Memorable Moments: Beatrix and Bill

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The Kill Bill movies were my first introduction to Quentin Tarantino films when I was a relatively young girl. They still stand out as some of my favorite films from QT. Beatrix Kiddo is an amazing creation, the perfect female heroine. She is strong, both physically and mentally, she’s resilient, and she’s determined in her need for revenge. But she is very much human. She has moments where she doubts herself and her abilities. And every victory she has she really has to earn. She’s truly admirable and kick ass.

I love Kill Bill volume 2, especially the ending. I know a lot of people prefer the first film, it’s faster, more action driven. But I prefer the more emotional second film. Because it’s a little different than QT’s usual fare. There are still shocking, bloody scenes and terrific dialogue. But it’s all driven by the love/hate dynamic between Beatrix and Bill. I love the moments between Beatrix, Bill, and their daughter. They are sweet, tender, almost normal moments. There is a minimal use of music/score and nearly no action. The dialogue and the emotional power struggle of the characters dominates these scenes. I love how layered Bill and Beatrix’s interactions are. There’s this extreme hate, but also a lot of love, admiration, and respect between the two. This is largely because if the great script, but also Uma Thurman and David Carradine deliver amazing performances. The scenes feel so tense because the characters could kill each other at any moment. It’s edge of your seat film making created by dialogue instead of by action and score (as most films do).

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Memorable Moments: The Fearless Vampire Killers

Sharon Tate in The Fearless Vampire Killers.
Sharon Tate in The Fearless Vampire Killers.

Many people may not realize it, but Roman Polanski has a great sense of humor. Often times dark, yet hilarious. This is best show cased in his comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers (also known as Dance of the Vampires) in which Polanski directs, writes, and also stars. The film is a parody of Christopher Lee’s Hammer horror Dracula films.
Sharon Tate is Sara Shagal, the girl that Alfred (played by Polanski) must save from the Dracula-esque vampire villain. The film is great because it is genuinely funny, even more so since I’ve seen some of the films it parodies. Polanski is a talented actor who does surprisingly well with some of the more slap stick humor. The other memorable thing about the movie is the audience can see Polanski and Tate fall in love on screen as they did in real life.
Sharon is my favorite part of the film. Her beauty is captivating. She’s funny and plays the part of the innocent girl very well. Maybe part of my love of her in this movie is just from nostalgia. But she did possess some powerful charisma.
The following scene is my favorite in the whole film. It’s the one scene in the film that is horrifying as opposed to funny. You can see the master of suspense and horror at work as Sara is kidnapped by the vampire. I love the music, the tight shots, Sharon in the bathtub. To me there’s nothing more captivating as her gaze as she slowly looks up at the skylight. The struggle with the vampire that ensues is dramatic in the best sense possible, it always has me on the edge of my seat.

The only video I could find of my favorite scene is over on TCM: http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/273665/Fearless-Vampire-Killers-The-Movie-Clip-Give-Her-Back-To-Me-.html

Memorable Moments: The Seven Year Itch

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For Christmas I received a 4 pack collection of Marilyn Monroe’s movies. I’m not really a Marilyn fan (Elizabeth Taylor all the way!!), but despite myself I do find her kind of fascinating. Marilyn definitely had a charming screen presence.
The first Marilyn film I chose to watch was The Seven Year Itch. This movie features THE iconic Marilyn Monroe scene: the skirt blowing incident. It’s funny though that to me, this scene did not stand out much while I was watching the movie. Probably because Marilyn is only shown from the shoulders up for the most part.
No, I much prefer the “chopsticks” scene to the skirt blowing one. This scene, in which Marilyn plays on the piano alongside her co-star Tom Ewell (who is quite hilarious throughout the film), perfectly embodies the allure and essence of Marilyn. She exudes childlike joy while bop bopping along to the tune. She also looks incredibly gorgeous, but she’s all the more appealing here because she is unaware of it. Caught up in the joy of the music Marilyn captures the audience’s heart through her enthusiasm rather than through overt sex appeal.

Memorable Moments: The Sopranos

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I’m starting a new feature that hopefully you will enjoy. Memorable Moments will highlight some of the scenes in movies and television that have had an impact on me. It can be a scene that invokes a deep emotion in me or something that just makes me go “wow, that’s cool!”

The first moment I’m picking comes from my favorite TV show, The Sopranos. My favorite character on the show is by far Christopher Moltisanti (played perfectly by Michael Imperioli). Christopher is a large source of the show’s humor, but he’s also an asshole. There are so many layers to his character, courtesy of the script and the acting. Christopher feels like a real human being, loveable in a way, but highly dysfunctional.

In this clip from Season 6 Part 2 Episode 17 “Walk Like a Man” Christopher is struggling and failing to maintain his sobriety. In this moment he realizes that the men he thought were his friends see Christopher and his alcoholism as a joke, something to be laughed at. No one is willing to help Chris or to empathize with him. Watching this scene breaks my heart because I feel so sorry for Christopher. It is truly tragic. Michael Imperioli’s acting here is excellent, capturing both Christopher’s drunken rambling, but also that very sober realization he comes to at the end.

This is a longer video (good), but it’s wonky for some reason (bad): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H47vKTmISU

Do you have any favorite Sopranos moments?