David Carradine

Like David Edelstein, I have neither expertise nor desire to speculate on the cause of David Carradine's death, but I wanted, belatedly, to second his description of the late star's unique brand of cool: His vaguely Asian physiognomy made him suited to kung-fu and Zen masters, and his acting had that same alert detachment. You rarely got the sense that his roles cost him emotionally: Unlike his brother, Keith, who has been known to take risks, David had an inviolable sphere of privacy. But he never condescended to his material, even when it was risible, and his amusement was contagious....

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I had one last thought about Mitt Romney that seemed worth sharing before the clock strikes twelve and he's officially yesterday's news. I was not a fan of the Kill Bill movies, but I did appreciate one scene, near the end of KB2, that displayed the genius for pop banter that had characterized Quentin Tarantino's earlier films.

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Web Alert

When Spider-Man hit theaters in the spring of 2002, I thought it had distilled the perfect formula for cinema superheroics, a careful blend of in-costume action and out-of-costume drama, seasoned with a dash of unrequited adolescent longing and liberal portions of Tobey Maguire's insistent adorability. There was no reason to doubt that the recipe would work equally well in a sequel. Clearly, the filmmakers also felt they had found a replicable formula; they just took the idea a little more literally.

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Dud Again

Well, at least we find out how it ends. After two installments and four hours of running time, Kill Bill finally reveals whether it will fulfill the promise of its title. Now we can all move on. Regular readers may recall that I was not fond of Volume 1 of Quentin Tarantino's epic homage to kung fu movies, spaghetti westerns, and Uma Thurman's feet. The good news is that there is less to dislike in Kill Bill Volume 2--no parents casually murdered in front of their children, no jokes about pedophilia or raping the comatose, a vastly diminished body count.

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Chop Socky

  In an interview following the release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, Tim Roth ventured that "I honestly think you could take the same script but reshoot it with women and it would work. It would be the most controversial film ever. ... You could call it Reservoir Bitches." It took more than a decade, but with Kill Bill Volume 1 (out on video this week), Quentin Tarantino finally made his Reservoir Bitches. And while it's not the most controversial film ever (nor even of the past twelve months), that was clearly the director's aspiration.

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