Competition *CLOSED*: Win Kill Bill Inspiration Lady Snowblood on DVD/Blu-ray! 61 344

Thoughts On Film - Kill Bill Inspiration Lady Snowblood competition

This competition is now closed. The winner is Ross Maclean, congratulations!

Even casual film fans will have at least heard of (if not have seen multiple times) writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s violent two-part epic Kill Bill, but not everyone will know it takes inspiration from a pair of 1970s Japanese films. Those films are Lady Snowblood and its sequel Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance, directed by the legendary Toshiya Fujita, and their influence on Tarantino’s hugely successful films is not exactly subtle.

One of the main influences come in the form of the titular character, who looks distinctly like Lucy Liu’s ruthless O-Ren Ishii whom Uma Thurman’s Bride character hunts down in Kill Bill Vol.1. And there’s also similarities in the revenge plotline, music (Lady Snowblood’s theme is used towards the end of the first Kill Bill) and visual motifs. For instance you can see a comparison of the two below.

Competition - Kill Bill and Lady Snowblood comparison1

Lady Snowblood

Competition - Kill Bill and Lady Snowblood comparison2

Kill Bill Vol.1

Monday September 24th sees the re-release of the two Lady Snowblood films on Blu-ray and DVD, fully restored and remastered for the best effect possible by Arrow Video (who also put out the impressive sets of Demons and Demons 2 earlier this year) with plenty of new special features to boot, including an interview with Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, collector’s booklet and reversible cover artwork.

In celebration of this Thoughts On Film has a DVD/Blu-ray combo copy to give away to one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post with your favourite moment from either of the Kill Bill films. Just make sure to put a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted should you win. The winner will be selected from our favourite comment. Note: The comments below contain major spoilers!

Now time for the the small print:

  • Competition open to UK residents only
  • Only one entry per person
  • Competition closes on Thursday September 27th at 23:59pm GMT

Good luck!

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.


  1. It has to be the hospital scene with Daryl Hannah’s character Elle Driver approaches The Bride. Great split screen and works really well. Also amazing choice of music for it. Thanks x

  2. I love the manga scene that describe O’rens childhood / genesis. A surprise departure from the rest of the movie but excellent nonetheless.

  3. The whole scene trailer scene………starting with Elle Driver and Budd, the Relief or Regret speech ending with the Black Mamba bite and then Elle reading all the facts she read about the black mamba on the internet, Budds death then out of nowhere a kick ass fight scene between the bride and Elle, and finally Elle getting her other eye snatched out, Classic!
    To My Brother Budd, The only Man I Ever Loved, Bill

  4. OK, have to admit I’ve not seen either of them- that’s why I’d like to win, LOL!
    (S’pose I could chest & copy someone else’s to hide my ignorance, but my conscience has a very sharp stick to poke me with!)

  5. The frenetic trailer fight between Elle Driver and The Bride. It’s such a great down ‘n’ dirty fight scene with excellent close quarters action choreography and an unexpected pay off. For the nasty, brutal war of attrition between these two women to come down to a squalid scrap in a grubby trailer is a sublime piece of comic undermining from Tarantino.

  6. Got to be the kitchen fight scene for me, when Vernita Green try’s to shoot The Bride through a cereal packet named KABOOM! 😀

  7. Hmmm hard to choose, the fight scene in the snowy garden is beautiful, but part of me has to say that my favourite bit is when she slices off that bloody lawyers arm Mwahahahaha! Feels like she is making real progress there!

  8. where uma thurman walks in to the bar and takes on about 100 triads and finally kills the girl dressed as a schoolgirl with a spiked ball on a chain

  9. The scene in the restaurant is the bit that always stands out to me, it’s just a massive fight scene


  10. The Bride vs. Elle Driver when Uma Thurman takes on Daryl Hannah’s Elle Driver in an epic fight and sword battle that takes place in a very small mobile home that gets destroyed in the process.

  11. How can you decide on a favourite scene?. I have three favourites, the one where darryl hannah and uma thurman are fighting. The one where Uma thurman fights Lucy Lui and of course the finale where she kills Bill with that move.

  12. The first film Quote “Look at me, Matsumoto. Take a good look at my face. Look at my eyes. Do I look familiar? Do I look like somebody… you murdered?.”

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Movie Review: Home Again 0 417

This review was previously published at The National.

Despite an obviously talented leading lady in Reese Witherspoon and a family pedigree behind the camera in making this sort of rom-com flutter sweetly off the screen, Home Again struggles to finds its way out of cloying cliché and narrative contrivance.

This is the directorial debut of Hallie Myers-Shyer, daughter of genre stalwart Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, What Women Want). It focuses on the life of Alice Kinney (Witherspoon), a single mum who has just turned 40 and tries her best to raise her two daughters Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield) in Los Angeles with her job as an interior decorator.

