Movie Reviews: The Hateful Eight

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The Hateful Eight by Quentin Tarantino

I was going to watch the film no matter what as a huge fan of Tarantino, especially in his earlier days. I didn’t see this movie in the theaters. I think it was playing around the same time The Force Awakens, and I saw that movie twice. The film finally came out on Blu-Ray and I watched it pretty much in the dark.

Yes, I said it.

The same secret script that was leaked and resulted in a lawsuit.I had no idea what was coming.

This was probably the most I heard about the production of a movie since The Phantom Menace. Besides a bunch of hateful people, I didn’t really know anything of the plot outside of Jennifer Jason Leigh being the the prisoner. I watched the movie and my first pass review is this is a 7/10 after watching it once. The movie is almost exclusive character acting, sometimes almost making the setup seem more like a play on stage rather than a movie.

Samuel L. Jackson as the “Bounty Hunter” is really good. I would say this is his best part since his character performance in Django. I think Quentin and him have a special relationship and they both know his best performances come when they work together. (The Negotiator was good too). It doesn’t top Pulp Fiction though.

Kurt Russell as “The Hangman” was mixed for me. He didn’t seem as rugged and angry as I know he can be. He brought hell with him in Tombstone, but didn’t quite do it here. I also found it unbelievable he let two people on the stagecoach, but that might be more to blame not he plot than anything else. Props on him for growing those chops.

Jennifer Jason Leigh as “The Prisoner” was the heart of the film. She had a lot of responsibility in playing off every actor and she does it well. The movie doesn’t work without her performance. She has blood on her face most of the film, sings and plays guitar, and then shifts her tone at the end. I think in 20 years, she will be remembered as “The Prisoner.”

Walton Goggins as “The Sherif” started out as weak for me. He seemed to be more a comedian, but when I came to think of it later, his part was more of a central mystery. The audience doesn’t know his motivations. At the end of the film, I think it ties all together and his part makes sense. These are flawed people who can change views on a whim. Everyone acts in their own self interest.

Demian Richie as “The Mexican” seemed to be an over-the-top caricature and stereotype for me. I thought there would be a twist of some point other than a plot point, but there wasn’t much there. To me, this is one of the weaker parts of the film. He plays it fine, but I would have liked to have seen more to him.

Tim Roth as “The Little Man” was the most enjoyable actor to watch for me. Part of me feels that the part could have been played by Christoph Waltz. Tim Roth has been in other Tarantino films, and doesn’t seem as over-the-top since 4 Rooms. I enjoyed it. He should do it more.

Michael Madsen as “The Cow Puncher” has limited range in the movie. He plays the same character we always see him as, so for me, there was little he added. Outside of being part of the Tarantino bull pen, I’m not sure if it added much to the story.

Bruce Dern as “The Confederate” brought absolutely zero to the film. The man sat in a chair and acted like a man who was acting … which he was. Hmm. Maybe it was genius and I just didn’t realize it on the first viewing. I would have found it more believable if he was the father of Jennifer Jason Leigh and that he wasn’t so helpless. It would have provided a twist to the story instead of the deus ex machina when you-know-who shows up. Maybe an earlier version of the script had this in.

Subsequent viewings might raise the rating for me, but to me, it felt more like a horror film than a western. I would have believed this more if this was his grindhouse film. The cinematography is nice two watch, and in typical Tarantino fashion, I appreciate he lets scenes breath and characters act. The experimentation with his voiceover was a different touch as well. He made a good choice with the Act-swap.

GUEST REVIEWER: BETSY THE BRIDE (A very serious girl at COMICON)

Don’t you go talking to my Quentin like that. I don’t care if they lock me up in San Quentin, I’m gonna get ya. Oh, I swear to god I’m gonna get ya good. I don’t care if the law man comes to your protection, I got me a slick team ready to inflict Betsy’s justice on you. Just when you think you’re safe going to your favorite watering hole, I’ll be there. I’ll be the one that looks all innocent and sweet and just as you get that false sense of security, WHAM! This movie was a masterpiece of cinematic kind, one with a fantastic bloody ending that gave me flashbacks to my own wedding. It will be remembered for eternity. Do you hear that Matt? For eternity. 

MOVIE RATING: 7/10 Dead Hateful People

NEXT: REVIEW OF KILL BILL, A TARANTINO MASTERPIECE

https://mmleonard.com/2016/03/21/movie-reviews-kill-bill-volume-1/

Movie Reviews: Tombstone

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Tombstone directed by George P. Cosmatos

What is the greatest western movie ever made? To me, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” is the ultimate western.  After that, “Once Upon a Time in the West” takes the second spot. This movie ranks third.

But don’t get me wrong, Tombstone is a masterpiece.

Think about it. The cast is absolutely awesome. This is some of the best work Kurt Russell has ever done. The movie has Val Kilmer in his best role of all time (screw Batman and Iceman, although he was pretty damn awesome in Willow and Heat). Michael Biehn is in it playing, well, the same role he always plays. Bill Paxton puts in a solid box office assist and added to his resume. Jason Priestly is randomly in it because I guess he was branching out from 90210 (good job with that). Sam Elliot adds gravitas to the cast. Billy “Where is my Wig” Zane plays an actor, before his days on the Titanic. Billy Bob Thornton has a cameo as a blowhard who gets pushed out of his territory (before Slingblade fame). Stephen Lang, one of the more underrated character actors out there plays Ike Clanton (you know him as the over-the-top military douche in Avatar). It even has Terry O’Quinn before he became John Locke. And to add a cherry on top, Charlton Heston is in the film. Wow.

The film is written, paced, acted, directed, and plotted well. Kevin Costner did a version around the same time and it is almost unwatchably-boring. This is a western that is really a bonafide action film. Watch the movie and tell me Val Kilmer is not unbelievably awesome in the film. The wonders he can do with the cup can diffuse any situation.Tombstone_Doc_Holliday_Whiskey_Cup_03.jpg

Just look at Kurt Russell. You know from one look that Hell is coming with him.

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And look, it even has John Locke, er, I mean Terry O’Quinn. For some reason, in my mind I imagine this is where he truly went after turning the Donkey Wheel.

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So why does the film hold sentimental value to me? Well, it’s because at one time, I used to live near Tombstone, Arizona. Yep. I’ve been to the O.K. Corral. I would ditch school sometimes and act like a tourist there. The place is a relic of the past, but at least if you go, you can say you saw where Wyatt Earp got them good.

GUEST REVIEW: TOM THE TOMBSTONE REENACTOR

The historical inaccuracies in this film is too many to write in the limited space Matt has given me. Let me begin with this, the fight wasn’t even at the O.K. Corral. It was six doors down he street. The fight itself was 30 seconds, which if you ever visited Tombstone, you could watch a real actor such as myself reenact this American legend two times a day. I’ve been asked seven times this year if my other name is Daniel Day Lewis. I have no idea what they are implying because my name is Tom and I love reenacting. Being born and raised in Tombstone, I know every square inch of the place and for a nominal fee, I can escort ladies and gents on a walking tour of the hallowed grounds where some say the screams whispers will touch your eardrums and make sweet western love to it. I’m Tom. Believe me. Come on. I have a big thick natural mustache and you can usually find me at the Burger King during my lunch hour drinking milkshakes and signing autographs of my book, “Tombstone Tom: A Memoir.” 

Back to the movie, it is a masterpiece.

Movie Rating: 10/10 Huckleberries