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Entries in Quentin Tarantino (29)

Friday
Dec282012

Dlink. The D is Silent

Mandatory the 100 funniest tweets of the year. Some of the movie folk who get punchlined: Liam Neeson, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp.
Nicole's Magic Scans from Paris Match -- Nicole Kidman looks great as Grace of Monaco
E! Anjelica Huston is PETA's person of the year
i09 Futuristic predictions that came true this year
The Lost Boys farewell to Peter Knegt's long running blog.
Slate I've been talking a lot recently about people being hideous jerks when it comes to the topic of Les Misérables so here is a negative review from Dana Stevens which I think is completely fairly written and actually pretty clever in some of its digs. I've only ever asked that people be fair about it and state their biases if they have them (Stevens doesn't like the source material).

Unreality looks for gender flipping of Star Wars in the cosplay community. Sadly the gallery has no Prince Leia Lee. WTF?
Cinema Blend Quentin Tarantino wants to make a third revisionist history revenge flick called Killer Crow. This saddens me as Tarantino hasn't made a non-revenge themed film since Jackie Brown. That's a long time to be working one kind of narrative template, even if you do it extremely well.
Shadow & Act the actress who plays "Coco" in Django Unchained, a slave in a French maid's uniform, speaks about her experience on the film. And while we're on the topic ...

Spike & Quentin
I feel bad for Spike Lee. I really do. Even when people are trying to be fair to him, they end up dissing him. Press Play's Steven Boone wrote an excellent provocative piece on Django Unchained that has measured compliments for Spike Lee's work but it's still basically a slap.

Not to say that Django is an exceptionally subtle piece of work. Both Spike and Quentin have a Sam Fuller tendency to go all-caps, tabloid large when staging bits of provocation that would be juicy all on their own. But let's just lay it on the table: Tarantino is the better filmmaker, by many miles.

Meanwhile We Are Respectable Negroes reviews the movie (Quentin's) that does exist but still ends up critiquing an imaginary movie that doesn't (Spike's). And though the article is really interesting and makes strong points about the imaginary movie that's maybe still wildly unfair once you stop to think about it.

Meanwhile Quentin and others like Sarah Silverman are defending the controversial rampant use of the "N" word in the movie on the grounds that it's a period piece set during the time of Slavery. Which is a basically a solid defense. But I think the reason Quentin sounds like such an asshole spelling that out is because he's always used the word rampantly in his movies, even when that excuse was nowhere to be found.

ANYWAY... Spike really was in a lose-lose situation with Django Unchained. If he spoke against it without seeing it he'd be dissed. If he made anything like it he'd be crucified whereas Tarantino is celebrated (hi, double standards). If he hadn't said anything people would have surely kept asking him to. So he said that Slavery wasnt a Spaghetti Western but a Holocaust (which is true, duh) and now everyone is pissed at him. Would they still be pissed at him if he saw the movie and still said that? I think so. 

Today's Must Read
The Vote discusses the biggest problem with Oscar this year: the early voting deadline. Jon concludes with the message I'm always trying to send to the Academy which is basically this: Stop worrying and just be you. I'm glad others are starting to carry this message because my voice was lonely and choruses are louder. The Academy is Goliath. There is no David. And yet they're constantly changing to dodge the phantom slingshots. 

 

Sunday
Dec232012

Lump of Coal, Anyone? Cinematic Shame (Pt 1)

YEAR IN REVIEW

I plan to get all joyously positive from Christmas Eve through January 9th as I share my take on the Best of the Film Year That Was. But I make no promise about my mood come January 10th...  That's the fateful morning when 6,000 Academy voters play puppet master and yank my fragile psyche about with abandon. But until then... And before the Year End Best of hits, we purge.

MOST "OVERRATED" ANYTHING

I know that people quibble with this word and wish it dead and buried. But that's only because they take it far too seriously. It's a silly adjective but silly is fun. One should always take things for what they're worth. No matter who is using the word "overrated" it only ever means:

Other people are under the mistaken impression that this thing I think is merely okay is really great! They are quite wrong."

