It’s been a little while since my last movie review when I reviewed Joy, but thanks to FatCats Gilbert, it’s time for another movie review!
One movie that came out on Christmas that didn’t get a wide release until just recently was Quentin Tarantino’s new film shot in 70mm film, The Hateful Eight. In a world of digitally shot films filled with technologically fixed movies (not that that’s always a bad thing), director Quentin Tarantino decided to shot his new film, The Hateful Eight in 70mm film. If you’ve seen the classic 1959 film directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston titled Ben-Hur, you will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that Tarantino hunted down the lenses used to shoot Ben-Hur and used the same exact camera lenses to shoot The Hateful Eight. If that isn’t a passion for film, I don’t know what is. That’s exactly what I was hoping to see from this movie. Quentin Tarantino is probably my third favorite working director right behind Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, and if Tarantino had a deeper filmography, he might even be higher on my list. There was actually quite a bit of controversy with The Hateful Eight. The script leaked about two years ago in January of 2014. Tarantino announced he wouldn’t be making the movie due to the leak, but lucky for movie fans everywhere, after a live reading of the script in Los Angeles, he decided he was once again making the Western. Next, in December of 2015, Tarantino released his movie just one week following what may end up being the biggest movie in history, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Cinerama Dome is a pretty famous theater located in downtown Hollywood that is capable of showing 70mm film. Tarantino grew up around the theater, and when he began shooting his movie, one of his main goals was to get The Hateful Eight into the Cinerama Dome. Unfortunately, Disney had a pre-established agreement with Pacific Theatres, the company owning the Cinerama Dome. Star Wars: The Force Awakens had to stay in the Cinerama Dome for four weeks or else Disney would pull the movie from all of Pacific Theatres’s movie theaters. Knowing that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could possibly be the highest grossing movie of all time, Pacific Theatres decided to keep it for a four week run, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight could not be played in the Cinerama Dome. While it was definitely the right business move for Pacific Theatres, you have to feel bad for Tarantino. Luckily, none of these issues kept The Hateful Eight out of theaters, and I got a chance to check it out. Let’s get into the review!
The Hateful Eight is directed by Quentin Tarantino and stars the Tarantino crew of Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern and Walton Goggins as well as some newcomers such as Jennifer Jason Leigh and Channing Tatum. From the trailers, I wasn’t really sure what the plot of the movie was going to be, but The Hateful Eight surrounds eight characters trapped in a cabin in the middle of a Wyoming blizzard. Bounty hunter John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, has taken Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, prisoner and plans to deliver her to the town of Red Rock alive where the Hangman, Oswaldo Mobray, played by Tim Roth, is to be waiting to hang Domergue. When the eight different characters are trapped in the cabin they will try to find out who is destined to make it out of the cabin as well as who is working with Daisy Domergue. It basically becomes a Tarantino-ized version of Clue. Something I really loved about The Hateful Eight is that each individual character has something that sets them apart from the other characters. Each character is so different and unique, and they all seem to have their own gag, for lack of better words. Aiding in the characters developing their own are the phenomenal performances from each and every actor and actress in this movie. This may be my favorite from Samuel L. Jackson since his first appearance in a Tarantino movie as Jules in Pulp fiction. He has so many memorable lines and one absolutely perfectly written and perfectly delivered monologue attempting to draw a reaction from Bruce Dern’s character. It is such a dark and torturous monologue, and he is smiling and laughing, and he seems to be getting joy out of this story he’s telling while Dern’s character sits there in pure awe and horror. To branch off from that, Bruce Dern was fantastic in his role as General Sandy Smithers. Like I said, you can see the mental and emotional terror in his face and his mannerisms when Jackson’s character is giving the monologue, and you really start to feel for him, but still enjoy what Jackson is doing. Jennifer Jason Leigh also gave an amazing performance as Daisy Domergue. She is rough and gross, and she makes quite the transformation, almost to an unrecognizable point. At first her character is almost below human level in the way that she acts and carries herself, but by the end we get to see her emotions coming through. Everyone else was awesome as well, but I won’t go further into each individual performance. Those were the three that really stood out.
