Semi-good, The 500 Film Challenge, Uncategorized

#433: The Bride Who Wore Black

2 may 2011

Chris Fajardo tells me that this film inspired a couple of movies including Lino Brocka’s Angela Markado which starred Hilda Koronel and a couple of blood spattering victims. This movie allegedly inspired the two movies Kill Bill in which Quentin Tarantino, the said films’ director, allegedly denies.

These allegations have given me the inspiration to not only find out if it is in the same respect as Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 has give me, but also to find out if there are ninjas or women garbed in blood, sweat, and swords.


If it weren’t for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films, I might’ve thought that this movie was something I’ve never seen before. But thank goodness that it was quite a long time ago and I sort of  set aside my memory of that blockbuster into some part of my brain to understand Francois Truffaut’s The Bride Who Wore Black starring a bodacious Jeanne Moreau as the main bride set out for revenge against the five men who shot her newly wed groom.



Francois Truffaut has mentioned in some interviews that this film is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock films. A thought that has never crossed my mind. In the lines of it being a suspense thriller that would be deemed controversial during those days would be a much better description of what this film is. It stars one of the 60’s french new wave cinema’s most talented actress Jeanne Moreau whom I can say is amazing in carrying out the character of the widowed and pained bride. This film begins in a confusing state: Julie Kohler is about to jump off the window up until her mother stops her. She then decides to leave town and track five men whom she is determined to charm and kill. We are also lead into a confusing state as we try to understand why she kills, who these men are and what her purpose is on killing them.

The answer to these questions are shown after the first two men on her list are dead. A smart flashback brings us to the part where five drunken men are happily playing in an apartment across a church. As the wedding bells ring to greet the newly wed, one of the five drunken men place a bet to shoot outside of their window. We hear a single gun shot, and guess who ends up dead.

As she moves on to her next victim, she is seen crossing out a name on her little book. She follows her next victim Morane and his kid from school. She pretends to be his son’ s school teacher and waits for Morane’s arrival from work. She cooks them dinner, plays hide and seek, and puts Morane’s son to bed. As she is about to go home, she claims to have lost her ring. Morane offers to look for the ring and ends up in the crawlspace under the staircase. Julie then locks the crawlspace and reveals to him (with finesse) her true identity. Morane pleads for his life and admits that the gun shot was an accidental shot made by his friends, adding that they were all horrified for what they’ve done and have lost communication with each other for the guilt and fear of being able to do such terrible thing ever again. However, Julie seems determined to continue on with her revenge ducts tape the crawlspace door and leaves Morane suffocated.

The fourth man ends up being arrested by the police (which seems to make her job much easier), and the fifth man named Fergus, an artist is killed by her by shooting him with an arrow as she poses for him as Diana the Huntress. She plans to cover her tracks by cutting out her face from the portrait, but leaves it. On Fergus’ funeral, she allows to get caught and admits to the murder of all four men.. but she never reveals why she did it.

The difference between this and Tarantino’s Kill Bill is that in the end Kohler remains as the psychopathic bitch that she’s become after losing the only “reason” for her existence. Since Kill Bill ends as Thurman kills Bill. This film ends as Kohler kills a random person in prison. I may have liked this film better than Tarantino’s if I saw this first. But I wouldn’t regard it in a Hitchcockian fashion.

The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

#406: X-Men First Class

18 June 2011

I’ve seen the first two films, but never got to finish the third one. During the cartoon series that was shown every Sunday (or Saturday) morning, my most hated character was Phoenix for I never could understood back then why Magneto nor Professor X and all the other characters would like to be her bitch. My most favorite character then was Rogue, and I always wished she would end up with Gambit. Next was the Beast and the least was Jubilee. Closest to dirt was of course, Phoenix. But I was seven then and all I ever knew about the X-Men was these people. Oh and you can include Magneto and Mystique. But I never had a clue as to how it all began and how it’s going now with these characters on comic.

Which is why I am happy to have seen X-Men:First Class. You can throw in all the comic books you have about these people yet I wouldn’t change my opinion in Matthew Vaughn’s retelling of the iconic character’s core. While most of the film was set entirely in the sixties, the film begins during the Industrial revolution wherein the jews are being segregated and held captive to be burnt off from the face of the earth.