Freshly separated from her British music mogul husband Austen (Michael Sheen), she embarks on a drunken birthday night celebration that leads to her meeting a trio of 20-something lads – Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky) and Teddy (Nat Wolff) – who are trying their best to break into the Hollywood movie business.

The young men improbably end up staying in Alice’s guest house while they work on finishing the script for their first film. Before long they become an integral part of her life, from Alice embarking on a romantic relationship with Harry to George helping out Isabel with her school play. To quote the title of the director’s mother’s 2009 film – it’s complicated.

Except the film mistakes the kind of enjoyably frothy complexity exemplified by the best of the genre for skin-clawing convolution that renders much of the romantic and comedically-tinged drama of Alice’s life lacking in authenticity. Not that it needs the ring of truth that comes with, say, a Ken Loach picture but you need to be able to invest and believe in these characters’ lives as presented.

The approach to gender and generational relationships is simplistic which, of course, is nothing new to a genre that, at least in its Hollywoodized state, so often throws up films meant to be taken as easy-going fluff. But it’s particularly frustrating here when it squanders the potential thrown up with the initial concept of a woman trying to find herself again once she’s out of a stale relationship by entering into one with a much younger man.

It strangely seems far more interested in the plight of the three young men working as three cogs of one creative machine – director/producer, writer and actor – to get ahead in the movie business.  But even then it smacks of implausibility, like a cheap rom-com version of the bromance found in Entourage but without any of the snarky wit or Hollywood satire. Despite decent chemistry between a likeable assembled cast, Home Again is a tough pill to swallow as it rings false through and through.

3.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin 0 448

This review was previously published at The National.

The world of celebrated children’s author A. A. Milne and the creation of his beloved Winnie the Pooh stories are chronicled in this frightfully polite biopic from director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) that flirts with dipping its toes into darker waters but steadfastly clings to safe tropes and always with its top button firmly fastened.

We start off in 1941 where we find an ageing Milne (Domhnall Gleeson in questionable make-up and greyed hair) and his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie) living on their secluded East Sussex farm. They receive a telegram informing them that their son, C.R. Milne, is missing presumed dead after heading off to fight in World War Two.

We then jump back in time to Milne on the front lines of the First World War. He returns from the fighting a changed man; suffering from PTSD (popped balloons evoking sudden gunfire et al.), becoming increasingly sick of just making people laugh with his West End plays and the general hustle-bustle that comes with big city life.

He convinces his reluctant wife to move to the country for some peace and quiet and where his infant son, Christopher Robin (played by Will Tilston at the younger age, Alex Lawther as he gets older), can go on the childhood adventures he deserves with the support of loving nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald).

Settling into the kind of serene life he craves, he is inspired to create Winnie the Pooh and the rest of his soon-to-be-beloved friends inspired by the stuffed animals with which his young son has become so enamoured. Unfortunately for Christopher – referred to by everyone as “Billy Moon” – his father uses his real name in the stories, turning him into one of the most famous boys in the nation.

Despite the obvious attraction of it exploring the world famous Pooh stories, it’s a film much more interested in the effect it has on a fractured family clinging on to peacefulness, not least the unwanted attention thrust upon a young boy who simply isn’t equipped to handle it and how his parents carry on oblivious.

If anything it takes a curiously bleak outlook on what these stories mean to the world once they’ve been put out there, conveying a somewhat confusing message for a film that ultimately wants us to celebrate these stories as immortally cherished tales; that the Winnie the Pooh embraced immediately by the public and has now stood the test of time for almost a century is in some way missing the point of what it truly means to the author and a son who, inadvertently or not, was used as a tool of innocence to sell the idea of an idyllic childhood in Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood.

It’s bolstered by almost uniformly moving performances; Gleeson plays Milne with a kind of damaged empathy that makes you feel like you get to know the author beyond the public persona. Macdonald is oftentimes heart-breaking as Christopher’s devoted caregiver and Tilston walks away with the film as the adorably sweet-natured young Christopher. It’s only with Robbie that the film makes a misstep; she’s miscast as Milne’s wife and never stepping out of the shadow of cold motherly cliché.

In spite of its darker leanings, the film remains too buttoned up to properly wrestle with those themes in any sort of lasting way, far too polite to ever dive head first into the murky waters into which the drama intermittently peers.

Wrapped in Ben Smithard’s handsomely old-fashioned cinematography and soaked in Carter Burwell’s perpetually swelling score, it’s an aesthetically and emotionally appealing but nevertheless fairly vanilla period biopic best suited to being enjoyed on a rainy Sunday afternoon with tea and biscuits.

6.5 out of 10