The Hateful Eight: a bounty hunter and his prisoner get snowed-in at a cabin stop with six strangers, but “one of them fellas is not what he says he is”. Most of the actors get to do what they do best: grouchy Kurt grumbles magnificently; magnetic Goggins spits out redneck ramblings; Sam J does his shouty-preaching; Roth ponses around; in fact, Madsen is the only actor that doesn’t really get any good screentime. Despite the huge names, Señor Bob (Demián Bichir) steals the show for me with a ridiculously terrific comedy performance and accent. There’s some absolutely stunning exploitation gore, blood sprays, head explosions, etc, etc – all electrifying for even the most hardened splatter aficionados. As you’ll have read everywhere; the main issue with H.E. is that it’s simply far, far, far too long. It takes over 45 minutes to get to the cabin setting; an hour ‘til we get to the crux of the movie; and even with 2hr40min of dialogue heavy scenes, a narrator (voiced by QT, obvz) is still required to throw in more details – how sloppy and empty can the writing get? In fact, most people’s issues with Django seem to be applicable here too: it’s almost as if Tarantino is intentionally trolling his own audience (too many n-bombs, too long, no censorship…). Finally, a massive deal was made about resurrecting the ultra-Panavision 70mm format: but exterior shots are pretty much whiteouts, and the last two hours are confined to a cabin interior – which leaves you yearning for epic vistas. With his last few films, Tarantino is starting to come across as a ‘brat’ director (surrounded by ‘yes men’); refusing to cut out flabby parts, censor himself, or make any changes to his precious baby. Boiled down: The Hateful Eight is simply a decadent, elaborate, and extremely self-indulgent Reservoir Dogs remake: and a very testing setup for what’s essentially a room full of people shooting each other… again.
Reservoir Dogs: (Blu Ray) Follows a bunch of – not so – professional criminals after a botched heist – Tarrantino’s debut. Like his later movies this one is stuffed with obscure music, bloody violence, fragmented storytelling, and dangerously high levels of pop-culture. Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi lead the cast for me, but you can’t really fault anyone’s performance. It’s stylish, some of the longer shots are frighteningly smooth & effective and there’s cool ideas peppered throughout; standout being the anecdote about the drug deal being told in various situations. The realistic and brutal violence will shock some, and even for the start of his career the homage isn’t subtle. Like his other early works it’s also questionably racist – strange gamble for an up-and-coming director. The picture’s alright in parts but the sound’s quite rubbish, not worth the BD upgrade. Although the story and characters aren’t groundbreaking, you can’t deny how original the delivery and presentation are. Cult classic, and rightly so.
Hell Ride: Biker ‘Pistolero’ is out for revenge after a rival gang had his lady killed years back. Scene one: guy lying on the ground with an arrow in his stomach. Scene two: some chick being beaten, tied, throat slit and burned. Rest of film: bodies dropping right, left and centre. This my friends, is ‘Bikesploitation’ – bikes, babes, beards and beer tediously linked by a wafer-thin plot. The casting is just as poor, especially Michael Madsen, who is 100% Budd from Kill Bill, Vinnie Jones as another badass, and remember cyber nerd Milo from 24, just pretend he’s really mean. The dead men walking supporting cast were so indistinguishable (hairy, shades and stupid names) that it was pretty hard to follow who was who, although they all got killed, so meh! It’s good to see Dennis Hopper and Dave Carradine on screen again. It had so much potential and although I wasn’t expecting much it still disappointed; it really is one of those films that is so bad it’s… bad. Note to Tarrantino: please stop presenting shite films!
UKM: The Ultimate Killing Machine: Only watched this ‘military experiment gone wrong’ flick because Michael Madsen was in the line-up. Another pretty good b-movie boasted by Zone Horror. Loads of fake gore and the typical stereotypes of society getting into trouble… worth a look, but wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it!