A young Erik Lensherr mysteriously opens a brass gate as he is being taken away from his mother without the use of his bare hands. Scientist Dr. Schmidt (played by Kevin Bacon) discovers that Erik might be a potential weapon to cause mass destruction. In New York, a young Charles Xavier discovers a homeless Raven who will in the sixties turn into the beautiful Mystique and immediately adopts her as his foster sister.

Much to my dismay, it is not true that this phone includes cellphones and lacks the production design to match a sixties inspired film. This film has enough “groovyness” to it for it to be compare to Forest Gump’s sixties era, but not as exaggerated as Austin Power’s mod-inspired designs. But this movie anyway isn’t about how sixties the sixties truly is. It is as a matter of fact a little summarized version of how Magneto, Professor X, Mystique, Havok, Beast, and Banshee came to be.

I just wished they’ve chosen other characters to revive than to bring Angel Salvadorre’s character to life.  And for the second time in big blockbuster history, Edi Gathegi’s character gets killed in a movie (he played Laurent in Twilight.) as he brings to “life” the mutant Darwin who has the power of reactive evolution.

Apart from the other two mutants who side with Dr. Schmidt who will then call himself Sebastian Shaw in the sixties, I could not understand Emma Frost’s importance in any way.

To sum it all up, this film will not only thrill you with special effects that seem too blockbusterry, this film has some good laughs and some good sobbing tearjerking scenes in the end, too. Made me want to go back to my brother’s Milo X-Men cards and do some catching up on the characters. 🙂


#412: Winged Creatures

June 7

Winged Creatures is a film that offers a simple but complex, story that is shown in a fragmented plot. A man walks into a diner and shoots, leaving couple of strangers survive the murder-suicide.

I love this film. First of all, I will forgive the title (and thank the other title of this film as it’s DVD is released in the US as Fragments) which had nothing to do at all with the movie. But for some reason, several winged creatures are seen flying around the film which have nothing to do at all about the film’s plot and the complexity of the story (which, I’d hate to spoil it again, would definitely ruin you’re concentration on the progress of the film’s plot). I’ve read it somewhere that the director of this film, australian director Rowan Woods, likes to add the named creatures as cameo roles on his films just like his other film called Little Fish which is about a heroin addict’s life played by Cate Blanchett and definitely not about anchovies or tadpoles. But I thought of something metaphoric about it anyway, and it works for me.

This film stars a couple of familiar actors. Dakota Fanning is as expected a very good actress. Her role works well for her age and she clearly understood how naive and lost her character Anne was after the tragedy and how she immediately turns to religion to mask the pain and fear and doubt. Forest Whitaker plays Charlie, the gambling father who after the tragedy runs away from the hospital, buys a bike shirt and some shorts, wins $10,000 at a game and loses it overnight. He tries to live in the present, however his daughter played by Jennifer Hudson is being questioned for the whereabouts of his father who’s been gone for a couple of days.

Inclusive of the tragedy is Carla, a waitress at the local diner whom was able to call the cops once she, ahem, gets the chance to call the cops is played by Kate Beckinsale. After the tragedy, as she is being asked by the hospital psychologist if she is by any chance alright, answers him in a blank expression.

As the characters go back to their lives in the hopes of regaining trust, atonement, and reconciliation after what the tragedy has caused their psych to contain, not much of the characters though are being fully developed. The use of flashback is evident to make us understand piece by piece the reasons why some characters could not fully comprehend their ends to their situation. Some characters, such as Guy Pierce’s Dr. Bruce Laraby and his wife played by Embedth Davis (The Bicentennial Man) I might add to the winged creatures that should never have been added to the story either.

The character though that I would like to retain for us to complete the story would have to be the role of Jimmy Jasperson which is played by a growing Josh Hutcherson. For without him, no one would ever get a sense of Dakota’s character. His portrayal of the pained teenager wasn’t too overly exerted, and it wasn’t too bad either.