Recently in Tarantinology

Ronin (1998) Blu-ray Review: Welcome Back to Cinematic Reality, Kids

Arrow Video revives John Frankenheimer's criminally neglected late '90s gritty crime thriller via a beautiful, all-new 4K scan.
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At one point or another amidst whatever we may have selected (or been selected) for our respective careers, we will fall from grace. Even if you're a great filmmaker like John Frankenheimer. In his heyday, the late director (who passed from this world in 2002, shortly after his final contribution to cinema ‒ an HBO docu-drama ‒ premiered) had crafted several groundbreaking films, from the highly fictionalized (but nevertheless well-made) biopic Birdman of Alcatraz, the must-see WWII locomotive heist classic The Train, as well as one of my personal favorites, the 1962 paranoiac conspiracy Cold War thriller, The Manchurian Candidate.

The Hateful Eight DVD Review: Definitely Hateful, For Better or Worse

The Hateful Eight is a pretty good film, but "pretty good" is well below Tarantino's usual standards.
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Every Quentin Tarantino movie is an event, especially as he continues to threaten to retire eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later. On top of that, The Hateful Eight is a massive Western, with a great cast and a score from Ennio Morricone. It was right up Tarantino's alley, and was worth getting excited about. Alas, it couldn't live up to that excitement, at least not entirely. The Hateful Eight is both expansive and intimate, depending on which portion of the movie we are talking about. Most of it takes place within a haberdashery during a blizzard, with our cast

Book Review: Quentin Tarantino FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Original Reservoir Dog by Dale Sherman

Covering Tarantino's body of work and his rai·son d'ê·tre for each film.
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Author Dale Sherman’s newest FAQ book, he previously wrote Armageddon Films FAQ and KISS FAQ, was published this month, and it’s a work dense with trivia, factoids, and much more. But does it answer the big question? (At least my big question?) What is Tarantino’s fascination with an out-of-sequence narrative? We will get to that. Sherman’s writing comes off as a bit awkward at times, but mostly it’s fine, although quite familiar, as the book was intended to be a series of blog posts. But the overall voice throughout the work has the feel of someone who is jazzed to

Inglourious Basterds Movie Review: Liquid Modernity and Alternate History

You've never seen World War II quite like this before.
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Inglourious Basterds (2009) directed by Quantin Tarantino stars Mélanie Laurent (Shosanna Dreyfus), Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans Landa), Brad Pitt (Lt.Aldo Raine), Eli Roth (Sgt. Donny Donowitz), Michael Fassbender (Archie Hicox), Diane Kruger (Bridget von Hammersmark), Daniel Brühl (Fredrick Zoller), Til Schweiger (Hugo Stiglitz), Sylvester Groth (Joseph Goebbels), Martin Wuttke (Adolph Hitler), Rod Taylor (Winston Churchill) et al. There is always a lot going on in Tarantino's movies, and that is putting it mildly. Not only are they riddled and rife with movie connections and intertextuality, references to more or less obscure movie stars and directors, but in this case there

Book Review: If You Like Quentin Tarantino …, by Katherine Rife

Rife’s book is an excellent reference for those new fans who can’t get enough of Quentin Tarantino.
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After opening to great reviews on Christmas Day (and presently flaunting an 80 on Metacritic after 39 critics’ reviews), and fueled by controversy created by Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained grossed $77.8MM through New Year’s Day, putting it third on the director’s list of all-time box office receipts. The fact that the film is having this kind of success, even though it is Tarantino’s first movie in over three years, is proof that the director - and his style of filmmaking - is as popular as ever. So to feed the hunger of those who can’t get enough QT

Grindhouse Movie Review: Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, and Friends Recreate the Experience

Tarantino's well of creativity as a screenwriter has run bone dry here.
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The word "grindhouse" used to refer to the old, run-down theaters that showed double bills of B-movies. Back before there was a home video market, these were the only places you could see the redheaded stepchildren of cinema: movies filled with plenty of over-the-top violence, sex, and/or gore, not necessarily in that order, because producers knew they could make a buck with it. They could only afford to create a handful of prints, so the films traveled across the country, each playing at many theatres, most of which didn't have high quality equipment or projectionists, resulting in quite a bit

Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2: An Artful Bloodbath

A perfect mix of dialogue and action.
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Back during the filming of Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman cooked up a story about a Bride who goes on revenge spree against her former co-workers. The result of that doodling and daydreaming became a four hour long flick called Kill Bill. Played by Uma Thurman, The Bride (whose name is later revealed as Beatrix Kiddo), used to be an assassin, and worked with a group called the Deadly Viper Assassin Squad. Their boss, Bill (David Carradine), was her former lover. But at the beginning of the story, Beatrix is shown, bloodied and beaten, laying in her

