Tag Archives: Quentin Tarantino

Robert Rodriguez: A Mediocre Director with a Love for Grindhouse Cinema

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 Robert Rodriguez Director Profile

Robert Rodriguez is a man who made a name for himself for making  looney action movies that are completely bat shit crazy. He is also known for doing everything himself. His debut film El Mariachiwas completely done with unknown actors and a limited budget and was able to impress everyone who saw it. It debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and then soon after at Sundance and was able to show just how great Rodriguez can be. With the success of El Mariachi, Rodriguez made two follow ups to the movie. Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico expanded on the premise but wasn’t as successful critically and surprised commercially. El Mariachi inspired many aspiring filmmakers to pick up a camera and film no budget movies. Personally, the movie that he is most well known for is probably the Spy Kids movies. I remember seeing those movie when I was young and it was the first time I had any contact with his filmography. It was a movie that appealed to kids but also featured his goofy sensibilities. Sadly as of late Robert Rodriguez has failed to capture the acclaim that his earlier films received. Last year he attempted to franchise another one of his Grindhouse features with Machete Kills. It received near universal hate from most of the critics and was dead on impact. He returns to the universe of another popular film he directed Sin City this year and once again fails to live up to it’s predecessor.

As a director I don’t like his films all that much but I do have to admire his views about a one man film crew and it truly what sets him apart from other directors of his nature. I’m weirdly excited for his next movie but don’t know if I’ll be surprised if it is the third sequel to either Machete or Sin City but who knows right now.

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Hateful Eight Trailer Rumors

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So some of the biggest news yesterday was the reveal of The Hateful Eight trailer. Crazy right? A trailer for a movie that hasn’t even started production or a secured release date. So what exactly can be shown in the trailer? So many questions over such news. Quentin Tarantino wasn’t even sure he was going to be making this movie a couple months ago. After cancellation, a lawsuit, a live read, and now confirmation that the movie would be made, The Hateful Eight has officially started its marketing campaign. This is a really weird track history for a movie and it only makes me interested in this movie more.

In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception.

 

The Death of Film Stock is Upon Us

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Being a native of Rochester, New York I know all there is about Kodak and George Eastman. I grew up in that region and I’ve become really interested in the history of both Kodak and George Eastman himself. I’ve been to The Eastman Theater, to see a screening of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, and toured his house. It is a fascinating venture and sure to interest any cinephile.

Recently Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams have campaigned heavily for studios to buy film stock and use it more often than they do. The chairman of Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke announced Wednesday that their company will continue their production of film stock. According to the Wall Street Journal, prominent studios such as Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Studios will purchase a certain amount of film stock each year. This solidifies the use of film stock for certain films. I see it used more so on their smaller projects rather than their blockbuster.

Bob Weinstein, one of the chairman for TWC, stated “It’s a financial commitment, no doubt about it. But I don’t think we could look some of our filmmakers in the eyes if we didn’t do it.” This shows just how committed they are to preserving the magic of movies and their love for the medium.

I’m happy to see that people are still in support for something that has been dying out in past few years. After The Master I think that people will realize the beauty that film contains.

Top Ten of 2012, A Fantastic Year for Movies

Once again this year my top 5 made it out of the Oscars with very few awards, 3 in total and one movie that deserved more awards than it received. This year was by far the strongest year for movies that I’ve seen in a while, I’ve seen a good portion of the Best Picture nominees and I think they all deserved the nominations unlike last year when certain ones made it even though I don’t think they deserved it. It was also a year with two of the greatest comic book movies ever were released and yet neither made it on my list, strange because I praised both The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises for what they did with their material and the way they handled their villains. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2013 has to offer, so far this year only Side Effects is a movie I would recommend seeing.

1. The Master

There is a lot I can say about The Master but I’d like to keep it short. I feel that this movie was greatly snubbed at the Oscars for it’s beautiful Cinematography, it’s fantastic writing, it’s keen directing, and all around Best Picture. It is a worthy follow up to There Will Be Blood and by the far the best movie of this year.

