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Non-Review Review: Wild Bill

Wild Bill is the charming directorial debut from veteran character actor Dexter Fletcher. The established actor, who has worked on projects as diverse as Band of Brothers, Press Gang and The Three Musketeers, also wrote the screenplay for this slightly quirky British domestic drama, which sees an absentee father fostering an emotional connection with his abandoned kids. It’s a fairly conventional plot, and Fletcher doesn’t cram too many surprises in there, but the movie is wry enough and has a thinly-cynical exterior that makes the pill easy enough to follow. It’s not  quite a masterpiece, but it’s engaging and diverting enough to leave a pleasant impression.

Wild at heart...

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Non-Review Review: Happy Feet II

Happy Feet II is perfectly functional kids entertainment. It has enough set pieces to keep the audience ticking over, lovely animation and a timely environmental message underneath the fuzz. It is a little bit too inconsistent to hold the attention of older audience members, as the plot struggles to find a focus, with the movie often seeming like a stew brewed from a variety of different ideas. The result is often satisfying enough in small chunks, but it doesn’t impress enough overall to make a lasting impression. Although a younger, perhaps more idealistic, viewer at the screening did describe it as “the bestest experience in united history.”

The pitter-patter of little Happy Feet...

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At My Most Masochistic: Tarantino’s Bill

This is part of the blogothon put together by the Pompous Film Snob, asking bloggers to select their favourite Tarantino character. It’s a pretty stellar list of bloggers tackling some iconic characters, so it’s well worth a look. Check them out, here. I’m a bit late in publishing this one.

Kill Bill is a remarkable film. It’s an impressive work – so impressive that it is split across two parts. What’s really impressive about it, though, is just how big a departure is represented from Tarantino’s body of work in the nineties. Tarantino made his reputation taking basic scenarios with which we’re all familiar, but putting a new twist on them – for example, Reservoir Dogs takes place in the aftermath of a botched robbery or True Romance followed a young couple a cross-country elopement, running from the criminals rather than the law or Pulp Fiction followed a variety of intersecting stories which spring out of a deal and betrayal between bad men (it’s all set in motion with Jules and Vincent recovering something stolen from Marsellus). Here, however, Tarantino is doing something different. Rather than providing a unique angle on an archetypal story, he’s instead playing out the story to its logical conclusion. Kill Bill, Vol. I is a most typical revenge ploy, albeit perfectly executed. However, Kill Bill, Vol. II takes that idea and picks it apart. The characters who serve as plot functions in the first half become real human beings in the second. Seen as Bill arguably has the most screentime across both films (apparent from the Bride) it’s fascinating to see what he begins as, and how he ends up.

Bill is just fluting around...

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Non-Review Review: Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Another film, another only very vaguely controversial decision from Darren. I actually prefer Kill Bill, Vol. 2 to the Kill Bill, Vol. 1. There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, I like Japanese samurai swords, massive brawls, over-the-top violence and kitchen knife fights as much as the next man, but there’s just something about the second half of this “roaring rampage of revenge” which appeals to me.

Careful with your knives at the table...

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