Tag Archives: Kurt Russell

The hateful eight

Director: Quentin Tarantino; Main Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason LeighWalton GogginsTim RothMichael MadsenBruce Dern;


Tarantino’s latest effort is an unapologetic love letter to the western genre and an extremely self-indulgent exercise of cinematic talent. Overly long shots of stagecoach and horses in the snowy landscape of Wyoming, dragged-on banter between untrusting and untrustworthy characters are a few things that do not work as well as planned. The gist of the story is: eight strangers (more or less) are forced by a blizzard to spend a day together at Minnie’s Haberdashery (thanks Tarantino, that was my word of the day!) and bounty hunter John “the Hangman” Ruth (Russell) worries that someone will try to free his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jason Leigh) before he can deliver her to the sheriff of Red Rock. At this point, the audience has already been introduced to John, Daisy, another bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Jackson), the coach driver O.B. (James Parks) and Chris Mannix (Goggins) during the aforementioned stagecoach ride with some clever exchanges. At the haberdashery they find a peculiar gallery of characters: hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Roth), retired confederate general Smithers (Dern), world-weary cowboy Joe Gage (Madsen) and Bob (Demian Bichir), who is looking after the place since Minnie and her husband are away. As a side note: the tally is up to nine not eight but I guess poor O.B. doesn’t really count.

The stage is set for the drama to unfold and the viewer is waiting for the explosion of violence in Tarantino’s style, although not before we are regaled with the background stories of most of the characters… or so we think. This western is suddenly turned into a murder mystery theatre piece, which is far from a bad thing as Tarantino already proved with Reservoir Dogs and the heist movie genre. It is however a little too slow-burning and at times you feel the lack of a more ruthless editing. With that said, all the actors but especially Russell, Jason Leigh and Jackson are a riot and a joy to watch, showing their acting chops (and having fun too!) and drawing the viewer in.

A minor quibble I have is about the soundtrack: Tarantino’s dream come true of having Ennio Morricone composing a score for one of his movies might not be all that great, it ended up being less personal and eclectic, I enjoyed Django’s music much more. As for the film as a whole, it is definitely not my favorite of Tarantino’s oeuvre, it doesn’t have enough bite and the pace is too slow. Barely up to par —7/10


Filed under Seen at the cinema

Quick ‘n’ Dirty: January at home

Here’s my second post devoted to speedy reviews of films I watched on my comfy couch at home during the past month. It’s a very eclectic selection that well reflects the wide range of movies I end up seeing.

A.C.A.B (All Cops Are Bastards): tough and unflinching look at the life of four cops in Rome: three veterans and a rookie. They are part of a riot unit, usually deployed for security at the stadium during football matches, and their job ain’t pretty! Stefano Sollima doesn’t spare any detail in showing how these people live, think and react to various situations. The compelling performance of all the cast, especially Pierfrancesco Favino, carries the viewer along and sells the story effectively. Intense —7/10



Pawn sacrifice: the story of Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire), wunderkind of the chess world, and his epic battle of wits with Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) in 1972 for the title of world champion. Notwithstanding Maguire’s solid performance, this is a run of the mill drama, formulaic and with no bite or surprises. Fisher’s egotism and paranoia make it even harder for the viewer to root for him, which turns the whole story in a rather pointless exercise.  Off-putting —5/10


Clueless: Emma meets Mean Girls with a very poor outcome! Popular and beautiful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) decides to help Tai (Brittany Murphy), a new and very naive student, to fit in and navigate the ups and downs of high school life. Her plan is a little too successful and has some unexpected and unwanted results. Of all the high school themed films I’ve seen, this is a real miss: no sass, no heart, no epic or quotable scenes. The characters are neither relatable nor endearing enough, even a very young Paul Rudd. Lame —4/10



Chasing mavericks: my soft spot for surfing flicks led me to watch this one.  A scruffy-looking Gerard Butler plays Frosty Hesson, Santa Cruz surfing legend, who reluctantly become mentor and father-figure to young Jay Moriarity. The boy is a surf prodigy and wants, more than anything, to ride mavericks: the biggest waves on Earth. What immediately came to mind was this quote from Point Break: “Big-wave riding’s for macho assholes with a death wish.”, however this film is an inspirational tale of giving everything one’s got to realise one’s dreams (based on a true story). The surfing scenes are thrilling and brilliantly shot. Enthralling —6.5/10



