kick-ass in this movie.

Directors could do a lot worse than asking if they could use a Kiwi the next time they need an action-based woman in their films!

The climax of the film with Mike, Zoë, Kim and Abbie is superb. Tarantino is quoted as saying that Tracie Thoms (Kim) is 'the female Samuel L. Jackson', for how well she deliverss Tarantino's lines.

Kurt Russell is visibly revelling in his role as Stuntman Mike - there is a nice little look to camera shortly before he drives off from the bar which is superb.

True, Grindhouse (and its parts, Planet Terror and Death Proof) didn't do well at the cinema. This doesn't mean that you can't have a great time with them - if you remember some 70s cinema, so much the better.

Simply put. We loved it - it'll take time to see where it comes in the Tarantino pecking order - but I suspect it'll be placed quite highly (which changes with my mood - Jackie Brown usually sits in the number one slot, just for the Pam Grier Goodness, but in my current mood Pulp Fiction has moved up to number 1, leapfrogging Kill Bill Vol 1. and Jackie Brown)

Jackie Brown

We settled down tonight to watch the Quentin Tarantino film, Jackie Brown. Now, for many people, Jackie Brown is surpassed by Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, but for me, though I like these films, I prefer Jackie Brown.

The other films are higher tempo, but Jackie Brown has it's own rhythm and style, we can hang out with Pam Grier and Sam Jackson as Ordell. We can hang with Louis (Robert de Niro) and Melanie (Bridget Fonda). Robert Forster as Max Cherry is excellent value.

One doesn't really 'hang' with Michael Keaton in the film, Ray Nicolette is too straight laced. Keaton's good in the film and he played the same role in 'Out of Sight', another Elmore Leonard novel. (Jackie Brown is based on 'Rum Punch', which itself was discussed on this month's radio 4 bookclub)

The film is slow to develop, and we get time to appreciate the world. I've a fondness for 'heist' movies, at least ones that are well done, and this one is so it's right up my street. The first time I saw Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction was fresh in my mind, so I wasn't sure about it. However, each time I see it, I enjoy it more.

... and let's face it, the opening sequence with Pam Grier walking through LAX is just cool.

I'm not sure about the next project, 'Grind House', this is a film broken into two parts. One part is by Tarantino, and the other by Robert Rodriguez. I've never really got into Robert Rodriguez's films, hence my uncertainty. Without reservation I'm looking forward to 'Inglorious Bastards', Tarantino's WW2 epic. It's been on the cards for what seems like so long now, every so often I look it up on imdb, but every time there seems to be no change.

Kill Bill Vol 2

Yesterday we went to see Kill Bill Volume 2. Thoroughly enjoyed it, excellent film. Warning, spoilers are present, I've given the shape of the film (for my own memory aide) but have skipped the nitty gritty detail).

The film opens with the same shot of Uma as the first film, broken and battered. It reminds us of the reason for her quest. After an introduction from Uma, we see what went on in that Wedding Chapel and Sam Jackson makes his brief appearance as 'Rufus'.

At this stage, the Bride is calling herself Arlene. Bill arrives at the chapel, and it's not clear whether he will bless or condemn (though we know which!)

The film continues on with Bud (Michael Madsen), who is Bill's brother. Bud is white trash living in a trailer. He's trying to 'go straight' and is working as a bouncer in a local strip joint.

He gets the better of Uma, and places her in a rather tricky position. We then cut to Bill and The Bride in earlier times, as Bill sends her to Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) for training.

Pai Mei is a fantastic character, if you sit near someone who comments on the cheesy zooms, the poor grainy quality of the print, the funky music, mentally give them a bit of a slap - that's all intentional and great fun.

We then return to the present, and to the Bride, and we see how she escapes (which the Pai Mei sequence justified). She seems to heal a little fast though... the whole sequence of Uma's tricky position and her escape is rather reminiscent of the start of 'Buffy' season six.

Meanwhile, Bud has summoned Elle in order to sell her The Bride's Hanzo sword. (Hanzo was the Sonny Chiba character who made The Bride's sword). Sufficed to say that neither make it out alive (though Elle isn't seen to die, her survival is unlikely given her circumstances).

The Bride then heads for Bill... there are some touching sequences here, even for a hardened and cynical filmgoer type like me. The child chosen to play BB was absolutely fantastic, an excellent choice. Child actors are SO hard to get right, but this girl was perfect.

...and then The Bride tries to Kill Bill.....