While Kill Bill Volume 2 is not the orgy of violence that Volume 1 was, it takes the elements from the first edition and raises them to a new level. By the time we have gotten to Volume 2, Uma Thurman's "The Bride" has become something of a mythical figure.
Quentin Tarantino continues his tradition of incorporating great junk food cinema into his movies, in this case the influences of Hong Kong cinema and Spaghetti Westerns comes to the forefront, fusing to create something different. While he is clearly chewing with his mouth open, he is very concious of it.
Pai Mei kicks ass
Critics have swooned over this one, as opposed to the horrified reaction many had to Volume 1, which I suppose makes sense. It is interesting to note, however, that I saw the film on Friday night, and yesterday I hung out with some friends who hadn't seen it. We rented Volume 1 and watched it, then went to see Volume 2. Watching the first one after having seen the second, having seen where Tarantino was going with many things, was quite illuminating. Watching them in close proximity to one another emphasizes their similarities.
Volume 2 ends up being much more dramatically intense than Volume 1; I felt that Uma Thurman's performance in the first was excellent but that it didn't really matter; in the second her performance is still excellent, but there is much more of an emphasis on her as a character, making her accomplishment more apparent.
Another interesting aspect of the Kill Bill pictures (or is it "picture," singular?) is that, in addition to the songs Tarantino has incorporated, he uses several stingers from martial arts movies, original music by the RZA and Robert Rodriguez... and quite a few cues from Spaghetti Westerns.
While I am intimate with Ennio Morricone's scores for Sergio Leone's Westerns, (The Dollars Trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Once Upon A Time In the West; Duck, You Sucker! (released originally in the United States as A Fistful of Dynamite... and My Name Is Nobody, if you want to consider that a Leone film), I must say that the subgenre of Italian Westerns is an area of filmmusic about which I am woefully uninformed. There is a great wealth of music there by Ennio Morricone (who basically set the tone with his wrenching themes and insane orchestrations), Bruno Nicolai, Luis Bacalov and many others, about which I know next to nothing about.
Of course, as I have said before, I consider Morricone's work for Leone's Westerns to be some of the most interesting film music ever created. One can not watch Once Upon A Time In the West without reacting to the music; it is part of the storytelling process. Tarantino's use of these scores has made me interested in finding out more about them. The problem is one of volume: where the hell do you start. Morricone has scored more than six hundred films alone (you read that correctly). Luckily, I can consult the online community about it...
Lester Swing is NOT playing at Kenny's Castaways on 4/17/04. There
was a scheduling error. That show has been rescheduled for the
following Friday, April 23rd, 2004. We apologize about the late
notice and hope that all can attend the show on the 23rd. Expect the
website to be updated over the weekend.
Flea can only get away with being Flea
because he's Flea.
While I may be something of an expert in the type of music that I do listen to, there are times when worthwhile mainstream material may slip by me.
Ryan "Douchebag" recently showed me his DVD of the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing at Slane Castle. This is a great live DVD, with outstanding DTS sound and a crisp anamorphic picture, but the best aspect of it is that the performance is spot-on. It is clear that the band is ecstatic to be there, and they are tight.
What is interesting about this is that I had not been following the Chili Peppers. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was one of the first albums that I became aware of through friends; I knew about it when it was popular, not afterwards, which is unusual for me. I even had a copy of the album myself, sort of (my parents got it accidentally through Columbia House). I had heard a few tracks off of One Hot Minute, which came out while I worked at Tower (and which I liked), but the fact is that the while Dave Navarro is great, he didn't quite mesh with the band the way that John Frusciante did.
As a result, I had not heard the bulk of the songs on the DVD, which came from Californication and By the Way. I was shocked at how good the songs were, so I bought myself those two albums. It is wonderful to see that the band has been fulfilling their potential; both of these albums have that spicy sound that made Blood Sugar Sex Magik so irresistable, but also have a maturity that was impossible when they recorded that seminal album. Californication, in particular, struck me as being one of the best albums I'd heard in recent years.