2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Friday, March 29, 2002
Dare I sully the gleaming edifice that has become Blade II? Fear not, fair knaves. Although I didn't love it like McBain and Allyn, I enjoyed it more than the first entry in the franchise, and overall I think it's a better film than Shroom does. A solid steak knives and a well-done B-movie, Blade II succeeds most when it gets metaphorical, serving as (what Ed Gonzalez calls) "a cautionary tale against cultural homogenization."

If the vampires and the humans/daywalkers represent warring factions that must co-exist in order to survive (that is, the vampires kill the very human race they need to feed them blood), in essence a mirror to a society that must tolerate hostile, heterogenous cultures, then the Reapers represent a Nazi-like race intent on wiping out everything they find different and inferior. In this scenario, I like that the script makes those tenuous alliances between Blade and the BloodPack, because in times like WWII, previously (and future) warring nations like America and Russia would have to team up against Germany. This metaphor makes the characters more sympathetic and recognizable, and in essence we find that Nomak is the sad by-product of a power-hungry vampire who uses his offspring as a weapon -- this in a genre where 99% of the time the Nomak character would be a one-dimensional monster. One thing I don't understand about Nomak's father's team: if Scud was working for the Reapers, and disabled the security to let them in, why did they attack and almost kill him in the van?

My problems with the movie are mainly with the action scenes, some of which dragged on too long and lacked editing coherence, as Shroom points out; and the CGI really bothered me both with the goofy computer dissolution of vampires when killed and with that shot Shroom mentioned of the fight in front of the flood lights. I also think the dialogue suffers when it should have had one more polish -- one scene ends with Blade telling Whistler: "There's an old saying -- keep your friends close and your enemies... closer. You might want to remember that." Why rest on the cliche when the motive for the line is so obvious? Why not spin it into something funny or subtle or original? I guess Goyer is going for the comic book style here, but I'd have liked some snappier dialogue. I also don't like how Snipes's voice has been filtered to sound an octave lower. Listen to him speak in White Men Can't Jump and compare it to here. Why is Blade so cool that he can't have a normal voice?

Despite those flaws, though, Del Toro has fashioned a monster movie with a kind of artful solemnity that is often absent from the pure dreck that comes from the bile of a Paul Anderson or Peter Hyams. The pall cast over the entire affair is appropriate for a gothic, operatic movie that borders on philanthropy it's so concerned with saving the human race. Count me in with the gang who loved Nyssa's death scene. The reason that's a touching moment is because of the set-up earlier in the sewers when Blade tenderly feeds her his blood to save her life, and winds up cradling her face in his arms. There's nothing very sexual about it when there should have been, but at least there's something human there -- and that it's between two vampires is pretty interesting. That's why I bought her sunlight demise as being somewhat moving. However, I was wondering why her skin peels away in a much more beautiful and choreographed way than the other vampires, whose skin explodes off in ugly shards. How does the sunlight know she's a protagonist?