The Hateful Eight (2015) Review

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Directed & Written by Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Channing Tatum

Narrated by Quentin Tarantino

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.

My Opinion:

Yesterday I reviewed Jackie Brown as part of my 2017 Blind Spot Series & for Quentin Tarantino’s 54th birthday. In that review, I talked a bit about my disappointment over The Hateful Eight. It was hard to not compare the two films as I watched them almost back to back but it made me appreciate Jackie Brown even more and made me realize, in comparison, just how overblown The Hateful Eight is.

I already went on about this movie in yesterday’s review so I’ll keep this one short: The Hateful Eight is easily my least favorite Tarantino film (I’ve ranked them all HERE). It’s not a horrible film but he’s clearly believing his own hype too much & needs to return to the simplicity of a really good script as in things like Reservoir Dogs. His films have been getting more & more over the top and this one finally went fully overboard. It’s one thing to be over the top but another to be so dragged out & rather unenjoyable, which is something that I can’t say of any of his other films.

Okay – I’ll try to say some good things about this movie. Well, the best thing about it is Ennio Morricone’s score (but I’ll come back to that). The two main reasons I watched this were for Morricone and to see Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Oscar-nominated performance since I’m a fan of hers (plus to be able to say I’ve seen all of Tarantino’s films, I suppose). The clue is in the title and all these characters are indeed hateful (which isn’t going to make it easy to like a movie very much) but Leigh was great & her character was the one I enjoyed watching the most. I’m glad she got the recognition for this role as the movie itself lets its talented actors & composer down. Samuel L Jackson & Kurt Russell were also very good (although Jackson was, once again, his over-the-top Tarantino self) but no one else in the cast really stood out compared to these three. The other characters were extremely weak for a Tarantino film – he usually manages to make even the smallest characters in a film interesting. Maybe it should’ve just been The Hateful Three. But that’s a shit title. Did he come up with the title first & then had to write in five extra boring characters? Ah ha! That must be what happened. Plus, I think there were actually more than eight so he’s full of shit (you don’t count, Channing Tatum! The Hateful Nine isn’t a good title).


But back to Ennio Morricone. Morricone is a movie music God. Like I said in my Jackie Brown interview, the one thing Tarantino always does right in his movies is the music and I know he was overjoyed when he got Morricone to agree to score this (I want Morricone to score my whole life. That would be awesome). Is it Morricone’s best score ever? Well, no, but you can’t really top something like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Yes, he probably won the Oscar for this mainly because the Academy realized they’d seriously f*^kd up in never giving him an Oscar (other than an honorary one) until now. I hadn’t even realized that beforehand – he’s someone you’d just assume already had one. Anyway! Here’s a good interview with Tarantino talking about how he got Morricone to do this score. Wow. Morricone is a true professional. It was a very last minute thing and Morricone did it in very little time & in a way he’s not used to usually working. Combined with unused parts of his score for The Thing, I can’t believe they managed to pull this all together so well in that length of time. Tarantino of course wants to use him again so just imagine what we’d get if Morricone is involved in the project from the very start. It gives me chills thinking about it. I just hope, if they do work together again, that the movie can live up to the score next time!

Oh. The cinematography was good too. There’s one more thing! The last & final good thing. The outdoor shots were quite beautiful and the opening, combined with Morricone’s score, was very good (I’ll post the opening scene below). Too bad the majority of the film is inside a dark, tiny cabin!!! To start out in a rather epic sort of way with this beautiful snowy landscape and to then end up stuck in a dark little cabin for what felt like far more than the 3 hour & 7 minute running time was so damn cruel. To us. Cruel to the audience. Never mind the characters! Although I suppose they would’ve frozen to death outside, so…

The Hateful Eight. It’s too damn long. It has a good score from a true master. It has three really good actors doing the best they can with a weak script. It’s pretty to look at when they’re actually outside that goddamn cabin. It’s violent as f^*k. It’s definitely a Tarantino film. I still like Tarantino’s films & I’ll still watch them all despite finding this one the most disappointing so far. To be fair, it could’ve been worse. But it could’ve been SO much better. And this review was meant to be short. Like Tarantino, I sometimes don’t know when enough is enough.

My Rating: 6/10

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Reservoir Dogs (1992) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. He also reviewed Saving Private Ryan and The Manchurian Candidate and Pulp Fiction and Strangers On A Train. Thanks for all the reviews, Rob! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Reservoir Dogs, IMDB rank 70 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films here. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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Reservoir Dogs (1992) is the movie that made me fall in love with Quentin Tarantino’s film making style.

