Showing posts with label David Carradine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Carradine. Show all posts

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Dinocroc vs. Supergator

Last week, friend and fellow blogger Richard (of I Liked That Film) produced a DVD from his bag and passed it to me. He told me to watch it and said it’s rubbish. Over the last year or so, a succession of films has passed between the two of us with each attempting to increase the other’s cineliteracy. This time though, I thought he was taking the piss as the film he presented me with was called Dinocroc vs. Supergator. I was briefly told about one or two terrible scenes and like you do when you receive socks for Christmas, I smiled politely, said thank you and tucked the film into my own bag. Despite having just bought Rome Open City and Breathless the day before, it was this that found its way into my DVD player first. Perhaps it was curiosity or maybe it was similar to how you eat the vegetables before saving the steak until last but I watched it first. And it’s awful. I’ve seen some bad films before but this is up there with the worst.

The plot is very simple. An unscrupulous biotech company is developing super crops on a Hawaiian Island. Secretly they are also using the methods they’ve discovered to grow animals. For some reason a Dinocroc and Supergator escape and eat most of the scientists. Then they eat random idiots on various parts of the island before being contained and forced to fight each other by a ramshackle group of local heroes and assorted hangers on.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Kill Bill Volume 2

Kill Bill Volume 2 is the second part of Quentin Tarantino’s female led revenge thriller and was released six months after its predecessor KillBill Volume 1. The film follows the continuing vengeful rampage of The Bride (Uma Thurman) who we discover in this film is actually named Beatrix Kiddo. Her name remained secret in the first movie. Having dispatched of two of her former assailants in the first film, Kiddo here hunts down the remaining three; trailer residing, titty bar bouncer Bud (Michael Madsen), one eyed jealous blonde Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and the eponymous Bill (David Carradine).

The film opens with a Hitchcockian style pre title sequence in which The Bride is driving to her final destination while giving a brief outline of the plot so far. This sequence is shot in black and white and uses rear projection to give it the look of a Hitchcock thriller. Even the title font and score are Hitchcockian. The remainder of the film is much more conventional and more settled than the first Kill Bill movie as Tarantino keeps his genre mashing directorial tricks mostly in his pocket. There are occasional switches to black and white and one chapter resembles a Hong Kong Kung Fu movie but for the most part the film is more unadventurous than the first movie. There is much less violence too with only two onscreen deaths in the entire movie.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Kill Bill Volume 1

Kill Bill Volume 1 will always have a special place in my heart for two reasons. Firstly it was the first 18 Certificate film I ever saw at the cinema and as a result it was the first Tarantino film I saw at the cinema too. Thinking back, it might have been the first Tarantino film I saw at all although I can’t quite remember if I bought my VHS copy of Pulp Fiction a little earlier. As a seventeen year old who at the time had little interest in movies beyond the latest American Pie I was awe struck by Kill Bill and I’ve seen it several times since. The movie, as it makes clear during the opening credits was the forth film from Quentin Tarantino and followed a six year break since Directing his third film, Jackie Brown. Although originally intended as one feature the movie was split into two separate films due to a four hour run time and Kill Bill Volume 2 followed six months after Volume 1 in 2004.

This is perhaps Tarantino’s most highly stylised film to date and takes in an assortment of styles, genres and techniques. The Director and story weave from genre to genre, picking up pieces of revenge, Hong Kong martial arts, exploitation and Japanese samurai movies as it progresses in a non linear manner through its plot. The film is separated into chapters which themselves often feel like short films. Each chapter takes from a different style, genre or era and occasionally the style will change mid chapter. The plot focuses on the character of The Bride (Uma Thurman), a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad who is beaten and shot in the head by her former colleagues. She wakes up four years later to discover her fiancĂ© and unborn daughter are dead and sets about reaping her revenge on those who attacked her and killed her family. Each chapter tells a portion of her revenge tale.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mean Streets


Generally regarded as Martin Scorsese’s first great film and the third in my Scorsese in Sequence feature, Mean Streets is perhaps Scorsese’s most personal film to date. Centred in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighbourhood that Scorsese grew up, in the film charts the day to day lives of a group of young Italian American men. Charlie (Harvey Keitel) is a semi connected guy who works for his uncle, a local mafia boss but dreams of running a restaurant. He feels responsible for his no good friend Johnny Boy (Robert DeNiro) who owes everyone in the neighbourhood money and has no intention of paying it back. Michael (Richard Romanus) is a loan shark who Johnny Boy owes a huge debt to. Johnny Boy tries to avoid the people he owes but this becomes difficult as both he and Michael frequent Tony’s (David Proval) bar.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Boxcar Bertha

Martin Scorsese’s second picture and the second in my Scorsese in Sequence feature is Boxcar Bertha. Bertha Thompson (Barbara Hershey) is a young woman whose father dies in an aircraft accident. With no money and no home she travels around the Depression hit South aboard railway boxcars. Along the way she meets ‘Big’ Bill Shelly (David Carradine), a Union Man and suspected Communist. The two of them begin a relationship and along with Yankee, Rake Brown (Barry Primus) and ‘negro’, Von Morton (Bernie Casey) take to robbing trains as a means of surviving.

This is unlike most other Scorsese films. It is the only one to feature a woman in the central role and one of only a handful set outside of the East Coast. As a result it feels amongst the least Scorsese-esque of his films. The direction is fairly straightforward. There are no trademark long tracking shots, very little popular music and cutting is slow and traditional. One area in which Scorsese does stick to type is with Bertha’s moral ambiguity. At the beginning she is a sweet young girl but towards the end she is a woman who will do anything it takes to survive and appears to enjoy the wilder side of life. The film also contains Scorsese’s trademark violence, especially in an unexpectedly brutal final scene.