Sunday, March 27, 2005

jackie brown [march 26, 2005]

Can't say more about QT now that I've gushed about the Kill Bill saga at length [thoughts on Vol I, thoughts on Vol II]. But if there's one film in his canon that portends the KB double-bill, it's this one. There are the obvious elements (the tribute to a genre, the great mix tape on the soundtrack, the little graphic depicting a plane's journey) and the perhaps not-so-obvious ones (the patient pace, the measured dialogue, some excruciating detail on minutiae). There's also another great use of POV flashbacks as well as an interesting cutting of flashbacks during the pre-climactic moments of the film. And there's a nice bit of split-screen too. The end credits include special thanks to Peter Bogdanovich (apparently a tip of the hat to They All Laughed; also acknowledged in the end credits of both Kill Bill volumes for his voice [source]), Helmut Berger, Tony Curtis, Peter Fonda, Scott Spiegel, and Sam Fuller ("thanks for everything"). Also note that the copyright is held by Mighty Mighty Afrodite Productions Ltd.). The 2-DVD package is attractive, but the special song cue menu is screwed up. Makes it an unnecessary challenge to play "match-the-following" with a process of elimination and selection. Constraints of time prevented me from relishing the interesting enhanced trivia track (the subtitles comprise bits of trivia about the scene) (see also: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Other goodies include the complete Chicks Who Love Guns video, and strange QT bits where he keeps looking elsewhere off-camera. The second DVD includes deleted and alternate scenes, my favourite of which is the opening sequence introducing Pam Grier modified to use Misirlou. Hilarious!! I wonder if Ray Nicolet's (Michael Keaton) number (310-915-9302) got anyone into trouble.

I still haven't managed to dig into Elmore Leonard's source novel, but friends have complained about the differences between the number of pages and the amount of footage that some characters have received. I wonder chiefly about the brevity of Robert De Niro's part. It's not that his character isn't well-defined (the script and his performance ensure that all is conveyed), but there seems to precious little for his character to do (besides providing a mostly passive participant in the events). But that minor quibble aside, I'd like to recommend this film. All the acclaim was well-deserved.

Esoteria: You can see a book called Short Blade as part of the packing for the shopping bag used in the switch. Turns out it's a book written by Peter Emshwiller. What's very Kill Bill-esque is that (according to his IMDB page) Peter Emshwiller works in other departments on films and was set dresser on Jackie Brown. Portends the Jasmine Yuen in-joke in Kill Bill Vol II that got me googlewhacked.

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