I join the host of NewsTalk 1010’s “The Rush” for a segment called “Entertainment Court.” Each week I serve as the judge, Reshmi as the juror, and we render a verdict on the week’s biggest pop culture stories.
This week we ask, Does Jennifer Lawrence have to take a film history class or two, or, is she speaking the truth of a larger inequity in Hollywood? Has Marvel squeezed smaller indie movies into a corner? Will you watch the new-and-improved Golden Globes or will you make like Brendan Fraser and stay away?
1. Romero’s zombies don’t eat brains. “I’ve never had a zombie eat a brain! I don’t know where that comes from,” he told Vanity Fair. “Who says zombies eat brains?”
2. Romero didn’t even call his undead characters zombies in his first movie. “When I did Night of the Living Dead,” he told About.com, “I called them ghouls, flesh-eaters. I didn’t think they were. Back then zombies were still those boys in the Caribbean doing the wet work for Lugosi. So I never thought of them as zombies. I thought they were just back from the dead.”
3. Romero doesn’t watch The Walking Dead. “I love the books,” he said to io9.com. “I haven’t seen any of the episodes.”
4. Romero has had it with people asking him about zombies. When asked by eatsleeplkivefilm.com if he is tired of zombie queries he said, “Yes. But you know what are you going to do?”
5. Romero wears his famous thick-rimmed black glasses mostly for show these days. “I don’t need them anymore. I mean I don’t need them to read, I mean these are bifocals. I used to need them for reading and for middle-distance. Now I’m a little fuzzy on the long-distance, but I guess that all turned around with old age, so I don’t need for these reading but I’m thinking of just taking the lenses out, because I’ve got to wear them for photographs; everybody says, ‘Where’s your glasses?’“
6. Romero wears Goliath brand glasses. From barimavox.blogspot.ca: “The Goliath is favoured by famed horror filmmaker and Grandfather of the Zombie, George A. Romero and worn by Elliot Gould in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy and Robert De Niro in Casino, as well as by the late flamboyant actor and game show host Charles Nelson Reilly.”
7. Quentin Tarantino says the “A” in George A. Romero stands for “A fucking genius,” when actually it stands for Andrew.
8. Romero calls the 1951 Michael Powell film The Tales of Hoffman, “the movie that made me want to make movies. I was dragged kicking and screaming by an aunt and uncle. I wanted to go see the new Tarzan; the new Lex Barker movie to see how he stacked up against Weissmuller and they said, ‘No! We’re going to see this,’ and I fell in love with it. It’s just beautiful. Completley captivating. It’s all sung. It’s all opera. It’s not like The Red Shoes where there is a story running through it and then Léonide Massine does a ballet at the end. I just fell in love with it from the pop.”
9. Romero is of Cuban and Lithuanian descent. His father was Cuban-born of Castilian Spanish parentage, his mother Lithuanian-American.
10. At age 19 he worked as a gofer on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest but was unimpressed with the director’s mechanical and passionless directorial style. He was there for the train station scene shot in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Also among the onlookers was future It’s Alive director Larry Cohen.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable” and the family drama “Astronaut” starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including Quentin Tarantino’s latest “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the Richard Dreyfuss dramedy “Astronaut” and the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including Quentin Tarantino’s latest “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the Richard Dreyfuss dramedy “Astronaut” and the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable” and the family drama “Astronaut” starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Quentin Tarantino’s latest “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the Richard Dreyfuss dramedy “Astronaut” and the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.”
I went to see “Pulp Fiction” on its October 1994 opening weekend at a 2:30 pm screening. I arrived at 2:15 pm, stood in line and waited. And waited. The shows were delayed because audiences weren’t leaving after the credits. They were sitting in their seats talking about what they had just seen. Months of hype in the newspapers and on shows like “Entertainment Tonight” ignited curiosity and the movie delivered, using a broken timeline, ultra-violence and witty dialogue to bend the idea of what a movie could be. Just after 3 pm the movie finally started. Later, mind blown, I didn’t stick around the theatre to discuss the movie with anyone. I ran to the box office, bought a ticket for the next screening and got back in line.
Quentin Tarantino’s new film, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” doesn’t have quite the same impact as “Pulp Fiction” but it digs deeper, expanding on themes the director has spent a career exploring. “Pulp Fiction” was a seismic shift, a movie changed the face of 1990s cinema, while “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is an allegory for changing times.
As the title would suggest “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” has dark fairy tale elements. Set in sun dappled 1969 Los Angeles, it focusses on two almost down-and-outers, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) a former series star now reduced to doing episodic television—“It’s official old buddy. I’m a has-been.”—and stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a self-described “old cowboy.” Both are on a race to the bottom in an industry they don’t understand anymore.
