Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)

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Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film The Hateful Eight is a bloody, brutal and riotous blast of a western that can’t help but run out of steam come its inevitable end. John Ruth (Kurt Russell), a notorious bounty hunter, is forced to take shelter from a blizzard in a halfway house while taking a fugitive to be tried in Red Rock. There, he engages with other stranded travels – played by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and Tim Roth – who may or may not be as they seem. Continue reading “Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)”

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Review: Django Unchained (2013)

Django Unchained

Writer and director Quentin Tarantino enters new territory with Django Unchained, a part exploitation, part Spaghetti Western romp about slavery in the antebellum South. That’s not to say that Django Unchained is any less a Tarantino film than, say, Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction were, as it includes many of his memorable traits (explicit violence and quick-cut editing) and boasts a revenge motif as intrinsic to the narrative as any other. Continue reading “Review: Django Unchained (2013)”

London Day #3: Django Unchained, Obsessions And Podcast Hilarity

Rafe Spall

Day three in London kicked off in style, with a screening of Quentin Tarantino’s latest Django Unchained. While it wasn’t quite the incredible piece of filmmaking many critics – The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, included – had made it out to be, it certainly made for entertaining viewing at nine o’clock in the morning and made up for the torturous Underground experience that proceded it. Don’t travel during rush hour. It’s a nightmare. Continue reading “London Day #3: Django Unchained, Obsessions And Podcast Hilarity”

Review: Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)

Hobo With A Shotgun is a feature-length adaptation of the highly successful fake trailer made for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’ Grindhouse, and stars Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi, Robb Wells and Molly Dunsworth.

The film centres on a homeless vigilante, Hobo (Hauer), who finds himself trapped in urban chaos. He is surrounded by armed robbers, corrupt cops and even a paedophile Santa. Hobo decides to bring about justice the best way he knows how – with his trusty pump-action shotgun.

Screenwriter John Davies litters the film with throwbacks to 1970′s horror, while conserving a gleeful level of originality and satirical humour into the oft-told one-against-the-world tale. It does wonders to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and thoroughly entertained throughout. While the premise is a tad sketchy, the scenarios that derive from it – murderous dodgems, a torturous pinata, and the aforementioned unorthodox Santa – certainly aren’t.

Jason Eisener, who opts for practical effects over digital CGI, manages to balance a realistic feel with over-the-top, cartoonish, and incredibly gory violence. He indulges in frenetic cinematography, glorified lighting and a stomping soundtrack to boot, all in keeping with the exploitation genre and the films to which he is paying homage.

The choice to recast Hauer as the Hobo was one of utter genius, and he plays it with effectively straight assurance, keeping the film grounded amidst the hysteria. The supporting cast, a smorgasbord of unknowns and ex-TV stars, helps further to instil and sustain the feel of an authentic exploitation flick – something that previous studios’ efforts have failed to capitalise on.

Dunsworth – a prostitute and Hobo’s unimaginable foil, Abby – stands out amongst the supporting cast. She does tremendously well with a severely underwritten character, providing a brilliant antithesis to Hobo’s ruthlessness. They have a sizzling chemistry on-screen, and a subversive, darkly amusing rapport that feels extremely gratifying.

It’s clear Eisener has an eye for the schlock genre and, by letting his imagination run wild, Hobo With A Shotgun emerges as a sure-to-be perennial, shockingly violent and wonderfully clever yet purposely screwball modern-day vigilante thriller. It’s “bloody” terrific fun.

Review: Drive Angry 3D (2011)

Drive Angry 3D follows Milton (Nicolas Cage), a hardened felon who has broken out of hell in order to save his baby granddaughter from being sacrificed to a satanic cult, led by the man who murdered his daughter, Jonah King (Billy Burke).

Teaming up with young sexy-smart waitress, Piper (Amber Heard), Milton must put the cult to an end while outrunning the advances of an enigmatic killer known only as The Accountant (William Fichtner), who is sent from hell to bring Milton back.

Patrick Lussier has elevated his My Bloody Valentine craft to an even trashier level, with the accentuation on uninspired tones, sexy woman and fast cars contriving that 70’s exploitation feel, throwing carnage at the screen with delirious exuberance.

He keeps the pacing tight, conforming to the ticking clock aspect of the plot and lets the film advance along on a never-ending cascade of fistfights, gunfights, explosions and snarky banter.

However, no matter how much blood and bare flesh grace the screen, Drive Angry, especially in it’s third act, is left feeling lifeless and padded at times, mainly due to the slapdash script, never quite matcheing the success Quentin Tarantino reached with his magnificent Death Proof.

The 3D element serves its purpose by immersing the viewer in the world and seldom being distracting, but it never adds anything or reinforces the overall viewing experience to compensate the heightened ticket price.

Cage, in a role similar to the one he played in Ghost Rider, looks tired, acting throughout with a glazed expression that implies he simply isn’t enjoying himself or has any belief in the source material, which, in turn, withholds the film from reaching its true potential.

Heard and Fichtner triumph over Cage in every way; getting the best dialogue, having the most convincing physical presence, and purely playing characters that are entertaining to watch.

Drive Angry 3D is easy, somewhat fun weekend viewing. Simple as that.