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Randy Quaid Suffers New Setback In Quest For Canadian Citizenship

Randy Quaid Heath Ledger David Carradine

US actor Randy Quaid suffered a new set back in his quest to assume Canadian citizenship, some two years after the actor said he had won his legal fight to remain in Canada.

According to CBC News, the Federal Refugee Protection Division have denied Quaid and his wife from assuming Canadian citizenship after the two fled their native America after allegedly being targeted by so-called Hollywood "star-whackers." With their latest rebuttal, Quaid and his wife have now made an appeal to the Canadian Federal Court, claiming that their lives are still in danager.

In their application for judicial review, obtained by CBC, the Oscar-nominated actor and his wife plead that they are victims of an "organised crime" organisation and their attempts to claim refuge in Canada should not be taken lightly. The statement obtained by CBC, also says, "The refugee claims should remain intact as should Evi and Randy Quaid's heads remain attached to their necks and it is their firm belief that their lives are at stake and being racketeered on."

Continue reading: Randy Quaid Suffers New Setback In Quest For Canadian Citizenship

Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel Review

An essential documentary for movie fans, this exploration of the work of iconic filmmaker Roger Corman revels in the joy of exploitation movies made on a minuscule budget with lashings of gore, explosions and nudity. It's a glowing portrait of a man who changed filmmaking forever.

Corman's 400 films have tapped into youth culture in ways that studios never could. This documentary traces his career with interviews and clips, but also explores his impact on the industry at large. Clearly, he's not only an important filmmaker, but he's also a genuinely nice man (at one point, Nicholson breaks down and cries while talking about him). We also get glimpses behind-the-scenes on 2010's hilarious-looking Dinoshark, proving that his filmmaking methods haven't changed much in nearly 60 years. And we discover that his favourite filmmakers include Bergman, Fellini and Truffaut, whose films he distributed in America.

Continue reading: Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel Review

Corman's World Trailer

American director Roger Corman is one of the film industry's most influential directors. Born in 1926, he is best known for the numerous low budget B movies which he has directed. Not only is he influential to many of Hollywood's great directors, Corman has also launched the careers of William Shatner; Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, to name but a few.

Continue: Corman's World Trailer

Crank: High Voltage Review

Jason Statham remains the most mysterious of action heroes. Sure, he's muscular and menacing, with a façade both funny and frightening. But take him away from all the bare-knuckled bedlam, and he's nothing but a ready ripped torso. In films like Death Race and The Transporter, he's often nothing more than a cut clothesline to hang stunts on. The same could be said for his work in the grand guilty pleasure Crank. As a man who must find the antidote to a poison he was purposely given, Statham was all adrenaline and attitude. Lionsgate hopes to continue the cult with the mandatory sequel High Voltage -- and you know what, it's a terrific sleazoid treat.

When last we saw Chev Chelios (Statham), the unstoppable hitman had seemingly survived a freefall from an airborne helicopter. Now, he's been kidnapped by Asian mobsters who want to harvest his vital organs. Chelios escapes, soon learning that he must keep the batteries managing his artificial heart charged while Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam) tries to figure out a way to put the real one back in. Hoping to find his stolen body part, Chelios scours Los Angeles, running into old girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart), insane hooker Ria (Bai Ling), and various criminal types. It seems that all paths lead to a shady Chinese mobster named Poon Dong (David Carradine). In typical Chelios fashion, however, the way is fraught with cops, criminals, and some incredibly crazy circumstances.

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The Golden Boys Review

Daniel Adams' The Golden Boys has nothing to do with the Emmy-winning sitcom The Golden Girls (sorry, mom). In no way is it a masculine spin-off that replaces sassy-talking Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan with Rip Torn, David Carradine, and Bruce Dern.

Yet there are similarities worth mentioning. Both rest on characters tolerating their "golden" years. And both offer television-sized entertainment.

