Tag Archives: Kill Bill

Failed Critics Podcast: Mugs, Tugs and Logan

The year is 2029. The world is a horrible place where those who are different are deemed a threat. Those with special or otherwise exceptional talents, skills and abilities are segregated out from the rest of society. Shunned. In some cases, destroyed. Hunted.

Fortunately this precludes Steve Norman, Owen Hughes, Andrew Brooker and Tony Black, who are allowed to just carry on as normal producing episodes of the Failed Critics Film Podcast for your delectation. Just in time for us to review the latest thriller in the X-Men movie franchise, Logan, starring Hugh Jackman as the titular mutant, aka Wolverine.

On this weeks show, Steve wonders why anybody would ever want to watch anything like the Dave Courtney straight-to-DVD geezer movie Thugs, Mugs and Dogs. We also have our regular What We’ve Been Watching, where Tony begins plotting a trip to Derby after Brooker reviews the new Iko Uwais actioner, Headshot; Owen rewatches Kill Bill Volume 1 and decides he definitely won’t be returning to Volume 2; Steve runs through the Netflix Original movie Tallulah; and Tony ponders the unfortunate situation where Friend Request is about as good a social-media influenced horror as we’re likely to get.

Join us again next week for blockbuster monster-movie, Kong: Skull Island.

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A Decade In Film: The Noughties – 2003

This week, Gerry gives us his top five from 2003 – be sure to check out the entries for 2002, 2001 and 2000 if you haven’t already done so. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these so please get in touch with a comment or on twitter.

5. Finding Nemo

FindingNemo460“The dropoff? They’re going to the dropoff? What – what are you insane? Why not just fry them up now and serve them with chips?”

It’s not my favourite Pixar film, but that’s like saying Stairway to Heaven isn’t my favourite Led Zeppelin song – it’s still fucking good, it just happens to have been created by people who reach greater heights. Gorgeous to look at and full of charm, the storyline and characters are perhaps a little weaker than others in the stable; this, of course, still means that they are superior to the vast majority of animated films and lots of ‘normal’ films too. The voice cast is so outstanding I’m not even going to highlight anyone in particular. This film was a long time in the making (3-5 years) and it shows in the attention to detail. Gorgeous and, a decade on, firmly established in the pantheon of family classics for young children and former children alike.

4. Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

ROTK Viggo“Then let us be rid of it… once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!”

The culmination of a growing mastery of epic fantasy over the preceding years, Jackson’s final installment is often derided for having about 27 endings, but that ignores the excellence that goes before it. It’s very hard for me to decide between the three LOTR films and I will continue to argue that they are one of the rare examples of films that, as a trilogy, are much greater than the sum of their parts. Still, a visually wonderful and enthralling film with iconic battle scenes and the closing of one of western narrative’s great achievements – what’s not to like?

3. Kill Bill Vol 1

Kill bill uma thurman“Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you. However, leave the limbs you’ve lost. They belong to me now.”

Stylish, witty and chocked full of violence, Kill Bill is one of my favourite Tarantino films (and I really like Tarantino). Uma Thurman is great, the references are too numerous to count, and the story clips along at a lovely pace. This sums up what Tarantino is about for me – his encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema shines through, while his control as a director is superb. The result is just a really fun film. Slightly better than Vol 2 in my opinion, although I am quite eager to see the original cut of both as a (very long) single film.

2.Elf

Elf Will Ferrell“First we’ll make snow angels for a two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle”

Yes, Elf. The joint best Christmas film ever made (alongside It’s A Wonderful Life, obviously) which sees Will Ferrell’s Buddy as a human adopted by elves who goes to New York City to find his real parents. This is a film that can only be described as charming from start to finish. The supporting cast is pretty good all round, especially a short turn from Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones) as a ridiculous children’s author, but this is undoubtedly Ferrell’s film. This was a great year for Ferrell, with Old School close to making this list too. Most remarkable is David Berenbaum’s screenplay – his first – and the fact that, in his second proper outing as a director, Jon Favreau marked his arrival as a director with genuine potential thanks to his understanding the nature of Hollywood cinema magnificently. Honestly, it’s a Christmas institution in my household and I know it is for many of my generation – I challenge you to watch Elf and not smile, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

1. Te Doy Mis Ojos (Take My Eyes)

Take My Eyes“Where it reads ‘home’ read ‘hell’. Where it reads ‘love’ there is pain”