Unsatisfying performances, miscasting, bad moves in good films and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec222012

Les Linkábles

Auteuse Theory has co-written a book on Mamma Mia! of all things "Mamma Mia! The Movie: Exploring a Cultural Phenomenon"
Gawker Audrey Plaza has a nude painting of herself on full display in her home 
The Wrap the best and worst performances by the same actor this year. Interesting concept but SO annoying to pretend Anne Hathaway is anything less than stupendous in Les Misérables 
Badass Digest Here's something unexpected. A piece on the vineyards of France and drinking in the time of Les Miz.

My New Plaid Pants obsession with Amanda Seyfried's 'magical slutty powers' is one of my favorite things on the internet, month in and month out.  I know everyone was excited to read me interviewing my Nicole but I'd honestly pay good money to watch a sit down with JA & Amanda
ME Says is disappointed with Jessica Chastain in The Heiress. This seems to be going around! That won't hurt but can't possibly help her Best Actress bid in Zero...
Awards Daily Sasha crunches numbers on Best Director and predicts doom for Tom Hooper without the Globe nod. Which might well be the case. But the thing I don't quite get, from other pundits, is why everyone has such sudden enthusiasm for Quentin Tarantino's chances. Tarantino movies ALWAYS open with a flurry of people crying "masterpiece" but that's because critics and bloggers are big stans of Quentin (with good reason but I hope you here my point.) Is this "late surge" for Django Unchained real or just a product of Weinstein Co's goodwill with the Globes?

The Playlist The NRA is blaming the movies again for all these gun massacres. I'd LOL if it weren't so terrible. Way to hang on to your destructive agenda in the face of ever more damning proof that it's just that! They are seriously a hideous blight on America. Speaking of...
Penny Arcade has a fine comic about this

Click on the image for more of the comic...

List-Mania
Pop Matters I am embarrassed for all my film friends who love Cloud Atlas but I have to link to Matt Mazur's top ten anyway because otherwise it's interesting!
Critic Wire asks film critics to share the best pieces of film criticism they've read this year. Lots of articles name-checked worth checking out
AV Club best scenes of the year
Pajiba has a great list of enjoyable supporting performances that won't win any awards... let alone Oscars
Screen Crave on the most disappointing films of the year from Django Unchained to The Avengers
Slate ten best of 2012 from How To Survive a Plague through Zero Dark Thirty 

And here is Kevin B Lee's 12 Best of the Year Video Essay from Fandor. (I keep meaning to do more video work and never get around to it. Argh.)

Even most of my critic friends love Silver Linings Playbook. I just don't get the love! But at least it's not a hideous bloated blight on the good name of cinema like Cloud Atlas

Wednesday
Dec192012

National Link Registry

The Hollywood Reporter  A former sitcom writer "kvells and kvetches" about The Guilt Trip and Parental Guidance starring Babs and Bette
PopWatch Mark Harris on Hollywood's love of gun violence. I highly recommend reading this but I highly caution NOT reading the comments because as per usual the gun crazies come out. They'd have us all packing and I so don't want to live in their preferred world.
Cinema Blend Katey & Eric on 12 Unfairly Overlooked Movies of 2012 from Hello I Must Be Going (Yay, Melanie!) through Cosmopolis

Awards Daily Whoa. Ann Dowd is footing the bill for her own Oscar campaign.
The Hollywood Reporter talks to Emayatzy Corinealdi on her breakthrough in Middle of Nowhere. You know. I've been trying not to talk about this because I can't figure out a way to say it that doesn't sound indelicate but in some ways I really hate falling in love with new black actresses in the same way that falling hard for new theater actors can be nerve-wracking. Chances are (unforgivably) strong that no one will give these gifted performers another plum opportunity after their breakthrough and that truly sucks. So I'm crossing my fingers for Corinealdi but I'm still waiting for something real to happen for Pariah star Adepero Oduye, last year's breakthrough actress of color. And I'm still trying to wrap my head around the non-career of the brilliant Kimberly Elise so... 

