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Superman: The Animated Series – The Late Mr. Kent

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. With the review of Superman: Doomsday yesterday, I thought it might be worth taking a look at some of the other times Superman has “died” in these animated stories.

Superman: The Animated Series wasn’t quite the huge success that the earlier Batman: The Animated Series had been. It was still a superb animated adaptation of an iconic comic book property, but perhaps Superman is just a tougher character to get a handle on than the Dark Knight – there’s no denying the popular perception that Superman is “boring” by virtue of the fact that he can do just about anything. We can debate that idea back and forth, but I’d argue that the a really good Superman story makes his powers irrelevant by avoiding (or at least downplaying) the physical threat. The character isn’t necessarily defined by how hard he can hit things or how fast he can fly, but by who he is. (Of course, this doesn’t really excuse the “emo-Superman” approach DC seem to be so fond of with Superman Returns and all that.) The Late Mr. Kent is – for my money – one of the most fascinating episodes of the animated series by virtue of the fact that it finds a rather interesting and deeply personal angle on the Man of Steel, without feeling the need to be “grand” or “epic”. Sometimes it’s enough to be intimate.  

Clark was blown away by the story he uncovered...

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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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Non-Review Review: Kill Bill, Vol. 1

Kill Bill is an epic, but personal, work for Quentin Tarantino. It’s his Gangs of New York – a movie he’s clearly wanted to make in his own way for a very long time. It’s a tour through the cinematic locales which inform his filmmaking – though he uses Tokyo and Texas, and other names of real life locations, the film isn’t set in anywhere that really exists, or ever could exist, outside his own imagination. Kill Bill is a darkly violent and ultimately juvenile film, but one that was clearly well-loved and properly nurtured. It never ceases to impress, even while it makes you flinch.

Not quite mellow yellow...

Not quite mellow yellow...

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Yes We Cannes!

So, Cannes is well and truly underway. And without (for the most part) the bitchiness or grumbling that usually accompanies it. What? Journalists might actually enjoy a film festival? Pish-posh. Still, despite the huge backlash against Lars Von Trier, the festival is going down a treat. When a Disney film can open Cannes to universal acclaim (no easy feat), you know something’s off. With the general lack of pithiness that defines Cannes journalism, I don’t know what to make of coverage of Inglourious Basterds. The reviews are mixed at best. I miss the Tarantino who won the Palme d’Or for Pulp Fiction. What happened?

Quentin Tarantino, master of the pop culture cocktail

Quentin Tarantino, master of the pop culture cocktail

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