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Oct 182010
 
 
From Dusk Till Dawn is about Seth (George Clooney) and Richard (Quentin Tarantino, who also wrote the screenplay), two cop killing brothers who take Jake (Harvey Keitel) a widowed preacher and his two kids, Scott (Ernest Liu) and Kate (Juliette Lewis), hostage as they head down to Mexico on the run.
 
After an intense trip, they all arrive at a club called “The Titty Twister”. That’s a tender name for a bar with strippers. Only to find out that it’s infested with vampires. No wonder it’s a private bar for bikers and truck drivers only.
 
Now here’s a funny scene. Two bikers sit a table. One biker named Sex Machine (Tom Savini) snatches a beer from the other with a whip. The other guy pulls out a knife, but Sex Machine reveals a mini machinegun from his belt buckle, which causes the other guy to put his knife away. At least I think it was his belt buckle.

         

The bartender was Razor Charlie. Danny Trejo, who I met at Spooky Empire 2010, played him. He was a nice guy and pointed out that this autographed photo from his latest film Machete was his favorite among the ones he had. 

        

Salma Hayek plays Santanico Pandemonium, the top exotic dancer and primary queen vampire. As hot as she was, the way she pours the alcohol on herself for Richard to drink off of her was pretty grotesque. 

          

It then becomes a fight for surviving the night. As the vampires get slayed, there is no consistent effect. Some turn to dust, some explode like the zombies from The Evil Dead, some burn up, and others just lay dead on the ground, then burn up. 

After many slayings and casualties, the survivors regroup. Where there are truck drivers, there are shipments of all sorts of different items. The survivors get real creative using them as weaponry against the vampires. My most favorite was that motorized wooden stake Seth uses. 

This was a good vampire horror movie. I can remember when George Clooney won the award for Best Breakthrough Performance on the 1996 MTV Movie Awards for his role as Seth Gecko. Now if only the vampire part had started sooner, then I would’ve known that it really was that kind of a horror film.

Jul 232010
 

Welcome back. Kill Bill – Volume Two begins right where the first one left off. The Bride (Uma Thurman) is back and on her way to hunt down Bill’s (David Carradine) brother Budd (Michael Madsen), who is number 3 on her “Death List Five” as part of her quest for revenge. We didn’t get to see much of Budd earlier, but we do now.

Bill warns Budd about the Bride coming for him, but Budd isn’t worried at all. He even sold his samurai sword at a pawnshop. “You pawned a Hattori Hanzo sword?” Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it. If the Bride had overheard this conversation, she’d think that Budd would be an easy target to take out.

Budd works as a bouncer in a bar. Though he’s always late, he thinks it shouldn’t matter because no customers ever arrive that early in the day, which is understandable. Budd’s boss is hilarious when he gets mad at Budd for it. Was that Sid Haig as the bartender?

Later that evening, the Bride arrives at Budd’s trailer for a sneak attack. Unfortunately, Budd takes her down with one shot of rock salt to the gut. Not so easy after all, was he. I guess that proves that the gun is mightier than the sword, even a Hattori Hanzo samurai sword.

Then Budd buries the Bride alive. That wasn’t much of a battle. As the Bride works her way out of this peril, we go into another big flashback. Bill sends the Bride to train under Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), who is a very strict instructor. The training was brutal and hard to watch, but now we know where the Bride learned some of those extraordinary skills, which includes the instant eye gouging. Soon the Bride escapes by the skin of her teeth (or should I say hand), and heads for Budd’s place again.

Meanwhile, Elle (Darryl Hannah) is already there and she doublecrosses Budd by killing him with a black mamba snake and makes Budd suffer by reading info about that snake aloud to him. Some killers have no mercy.

After that, the Bride arrives and fights with Elle. How convenient, since she was number 4 on the “Death List Five”. This battle also gets interesting as new secrets are revealed. The Bride’s name is finally revealed to be Beatrix Kiddo and the story behind Elle’s eye patch is not a pretty one. The catfight ends with Elle losing her other eye. I can still remember how everyone in the theater reacted when Beatrix stepped on that eye and crushed it. Ewe! Elle is defeated, but is she really dead like the other three?

Beatrix may have lost her list earlier, but she doesn’t need it anymore because there’s only one target left, Bill. She soon finds Bill along with another little surprise, and a very likable one at that. This final confrontation drags a little bit, but I liked Bill’s philosophy on Superman compared to other superheroes.

Overall, this two-volume movie was very creative. Action, humor, strong gorgeous women, it’s got it all, which makes this film a masterpiece.

Jul 212010
 

Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed Kill Bill. This amazing two-volume adventure story was inspired by old martial arts movies. Uma Thurman stars as a former assassin simply named the Bride. Oddly, whenever anyone mentions her real name, it’s bleeped. That makes no sense.

As the story goes in Kill Bill – Volume One, the Bride was about to be married. Then suddenly four other assassins crash it and shoot everyone. The Bride wakes up from a coma four years later and hunts them all down one by one before heading for her former boss and lover, Bill (David Carradine).