Continue reading: The Golden Boys Review

The Good Guys And The Bad Guys Review

Burt Kennedy's The Good Guys and the Bad Guys is the kind of western that's so tired and old that it has to rely on a phony jokiness to get through the clichés. Around 1969, there were a lot of those westerns to go around -- True Grit, There Was a Crooked Man, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The War Wagon, and Kennedy's own Support Your Local Sheriff, which looks as if it were shot on the same cheap and generic western set as The Good Guys and the Bad Guys. Some of these westerns were elevated from their Cat Ballou foundation by actually not being westerns at all but, instead, interesting character studies (True Grit, Butch Cassidy) or more comedies than westerns (Support Your Local Sheriff).

But others just languished between the two extremes being neither one nor the other, in the end being nothing at all. Into this classification falls The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, a meaningless and harmless bit of flatulence that caused barely a ripple of interest in 1969, when critical sniffers where inhaling deeply of Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch.

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'Polanski Unauthorized' Benefit Screening At Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatre

David Carradine Tuesday 10th February 2009 'Polanski Unauthorized' Benefit Screening at Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatre West Hollywood, California

David Carradine
David Carradine

At The Hollywood Santa's Parade

David Carradine Sunday 30th November 2008 at the Hollywood Santa's Parade Los Angeles, California

David Carradine
David Carradine
David Carradine
David Carradine
David Carradine

Premiere Of 'Hell Ride' At The Egyptian Theater In Hollywood

David Carradine and Egyptian Theater Thursday 31st July 2008 Premiere of 'Hell Ride' at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood Los Angeles, California

David Carradine and Egyptian Theater
David Carradine and Egyptian Theater

Ringers: Lord Of The Fans Review

Every good geek franchise has a corresponding picture about its freaky fanatics. Star Trek has Trekkies (1 and 2), Star Wars has The Phandom Menace, and Lord of the Rings has Master of the Rings. Er, and this film, Ringers (a term I don't believe is actually used by anyone, but I guess it's less insulting than "lordies" or "ringies"), which feels more than a little late to the party.

Ringers isn't just a fun-poking exercise like most of its brethern. Primarily it's an exhaustive history of Lord of the Rings, from J.R.R. Tolkein's life and times through such curiosities as Leonard Nimoy's ballad of Bilbo Baggins (google it) to the animated attempts at making the books into movies in the 1970s and '80s. Sure, the fans are covered, in part, and there are a few gems among them. My favorites are the ones who claim to be really into Tolkein, yet show up at the film's "confessional" booth dressed as Klingons or, inexplicably, as Johnny Depp's character from Pirates of the Caribbean. This largely passes without comment: In fact, that's the movie's major failing. It's far too respectful -- fawning, really -- of the obsessed fan base of Lord of the Rings to be truly entertaining. Hell, Dominic Monaghan, who played one of the hobbits, narrates the thing with an air of something that approaches austerity.

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Bound For Glory Review

It sounds like a kickboxing movie, but Bound for Glory is actually based on Woody Guthrie's memiors of the same title. David Carradine plays Guthrie as he rambles and strums and rambles some more, all the way through the dusty Depression in search of stardom. Lots of travelin'. And on and on for about 2 1/2 hours. Bound for Glory doesn't have so much a story as it does a series of vignettes between bouts of Carradine strumming Guthrie's signature tunes. Hope you like folk music, because there isn't much variety to be found among his music. Neither is there much variety in the scenery (though the film won an Oscar for cinematography): just one dust cloud after another, as we ramble across the country. Hell, the didn't call it the "Depression" for nothing. Check out The Grapes of Wrath for a far more interesting and dramatic look at the past.

Kill Bill: Volume 2 Review


Editor's Note: Last year I let Sean O'Connell and Jeremiah Kipp go at it -- Tarantino style -- over the merits of Kill Bill: Volume 1. The results were classic: O'Connell loved it, Kipp despised it. With the second installment of the highly-anticipated flick, the tables are turned. Now O'Connell's got his blade sharpened, and while Kipp is hardly a convert, he at least has a few kind words for the movie. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy round two of this battle royale!