Next to Dalton’s luxury Cielo Drive home is a mansion owned by starlet Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and director Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha), party place to L.A. luminaries like heiress Abigail Folger (Samantha Robinson) and hairdresser to the stars Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch). As Dalton and Booth’s Hollywood era comes to a close, another is blossoming next door and further on down the road at Manson Family HQ and former western movie set Spahn Ranch.
There will be no spoilers here. I can say the various narrative shards dovetail together in a frenzy of grindhouse violence near the end, but “OUAT… IH” isn’t story driven as much as it is a detailed portrait of a time and place, the moment when the sea change was coming. Piece by piece Tarantino weaves together a nostalgic pastiche of b-movie tropes and expertly rendered sights and sounds to create a vivid portrait of a time and place. With the setting established, he plays mix and match, blending fact and fiction, creating his own history that feels like a carefully detailed memory play.
Pitt screaming down Hollywood Boulevard in a powder blue sports car is the essence of what the movie is about. The propulsive energy of Hollywood, dangerous, glamorous with the promise of ending up who knows where. The characters may all be headed for uncertain futures but an air of optimism hangs over the story. Dalton is down on his luck but when he realizes his neighbor is a world-famous director he says, “I could be one pool party away from starring in the next Polanski movie.” He’s a man out of time but still feels there might be a place for him in that world and that is the lifeblood of Hollywood, the city built on dreams.
One such dreamer is Tate. Robbie has a lovely scene as the actress enjoying her own movie in a darkened theatre. It does away with the stylized dialogue Tarantino is known for and instead focusses on the pure joy the character feels at watching her dreams come true on the big screen. It’s a lovely scene that speaks to the excitement of the first blush of success, untouched by cynicism in an increasingly cynical world.
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is unique in its feel. Tarantino has always been singular in his filmmaking but this one feels different. It’s clearly rooted in the b-movies that inspire his vision but here he is contemplative, allowing his leads—DiCaprio and Pitt in full-on charismatic mode—to channel and portray the insecurities that accompany uncertainty. The film is specific in its setting but universal in portrayal of how people react to the shifting sands of time. Funny, sad and occasionally outrageous, it’s just like real life as filtered through a camera lens.
It must take some clout to get a movie like “The Hateful Eight” made. Over three hours, with an overture and an intermission, it’s a western featuring an assortment of dastardly people doing dastardly things. It’s the kind of talky, violent film only Quentin Tarantino could conceive of, let alone get financed.
Set a decade after the Civil War, most of the action happens during the “white hell” of a Wyoming blizzard. Eight people find themselves holed up at Minnie’s Haberdashery, the last mountain pass stopover before the town of Red Rock.
Bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell), his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), infamous union soldier-turned-bounty-hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and proud southerner Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) arrive by stagecoach. They’re on the way to Red Rock, where Daisy will be hung for her crimes while Ruth and Warren will split the bounty on the woman’s head. Mannix claims to be the town’s new sheriff, but given his rebel past no one believes him.
They are met by Minnie’s handyman Bob (Demian Bichir), Red Rock hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). The storm keeps them housebound, thrown together by circumstance, not choice.
Suspicion soon spreads like a virus, infecting everyone in the room until a sudden burst of violence changes the dynamic.
There are no heroes in “The Hateful Eight,” nary a Cary Grant or Randolph Scott in sight. Instead Tarantino brings together eight tough ‘n terrible people, puts them in a room and lights a fuse. The first half—yes, there is an intermission—is dynamic and tense. Secrets are uncovered while Tarantino skilfully manipulates the claustrophobic situation, edging it toward the inevitable bloody climax. It’s dynamic, gritty stuff that places the focus on the actors—Jackson, Goggins and Jason Leigh lead a terrific cast—and their actions and sets the scene for what I hoped would be an exciting, character driven second half. The first half ends with a bang—literally—a blast that signals the change in tone to come.
The second part is where “The Hateful Eight” gets bloody… and problematic. Tarantino spends the length of most features to provide a set-up, one that hints at a powder keg situation about to erupt, and then adds another element—there will be no spoilers here—that undoes the good work from the first half. To me it felt like a cheat, a great unknowable wedged into the story to move things along. At that point the movie becomes a lot more Peckinpah but less interesting.
There is no doubt Tarantino is pushing the envelope here. This is a defiantly uncommercial film—for the first half anyway—whose indulgences—use of the “n” word, lingering shots of cruelty and gore—detract from what is essentially the director’s master class in genre filmmaking.
Everything about “The Hateful Eight” is big. It features big stars set against a vast backdrop of snow and revenge. There are huge themes—revenge, triumph of the righteous and race—and an even bigger blood budget. In some theatres (like the one I saw it in) it’s even being projected in the grand 70mm format. It’s a Valentine to Tarantino fanboys and girls, with Ennio Morricone’s lush score as the cherry on top.
It’s big and daring but also, I’m afraid, bloated, with a pay off not large enough to justify the more than three-hour running time.