Monthly Archives: July 2013

Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987)

As I sat down to watch Full Metal Jacket, I knew only two things about the plot. The first was that R. Lee Armey’s blackly comic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman was going to steal with the show with his improvised dialogues and politically incorrect, unreserved insults. The second was an oft-repeated opinion of almost everyone who […]

Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler, 2013)

With its phone-footage intro of Bay-Area Rapid Transit officer Johannes Mehserle shooting Oscar Grant, director Ryan Coogler announces where Fruitvale Station is going. It is far from uncommon for films to start with a scene from the end or near the end as a way of controlling expectations and preventing accusations of deus ex machina […]

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino. 2004)

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 begins just prior to where it ends, then goes to the beginning of the whole story, and then picks up just a bit past where the first volume began. That might sound confusing, but it’s really not. While The Bride (Uma Thurman) drives to Bill with the intent to kill him, […]

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)

In a review of Django Unchained, Mike D’Angelo stated that “there are precious few truly great straight-up exploitation flicks, though, and by taking on their license [director Quentin Tarantino] also takes on their inherent limitations.” That’s true of Django, but the same comment applies doubly so for Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which cares even less […]

Compliance (Craig Zobel, 2012)

“Inspired by true events.” “Based on a true story.” Those are two common phrases that sometimes precede a fiction film and tell the audience that a similar occurrence in real life is the basis of the film. The key words are “Inspired by” and “Based on,” not “true.” This is still a fictional film, which […]

Tristana (Luis Buñuel, 1970)

If I told you that Tristana was Luis Buñuel’s third film to be made in Spain, you might find it strange that it was one of his last films. Released in 1970, Buñuel would make only three more films, and none of them would be both set in Spain and spoken in Spanish. In fact, […]

Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro, 2013)

In addition to directing films, Guillermo Del Toro has tried his hand at the video game market before, with a canceled project called Sundown, a Hellboy game, and the halted, developing Insane. You don’t have to watch Pacific Rim, his first directorial effort since Hellboy II: The Golden Army, for long before you see the […]