Sean O'Connell: "the thrill has been completely abandoned"Movie geeks love comparing Quentin Tarantino's work to that of other celebrated directors, but the maverick filmmaker mostly reminds me of burned-out monster rockers Guns N' Roses.

Bear with me, because the analogy makes sense. In 1987, the astonishingly successful "Appetite for Destruction" turned G&R into global superstars, in much the same way that Pulp Fiction blasted Tarantino into the Hollywood stratosphere in 1994. Pressured to follow up their iconic works, both artists immediately cranked out forgettable fluff (see "G N' R Lies" and Jackie Brown, respectively). Eventually, though, each moved on to create overstuffed two-part epics - the "Use Your Illusion" albums for Guns and now the Kill Bill flicks for Quentin - that contain ingenious individual parts but don't add up to entertaining wholes.

The drop-off in energy, style, and coherence from last year's Kill Bill: Volume 1 to its bloated, disinteresting counterpart is so drastic and extreme that you can hardly believe they come from the same director, let alone conclude the same storyline. The tonal shift swings from playfully sinister to somber and sadistic, as Uma Thurman's revenge-seeking character The Bride spends two-plus hours being whipped, beaten, stabbed, shot and buried alive, all so she can repay Bill (a confident and friendly David Carradine), her former boss and infrequent lover who tried to murder her on her wedding day.

Say what you will about Volume 1 - and many commented on the copious amounts of bloodshed and violence - but it was never dull. The thrill has been completely abandoned in Volume 2, which trades its buckets of crimson blood for pages of dry dialogue that explore the history of these characters but bring us nowhere new. Tarantino loses us in mounds of useless exposition on regret, payback, and pain. It was far easier to swallow The Bride's bitter quest for revenge than this. Tarantino's self-adored mysticism, on display when Uma trains with kung fu master Pai Mei or finally confronts Bill, doesn't quite grab us as quickly or hold us as tightly.

Back to the "Use Your Illusion" analogies, which are endless. "Illusion I," if you recall, was known for its yellow cover (like Uma's yellow track suit in Volume 1), while "Illusion II" sported a blue cover (like the blue dress Uma wears to fight Bill here). Critics largely dismissed the "Illusion" albums as massive ego trips, though fans argued that you could collect tunes from each album and make one great record. I'd argue that you could take the better elements of both Bill films and streamline them into one terrific 2.5 hour vengeance ride. What happened to Harvey "Scissorhands" Weinstein? Can't he bear to stand up to his golden child?

Guns N' Roses broke up after the "Use Your Illusion" experiment without releasing another album of significance. Time will tell if a similar fate awaits the once-gifted but woefully unshackled Tarantino.

RATING: [][]

No swordplay at the dinner table!

Jeremiah Kipp: "even the steadfast may not feel rewarded"While Kill Bill: Volume 2 does not redeem its garbage predecessor, and indeed falls into many of the same pitfalls, it almost works as a domestic tragedy played against the backdrop of samurai swords and western shoot 'em ups. If Quentin Tarantino were able to resist his gleeful bursts of eye-popping sadism and his insatiable desire to reference all his favorite B-movies, grindhouse drive-in flicks, Japanese chop-socky actioners, John Ford, Sergio Leone, and whatever else he's stored up in his oversaturated junk food mind from those years at the video store, maybe he'd actually be able to deliver a human story and an allegory for a mismatched relationship killed by a broken heart.

The first volume completely failed, narratively and thematically and as entertainment, a mere aimless shuffle of Tarantino's reference-laden funhouse. This one starts off on the wrong foot with a goofball wedding rehearsal culled straight from The Beverly Hillbillies and Hee-Haw. Immediately followed up by a shot lifted from The Searchers, those who hated Volume 1 as much as I did may be bracing themselves for another two hours plus of the same "applaud if you're winking" chicanery.

That's when David Carradine shows up as Bill, and even though the scene inevitably climaxes with his gang massacring everyone in the wedding party, there's a moment of genuine life when he faces off against The Bride (Uma Thurman), a woman he loved that left him for another, and took his baby with her. Bill's a sadist and a killer, and stays true to his nature. But before that superficial action movie posturing takes hold, we're given a glimpse at real pain: a crack-up between two tough old bastards, Bill and the Bride, who can't admit how much this hurts them.

