Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Hateful Eight - Movie Review: Is 70mm Really that Glorious?

Wait, you mean theaters are allowed to play other movies besides Star Wars?!?
The Hateful Eight is the eighth movie directed and written by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Kurt Russell, Samuel Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Walton Goggins. I went to the special roadshow event which was presented in 70mm. This is the first movie I have ever seen in the theaters shot and presented in 70mm with the correct ratio aspect. Did I really notice? Honestly, not really. If this movie was shot in IMAX and presented in a digital format I think it would have looked just as good. It is an extremely beautiful looking movie, but is that because Tarantino is a great director and worked with a fantastic cinematographer, or because it was shot in 70mm. I think it is probably the former and whatever the movie was shot on it would look brilliant. I’m however also color blind, so maybe something is lost on me as a viewer.
Shooting in 70mm is more for Tarantino and him being a lover of classic cinema and the way movies used to be made. I personally loved going to the theater tonight and getting a program for the movie, having a musical overture, and an intermission.  It made for a special evening, and also harkens back to the fifties and sixties when going to the movies was an event. This could have still been accomplished shooting the movie on another format and presenting it in digital form. I’m a general overall history nut, so going to see a movie made in an older style was interesting in its own right. This was Tarantino’s vision, and I’ll gladly indulge any historical eccentricities he wants as long as he keeps making spectacular movies.
The Hateful Eight is the second western directed by Tarantino the first being Django Unchained. The movie has a very different feel than Django, even though it started out as a sequel. It has all of the Tarantino essentials. Great dialogue, good characters, intriguing story, and fantastic performances. The entire first two acts of the movie build a palpable tension. You never quite know what is going on until the reveal. The tension built with the dialogue and closed room reminded me of the opening scene of Inglorious Bastards, but extended for a greater period of time. You then get a fantastic exploitation payoff in the final third of the movie for an extremely satisfying ending.
All of the performances are good in the movie. The standouts for me were Walton Goggins, of Justified and The Shield fame, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the women being taken to the hanged. Each are fantastic in their respective roles. Hopefully Goggins can start getting more movie parts after being showcased in a Tarantino masterpiece. The person for me who absolutely stole the show on every level is a Tarantino favorite, Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson does channel a little Jules from Pulp Fiction, but saying he is doing the same thing here is a disservice to the performance. For me he deserves an Oscar nomination nod. I don’t think he will get it, because it will be seen as a character he’s played before, but I saw more in this role. I felt it was a more nuanced performance, and not the typical bad ass mushroom cloud laying mother fu, sorry my kid watches these. He chewed scenery and outshined a stellar cast and other great performances. I have to at least mention Kurt Russell. He was great as well, though I think I preferred his performance in Bone Tomahawk, another western, to this. Both are outstanding westerns with great performances by Russell. If you haven’t heard of Bone Tomahawk I’ll put a link in the description below. The dialogue in it is very similar to Tarantino or a Coen brother’s movie.
I don’t want to say to much more about the plot or overall story. What the trailers have shown is enough going in. Russell’s character, John Ruth, is taking Leigh’s character, Daisy, to be hanged and they get trapped by a blizzard at a convenience store. Ruth suspects foul play at every corner. Which you think is just paranoia at first. I won’t say any more than that. Other than Tarantino does a masterful job drawing you into this story and world. I loved the little nods, like when characters drink coffee the store they are in is still so cold that steam rises up all around the actors. I also think Tarantino had a message he wanted to deliver with this movie. I don’t think it’s heavy handed, but if you are looking you can see it
This movie is made to be seen in the cinema. If you can find a theatre playing it in 70mm I would recommend seeing it that way, just to view it how Tarantino wants it seen. If not then try and hold out for an IMAX showing, though Star Wars has that locked up for a few more weeks. I’ve got to mention the score as well. It is phenomenal, just as most Tarantino’s scores are. It sets the mood and adds to the tension of the movie.
I found the entire movie to be engaging and entertaining. This is well worth seeing, and is a must see in the theater if you are a Tarantino fan. I’ll be buying it on blu-ray when it makes its way to home release. For those who don’t like his movies, then stay away, because this is very much a Tarantino film. It oozes his style and unique way of storytelling. He actually brings back a technique he paved the way for in the nineties and hasn’t used in his last few films.
Comment and let me know if you can tell the difference in the 70mm aspect ratio rather than digital. Would you want more filmmakers to try and bring back roadshows with intermissions to make going to the movies more of an event? If you have seen the movie let me know what you thought of it and the performances. Give me a thumbs up if you like my review. Share and subscribe and all that fun stuff as well. Thanks for watching and bye. 

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