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Quentin Tarantino

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino (2019)

Hollywood 1969, a year of heights and lows. Tarantino shows how he would have preferred this year to go.

The main character is Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Dalton is a Western actor who has just past the top of his career. The actual hero of the film is Dalton’s stunt double, Cliff Booth, a part in which Brad Pitt gets to be the cool guy.

Dalton recently got new neighbours, the young and upcoming director Roman Polanski and his beautiful wife Sharon Tate. Tate also gets quite a bit of the story.

Then there is this group of hippies who live in a commune a bit outside Hollywood.

We mostly follow Dalton’s career, his films and his uncertainties. This gave Tarantino the opportunity to film Western and war movies to mix in the film. This is usually in the over-the-top Tarantino style and very amusing.

The story contains quite some drama, but also Tarantino-style dialogues and of course humour and violence. There is a range of famous actors in smaller parts too, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Mike Madson, just to name a few. He also again takes 160 minutes to tell his story.

Not great, but a fun watch.

The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino (2015)

There are quite a few similarities between Tarantino’s last film and his previous one. Both “The Hateful Eight” and “Django Unchained” are about three hours, a reason for me to not put them high on my list and in both cases the story could have been told in a shorter film. Both films are about the origins of American racism. “Django” is about the times of slavery and this time the film plays in a time just after the war between the North (that wanted to get rid off slavery) and the South (that wanted to keep it).

Another similarity is the setting. Both films have limited settings, a plantage in the older film, an inn in the later one. Both films mostly revolve around Tarantino’s highly entertaining and lengthy dialogues, weird humor and of course a bloody shootout at the end.

In “The Hateful Eight” we have two bountyhunters traveling to the same town to collect their bounty. On their way they pick up another person and a snowstorm forces them to take shelter in a remote inn. The friendly folks there prove not to be as friendly as they appear.

Like I said, the film could have been shorter, but “The Hateful Eight” is highly entertaining. Typical for a Tarantino, but I am sure that is the way he intended it.

Django Unchained * Quentin Tarantino (2012)

It was mostly the three hour length that made me take to long to see this film. Now having seen it, I think it could have been shorter. But “Django Unchained” is an enjoyable feature. The first half hour to an hour is brilliant, with great music, atmosphere and black, violent humour. The last two hours the novelty is off and the film is just good. That is, until the magnificent Samuel L. Jackson joins the film, see poster.

A bounty hunter releases the slave Django in order to hunt more bounty. The two get along well and form a good bounty hunting duo. Django himself has a wish of his own and in executing it, the film rolls into an extraordinarily violent finale.

Tarantino made a real old-fashioned Western with his own typical elements of very bloody violence, black humour and witty dialogues. Within all this, Tarantino also manages to bring attention to the slavery period of (American) history, racism and even brings in the Ku Klux Klan in an amusing scene. Within all the shootouts and “nigger” shouting, the viewer is still forced to consider the history of suppression.

All in all “Django Unchained” is indeed a good film, but not it does not end up very high in my favorite film list.

Inglourious Basterds * Quentin Tarantino (2009)

This Tarantino was not high up my list and I proved to be right. Tarantino gives us a couple of chapters which are either or not connected. All play in France during the second world war. One of the stories is the one you hear most of. Brad Pitt leads a group of Nazi-killing Jewish soldiers. The group is known as the Bastards. Several of the other chapters feature colonel Hans ‘the Jew hunter’ Landa. Landa is a funny character, a very ‘Tarantinian’ character actually and more funny than Pitt’s character Aldo Raine. Landa likes to talk, a lot, and he seems very sophisticated. Actually, he reminds of The Frenchman from The Matrix somewhat. I like the fact that Tarantino has his Germans talk German and the Frenchmen French. There are even Germans who speak German, French and English, so Tarantino surely did not go for the easy, American way of having everybody speak English. There are some amusing dialogues, but not enough to make this a very enjoyable film. There is some blood and violence, but not as much as you expect from Tarantino and overall “Inglourious Bastards” is a bit dull. Regarding the film itself, it may be Tarantino’s most beautiful so far. He took great care making the stages, finding good filming spots, interesting actors and he creates a nice ‘ironic’ atmosphere. Perhaps that is why the film gets a 8.3 on IMdB? From me, this film gets 2,5 stars.

Death Proof * Quentin Tarantino * 2007

Death ProofAs you probably know there was actually one production called “Grindhouse” which included both this film and Robert Rodriguez’ “Planet Terror”. The film actually contains titles at the end of the first part and then a new film started. For this (and undoubtely financial) reasons, the films are usually distributed separately, so I had to get both films in order to see “Grindhouse”. I noticed that Tarantino is working on a new film and realised that I hadn’t seen “Grindhouse” yet, so I picked out both DVDs from the rental shop.
“Death Proof” is a film like you can expect from Tarantino. It contains hilarious dialogues, grim humour and fierce violence. Two parties of beautiful, but rather cheap girls with dirty mouths have a good time, but then their good time is interrupted by Stuntman Mike, a great role of Kurt Russell. There may be not too much of a story to the film, but still I noticed that on many places (such as the box or IMDb) give away a bit too much of it and that does not raise the enjoyment of the film. Speaking of enjoyment, like I said, there are beautiful women and great dialogues, but every time I see a Tarantino, I wonder how much further we can go in displaying violence and its gruesome details. Especially when it is no longer (really) meant to be funny, I wonder what the use of it all is. The box of the Dutch version that I got, speaks about “caricatural violence”, but I do not know if I agree with that description. “Pulp Fiction” was funny, but I am not so sure if every scene in “Death Proof” is meant to laugh. Maybe it is, but Tarantino keeps pushing (my) borders, especially in his inventions of new forms of sick sadism. Anyway, safe for a few extreme eruptions, “Death Proof” is another nice Tarantino production.
I hope to review “Planet Terror” tomorrow.