Jane Eyre: to get my regular fix of period drama I’ve re-watched the 2011 adaptation of this classic novel, helmed and beautifully shot by Cary Fukunaga (before he went on and showed the world his mettle with True Detectives). Poor, plain Jane (skillfully played by Mia Wasikowska) finds home and love in the old manor of Mr. Rochester (Fassbender), only to have everything taken away by a cruel destiny and deceit. Fassbender fits well the shoes of the doomed, romantic hero and, of course, we know that there’s a happy ending to warm the cockles of our heart. Soothing —7/10



Narc: a dark and gritty tale of undercover cops in Detroit; Joe Carnahan does not pull punches and takes the viewer into a harsh world, aptly shot in hues of blue and gray. Jason Patric and Ray Liotta truly inhabit their characters and play off of each other very well. The adrenaline-fueled opening scene is a gem of camera work and perfect introduction to the story, that alone makes worth watching this film. Uncompromising —7.5/10



Death proof: I have finally sat down and watched the lesser film of Tarantino’s oeuvre from start to finish, having seen bits and pieces throughout the years. What can I say? It’s a self-indulgent homage to B-movie/horror flicks of the seventies, chock-full of pop culture references, muscle cars and foot fetish. As expected, there are some tough-as-nail ladies who will take matters in their own hands and then there’s Kurt Russell…who is having a blast as a sociopathic stuntman who stalks girls and takes them on their last ride. You need to be in the right mood for this one. Crackpot —6/10



Filed under Seen at home

All-time favorite quote



Filed under All-time favorite quotes, Odds and ends

The wild bunch

This wild bunch is not about Peckinpah’s film but the Summer Blockbuster Cas-A-Thon hosted by John at Hitchcock’s World. John had a great idea for all action movie aficionados: put together a dream team of tough gals and guys to save the Prime Minister of Canada. He was on a flight to a very important U.N. conference when his plane was shot down somewhere over an isolated war-torn location and now he has been kidnapped by Neo-Nazi communist hippy ninjas. Well, that’s the gist of it, just click on the banner if you want to read the rules.

Action Movie Blogathon

Without further ado, here’s my selection.

Sarah Connor – Terminator 2



She spent more than a decade training and learning everything she could about fighting  and survival in preparation for a world apocalypse and a war against machines guided by  an evil A.I. She can face anything: Neo-Nazi communist hippy ninjas are just another day  at the office. She is also my choice as team leader.

Yukio – The Wolverine


She is superb with a katana, a quick thinker, fearless and she has the power to foreseen the death of people, which can come handy when on a dangerous mission.








Beatrix Kiddo – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2


She is Black Mamba, one of the deadliest assassins in the world with blade or gun. She is a master of the Hung Gar style of kung fu and the only person to know the “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique”. Resourceful and relentless, she’s clearly a force to recon with.








Pvt. J. Vasquez – Aliens


She is a trained Colonial Marine with tons of combat experience and not Vasquez-Aliensnew to search and rescue missions. In addition she handles a M56 Smartgun like no other, she is loyal and, after dealing with Xenomorphs, Neo-Nazi communist hippy ninjas are a walk in the park.






May Day – A View To A Kill



She has super strength, a killer instinct and mad fighting skills. She might  live in a moral grey area but when the chips are down she’ll do the right  thing.





Isabelle – Predators


A sniper of the Israeli Defense Forces with great survival skills. Isabelle-PredatorsOnly woman chosen by alien hunters for their games and one of the only two survivors, which goes a long way when you have to deal just with humans.




Snake Plissken – 1997 Escape From New York


For him this mission would be: been there, done that. He can fly and land a stealth glider (on a skyscrape at night) with only one eye and he was born ready.







Agent J – Men In Back


Used to be a cop in New York, he moved on to monitor and police aliens on Earth: he runs as fast as aliens, he prevents mankind’s annihilation and he deals with every sort of high tech toys.AgentJ-MIB









Remo Williams –  Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins


RemoWilliams Ex-cop and veteran Marine, he can dodge bullets and run on water. He’s  well-versed in the martial art of Sinanju and tough as nail.






Sing – Kung Fu Hustle


He might not be the sharpest tool in the shed but he knows kung fu and can deliver the Buddhist Palm. Sing-Kung_Fu_HustleNot to be underestimated.









Captain Nascimento – Tropa De Elite


Nascimento-Tropa-de-elite Driven and formidable, he fights guerrilla warfare with the drug dealers of  Rio’s favelas. He’s definitely combat ready.




 Chan Wing-Yan – Infernal Affairs


Years of deep undercover work within the triad of Hong Kong has prepared him for everything. ChanWing-yan-InfernalAffairsHis nerves might be a little frayed but you can always count on him.





Filed under Odds and ends