My Girl Bill

Uma GummaWhat’s a guy to do? Spring opens here on the same day as Quentin Tarantino’s legendary new sushi-dicer, Kill Bill: Vol. 2. I mean, we’ve got 61 entire degrees over here, each one stacked up on top of the others in a sudden ecstasy of not-winter. It’s galvanizing, it’s historic, it’s temperate, it’s … hey, you with the groundhog! Get that thing out of here, now.

On the other hand, it’s Kill Bill. You know? And ya gotta see Kill Bill. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.

We’ll have 61° on other days, but Quentin only comes to town once in a rare tartare. So off I frolic, splashing and grunting (think bull walrus) in the frisky sun, up the block and around the corner to the Court Street twelveplex, which is to movie theatres what Master and Blaster were to Bartertown, except with more screaming children. I basked in two or three minutes’ worth of the new season, easy; I’m gambling – risky, in these parts – on more later. You can’t rush these things.

Spring, spring, spring. Trees along Clinton Street squeezed out flowers with such gusto they practically screamed, shooting blossoms out across the road in a barrage of petals (“Aaaargh, there goes one!” Pop. Zing! “Ooh, that’s better”). It’s going down into the 40′s tonight, so it’s a matter of making hay while the sun shines.

Volume 1 of Kill Bill was an obi of manufactured mystery. The film was a roaring head of steam with no cuppa tea underneath, swirling in immaculate execution to the strains of a music you wanted to hear but couldn’t quite separate from the ringing clang of Hattori Hanzo steel. Volume 2 is a whole different beast. In fact, it basically is the whole beast; it’s the entire film that the first part hinted at, and it turns Volume 1 into a preamble.

Quentin Tarantino is a director of fierce, almost slavish style; it’s a credit to his skill that his films feel fluid and impulsive rather than strict. At their best the Wachowski brothers are as easily controlled and eclectic, but as we all saw last year, they’re not always at their best.

This picture has only been out for a few hours, and already I know all about his return to the tart barrage of dialogue and how he’s an encyclopaedic reference of chopsocky flicks, and how Uma is the perfect foil, or Samuel L. Jackson is the perfect foil, about how David Carradine makes the part penned for Warren Beatty all his own. What I take from all the noise, apart from the obvious nod to someone’s talented publicist, is simple: we’re hungry for this. We want it, bad. Quentin Tarantino makes good movies that are also good to watch. He makes us see how humdrum the rest of the drool in the other 11 plexes is.

Except Hellboy, of course.

Best Line of the Afternoon

The movie starts 11 minutes late, for no apparent reason. The place is packed and uncomfortable. The trailers haven’t started, the commercials are over, there’s a dead screen that says Our Feature Presentation Will Begin In A Moment. For 11 entire minutes. About 7 minutes in, a guy in the audience screams, “Come on! Even Dave Goldstein is more interesting than this!”

It’s too early to talk about the picture in detail; most of the reviews actually do blow some of the secret pleasures in passing, not giving away the blind-side ending but scrunching open a couple of child-proof plot caps along the way. I won’t do that here. I’ll just note that the experience was seamless for me. While Kill Bill is running, it’s simply and absolutely the best movie for years, engrossing and enfolding in every way. Tarantino even has the canny guts to discuss the film critically in the middle of Act III, talking through the misshapen concept of the American hero and giving the huddled masses some of the unfamiliar ammunition they’ll need to develop a thoughtful and educated opinion on what they’ve just seen, if that’s where they want to go with it. In an age of media manipulation and critical celluloid towers, it’s a ballsy and generous move, and you can almost feel the audience cock it’s collective head.

The soundtrack is as good as one would hope from a Quentin Tarantino joint, and if Kill Bill can exhume Shivaree‘s buried career – the band’s wonderful “Goodnight Moon” is the first cut over the end credits – it will have done a world of good. Malcolm McLaren’s “About Her,” a glorious mashup reconsideration of “She’s Not There” by The Zombies, is fundamental and cathartic in its place, and I’m likely to buy the CD for that song alone.

Now let’s see Q let loose his opinions on the unsuspecting James Bond franchise. We deserve this kind of moviemaking.

The ending credits are long, incidentally, but there’s a little treat for the faithful who stick them out. No, don’t stick those out. You know what I meant.

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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