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Showing posts from May, 2019

The Hateful Eight (2017)

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Quentin Tarantino is such a fan of cinema that often his devotion to the art overcomes some of the better aspects of his early films, like story telling.  The dialogue is always there, for better or worse (sometimes the latter since he's been listening to critics praise him for the last quarter century) and he has learned to film in a way that would make John Houston or Sergio Leone proud. 

That has caused a bit of consternation, as Tarantino knows how to use the widescreen format to every advantage, making sure action occurs in all parts of the screen. He films landscapes as beautifully and lovingly as he films outrageous, over-the-top violence.  It's a grand arena just set for the action-packed themes his films promise after all his influences are ground up, assembled into something new and splashed, in amazing, action-packed detail across the screen.

Or so we are usually promised.  Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (and True Romance, for that matter, which was still enough o…

Miami Connection (1987)

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These days it is much easier to convince an audience looking for something different to show up for your movie.  The caveat, of course, is that it's going to be the type of person that likes watching cult films, and your movie, good or bad, is likely to get word of mouth treatment as long as it is entertaining.  No, you are never going make a billion dollars in a weekend, but at least you are less likely to be told that your movie is trash and you should just destroy it.
Y.K. Kim was actually told this at one point when it came to Miami Connection.  While promoting a book he wrote on Tae Kwon Do, Kim met director Woo-sang Park, who decided to make a movie with him.  Kim wrote the script, put up the money and even re-shot some of the movie himself.  He thought it was going to be the big sensation of 1987, promoting his martial arts philosophy while entertaining the masses.  Instead, it failed to get proper distribution and met critical derision where it was shown. 
It took over 20…

Iron Man (2008)

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Before we saw the pattern repeated ad nauseum.  Before the idea of an entire Marvel Universe existed.  Before Disney took over.

There was Iron Man.  And, for many, there was also Robert Downey, Jr. suddenly not being a tragic punchline.

Robert Downey, Jr.'s career had begun to recover before Iron Man.  Tropic Thundercame out the same year, and he had both sobered and up and somewhat come to grips with how he was destroying his life.  For me he had been interesting at one point - Natural Born Killers instinctively comes to mind - but for the longest time I found myself being more interested in his dad's weird, independent art films than him.

What we did have with the junior Downey as a millionaire playboy with some major substance abuse problems whose dad had been an innovator of sorts, but who himself at that point had become less of a prodigy even if he did have more to offer than what you saw on the surface.  That his own personal life in some ways mirrored Tony Stark contr…

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

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The majority of James Bond films have had little to nothing to do with the books.  Some characters, locations and general plot points are kept, but the movies and Ian Fleming's original novels and short stories are two different creatures.  The other thing you realize early on, especially as new actors began taking on the roll of the world's most famous secret agent over the years, is that internal consistency is also rather shaky.  Still, after James Bond finally finds love and gets married, only to have Blofeld and his henchwoman kill his new bride shortly after the wedding at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, it frustrated me that it affected the following movies so little.

Turns out that was not always the plan.  When George Lazenby was still attached to Diamonds Are Forever it was supposed to be the main theme - Bond taking revenge upon Blofeld for Tracy's death.  A number of things happened in the two years between the movies: Lazenby, upon some bad ad…