2. Django Unchained

Yet another fantastic film by Quentin Tarantino. Finally he has done a western, even though the majority of his film utilize similar aspects from westerns. This was a hard one not to put at #1 due to its great acting, cinematography, directing, and writing. It managed to entertain me and keep me invested in the story.

3. Looper

 

A lot can be said about Looper, sure it has it’s problems with Time Travel and some logical fallacies but it managed to succeed at telling a story without diving to deep into time travel. It great to see that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is taking risks with his acting, by impersonating the legendary Bruce Willis but I feel that he was able to do it and then some.

4. Seven Psychopaths

Clever, Funny, and completely original, at first I thought it would be silly but it managed to surprise me in every way imaginable. Christopher Walken stands out in such a fantastic cast that it is hard not to realize all the amazing talent in this movie. I never thought a movie about dog kidnappers would be good but boy was I wrong.

5. Killing Them Softly

I had to update my list because I had not seen this movie originally and not that I have I regret not viewing it sooner. It is a neo-noir that doesn’t focus solely on the violence but on money. A good amount of the shots and scene focus on money and how it cause men to do bad things. I think that the message that it was sending have a very good presence though it can sometimes be to much. The movie is riddled with conversations and not so much on violence. The best part was the cinematography and a stand out sequence is one done in slow motions that shows a killing that I couldn’t see any other way that the way it was presented.

6. Silver Linings Playbook

Wow I had no idea that Bradley Cooper could be such a fantastic actor. Everything about this movie is great. The fact that they take the classic romantic comedy and change and make it more touching and heartbreaking is something in itself. I feel that Jennifer Lawrence deserved her win for Best Actress and I can see her having a very successful career.

7. Skyfall

Finally a Bond movie that is more than just a typical Bond film, it is something that questions Bond as a whole, from the gadgets to the Bond girls, making M the true Bond girl in this one. It rewrites it so that it can change what it means to be a Bond film. Sure it channels Straw Dogs at the end but thats what makes it so much fun. “How many times can I use Bond to describe this film”

8. Argo

Definitely deserving of the Oscar, Ben Affleck finally gets his due even though he didn’t win Best Director. I may not have been alive during the Iranian Hostage Crisis but I found the movie to tense yet funny and heart stopping when it came to the end. This is by far Affleck’s best work and cements him as a director that deserves recognition.

9. End of Watch

The plot may not be entirely the best for a cop drama but they way that they present it is amazing. Combining found footage and actual footage was a smart idea and it shows just how much trouble that cops go through on an everyday occurrence. Not to forget but Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena share so much chemistry that it is hard not to tear up at the end.

10(tied). Cloud Atlas

Ambitious and certainly an epic film, not many people saw this film but I thought it was breathtaking and a good film that studies the meaning of life. It has fantastic special effects and soundtrack, the cinematography is beautiful. It was a good idea to combine filmmakers Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer.

10(tied). Zero Dark Thirty

I know people who claim this is propaganda for Obama’s reelection, which I can agree with since I don’t support Obama or his administration. I found this movie to be filmmaking at it’s finest and the last 30 minutes is some of the best every filmed. It may be controversial but I found it’s soundtrack, cinematography, and editing to be some of the best of the year.

Honorable Mentions

Life of PiI never read the book but this movie was emotionally packed. Both the Cinematography and Visual Effects are breathtaking making this movie a beautiful thing to watch

LincolnThe movie itself was sometimes boring but the performance by Daniel Day-Lewis was fantastic and really shows you the quality of actor he truly is.

DreddA fun yet overlooked action film

Cabin in the WoodsA funny yet scary satire of the horror movie genre

The Dark Knight RisesIts sad the it didn’t crack the top ten but I found this to be fantastic though not as good as its predecessors but Tom Hardy’s portray of Bane is the high part of this movie. Cinematography wise it is the best of the series.

