Ok, Fine, I Watched It: “Kill Bill Vol. 2” and “Hard Candy”

Despite my better efforts, there are some huge gaps in my film-watching repertoire. Gaps which, since 90% of my friends are just as film-nerdy as I, I am constantly given sh*t for. Which I super deserve. So now, to shut all of them up, I’ve decided to get to work on catching up on these gaps.

This week, we take a shot at 2004’s “Kill Bill Vol. 2” and 2005’s “Hard Candy”. But first, a little announcement: After this week, “Ok, Fine, I Watched It” will be going on hiatus while I build up a bigger backlog of recommendations. I’ve been at this almost five months now and I’ve exhausted the list I started with and am currently operating from a skeletal support list. And so, to prevent me from reviewing recommendations faster than they can be given to me, I will be supplanting OFIWI with something… new. But for now…

KILL BILL VOL. 2

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She kills Bill. Spoiler alert.

We’re done here.

Only kidding, let’s actually break this movie down. This is the only “Kill Bill” movie you actually need to see. I’ll be honest, Volume 1 was real pretty and had some fun action sequences, but everything we learned plot-wise is recapped in thirty seconds at the beginning of this film. This one also feels like an actual complete film as opposed to half of one. And that’s not saying I don’t like Volume 1, it’s just that after seeing Volume 2, you realize how unnecessary its predecessor was.

All the technical details (director, writer, cast) are all the same for this one as the last one, so I’m not gonna bore you by repeating myself. Tarantino directs very well and doesn’t seem to have the stylistic ADD that plagued Volume 1. Thurman and Carradine are fantastic and they both pull off the emotional moments that this film gives them. The darker and more personal themes of this one actually do a lot to shape the characters, especially Bill himself.

This film feels incredibly episodic, just like its predecessor, but the episodes themselves feel much better tied together. The episodic nature does make it clear that this movie could have stood for tighter editing. It’s entertaining and interesting, but it feels like it spends too much time on a lot of scenes, and for a film that’s already suffering from bloating thanks to its prequel, that’s not a good thing.

What is a good thing however, is that Tarantino brought his A-game to the conversations between Bill and The Bride. Bill’s monologues are interesting and character driven. Although I have to say, Bill has one of the most wrong-headed interpretations of Superman I’ve ever heard. I’d say “THE most wrong-headed” but David Goyer and Zack Snyder are people who exist, so I guess not. This film also actually gives us insight into The Bride, and really makes her an identifiable character. It makes her quest for revenge all the more tangible.

And… yeah, that’s about it. The truth is, it’s hard to say more about the film. It’s basically the first one, which I’ve already talked about, but better, more focused, and stronger throughout. So watch it. Or don’t. I dunno, guys, I’m really tired right now, and I wanna go t’bed. So I will.

Movie was real good though.

Four out of five stars.

HARD CANDY

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First of all, fantastic poster, just gettin’ that outta the way right now. Although I don’t know if I’d describe this film as “terrifying” like the poster quote does. The word I’d go for is deeply, deeply unsettling. That’s what this movie is designed to do from start to finish. This is a film that gives you an uncomfortable tingle down your spine in the first 30 seconds and keeps it up until long after the credits roll.

The film, directed by David Slade, starts with the 32 year old Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) meeting up with the 14 year old Hayley Stark (Ellen Page), with whom he has been romantically chatting online. The two of them return to his house and then… spoilers happen. Ok, this is another movie I’m going to tell you to go watch before I ruin where it’s going, and trust me, you may think you know where it’s going, but ya don’t. But hey, if you ever wanted to watch a movie in which Nite Owl from Watchmen really wants to f*ck Kitty Pryde, then… you have some issues.

So, now that everyone who trusts me has left to watch the movie, let’s go over the REST of the plot. So after Hayley and Jeff return to his apartment, Hayley drugs him into unconsciousness. After he wakes up tied to a chair, Hayley reveals she believes he is a pedophile (definitely true) and a child murderer (possibly true). She then proceeds to ransack his apartment, psychologically torture him, (last chance to avoid spoilers) castrate him, and eventually attempts to drive him to suicide. Yeah, this is a dark-as-f*ck movie, but it works. It is a fantastic thriller that keeps you on edge throughout.

The cast is fantastic. Wilson has been in a lot of movies, but until now I haven’t really seen him stand out in anything. But here he strikes this weird balance between being creepy, and pitiable and menacing. A balance which Ellen Page also strikes, now that I think of it. This is also easily my favorite Ellen Page performance I’ve seen. She absolutely owns this movie, staying likable and horrifying at the same time. And just a heads up, this movie is not a revenge fantasy. We aren’t meant to entirely root for Page as she tortures Wilson. I compare it to whenever Godzilla would fight King Ghidora. Just because one is clearly worse, doesn’t make the other one NOT a f*cking monster.

The direction is excellent. For much of the movie, the film maintains this sense of cold detachment from the characters’ actions, but when the pace picks up, it takes on a more frenetic tone. There are also some beautiful shots, especially one specific shot towards the end of the film that took my breath away. Oh, and this is one of those films that understands that the scariest thing is what you don’t see.

FIVE out of five stars.

Ok, so like I said, we’re taking a break from this segment for a little while, but A: I think you’ll like my replacement column, and B: when we come back, we’re comin’ back with a vengeance.

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