“Too Cool for School”
A tribute to Chiaki Kuriyama of Battle Royale and Kill Bill, for this year’s Crazy 4 Cult show in Gallery 1988’s pop-up gallery in New York. The show opens August 9th! More info, detail shots, and sketches on my blog: http://juliancallos.blogspot.com/2012/07/chiaki-kuriyama-double-feature.html
It’s Simple. We Kill Bill.
I absolutely love how this fight was shot and edited. The angles of the shots are constantly shifting and creating new interesting perspectives that make this fight way more extraordinary than it probably was on paper. Everything is constantly moving and the lack of background music was also a perfect decision, as it heighten the tension of it. This is the scene that showcases for me what a brilliant and distinctive director Quentin Tarantino. Let’s face it, only he could assemble such a scene.
- The Green Leaves of Summer by Nick Perito.
- Royale With Cheese by John Travolta/Samuel L. Jackson.
- Baby, It’s You by LaDonna Smith.
- A Satisfied Mind by Johnny Cash.
- Twisted Nerve by Bernard Herrman.
- Queen Of The Crime Council by Julie Dreyfus.
- Cat People (Putting Out the Fire) by David Bowie.
- Bang Bang (My Baby SHot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra.
- A Silhouette Of Doom by Ennio Morricone.
- About Her by Malcolm McLaren.
- Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest (Dialogue)/You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry/Jerome Patrick Hoban.
- Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon by Urge Overkill.
Out of all the filmmakers around, there isn’t anyone who constantly matches their brilliant films with an even better soundtrack quite like Quentin Tarantino. In a way, his soundtracks have become as iconic as his films.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Julia Roberts as Anna in Closer.
Closer, for me, is one of the best films in existence. Not only for it’s display of how painful love is and for its brilliant script, but most importantly for its four Oscar-worthy performances. Many people paid more attention to Natalie Portman and Clive Owen’s performances, but the one that I find more engaging and interesting is Julia Roberts’ performance. Anna is a not nice character, even though she clearly looks and acts like one. She is a very destructive and selfish character that surprisingly enough is very self-aware, which makes everything worse. No one would like or show sympathy for this character on paper, but Julia Roberts makes you care. She underplays Anna, speaking softly and showing genuine concern for others even after she has seriously hurt them. But what I love the most is how perfectly you can see her feelings on her face, how vulnerable she makes Anna. She should’ve won an Oscar for this.
Best moment: When Anna confesses to Larry (Clive Owen) that she has been cheating on him for over a year. That scene is one of the best and most honest moments of the film.
Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wear Prada.
Let’s face it, Meryl Streep can do no wrong. She gives a brilliant performance in every film she’s in, no matter what. While I loved her in Doubt and Julie & Julia, it is in The Devil Wears Prada that I enjoyed her the most. This is mainly because The Devil Wears Prada was the first film of her that I ever saw and she is, without a doubt, the best thing about that film. Miranda Priestly is such an up-tight, back-stabbing, insulting bitch that it would’ve been easier to play her extremely over-the-top. But since Meryl Streep is great and smart, she played her in completely different manner. Instead Miranda Priestly is a very quiet a direct woman whose stares will frighten you to death. But above all else, she is a hilarious character to watch. She is so mean and unforgiving of everyone that I thought she was soulless demon. But then we get the scene where she just found out that she will be getting another divorce and we see that she’s actually human. That she does feel and is vulnerable, and all of that is thanks to Meryl Streep. Oh and I know she’s old and all that, but in here Meryl Streep is a total milf.
Best moment: When Miranda lectures Andy about fashion and on how her blue sweater is basically shit.
Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight.
When Batman Begins ended and we were told who was going to the villain for the sequel, I got extremely excited. I’ve always liked the character of The Joker, but never liked how cartoonish Jack Nicholson portrayed him in the first Batman film. I never even heard that Heath Ledger would be playing the new Joker until the first picture of him in full make-up was released. That picture scared the hell out of me, he looked so creepy and the scars in his mouth were disturbing. And I loved it! That was the perfect way to re-introduce the character and once I saw the film is was literally mind-blown by Heath Ledger’s performance. This was not a cartoonish Joker, it was an menacing, intelligent, psychopathic, engaging and scary Joker. His humor was dark, which I enjoyed a lot and his monologues were cheer genius. I’ve seen The Dark Knight at least 15 times and I never get tired of The Joker. Heath Ledger created a truly iconic character that will never be forgotten.
Best Moment: All of them.
Uma Thurman as The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2.
These films were my introduction to Uma Thurman and the world of Quentin Tarantino, and they pretty much changed my life. Out of all the people who can deliver Tarantino’s dialogue in the most cool, smooth and awesome of ways, Uma Thurman is right up there next to John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson. Yes, she was great as Mia Wallace but as The Bride she was a million times better, in my opinion. Not only could she kick and slice you into a million pieces while making it look effortlessly, she created a character that everyone would root for. You wanted and I wanted her to succeed in her search for revenge, and were happy when she finally found peace at the end. Even though I loved her fights, I enjoyed more the moments when she was just talking to Bill. Her moments with him were engaging, insightful and you could tell that they played off each other perfectly.
Best moment: Her intro monologue at the beginning of Vol. 2, her fight against Elle and her depiction of the five-point palm-exploding heart technique.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan in The Departed.
As you may or may not know, Leonardo DiCaprio is my favorite actor of all-time. But that’s not the only reason why he is number 1 on my list. I believe that his portrayal of Billy Costigan is the most fleshed out and involved character he has creates. So much so that now during interviews and preceding performances I see a lot of Billy Costigan in them. What I love about his performance in The Departed is how vulnerable he is and how his face expresses every single thing. Every emotion, every fear, every anxiety is right in display on his face. He makes these subtle expressions and tics that further demonstrate the emotional toll his character is experiencing. I’ll admit, I’m a bit obsessed with that performance and would love to write pages and pages on why it is so great. It is because of Leonardo DiCaprio that The Departed is amongst my 3 favorite films of all-time. He creates such a compelling character that you want to help, and I really connected with him. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan will forever be the performance of his career. I highly doubt he’ll ever top that one, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he does.
Best moment: When Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) confronts him about the rat. Just look at his face, there’s so much fear and terror in it. It’s amazing!
As always, thanks for reading.