Kino Korner Movie Reviews  by Michael Gildea


Kill Bill Vol. 2 

   Part of waiting for a movie that youíre really excited about is the waiting itself. Anticipation and wondering what the actual finished product will be like can completely ruin the movie if it doesnít meet your hopes and expectations. Every once in a while, however, your own mind doesnít hype a movie beyond the realistic potential of the talent involved. Iím very happy to say that Kill Bill Vol. 2 is the latter. Possibly the biggest reason for this is that volume two isnít a sequel, but in fact a continuation. Volumes one and two were originally one big four hour-plus epic, but the studio cut in into two parts because they know that your Adult ADD asses canít sit still for more than two hours at a time. Youíd rather sit home and watch "Tru Calling" and "The Swan," but I digress. For anyone who may have seen Kill Bill Vol. 1, they know that itís all balls and no cock. Blood, blood, killing, and more blood. Iím not saying this as a bad thing, Iím just saying that itís what Roger Ebert called "all storytelling with no story." Characters werenít really developed, and for as much as I truly enjoyed volume one, there wasnít a hell of a lot going on besides gleeful slaughter. This is not the case with volume two. I think maybe five people died. Only a couple of fights, but when Umaís and Darryl Hannahís characters finally go at it, it is a true treat. Volume one was written with a sword and volume two is written with a pen. The dialogue shows that the trademark Tarantino ear for conversation just gets better. The Superman monologue that David Carradine gives toward the end of the film alone more than made up for every horrible movie Iíve seen in the last two years. If youíre looking for all of the chop sockey nods, you wonít find as many in volume two, but itís still fun. Kill Bill Vol. 2 is more likely to get the Oscar nominations that volume one didnít, but aside from Tarantino and everybody who seemed to work very hard on the film, who really gives a shit? It gets my White Chocolate Reese Big Cup Award.

Four Stars

(Evil Genius, mindfuck, betrayed by those)

The Punisher

I recently had the incredible pleasure of hearing Mr. Bruce Campbell speak about his experiences in Hollywood and his recollections from being involved in "The Biz." (If you think I hate the way the movie industry worksÖ) Aside from ripping up sequels, movies based on video games, movies based on theme park rides, well you get the general idea. But aside from ripping these types of movies that donít have a world of thought behind them up, Mr. Campbell also briefly ripped up movies that sell a soundtrack full of hip new bands that will make the misunderstood youth of the world flock to the movie. And I thought that on top of using the movie as a cross-merchandising selling tool, the director is putting a stamp upon the movie. It wonít say "classic" or "timeless." It will say "made in 2004óthe low point in musical history" among other things. Bruce also ripped up movies based on comic books. These types of movies are very tricky because youíve got fans of the comic, and also those whoíve never heard of the character. Then there are those of us who just like to bitch about terrible movies. I was a big Punisher fan back in the day. Iíd buy any comic that heíd appeared in that just happened to up the price of the book. Heís got no superpowers. He was just a Vietnam vet whose family was killed by mobsters and he vowed revenge on organized crime, basically Batman with guns and a trenchcoat mafia wardrobe. But I eventually stopped collecting, because thereís only so much that you can do with a vigilante going after bad guys and it got very boring. And this movie reminded me why I havenít read the Punisher in over ten years. It was actually worse than Daredevil and the last twenty minutes of The Hulk combined. He was like a ghetto cross (with white trash neighbors and all) between James Bond and Batman. But the comic relief arrived when John Travolta showed up as the bad guyóchanneling those finely crafted acting skills he mercilessly displayed in Battlefield Earth and Swordfish. Itís just a notch above the 1989 straight-to-video version featuring Dolph Lundgren riding motorcycles in the sewer, clad in shoe polish for 5 oíclock shadow against the Japanese yakuza. And of course itís set up for a sequel that should never ever happen.

One Star

(Crappy remake of classic original, glorification of law enforcement, ordinary person)

Man On Fire

    Iím on the fence with Denzel Washington. Like any actor, heís done his fair share of crap over the years. And like any actor whoís done their fair share of crap and happens to win an Oscar, he continues to do more crap. The only difference now is that because of said Oscar, that crap is now more widely recognized. And for as good as I thought Training Day was, Denzel Washington just seems to be mainlining into that type of character again with Man On Fire. I say that in the has-the-ferocity-of-a-rabid-dog sense, not the heís- a-true-son-of-a-bitch sense. Man On Fire is about a former anti-terrorist military guy who is hired to bodyguard the albino daughter (the creepy one from The Cat in the Hatóand if you know who Iím talking about you donít deserve to) of a Mexico City industrialist. Said munchkin eventually grows on the alcoholic burnout just in time for her to get kidnapped. And of course a bender of belligerence, violence, espionage and more twists than you can shake a stick at follow. Itís directed by Tony Scott who brought us such films as True Romance, Crimson Tide, Top Gun, and some other movies that, no matter how bad they may be, youíll watch them until the end regardless of how far into the movie you may have come in. Itís written by Brian Helgeland, who brought us last fallís Mystic River. Itís got a great look, but proves that itís now standard to piss all over the camera lens if a movie takes place in Mexico to give it that seedy, smarmy feel. And itís that freshly-ripped-off-from-an-arthouse-flick feel and Washingtonís performances that keeps Man On Fire from being a total failure. The plot was yanked from a recipe for chicken quesedillas and better yetóitís a remake! A remake of a Scott Glenn movie from the eighties if that tells you anything.

Two Stars

(Mind fuck, talented actor makes bad choice, nauseatingly cute children, glorification of law, washed up hero)

13 Going On 30

    Whoever okayed this movie to be made seriously needs to have their balls kicked back into their body cavity. This plotís been beaten to death to the point where every possible scenario with a teenage kid getting turned into an adult has been done. So whatís so goddamned special about this one, you ask? Jennifer Garner is in it. What are you, stupid? Who wouldnít want to look at her inverted cheekbones and scrawny-to-the-point-of-emaciated ass for more than an hour and a half? But seriously, Iím supposed to get excited that this dink is doing a comedy? The real comedy is that sheís got a career and Iím probably going to have to look at a bunch of teenage girls in their "awkward stage" in commercials that are telling me that I should go see it all next week, talking about how it was "so funny" and how I "gotta check it out." And as for Mark RuffaloóI donít know if heís got to get his dick wet in a few more movies before he makes his big move up or whatever, but he better take the time to lube up for his next project or heís going to end up with a mid-shaft gash thatís not going to go away so easily. But the good news is that I got laid by two of those girls at that aforementioned awkward stage. They had an hour to kill before the oneís mom was picking them up, so I figured what the hell. They said they were eighteen and thatís all that any judge that may cross my path will ever need to know.

One star

(Actor plays himself, impossible science, mind fuck, talented actor makes bad choice, chick flick)



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