I don't know if it's my favorite film of 2003 (there are still a couple films I haven't seen like American Splendor, 21 Grams, and Lost in Translation), but it certainly is the most fun. The first time I watched it, practically the entire running time I had a stupid grin on my face. From the Shawscope logo to the cliffhanger of an ending, I was just smiling like an idiot, eyes alive. The last time that happened was Amelie. And you know, it IS a geekfest-- the homages are everywhere. But what's great is that it's fine on its own. The film stands on its own two feet. Does it matter that you recognize the theme from The Green Hornet when she arrives in Tokyo, or Bernard Herrmann's score for Twisted Nerve being whistled by Daryl Hannah in the split-screen scene that's a nod to Brian De Palma? No. But if you do, hey, that's great. It's not important if you know Sonny Chiba from his Street Fighter films or Chiaki Kuriyama from Battle Royale. These are just nice little touches in an already perfectly-baked cake. The plot isn't anything original, in fact it's one of the oldest stories in the world: revenge. It's the execution that's the difference. Elements of Tarantino's style remain: fractured narrative, close-ups of various objects, sense of humor, dialogue, trunk POV shots, careful selection of music. There are great litle moments that don't bear significance to the overall story but are cool nonetheless, like the Sheriff's green shades (and how he calls his son "Son No. 1"), the way The Bride's real name is always bleeped out, and the cereal named Kaboom (a hint if I ever saw one). People think it's gory but actually the violence is almost cartoonish and ridiculous, especially with the gushing fountains of blood. The only semi-queasy moment is when Gogo disembowels this ugly dude. Uma's terrific; she can play it funny like when she sees Gogo's mace drop to the floor, but her shriek upon discovering a flat stomach after waking from her coma is chilling. And as terrific as she looks, it's hard to remember her more radiant than in the first few minutes of the House of Blue Leaves melee, with the streak of blood on her forehead and an almost Charlie's Angels-era Farrah Fawcett do.
I can't wait for Vol. 2.
WETA's working on a live-action Evangelion film?! Holy shit! I really hope this falls in good hands. I was disappointed to discover that the first Series of Unfortunate Events film is being helmed by Brad Silberling, who directed Casper and City of Angels. Hopefully I'll be surprised. I enjoyed the first 2 Harry Potter films enough, even if they were directed by Chris Columbus. Though maybe I should note: I say that as someone who hasn't read any of the books.
Here's the new trailer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This is the next film I'm really really REALLY looking forward to. I mean, you can't go wrong with a title like that. The fact it's written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry doesn't hurt, either.
Check out Neva's blog if you haven't been there lately; she's got a new look and has suddenly (and stealthily) become very active. She also has a new website, and Letters to Myself, one of my favorite poems of hers (because it was culled from my letters to her :p ) was recently published online.