Jackie Brown Movie Review: Yes, This is Quentin Tarantino's Best Movie

Despite its often little-loved status, Jackie Brown is the standout among all Tarantino films.
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A new Quentin Tarantino movie is generally a cause for excitement, even if the filmmaker is often his own worst enemy, overdoing it on the snark or the violence or another of his numerous self-indulgences. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy the vast majority of Tarantino's work, and I do believe his hip, hyper and referential aesthetic has been a bracing addition to American cinema, no matter how many bad Pulp Fiction imitations he's spawned. And once, he made a pretty much perfect movie, and its name is Jackie Brown. Less flashy and instantly quotable than its predecessors (and

From Dusk Till Dawn Movie Review: Genre-hopping and Gore

"Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them, I don't give a fuck how crazy they are!" in the immortal words of Seth Gecko.
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There is no reason to expect anything other than a hyperawareness of the very artificiality of the medium when dealing with a Tarantino movie, and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) is a prime example of the wild playfulness of the notion of genre-hopping. Note that Tarantino didn't direct this one, Robert Rodriguez did. Tarantino both wrote the script and co-stars, though, so it's a fair assumption that he had a heavy influence over the proceedings. Seth Gecko (George Clooney) is the beleaguered elder brother who has to try and keep little brother Richard (Tarantino) in check through breaking out of

Four Rooms: The Man From Hollywood Movie Review: Tarantino Doesn't Do Much with It

When you come in second in a four-person race, you aren't runner-up. You're the best loser.
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A look at Quentin Tarantino's body of work wouldn't be complete without a lesser-known writing/directing effort from 1995 - the short film The Man From Hollywood, which was the fourth entry of a four-vignette anthology called Four Rooms. The premise of the entire film is fairly simple: strange things go on in four different rooms in a Los Angeles hotel on New Year's Eve, and bellhop Ted (Tim Roth) finds himself in four different predicaments as a result. The hook to the film is that each vignette was written and directed by four different hot young talents with popular indie

From Dusk Till Dawn Movie Review: Half Action Movie, Half Vampire Movie. Guess Which Half Sucks?

Tarantino and Rodriguez seemed like the perfect match.
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It was the best of films; it was the worst of films. Okay. So it isn't really either extreme. But it does suggest what I find wrong with From Dusk Till Dawn, the 1996 action/horror movie written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez: what it gets right it gets very right, and what it gets wrong is...well, you know. The story is about two brothers - Seth and Richie Gecko, played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino (respectively). As you might imagine (based on who is playing them), Seth, while a bit short-tempered, is the cool one in

Pulp Fiction: The Five Things I Love About It

Did yours make the list, Honey Bunny?
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What can be said about Pulp Fiction that hasn't been written since the film's release in 1994? With that, I didn't want to necessarily do a typical review citing the things I liked and disliked as that's been done before. I wanted to go back and count down the few things that I've loved about the film since I was a child. Yes, my mother was cool enough to let me watch Pulp Fiction when I turned 14, and I adored it. If I could go back in a time machine, these are the five things a 14-year-old me would

True Romance (1993) Movie Review: The Tarantino Touch, Violence, Gore, and Humor

Sometimes the ghost of Elvis has the answer.
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True Romance (1993) directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino has all the hallmarks of a Tarantino movie. It's heavily meta-referential from the first second when comic book store clerk Clarence (Christian Slater) goes to a Sonny Chiba triple feature on his birthday and meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) who, unbeknownst to Clarence, is a call girl hired by Clarence's boss as a birthday present. Clarence literally sees Elvis (Val Kilmer), who acts as a kind of spirit guide for the hapless hero who promptly decides to take on Alabama's drug-dealing pimp Drexl, played by a virtually unrecognizable Gary

Reservoir Dogs Movie Review: An Outstanding Debut

Twenty years later, it remains a compelling piece of work.
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Before technology fragmented culture by increasing access, options, and the rate of change, the counterculture had a greater impact on affecting the mainstream when the latter grew stagnant. In the '60s, especially in the United States, it led to political changes. In the '90s, this influence can be seen in the arts when the majority turned to what had been classified as "alternative music" and "independent movies." Though the history of each medium shows the slow progression of this integration, they each have an acknowledged milestone. For music, it was Nirvana's Nevermind; for movies, it was Quentin Tarantino's Pulp

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