As can be expected from a Tarantino movie, the screenplay is just phenomenal. It’s the typical Tarantino screenplay, and you can see his brain and imagination go to work just as we’ve loved in the past. When the script leaked, I didn’t get a chance to read it (not that I would have anyways), but I’m glad that Tarantino decided to make this movie, because it’s another movie where we can sit and listen to characters talk for three hours and be absolutely engrossed by what is going on and being said. It is basically a “who-done-it” kind of movie, but Quentin Tarantino sprinkled a little bit of his magic dust on it and made it his own. I could sit and listen to Samuel L. Jackson deliver lines from Tarantino forever, and that was one of my favorite parts about this movie. I had so much fun with it, and when the Tarantino action started to kick in, it was exactly what I wanted and exactly what makes Tarantino famous for his graphic display of violence in a well-shot and comedic manner. Finally, Robert Richardson, who was the cinematographer for The Hateful Eight, did a very good job. He has worked with Tarantino multiple times before, and the direction and cinematography always go so well together when the two work with each other and they do a perfect job of visually portraying the story. The story is so well told by Quentin Tarantino and his team, and while it isn’t one of my favorites of his, I still loved the film.
I did love The Hateful Eight, and it gave me almost exactly what I wanted from one of my favorite directors, but I did have a couple of problems with it. First, when we are moving into the third act of the film and everything begins to wrap up, it all comes together too quickly. We get that awesomely shot and depicted Tarantino action that fans and critics alike praise, but it all happens so fast. I love watching every piece of a Tarantino film, but I can say that I typically look forward to that action I was talking about. It’s always bloody and funny, and I love it, but in my opinion, it seems to me like it all converged and became constant and too quick without developing. My second and final problem with the movie is that it was a bit too long. I know that Tarantino was going for an older style of movie, but it dragged a little bit. I can’t say I was too bored when watching the movie just because I was listening like a hawk for the dialogue and looking all of his special touches, but it did drag a bit, and I thought it didn’t need to take the 187 minutes that it did. Quite a few movies from Tarantino lack certain elements of your typical film such as protagonists and antagonists, but the way he portrays these characters at least lets me connect with them and see what’s special about them as well as setting his films aside from other filmmakers, so it has never been a problem for me. When you watch a Tarantino movie, he is the star. The actors aren’t the stars. His style, direction, and writing steal the show, and he is the reason for ticket sales.
Overall, I had an awesome time with The Hateful Eight, and will definitely be picking it up when it’s in stores to complete my Tarantino anthology. I can’t say that it was my favorite movie from Tarantino. I don’t even think I can say that it’s my favorite of his Westerns with 2012’s Django Unchained in the top spot, but I still loved watching one of the most talented, intelligent, and creative filmmakers in the business put a passionate project on the screen. I’m going to give The Hateful Eight a 9.1/10. Did you get a chance to see The Hateful Eight? If so, what did you think? Comment below and let me know! Also, what is your favorite movie from Quentin Tarantino? He has been making movies for twenty-three years, and this is considered his eighth movie (Kill Bill was originally one four-hour long movie that the studio made him split into two films, so according to Tarantino, it is one movie). My favorite is probably his most famous film from 1994, Pulp Fiction. It’s so innovative and funny, and despite being almost three hours long, I am never bored, never dragged, and I’ll pop it into the movie player whenever I feel like it.
I should have my review for The Revenant out later tonight and the review for the 2015 Point Break out within the next week before my next Throwback Thursday Review, which will be announced in the Point Break review. Please stay tuned for that, and I have a special announcement! Next weekend, 88.7 The Pulse will be premiering a new show called Movie EKG featuring Matt Casillas and myself where we will review a new movie coming out over the weekend as well as discussing the week’s movie news. We will also be answering Twitter and email questions, so if you would like your question answered about anything in the world of movies, Tweet us @movieekg or email us at movieekg@gmail,com, and we will give you a shout out on the show! Be sure to tune in to the show, and as always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!
PHOTO: Across The Margin