Saturday, May 8, 2004

The Crazy 88

I'm still reeling from our Kill Bill double-feature yesterday... Caroline and I watched Volume 1 on DVD and then jetted down to the UA Shattuck to see Volume 2, with only enough time in between to drive to Berkeley and find our seats. I hesitate to use the word "overkill" in this context, but that's kind of what it was. Just a bit much violence when taken all together. I have to say, though, both were excellent films... I simply advocate coming down off the first one before seeing the second one. Have a meal or a nap or some pleasant experience to cleanse the palate of all those fountains of blood.

What I found most surprising, though, was how wildly different the two films were in matters of style. Vol. 1 was visually amazing, although really there was more blood spraying in more places than I could really handle. Does blood really shower about like that? The cinematography was exquisite, and the anime sequence was quite arresting; the characters were a trifle two-dimensional, but they all had sympathetic sides... yet the sympathetic characteristics were always overbalanced by the violence and cruelty of the character. Just when you started liking someone or feeling sorry for her, she'd turn around and do something really awful.

The second volume was an entirely different style of film. Not only was the aesthetic more old-school, blending old Kung-Fu flicks and spaghetti westerns into the gritty, grainy mix, but the storyline was more character-driven. The insane violence of the first part was replaced here with real motives and interesting characterizations. It was more satisfying to me as a film... though Caroline found the stylish violence and music-video pacing in the first part more satifsying than the rather meditative and comparatively bloodless flavor of the second.

Still, I found the two together a bit overwhelming. I've never seen a Tarantino film before (with the exception of From Dusk 'til Dawn, which was a waste of everyone's time), I have always suspected him of being a little too much for me to bear, and am surprised by how much I did like these two. I guess I ought to look up his earlier classics, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, and see what that's all about.

But not right now. Right now I am going to think happy, pretty thoughts. And I am going to do some laundry (I'm out of socks and undershirts again). Then I have a Court function in Hayward tonight (Mama P's 69th birthday at Club Rumor), and then a big family do tomorrow for Mother's Day.

Have a lovely weekend!

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