With his wizened features and gaunt frame, Carradine is a strong iconic presence. He conjures up memories of movie lore from his east-meets-west TV-series Kung Fu. The only other east and west comparisons are those drudged up by Tarantino's movie lore; Carradine is a part of that lore but his B-movie star presence has a bona fide history behind it. Sadly, Uma Thurman cannot hope to match it, and her performance still feels wrong. She doesn't convey charisma or ferocity, only a model's petulance and an ability to pose like a Charlie's Angel. No surprise that she faces off against Daryl Hannah as one of the assassins she has to kill before getting back at Bill. It's an aged, sun-baked version of the same thing: Looks pretty, can't act.

It's unfortunate that Carradine drops out of large sections of Volume 2, because those are the passages that flounder. Assassin Budd (Michael Madsen) is a bloated trailer trash monster that briefly turns the tables on the Bride, and puts her through an ordeal of being buried alive. This is Tarantino getting his kicks on watching his heroine suffer, compounded by a flashback where Bill's former trainer, an aged Cantonese master (Chia Hui "Gordon" Liu), does some Karate Kid training with the Bride that puts her through even greater humiliations: verbal abuse, physical abuse, mental torture, and a dog's misery. By the time The Bride escapes (we know this from the start, since she says she's wiped everyone out but Bill in the suspense-killing pre-prologue monologue), only to beat the living hell out of another woman character and give her a humiliating death scene. Tarantino never gives such low-down dirty treatment to the boys, who are too cool to die so pathetically, but he gets off on watching women get flayed. "Do you think I'm sadistic?" Bill asks before shooting his Bride after the wedding reception. Maybe Quentin is projecting, and he doesn't own up to it like Sam Peckinpah did in his finer works.

But those with indomitable patience may find some reward in the final half hour of Volume 2. Admittedly, that's a tall order. There are some very good scenes with David Carradine along the way, playing his tough guy as soft spoken and genteel. (He doesn't need to play up a character everyone else has been talking about for three hours.) But he and Kill Bill really come together at the grand finale, which doesn't play out as the kamikaze swordfight one might pre-suppose. When the Bride arrives to dispatch Bill, he has a few surprises in store for her that make her stay her hand.

This is followed by the appearance of a strange truth serum that feels practically Elizabethan in its use as a story device, as the former lovers get down to the real business of showing who they are. Tarantino throws in a pop culture monologue about superheroes, particularly Superman and Clark Kent, that manages to get beyond its geek surface and into nature vs. nurture, and true faces vs. false ones. Anyone who pretends to like their day job may be able to relate, and once this gets into the dynamic of being with another person, it grows messier, more complicated, and more real.

Genre fans will be happy about those final notes, though. Bill's final exchange with the Bride ranks up there with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro's climactic stare in Heat. It's an epic moment and a rare note of grace amidst the non-stop cartoon carnage (and cartoonization of rape, torture, and hatred of women) and smug hipster/movie brat shenanigans Tarantino bombarded us with -- and it's needless to have broken it up into two sections, or a serial. It's barely worth slogging through the wasteland of Kill Bill: Volume 2 to get there, and even the steadfast may not feel rewarded.

RATING: [][][]

The DVD includes one deleted scene, an extensive making-of documentary, and a live performance of the song that plays over the closing credits (and DVD gives you another chance to see just how self-indulgent this movie is -- the credits are 13 minutes long!).

Aka Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

Death Race 2000 Review

Never mind the pedestrian roadkill. You won't find another film featuring a fistfight between David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. Er, I don't think, anyway.

Roger Corman's cult classic sends competitors in a dystopic future on a Cannonball Run-style cross-country race, but you get bonus points for killing men, women, and children along the way. Never mind that there's only one survivor by the end (and thus, the scoring is irrelevant), the fun's in the getting there.

Continue reading: Death Race 2000 Review

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