Dishonorable Mentions

Taken 2A lazy retread of a mediocre movie. Terrible editing and illogical plotting makes this movie nearly unbearable

BattleshipWho thought it would be a good idea to base a movie on a board game. Felt like a Michael Bay wannabe minus the fun

Silent Hill: RevelationsLacking entirely of scares and felt more like a direct to DVD movie instead of a theatrical one.

Guilty Pleasure

John CarterIt may not be the best movie of the year but it certainly fun. It was a great science fiction film that deserved more attention than it got.

Django Unchained is off the Chain (excuse the pun)

Django Unchained

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington

When it comes to a Quentin Tarantino movie I am alway excited to see what he will do next. Every movies of his is always something fresh and exciting, even Death Proof which I’ll admit is not his best movie. When I heard that he was doing a straight forward Western instead of having western themes and homages I was ecstatic and was instantly anticipating the movie almost as much as I was The Dark Knight Rises. What I have to give the movie credit for is that it didn’t disappoint me in anyway at all, the movie is a deep look at what a man would do to get his wife back and how he goes about doing it.

A former slave and a German bounty hunter become unlikely allies in the battle against a tyrannical plantation owner in this western from visionary director Quentin Tarantino. Two years before the Civil War pits brother-against-brother, German-born fugitive hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz) arrives in America determined to capture the outlaw Brittle brothers dead or alive. In the midst of his search, Dr. Schultz crosses paths with Django (Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx), a freed slave and skilled tracker who seeks to rescue his beloved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie (Academy Award-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio). Once Django has aided Dr. Schultz in coralling the Brittle brothers, the two team up to capture some of the most wanted men in the South. Meanwhile, Django never loses sight of his mission to free Broomhilda from the treacherous slave trade before it’s too late. Upon arriving at Candie’s nefarious plantation, dubbed Candyland, Django and Dr. Schultz discover that slaves are being groomed for gladiator-like competitions by Candie’s malevolent right-hand man Billy Crash (Walton Goggins), and together they skillfully work their way onto the compound for a closer look. But just as Django and his partner locate Broomhilda and plot a daring escape, Candie’s house slave Stephen (Academy Award-nominee Samuel L. Jackson) catches wind of their plan, and informs his master of the betrayal. Now, as a clandestine organization attempts to back them into a corner, Django and Dr. Schultz will have to come out with pistols blazing if they ever hope to free Broomhilda from Candyland and the clutches of its vile proprietor.

What I have to say is the most admirable about the movie is the performances. Every actor in the movie is fantastic. Jamie Foxx bring layers to the character of Django and makes him a very human character in a movie by a director who’s characters  are always out there. It is the first time since Ray and Collateral that I appreciate what Jamie Foxx brings to the screen. The same goes for Christoph Waltz, who has been in a string of bad movies after winning his first Academy Award. His character is charismatic and likable and never has a dull moment on screen and he also manages to outshine Jamie Foxx. The two best performances in my opinion are Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson who both play the villains. This is the first time that Leo has portrayed a villain and I have to say that I’ve never seen him better, he feel comfortable in the role and manages to shock and intimidate while also being charismatic. I would really like to see Leo tackle more roles like this, it would be interesting to witness him as a more fearful character. Sam Jackson is equally as good and manages to make a character so loathsome and despicable that it is hard not to hate him. I think that Jackson should do more movies like this instead of the crap that he has done recently. I would like to see all these actors get nominated but the fact is that they won’t and I think Leonardo DiCaprio stands the only chance of winning.

Personally I think this is also Tarantino’s best film, I am a giant fan of Westerns and this is no exception. I felt that the story turned out a lot better than I expected, it may be a simple revenge story but the execution is simply perfection. The cinematography is beautiful and editing is also fantastic, I feel that this is the best one out of his filmography. I may be in the minority here but I think this outshines Pulp Fiction as his defining movie even though Pulp Fiction is a close second.

I think this has to be the best movie of the year and that it was a great way to end a fantastic year at the movies. Sure it is going to be tough to watch due to its explicit violence and constant use of the “N” word but I don’t think that should get in the way of a fantastic film.

10 out of 10