This is a remarkable film. The simple fact that it won seven Goya awards in 2004 (the Spanish equivalent of the Oscars) including Best Picture, Director, Lead Actor and Lead Actress should indicate to you quite how much quality is bursting from every scene here. But let me make a disclaimer early on: this film is brutal. It depicts some dark depths as far as humanity is concerned. This most certainly isn’t one to watch on a romantic night in (trust me, I’ve watched this with my girlfriend) unless you’re in a very established relationship. It tells the story of Pilar and Antonio, a couple in the wonderful city of Toledo. The opening scene shows Pilar leaving him due to the abusive nature of their relationship, moving in with her sister, Ana. As she tries to rebuild her life, Antonio goes to anger management classes. Slowly but surely, they begin to interact again. We are presented unflinchingly with a troubling examination of abusive relationships, the powerful effect they have on the victim and those around them, and the strange irresistible pull of the abuser despite all the horrors they have committed. Luis Tosar’s Antonio is one of the outstanding performances of the decade, making the film worth watching for that alone. But this is truly brilliant in many aspects. In a way that European cinema seems to manage so much better than Hollywood, the characters are not black and white. This is no hero and villain affair. We feel sympathy where we ‘shouldn’t’, anger and annoyance towards those who are ostensibly in the right. Yes, Antonio is an awful human being but we see the sides of him that make Pilar still love him. We are exasperated at her lacking the strength to completely cut him off. This cuts to the core of Spain’s problems with domestic violence and is in fact sociologically significant, as it helped catapult the debate into the limelight after decades of awkward silence. A woman dies every week at the hands of her partner in Spain. Watch this and you will understand the horror of that experience, one that is unfortunately repeated in countless homes all the time*. But you will also understand a little more about people.

*The death rate for domestic violence in the UK is actually higher than this, but we don’t talk about it – perhaps we need to have films like Tyrannosaur reaching a much wider audience to stimulate debate? You know, get powerful dramas about the dark side of society on general release with big marketing? Accept that as a nation we are capable of appreciating more than CGI and loud noises? Just saying, Hollywood obsessed shitty cinema chains; you can do what you like with that suggestion. I suspect nothing and more ‘John Carter on 15 screens for a fortnight’ crap. Rant over.

Bigger than Jesus?

This Sunday is International Chocolate Egg and Reduced Shopping Hours Day! If you’re not a follower of this holiday’s patron saint Jesus: the Great and Powerful, why not pick yourself a new Messiah in the form of a great movie character who also came back from the dead? We’re a multi-faith organisation, and our collection has something for everyone.

gandalf_the_white_in_fangornGandalf – The Lord of the Rings

Sporting a beard, shabby robes, a band of followers, and using phrases like ‘fellowship’, Gandalf is a great choice for those who want an alternative to Jesus but fear too much change. He smokes a lot though, and isn’t keen on turning the other cheek when faced with an aggressive orc army.

His death is a heroic one, battling an almighty balrog up and down mountains, enabling his companions to escape to safety and push onto Mordor. Far more stagecraft and theatricality that Jesus though, as he waits whole weeks before resurrecting in some kick-ass new white robes astride a souped-up horse.

Neo – The Matrix

A new messianic figure for a new generation. Neo is a computer hacker so, instead of overturning the tables of the moneylenders in the temple, could have just accessed their Cayman Island accounts and given them all terrible credit ratings. Like Jesus though, the authorities see Neo as a dangerous and subversive influence, and ultimately kill him. His resurrection is a little disappointing, when Trinity tells him she loves him, and the resulting kiss somehow fulfils a prophecy that restores Neo’s life.

The only real drawback to following Neo is that Matrix Revolutions is more impenetrable and preposterous than the book of Revelations.

The Bride – Kill Bill

Why should men get all the messianic worship? The Bride is the Holy Trinity all wrapped up in one; parent, murdered messenger of peace, and ghost from the past. She doesn’t believe too much in the idea of forgiveness though. If Jesus had taken a samurai sword with him to the Garden of Gethsemane, then Sunday School would have been a lot fucking cooler.

She may not have technically died, but she is in a coma for years, and then manages to escape being entombed by remembering a Kung-Fu training montage. Beats rolling away a rock from a cave, anyway.

E.T. – E.T. The Extra-terrestrial

Like Jesus, and Ghandi after him, E.T. is a proponent of peaceful resistance. E.T. comes to Earth from above, and inspires 10-year-old Elliot to love, fight, and free captive animals from their certain death. He can also heal the sick (well, sick flowers), and even ascend to the heavens. E.T. dies after being captured by the government of the land, but resurrects himself and, with the help of his disciples, escapes and returns to his family in the sky.

Basically, imagine the bible directed by Steven Spielberg and scored by John Williams. Who wouldn’t get on board with that?

Eric Draven – The Crow

The devil has all the best tunes, so why not even the stakes with rock star Eric Draven. Well, that’s if you consider the ‘best tunes’ to be a cross-breed of nineties emo-metal dirges. Killed by a gang who raped his girlfriend, Draven is reborn as The Crow, and seeks to take vengeance against the men who destroyed his life.

A little selfish for a potential messiah in my opinion.

Aslan – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Basically, he’s a talking Lion Jesus. Voiced by Liam Neeson.

Hallelujah, I believe!

Phil Connors – Groundhog Day

Basically, he’s Bill Murray.

Hallelujah, I believe, etc etc.

Failed Critics Triple Bill: Revenge Movies

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for perfect sound quality, I can tell you I don’t have money for decent equipment. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a pretty short podcasting career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you download the podcast, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will put it on your iPod without you knowing.

In other words – on Triple Bill this week we talk about our favourite Revenge Movies!

Join us next week for our TV Specials.

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