Posts Tagged ‘Quentin Tarantino’

my new Village Voice piece on Tarantino

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

tn_reservoirdogsHey friends, somehow I have another piece in the ol’ Village Voice. This one is about Quentin Tarantino and why I hate when people say that his movies are just rip offs of other movies. I want to sincerely thank C.J. Holden for setting me off on a rant about that topic in a comment thread a while back, some of which was adapted into this more concise and polished version.

Let me know what you think.

Django Unchained

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

A couple weeks ago the studio “lifted the embargo” as they say, and all the online critics unchained their DJANGO reviews even though non-critics wouldn’t see the thing until Christmas. I think that’s a silly ritual because I wasn’t gonna read that shit! This is the new Quentin Tarantino movie, you go in fresh. I already know I want to see any movie he makes, I don’t gotta read everything about it first. In case you’re different I’ve tried to mark the biggest spoilers in this review, but as usual I recommend seeing the movie first.

DJANGO UNCHAINED is the most straight forward movie Tarantino has ever made. It follows one main character from first scene to last, doesn’t cut away to another story or even jump around in time other than some very traditional flashbacks. There are alot of long conversation scenes, but it’s generally pretty clear what they have to do with the main plot of the freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx, STEALTH) becoming a bounty hunter and trying to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a plantation. And that’s not a misleading description, that’s really the movie, a racially charged western (or “Southern,” Tarantino likes to say) in the tradition of those CHARLEY movies I just reviewed.

So in a way it feels uneventful for a Tarantino movie, the first time he made one that was pretty much what I expected from the commercials. On first viewing it seems low in my rankings of the QT filmography, but that doesn’t say much. Tarantino sure knows how to entertain, and I happen to love this genre of badass black cowboys out for frontier justice against practitioners of the slave trade. For his first straight up genre picture that’s a good genre to pick. I love this movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Reservoir Dogs

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

I remember the first time I saw RESERVOIR DOGS it was with a bunch of dudes that had seen it a bunch of times and knew all the dialogue and shit. I thought it was great but I didn’t really get those guys, I didn’t think I would end up watching it over and over again.

Since then we’ve seen Quentin Tarantino go through the hip hop arc of exciting new thing, “it’s only a fad,” a decade later it’s obviously here to stay and still growing so quit your grumblin ya old grouch. In fact I did the math wrong when I was watching this, I was thinking it was turning 18 this year, it would be old enough to vote. And let’s be honest, it’s not voting for Obama, ’cause it’s kinda racist and also it probly thinks any Democrat wants to take its guns away.
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Crimson Tide

Friday, September 21st, 2012

What more high pressure situation could there be than two men in a submarine arguing over whether or not to launch a nuclear missile? I guess the only thing that would make it more tense would be if they also had to get home in time for a kid’s birthday party. Luckily the birthday party happened at the beginning of the movie, right before they were deployed to take part in “the worst standoff since the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
(read the rest of this shit…)

Past Midnight

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Do you guys know about this one? How come I never knew about it? Not that PAST MIDNIGHT – a 1991 thriller starring Natasha Richardson, Rutger Hauer and Clancy Brown that went straight to video in ’93 – is very good, but it holds an important enough place in cinematic history that I figure I should’ve heard of it before.

On his commentary track for TRUE ROMANCE, Quentin Tarantino talks about the time before he sold that script and directed RESERVOIR DOGS. He mentions a job at the production company CineTel, where he says he would do punch ups on scripts “which were really page 1 rewrites.” I don’t know if he’s exaggerating that part or not, but I’m sure it’s true that he rewrote a line here or there. So did any of those ever end up getting produced?

Yes, at least one did, and it is PAST MIDNIGHT, Tarantino’s first film credit besides production assistant on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video. Associate producer Catalaine Knell thought his contributions to the script were important enough that she shared her credit with him.
(read the rest of this shit…)

True Romance

Monday, August 20th, 2012

TRUE ROMANCE is an entertaining, uniquely textured crime movie, a celebration of youthful love, kitsch, Asian exploitation cinema, and great character actors. At the time it seemed like a new feel, especially coming from Tony Scott. Now it’s more notable as a record of young, undisciplined Quentin Tarantino manning the word processor. (Roger Avary was hired to restructure the original non-linear story and write an ending where the hero doesn’t die – yeah, that sounds like young QT all right.)
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NATURAL BORN KILLERS addendum 2: revised third draft script, 1990, by Quentin Tarantino

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

After watching the movie again, and then reading about the production again, I realized I really had to go back to the source again in order to really understand it. The script is available at various places online and has also been published in actual book form. And it’s drastically different from the finished movie.

The opening scene is basically the same. Mickey and Mallory in a diner, Mickey eating key lime pie, Mallory dancing to the jukebox (she steals the quarter from a Jerry’s Kids donation jar), some rednecks move in on her and it turns into a bloodbath.
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NATURAL BORN KILLERS addendum 1: Killer Instinct

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

 Killer Instinct: How Two Young Producers Took on Hollywood and Made the Most Controversial Film of the Decade by Jane Hamsher

I got alot of problems with this book, but I kinda recommend reading it if it’s a subject you’re interested in. It’s got some funny stories about Oliver Stone and the crazy antics of Hamsher’s partner Don Murphy, probly best known now as a producer on the TRANSFORMERSes, but I remember his name because of many belligerent message board posts and open letters he’s written over the years. Because I’ve read so many of those it’s hard for me to buy Hamsher’s portrayal of him as a lovable madman, but there are good stories about him that aren’t about him yelling at anybody. I dug the one where it’s the middle of the night after a long hard shoot and he manages to get Oliver Stone and the whole crew excited about staying later for a product placement shot of a truck so they can all get free cowboy boots.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Natural Born Killers

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Years ago I saw NATURAL BORN KILLERS, and I hated it. But that was years ago. Like Woody Harrelson says in the opening scene about the last time he ate key lime pie, I was a different person then. I’ve mellowed over the years. I’m more open to crazy shit and mega-acting. I’m not as strident about certain things. I’m ready to appreciate it as a weird crime movie, maybe, even if it still comes off as a ridiculously heavy-handed message movie about the most obvious fucking message in the world (have you noticed how the media exploits violence?). So let’s give it the same respect we give the pie. Let’s give it its day in court.

Of course, I got no clue why somebody would be skeptical about key lime pie. Maybe that’s the best clue into Mickey Knox’s derangement. Quentin Tarantino sure liked writing about pie when he was young. He wrote the original script this was based on but would only accept a “story by” credit after it was heavily re-written by Oliver Stone, Stone’s buddy Richard Rutowski and David PERMANENT MIDNIGHT Veloz.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Rock

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

tn_therockNo man, I don’t got a problem. I just watch Michael Bay movies recreationally. I don’t gotta watch them when I wake up or nothin. It’s just every once in a while. I only watched PEARL HARBOR ’cause I was doing all the summer of 2001 movies. And TRANSFORMERS 3 because I thought it would be funny. Then people said I should watch this one. It’s not a big deal, man. That’s not that many. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

(read the rest of this shit…)