The Hateful Eight: 70mm

4 Stars

Quentin Tarantino is a true artist, in every sense of the word.

As with any artist’s work, the hallmarks we really appreciate that make this uniquely his are a joy to behold. All he really needed to do was stick to his winning formula, and he’s done just that with The Hateful Eight. The suspense, the drama, the graphic violence, meticulous scene-by-scene progression – it’s all there.

hatefulEight1

The story unfolds as bounty hunter (Quentin seems to have somewhat of a fascination with bounty hunters, see Django Unchained) John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting his murderous prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) through snowswept Wyoming by stagecoach to collect his reward money. Along the way he is joined by another bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), as well as a man who claims to be the sheriff of their destination town of Red Rock.

hatefulEight2

What starts out as a fairly slow paced and dialogue-driven affair gradually gains momentum until you are completely drawn in; unaware of fact until the Overture sign comes up and you snap back to reality. After a short intermission, the drama builds up further, into a sort of Western who-dunnit situation. The tension is fantastic.

Even though there is no denying that the 70mm shots of scenery are beautiful, it’s the dialogue and acting which are the true stars of the show here. I would say if you can’t see it on 70mm it will not dampen your enjoyment by any means. Please note: those with sensitive hearing should bring ear plugs, the musical score seems to have been turned up to maximum levels!

This could certainly have been a 5-star film according to my rating system, I just felt like it didn’t completely deliver with the way it tied up in the end. Then again, I had the same issue with Pulp Fiction. Each scene when viewed individually was virtually perfect, but I felt a certain lack in satisfaction with the ending, when looking at the movie as a whole. Don’t let that phase you though, this film is well worth seeing (and I don’t mind saying I enjoyed it much more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens!).

hatefulEight3

The Hateful Eight: 70mm premieres in Sweden on January 1, 2016 at Biograf Rigoletto in Stockholm; the digital version follows with release in cinemas throughout the country on January 13.

Brooklyn

3.5 Stars

Quality period drama, period!

It may be called Brooklyn, but it’ll have you thinking in an Irish accent by the end of it. This cosy, emotion-driven piece is a breath of fresh air.

brooklyn1

This is the story of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), an Irish girl who leaves her homeland to improve her prospects and start a new life in Brooklyn, New York. Setting in proves difficult at first, but just as she starts to make roots in her new home unforseen circumstances bring her back to Ireland. She is then forced to choose between her new life in America and her old life back home.

The acting here is superb. Lead actress Saoirse Ronan has been nominated for a Golden Globe in this role and it’s clear to see why. Julie Walters has a small role as the boarding house landlady where Eilis is staying, and adds her typical quirky sense of humour to proceedings. Domhnall Gleeson is perfect as Jim Farrell, the most eligible of bachelors back in Ireland who has eyes for Eilis. For those who have seen him as General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s remarkable what a versatile actor he is.

The only thing I would say that is lacking here is that I did lose some respect for the main character, as a great deal of her suffering in the last part of the film is self-inflicted. Although this does lend itself to the realism of her character (no one is perfect, of course); it did lose her some sympathy votes from me, and therefore there was a certain measure of love lost for the film as a whole. Reminiscent of my reasons of disdain for the main characters in Amélie and Into The Wild, although not to the same extent. For those few out there who didn’t like those films for the same reason, you’ll know what I mean.

Brooklyn premieres in Sweden on February 26, 2016.

Point Break

2.5 Stars

The trailer’s better.

As with any remake, we must ask the question, “Why?”. If the original was good, what’s the point? A friend of mine even boycotted this reboot out of principle, Facebook page and all. Well, it’s not really all that bad. But I must agree it is pretty pointless, and as with most remakes it’s not as good as the original. If you really thought making the original into an action-packed version where the perpetrators were more hippie than surfy, sure…

pointBreak1

Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) is an ex motocross star who has recently joined the FBI. A hunch on solving a series of robberies leads him to cross paths with Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez) and his crew of extreme-sport loving comrades. Johnny must decide where his true loyalties lie.

pointBreak2

The acting in this isn’t half bad. Kudos to the film makers for not going for big names here, it wasn’t at all necessary. You could say that Luke Bracey is actually a better actor than Keanu Reeves in this role, although Keanu’s more wooden acting does give his character a certain extra sense of vulnerability.

pointBreak3

It’s obvious that the film has been brought roaring into 2015, with Bodhi and gang having corporate sponsorship, everything’s a bit more James Bond with dramatic stunts over a backdrop of amazing scenery. It’s worth mentioning that the plot and characters are not identical to the original either. Similar in many ways, but not exactly the same. I think if they departed from the original story even more they could have pushed it in an even more exciting direction and it could have been something special. However it feels a bit restrained and underwhelming all told.

Don’t discount this completely, but don’t expect much.

Point Break premieres in Sweden on February 5, 2016.