Most people didn’t hear about him until he made Pulp Fiction, but I somehow came across this movie when it was released on video in 1993.

Because it’s a low budget movie, Tarantino decided to save money on filming the actual heist portrayed in the movie, but rather used other moviemaking techniques to make us believe that we saw what happened during the heist despite having the movie begin during the aftermath.

The way he did this was to create a perfect mix of conversational dialogue and storytelling by the characters that we get such a complete picture in our minds of the event that creates the movie’s story without seeing one shot (from a camera or bullet) within the store.

On his script alone, Tarantino was able to gather such a talented cast who all agree to low salaries to be a part of this near-masterpiece.

Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Michael Madsen and Tarantino himself are all perfect in their roles and we get drawn in more and more as the movie moves along.
Being a fan of obscure movies let Tarantino “borrow” different elements from so many movies in order to create this film.

Among them, there are definitely blatant references to The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974) and The Killing (1956)

This movie also has changed the way anyone will ever think of the song Stuck in the Middle With You

For a debut film, it quite amazing how great a movie Tarantino was able to construct.

Most people still think that Pulp Fiction is his best film, but this movie on a small budget is done so perfectly in a simple fashion that in my eyes, even the great Pulp Fiction can’t hold a candle to this excellent heist movie.

10/10

Kill Bill: Vol 1 (2003) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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For today’s IMDB Top 250 guest review, we have the wonderful Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. Abbi has a fabulous site filled with everything from movie reviews to fashion to top ten lists to health & fitness to cooking. Cooking! I always feel totally inferior whenever I look at her site because the closest I come to cooking is popping crumpets in the toaster and the closest I come to exercising is walking to the nearest bus stop. And her outfits are great! I have no style. And she’s funny & her Film Friday movie reviews always crack me up. Basically, she’s cooler than me in every way so you really need to check out her site if you haven’t already. 🙂

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE.

Now over to Abbi for her thoughts on the kick-ass Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol 1, IMDB rank 152 out of 250

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Kill Bill vol 1

In this first instalment Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films a young, pregnant bride (Uma Thurman) is viciously attacked on her wedding day by her former associates and left for dead. Five years later she wakes suddenly from a coma and embarks on an unstoppable revenge mission intent not only to avenge the five years she has lost but also the life of her unborn child. Her plan is to pick off the former members of the Viper Squad, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and Budd (Michael Madsen), finishing eventually with Bill (David Carradine).
And really that is pretty much the sum of the entire plot of Kill Bill, so what is it that makes sounds like a pretty run of the mill revenge movie that exciting?
First has got to be the casting of The Bride (who happens to be one of my favourite movie characters of all time). Uma Thurman is able not only to carry off her unmeasured fury but also the vulnerability caused by her confused and damaged emotional state. As a former assassin The Bride is a vicious and ruthless killer, and obviously a total badass, but she also feels pain, loss and fear, which makes her someone that it’s easy to identify and even sympathise with.
Second is the fact that Tarantino is not afraid to borrow from every and any genre he likes the look of all in one glorious hotch potch. From Western, to traditional Kung-Fu, to anime to multiple other things that I probably didn’t even register, he throws everything in everything but the kitchen sink. It shouldn’t work, and in the hands of a less skilled director it probably wouldn’t but somehow the genre switches work as a way of creating episodes within this already truncated part of a whole, which means the story at hand never gets tired. It also highlights the constant juxtapositions that crop up throughout the film. One of The Bride’s most noteworthy opponents is Gogo (Chiaki Kuriyama) a seventeen year old Japanese schoolgirl, who giggles behind her hand but is also lethal with a mace. And one of the most violent kills happens in a beautiful Japanese garden where the colour of the blood spilled is that much more vibrant spilled across the snow.
Third is the cinematography. Kill Bill vol 1 is a riot of colour interspersed with black and white that changes the perspective and emotions from one scene to the next and often within scenes. In so doing Tarantino creates intense and memorable visual portraits, the most iconic being The Bride in her yellow jumpsuit. This is mixed with creative, razor sharp fight choreography and oceans and oceans of cartoonish blood that remind us that this story is set in a hyper reality that we can only enter as bystanders.
Finally both the soundtrack and the use of sound in Kill Bill vol 1 are used mindfully to accompany and intensify the visual attack taking place onscreen, with the soundtrack always matching the genre that is currently at play.
The overall effect is that the viewer is left desperate for more after the cliff hanger ending.
5/5

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Competition for the Primark Christmas sale had become particularly fierce.