The Carpetbagger on screenwriter Lucy Alibar's (Beasts of the Southern Wild) crash course in cinema
The Onion "Top Movies of 2012"
David Poland gives himself a new nickname. Or adopts one given.
Vanity Fair Barbra Streisand talks about her legendary duet with Judy Garland in the 60s. Really interesting comment from Babs I think.  
MNPP joins the Zero Dark Thirty fan club 

Oooh, look Quentin Tarantino pays tribute to Pedro Almodóvar saying that his filmography is "the one to beat" -damn straight! Nobody else in the modern era compares.

Finally, I want to extend my annual congratulations to the 25 films that are newly announced for preservation by the National Film Registry. They are:

  • "3:10 to Yuma" (1957)
  • "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959)
  • "The Augustas" (1930s-1950s)
  • "Born Yesterday" (1950)
  • "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" (1961)
  • "A Christmas Story" (1983)
  • "The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight" (1897)
  • "Dirty Harry" (1971)
  • "Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2" (1980-82)
  • "The Kidnappers Foil" (1930s-1950s)
  • "Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests" (1922)
  • "A League of Their Own" (1992)
  • "The Matrix" (1999)
  • "The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair" (1939)
  • "One Survivor Remembers" (1995)
  • "Parable" (1964)
  • "Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia" (1990)
  • "Slacker" (1991)
  • "Sons of the Desert" (1933)
  • "The Spook Who Sat by the Door" (1973)
  • "They Call It Pro Football" (1967)
  • "The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984)
  • "Two-Lane Blacktop" (1971)
  • "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1914)
  • "The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England" (1914)

As per usual that's a lot of titles that I know nothing about but I'm most thrilled by The Times of Harvey Milk which is one of the most moving and important documentaries ever made. And on a sillier note, can we talk about how ever-watchable the female baseball comedy A League of Their Own is? Sometimes I pine for the 1990s. It's tough to imagine that movie breaking $100 million now but the 90s were a good time for girlpower narratives.  

If you're a fan of A League of  Their Own (who isn't?) I want to know which scene just popped into your mind when you heard that it made the list!

 

Friday
Dec142012

Hats Off to Mr. Jackson

Michael C here to sound some trumpets for a fine actor's return from the wilderness. There are many pleasures to be found in Django Unchained, but for me the most satisfying was being able to unambiguously love a Samuel L. Jackson performance for the first time in what feels like forever. 

Let's be frank, Jackson has always been a guy who would cheerfully say yes to just about any script that was correctly formatted. But at least back in the 90’s he would throw in an Eve’s Bayou or a Jackie Brown every once in a while. Over the last decade, however, his time has been divided between coasting on his star presence in blockbusters or squandering his considerable talent in straight up dreck like The Man or The Spirit. What attempts he has made at meaningful work have largely been dumped directly in the straight-to-video bin. (Home of the Brave anyone?) The last performance of his that left any impression on me was 2000’s Unbreakable, although your mileage may vary. Black Snake Moan had its fans, as did The Caveman’s Valentine. Whatever the case, there’s no denying the internal compass he possesses for choosing projects is severely miscalibrated.

But now there is his work in Django and damn does it feels good to seem him nail it in a big way. Jackson gave what is basically one of my favorite performances ever in Pulp Fiction and Tarantino has handed him another winner. He plays Stephen, the most trusted slave of Leo’s malevolent plantation owner and the two of them share a terrific, twisted chemistry. In terms of thematic weight Stephen's importance to the story is second only to Foxx's Django, and Jackson makes a meal out of every second of screen time. It’s a devious, deceptively simple performance. A late in the film monologue in particular should have Oscar voters second guessing whether DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, who were both Golden Globe nominated, are really the Django performances to unite behind in the awards game.

Jackson may very well turn around and follow this up with another decade of crapola (the XXX sequel listed on his IMDb page doesn’t bode well) but for now I’m pleased to see he has another performance that can stand proudly alongside Jules Winfield, Gator Purify and Sean Nelson’s alcoholic, chess playing father from Fresh (Rent it!)