KILL BILL VOL. 2
It's a Quentin Tarantino week. Kill Bill Vol. 1 came out on DVD on Tuesday, while the sequel, Kill Bill Vol. 2, hits theatres today. The violent epic began in 2002, when Tarantino, the ex-video clerk turned ultra stylish director, began writing a tale of revenge featuring his muse, Uma Thurman.
Thurman plays a former assassin who wakes from a five-year coma to find that her former comrades have turned her wedding day into a bloodbath. Her character ("The Bride") vows vengeance on both the assassins and her former boss, "Bill." The imaginative Tarantino tells VH1 that criticizing his film for being violent is rather like dismissing a musical just because it's not to your taste.
"There are a whole lot of people who don't like musicals," he says. "And you know what? They don't have to, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't make musicals. To me it's just the same thing, man. I am not really killing people. This is just cinema, dude!"
Volume 2 of Tarantino's action epic is driven by dialogue, a shift from the first installment. But one thing it shares with its predecessor is mayhem: Uma Thurman is still kicking some serious butt. The actress explains that, while fun, this has significance for the position of women in film.
"It strikes me that I didn't grow up watching a movie where a woman was portrayed as so tough and so strong and so fierce and brave. I grew up seeing many wonderful other images, but I never saw that. And if there's one thing I got back out of all the work and pain that went into it, [it's that]. It's not [exactly] common."
Kill Bill Vol. 2, which also stars David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, and Michael Madsen, hits theatres today.
CONNIE AND CARLA: FOR LOSERS
Connie and Carla is the tale of two women who have never really fit in. Played by Nia Vardolos and Toni Collette, the film follows the childhood friends on their quest to become stars. After witnessing a mob murder, the girls hide out in Los Angeles and find the perfect cover - they become drag queens.
In the vein of the classic Some Like it Hot, the film throws in a confused love interest, played by David Duchovny. Ultimately it's a blend of slapstick comedy, close calls, near misses and classic show tunes. Vardalos, the writer-star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, also wrote this film. She told VH1 about creating "loser" characters like Connie and Carla.
"I have this theory of life that there are four popular people in high school and then there are the rest of us," she says. "I write movies for the rest of us who never peaked in high school, as well as those people that did peak in high school and then later realized it's all downhill. I like being a bit of a loser. I think it's funny when I run into my ex-boyfriend on the street and a bird craps on my head. I think we all feel that way. I think we all feel like we don't fit in."
Connie and Carla opens in theatres today.
The Punisher is the latest comic book adaptation to hit theatres. Based on the Marvel Comics hero, it tells the story of Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) who, after his wife and family are killed, takes on the responsibility of ridding America of its criminals by acting as judge, jury, and executioner. Jane tells us why the movie stayed so close to the actual comic book itself.
"If it ain't broke don't fix it, you know?" he explains. "There's a reason why these characters are so popular. There's a reason why they work. Instead of trying to mess it up or muck it up or throw in a whole bunch of stuff that don't matter, just stick with [what works]."
The Punisher, which also stars John Travolta, hits theatres today.
WAR ON TERROR GOES HOLLYWOOD.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures has optioned film rights to Richard Clarke's bestseller Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. Clarke was a counter terrorism expert in the administrations of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and appeared before the 9/11 Commission the week the book was published. During that hearing, he testified that the Bush White House didn't consider terrorism "an urgent issue" in the months before the al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington.
MCGREGOR TO TAKE GLOBAL BIKE TRIP.
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor (Big Fish) will take a trip around the world... on his motorcycle. He, along with friend and fellow actor Charley Boorman, will start in London this week. BBC News reports that their three-month journey will take them through some of the world's most unfriendly terrain, like Siberia and Mongolia. The pair will carry their own equipment, and live off a basic diet of rice, lentils and dehydrated camping food, supplemented by freshly caught fish. Their adventures will be filmed for a future documentary.
Diane Keaton has found her next project in Mad Money. It's is a remake of the British comedy Hot Money and is described as a female version of Ocean's Eleven. It is narrated through the eyes of Keaton's character, one of three female janitors who rob the Federal Reserve ...FilmStew.com reports that a new Michael Douglas project is in the works. He'll star in a feature adaptation of Arthur Miller's play The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. The film is described as "a comic satire on the state of contemporary marriage." The play was written in 1991, staged in London, then moved to New York and was nominated for a Tony in 2000. ...Star of CBS drama The Guardian, Simon Baker, is set to star in the sequel to the 2002 horror hit, The Ring. The Ring 2 starts shooting in mid-May, with Baker set to play the male lead opposite Naomi Watts in the ongoing tale of a mysterious videotape that proves fatal to viewers. ... Andie MacDowell, Alfre Woodard and Bryce Wilson are joining the cast of the Queen Latifah comedy Beauty Shop.