Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Guess I'm a Hater

I drove up to Austin yesterday to see "The Hateful Eight." I could have seen it here in San Antonio, but I don't trust the projectionists at The Palladium. They've probably never seen anything but a digital projection system before. I knew that the fine folks at The Ritz would understand the importance of light projected through a 70mm piece of celluloid. I enjoyed the experience of an old time Roadshow attraction (in an old movie theater instead of a multiplex!) with a program, an overture, and an intermission. The first images on the screen were breathtaking - a closeup shot of a rugged statue of Christ, a panoramic view of a snowy Wyoming landscape, horses pulling a stagecoach over a trail past an icy stream. Tarantino has always had a great eye, and that certainly hasn't changed with this movie. Ennio Morricone's score was beautiful. The cast (particularly Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, and the legendary Bruce Dern) was excellent. The set design, costumes, heck all the art direction was outstanding. Despite all this, I disliked the movie. It had all the problems that I find in most of Tarantino's work and even more of the excesses. HIs dialogue had its share of humorous (if sometimes anachronistic) one-liners, but the conversations went on and on. Quentin loves to hear himself talk, and I think that's why every character speaks with his voice. The plot was very thin. It could have been told in a brisk ninety minutes. Instead, it was stretched out for an epic three hours. Believe me, I like long movies, but there has to be enough story to fill the time. I'm very glad that Tarantino chose to shoot in 70mm, but I don't know why he used the largest canvas available to tell a story that takes place, for the most part, in one claustrophobic room. If that huge screen is available to you, then be David Lean, not John Cassavetes. The movie seemed confused about what it wanted to be - sweeping western, locked-room mystery, or horror movie. In the end, I guess Tarantino decided on torture porn. My frustration with Quentin Tarantino stems from the fact that I recognize his talent, but I think he squanders it.

Here is the cover of the program that was given to audience members at the 70mm showing .

No comments:

Post a Comment