This movie just goes to show what happens when a director is given totally free reign in terms of script and running time, purely on account of his name. Tarantino has always been a fan of long conversational sections in his movies, but where they were engaging, entertaining and scalpel-sharp in the likes of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, here they are just interminably long, boring and dull...and THAT is unforgivable. For the first time EVER, my girlfriend actually fell asleep in the cinema watching this bore-fest of a film, and that was way before the interval arrived. Talking of which, there was an audible groan that went up from the audience when the interval sign turned up on the screen, and not because everyone was soooo enthralled ; more that everyone was just willing it to end. While we were kicking our heels during the interval, I overheard the guy behind me say, "this is clearly Tarantino's Phantom Menace", while another guy was heard to say, "hmmm, after an hour and half at least SOMETHING usually happens in a movie". After an intriguing first 15 mins, nothing (and I mean NOTHING) of any note happens for the remainder of the first half of the film. The dialog is also painfully predictable in places. More than once, a conversation would start and I knew how it would end within the first couple of seconds...and yet the characters on screen would take several minutes to get there. Truly painful stuff. The swearing, the liberal use of the "N" word, and the violence (when it eventually arrives after hours of plodding and highly unrealistic chit-chat), are not the problem with this film in my opinion. After all, this is a Tarantino movie which (while coming across as all rather juvenile), is designed for adults, so adult language and themes should surprise absolutely no-one. The problem is purely the fact that it's just too bloody long for such a threadbare plot! If this movie came in at somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours, then it would've been OK (still not great, but OK), but at over 3 hours it's just a director's masturbation piece. It desperately needs a NON-Director's Cut to trim at least an hour out of the first half. There's a line in the movie where Samuel L Jackson's character says, "Let's slow this down. Let's slow it way down"... and at that point I physically curled my toes in my shoes, thinking please god, don't make this any slower! Watching this movie is an ordeal, almost as punishing as what the old General's son has to go through at the "business end" of Jackson's "Johnson"! Granted, the second half is a little more engaging, but unfortunately by that point the damage has already been done by forcing the audience to sit through the turgid load of garbage that comprises the first half. That said, the second half does feature an appearance by Zoe Bell who must have a fantastic chance of being crowned 'The Least Convincing Actress Ever To Grace The Silver Screen'! She is a truly atrocious performer, who's apparently picked up no additional acting skills since her abysmal showing in the marginally better Death Proof. If grinning inanely and reading a few lines like a child in a school play is "acting" then sign me up for an Oscar please. By the way, how the hell did this thing cost $62m to make? Apart from a few outdoor scenes, the whole thing takes place in one room in a log cabin! So much for making the most out of the much vaunted 70mm format which is perfect for grand landscape vistas...and entirely wasted on indoor scenes. In many ways this film comes across as all rather childish. Here Tarantino seems like a first-year film school student who's been given a camera (and a 70mm one at that), free reign to use some "fruity" language in an attempt to shock those of a sensitive disposition, and the keys to the fake-blood cupboard. I'm almost surprised he didn't try to shoehorn a couple of naked women into the movie as well... In short, this is by far and away the worst movie Tarantino has ever made, and if it hadn't been made by him it would have a rating far lower than 8/10 on here. (In fact, after seeing page after page of 1 and 2 star ratings, I'm completely at a loss as to where the (current) 8/10 rating comes from!?). All I can say is if you INSIST on seeing this plodding mess, wait until it comes out on Blu-Ray and watch it in the comfort of your own home over the course of, say, three or four evenings with several espressos. If you're really lucky you may be able to stay awake through the whole lot if you watch it like that. Otherwise....sweet dreams.
The Hateful Eight
Set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive Daisy Domergue, race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as "The Hangman," will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren, a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix, a southern renegade who claims to be the town's new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie's Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie's, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob, who's taking care of Minnie's while she's visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray, the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers. As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all...