Kill Bill vol. 2 * Quentin Tarantino * 2004

A while ago I saw vol. 1. This is an amusing completely over the top martial arts action film that can only come from Tarantino. I had heard that vol. 2 is different. Well, it is, but not as much as I expected. There is more talking, more information than in vol. 1. You get to see what happened around certain scenes of the first film and of course “Beatrix Kiddo”s (Uma Thurman) quest to kill Bill continues. There is still action in vol. 2, but without the ‘Matrix-elements’ and a few thousands litres less of blood. Also there is the grim humour of Tarantino and of course his weird dialogues. However many people will not agree with me, I find the scene in which Kiddo kills Bill great. Of course I am not going to give you the details.
All in all I found “Kill Bill: vol. 1” amusing, but I found vol. 2 even more amusing.

Kill Bill vol. 1 * Quentin Tarantino * 2003

The loudly anounced fourth film of Tarantino after the brilliant “Pulp Fiction”, the alright “Jackie Brown” and the also alright “Reservoir Dogs” (all too old to be reviewed here it seems). “Kill Bill” falls in the same catagory as the the last two film: alright. Uma Thurman is badly threat by a few people and so she goes out to kill them. Not a very original story, but of course you get a Tarantino-touch. Still, there isn’t enough humour to compare “Kill Bill” to “Pulp Fiction”, there isn’t enough grim violence to be a second “Reservoir Dogs” and overall I would say that Tarentino has either too much or too little of the elements that characterise the ‘genre’ that he started. “Kill Bill” could/should have been more over-the-top like “From Dusk Till Dawn”, also it could/should have been more funny (in violence) or there could/should have been more of the silly dialogues that we came to watch his films for. It is funny that when somebody is wounded, blood keeps squirting from the wounds and there are some other funny wounds, but just not over-the-top enough. I do like the Japanese anime parts that is perfectly in the atmosphere of the rest of the film. As you probably heard, “Kill Bill” is Tarantino’s ‘martial arts film’, but it seems that he could chose between real martial arts and “Matrix”/”Crouching Tiger” like elements, which makes the film too credible or too incredible.

All in all not what it could have been. Maybe part 2 is a bit better, this first parts just ends halfway the story.

Jackie Brown * Quentin Tarantino * 1997

I saw this film in the cinema 5 years ago. It isn’t quite the best Tarantino film but especially on TV good enough to watch some time. “Jackie Brown” is about the stewardess (Pam Grier) with the same name who smuggles the money of weapon-dealer Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson) from Mexico to the USA. Ordell has the idea to sell weapons until he has 1 million dollars so he can live on the money for the rest of the days. He thinks himself highly popular and takes in Louis (a wonderfull part of Robert de Niro) and lives with his “blonde surfgirl” Melanie (Bridget Fonda).

Anyway, Jackie is caught, offered a deal and tries to think of a way to stay out of trouble but to get a part of the money for herself. The whole film deals with Jackie’s ‘cooperations’ with the police, Ordell, her new boyfriend, etc. Of course things go out of hand and people get killed.

However “Jackie Brown” is by far not as violent as other Tarantino-films it does contain the typical cynical kind of humour and ‘strong language’.
A nice film to just watch some time.

Four Rooms * Allison Anders + Alexandre Rockwell + Robert Rodriguez + Quentin Tarantino * 1995

So why hadn’t I seen this film before? For years I have known that Quentin Tarantino was involved in this film, but I guess I never found it in a videoshop and it had to take until MTV broadcasted it before I finally saw it. A shame, because this wonderfull film is truely entertaining.

“Four Rooms” refers to four hotelrooms in which four different stories, written and directed by four different directors, take part. The film brings great grim comedy that we are nowadays familiar with, but in 1995 it may have been even more funny than nine years later. There is a bellhop (Tim Roth) who has to run an entire hotel alone on oldyears evening. In the first room a group of witches (including Madonna) stay, trying to turn their leader back from stone to a human being. Only… there is one “missing ingredient” for their soup.
Next Ted the Bellhop runs into the wrong room and gets involved in some SM kind of roleplay.
The third room is a great part in which Ted has to babysit the two children of a maffia-man. Of course things don’t entirely go the way he wants to.
The last part is written and directed by Tarantino and he also plays the main role. Tarantino really does his thing with totally useless dialogues, a strange kind of humour and of course violence.

Should you have missed this film until now too, do your best to see it afterall.