DoAskDoTell Movie Reviewss of Quentin Tarantino’s film noir

 Kill Bill, Vol 1 and 2 (2003, 2004, Miramax, R, dir. Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction”)). Vol. 2 contains the meat of the satire—of comic books, Italian westerns (Dollars), film noir with classy sword-edge music alternating with 40’s gangsterism.  You see The Bride “Black Mamba,” refusnik (Uma Thurman) driving a 50s sedan in black and white film, promising to KILL BILL (head of the White Viper Assassination Squad). Well, my nickname (but not my assumed name) is Bill. Then you go back through the steps, starting with a massacre at her wedding in a desert chapel, by Bill. She becomes (or became) a female serial killer, maybe like Marlena (or Nicole or Jan) in Days of Our Lives. But killing for her is a matter of survival, as she bangs her way out of a coffin. The film progresses into weirdness, but Tarantino’s own comic-book noir style rather than David Lynch’s. In the final confrontation, Bill (David Carradine) gives an odd speech comparing comic book heroes. Clark Kent (Superman) is a better hero than Peter Parker because he is a hero the way he is born, without putting on a costume. Film I is a bit of a comic book exposition, climaxing with a martial arts gore-fest to rival the 1982 classic “Pieces.”  It is exactly what you think it is. Arms, legs, and heads roll in the martial arts sequences towards the end of Vol. 1—one scene where a woman, her arm severed to a pulpy stump at the shoulder and bleeding arterially from mush on camera, lies screaming for help on the floor, is especially graphic. Quentin Tarantino had written a horror film From Dusk Till Dawn back in 1996 (Miramax/Dimension, 107 min, R, dir. Robert Rodriquez), that starts out with an expansive desert scene and robbery like Kill Bill 2, but dead ends at a bar in Mexico (after more robbery and kidnapping) filled with vampires and lots of amputations. Well, then you find that the bar is on an excavated Aztec pyramid site, and that explains the supernatural. 

Pulp Fiction (1994, Miramax/A Band Apart, dir. Quentin Tarantino, 154 min, R) may seem the birthstone of modern non-linear story telling in film. John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and Linda Lovelace star in a movie about intersecting stories among several shady and underworld characters that intersect back and forth in time. The movie starts in a diner, and comes back to where it started, as if life could be an infinite loop.  Sometimes it is. This was the granddaddy of “big” independent film, widescreen and all.

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