THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)
Latest flick from Quentin Tarantino finds bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) heading to the town of Red Rock with his latest acquisition, murderess Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). They are reluctantly in the company of another bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and there is a massive blizzard on it’s way. Ruth, Warren and a group of others find themselves taking shelter at a remote haberdashery to wait out the storm. The owners are suspiciously absent and now Ruth begins to suspect he’s walked into a trap with possible associates of Miss Domergue. As they are all snowbound together, paranoia begins to take over as no one knows who they can trust. Accusations begin to fly, can bullets be far behind?
If I am to sum up Quentin Tarantino’s latest in one word it would be underwhelmed. The film is well directed and certainly looks great, as Tarantino knows how to frame a shot. It’s just that it is a very long winded mystery/thriller at almost three hours and there are tedious stretches of dialog that seem to drag on. Tarantino is known for his snappy dialog, but here it just seems to meander, taking a long time to accomplish something. Once the bullets and blood start to fly in the last act, it just comes off as gratuitous after such a long time of slowly unraveling what is going on. That and when it is all laid out before us, it’s not all that impressive or a big deal. You kind of feel like “I sat through almost three hours for this?”. There are some really good characters and performances in the flick and it has a great cast, but just takes a long time to not go anywhere all that interesting or far. Not an outright bad movie, just one that is only moderately engaging. Also stars Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen and Channing Tatum.
THE OFF SEASON (2004)
It’s not bad enough that this flick is just really amateurishly made and acted… save for the always delightful Angus Scrimm… but, the fact that it has the audacity to rip-off The Shining, with it’s plot of a writer (Don Wood, who is awful.) and his wife (Christina Campanella) renting a room in small motel in Maine, so he can write, that turns out to be haunted, makes it all the worse. Produced and starring independent horror fixture Larry Fessenden who usually is involved with far better projects then this.
I’ve never been a big fan of Troma Entertainment’s bargain basement flicks and this comedy/horror/musical directed by Troma head Lloyd Kaufman won’t change my mind. This is an awful movie that tries so hard to be gross and offensive that it forgets to actually be witty or funny and at 103 minutes is also about 23 minutes too long. It’s sense of ‘humor’ hits the lowest level possible and crosses over to repulsive very quickly. I liked the first Toxic Avenger and the first Nuke’Em High but, after that any actual cleverness was traded for gross and stupid. Terrible.
Francis Ford Coppola has made some great movies early in his career and while we haven’t heard much from him in the last two decades, it still surprises that the man who directed The Godfather and Apocalypse Now could crank out an eccentric mess like Twixt. The film has a chubby and really out of shape Val Kilmer portraying down on his luck horror writer Hall Baltimore staying in a small town to promote his latest wash-out novel at the local hardware/book store. He get’s involved with an odd sheriff named LaGrange (Bruce Dern) who wants Baltimore to help him write a book about the strange murder of a young girl by stake through the heart… a murder LaGrange claims is the work of a group of vampires that live in a commune across the lake. But, the longer he stays, the more Baltimore is drawn into a dream-like world inhabited by a vampiric young girl (Elle Fanning) and Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin) and soon reality and dream begin to become intertwined. What this movie was about, only Coppola knows for sure. It barely is coherent and when it’s all over, you wonder what was it about or what was the whole point. The only real pluses are some very interesting visuals and Ben Chaplin making an exceptional Edgar Allen Poe even though I never understood the point of him being there. Weird and confusing and weirder still is Coppola casting Kilmer’s ex-wife Joanne Whalley as Baltimore’s nagging wife Denise.