This film is featured in chapters, but many of the basic points of the story line are out of order. For instance, at the beginning, the Bride seeks out Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) and defeats her. After that, the Bride marks Vernita off of her “Death List Five” for she was number 2. Then the rest of the movie goes into a flashback.

Number 1 on the list was O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), but the Bride has to wake up first. Little did she know that Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah), who is number 4 on the list, tried to kill the Bride by herself, but Bill stopped her just in time. It was hilarious how Elle reacted angrily. You’ve also got to admit that Elle looks hot in that nurse outfit. Oh, yeah.

It takes awhile, but after a very violent animated sequence (I think it’s Anime), the Bride was able to recover. Now it’s off to Japan to find O-Ren. However, she’s not so easy to get to because she is a top underworld boss in Tokyo, but was the easiest on the list to find because of her reputation as a top underworld boss in Tokyo.

Soon the Bride arrives at O-Ren’s place. It seems peaceful at first because the joint is jumping as an all-girl band called the 5,6,7,8s is performing. Those lovely ladies can rock and their skimpy outfits are hot too.

Then it becomes exciting as the Bride fights her way through O-Ren’s army called the Crazy 88. However, the battle is brutal because the Bride’s new samurai sword, made by Bill’s old sensei Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba), easily chops off many body parts. In a way, I can see this like a video game. After a group of enemies there’s a mini boss, who is O-Ren’s personal bodyguard, Gogo Yaburi (Chiaki Kuriyama). She’s very pretty, but deadly with that spiked ball and chain.

After Gogo is defeated by a board with a nail in it, more enemies come along. As exciting as this was, this battle is turning into a major gorefest. Yuck! Then it all comes down to the final confrontation between the Bride and O-Ren. It was a good sword battle, but I was expecting more of a catfight.

The first volume stops here as the Bride goes to look for number 3 on the “Death List Five”, Bill’s brother Budd (Michael Madsen). And just when this film was getting good, but not to worry. Check my blog for part 2 when I’ll be talking about volume 2.

Jan 222010
 

Welcome back. This next film Grindhouse Presents, Death Proof – Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition) is more of a slasher, which stars Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a stuntman with a killer car. Metaphorically and literally speaking.

This movie also features two different groups of lovely young women. The first group includes Rose McGowan in a much different role from Planet Terror, Vanessa Ferlito (who I remember as one of the cheerleaders from Man of the House), and Sydney Pointier as Jungle Julia the DJ who likes to show her gorgeous legs. (Oh, yeah.) Even Marley Shelton returns as a nurse named Dakota. What are the odds, right?

The jukebox plays all sorts of great music. That, along with the comedic characters, makes the bar a nice laid back environment, including the lap dance that was supposably “cut short”.

The second group includes Rosario Dawson (who I remember best as Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats the movie), Tracie Thoms (who I remember from the short lived comedy series Wonderfalls), and stuntwoman Zoë Bell as herself. They’re all on a road trip only to be attacked by Stuntman Mike. Doesn’t he ever quit?

I met Zoë Bell at the FX Convention in 2008. She was really nice. When I got her autograph, I found out that she was a stunt double on Xena: Warrior Princess and Kill Bill. My sister and I even told Zoë that we were looking forward to seeing her in more films. She excitedly crosses her fingers and says, “Me too.”

These movies are both great overall, filled with the perfect combination of action and sex appeal.

Jan 202010
 

Directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez have outdone themselves with this double feature. It starts with Grindhouse Presents, Planet Terror – Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition) which stars Rose McGowan as Cherry, the comedic stripper. I mean, go-go dancer. And Marley Shelton as Dakota, the sexy nurse.

I can remember Rose McGowan back in the 90s when she used to date Marilyn Manson and starred in dark films like Jawbreaker and Devil in the Flesh. But it wasn’t until Rose McGowan joined the cast of Charmed when she started to show a more comedic and lighter side to her character persona.

Unlike other zombie viruses, this one causes massive pimples and skin disfiguration. I don’t think there’s enough acne cream in the world to clear that up. And then there are the testicle collectors. Now that’s just disturbing. Not even Rob Zombie’s films would use such an item. And that’s saying a lot.

The zombie fights were awesome. They remind me of that shooter video game, House of the Dead Overkill. Especially the ones in the hospital. Cherry’s skill with that machine gun for a leg makes it look a whole lot smoother.

I met Elise and Electra Avellan, who played the Babysitter twins in this film, at Spooky Empire 2009. They were both really nice and sweet. It was their first time in Florida and they loved it. Now I can’t wait to see Elise and Electra in the upcoming film Machete, which they play sexy nurses with sharp tools. Very sharp.

What really stuck out was how the double feature was set up. Among the special features was a Q&A at Comic-Con 2006. The two directors wanted to make a more 70s retro look with old “Feature Presentation” rating bumpers, low film quality, and a “missing reel”. All of which was done on purpose. It was so cleverly done. And was all topped off with two great new films, back to back. Check my blog to see my review on the next one real soon.