Tag: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


Review: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

August 18, 2019

21st of May this year. La Croisette in Cannes became 1960’s Hollywood. Director Quentin Tarantino walked the most famous stairs alongside the “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie for the world premiere of his ninth film. Sadly, we weren’t with them to enjoy the glitter, glamour and the film at Cannes but our patience is finally being rewarded. And oh boy, the wait was worth it! “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is probably more Tarantino-esque than the director probably could have imagined!

Howdy Cowboy?!

Brad Pitt being Leonard DiCaprio’s stunt double? It seems that in the 60’s everything was possible. Meet Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), a once very well respected television cowboy, whose career is now spiralling downward at a rapid speed. After gaining worldwide fame with the Western television series ‘Bounty Law’, Dalton is now becoming one of the oldies on his way to his showbiz grave. Being there to help him out with his professional and personal life is his stunt double/close friend/personal driver Cliff Booth (Pitt). While Dalton is constantly being reminded of the glamourous life he once had, his new next-door neighbour Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is dreaming of her glorious upcoming acting career. In the city where it’s all about fame, status and being rich, both Dalton and Tate are doing everything they can to keep their fantasy alive. For Tate that means getting to know rich and famous, for Dalton it means going to Italy and making movies that are out of his comfort zone. Of course, as any good friend, Booth is joining Dalton during his Italian voyage.

Six months after they first set foot in Italy, Dalton and Booth return to Hollywood. Dalton got married to actress Francesca and his outstanding life is back on tracks. Booth starts again living his usual Hollywood life. Enjoying the city and its people, the time with his dog and naturally also his on-set work (although that seems to become less and less). When he one day decides to give the rather horny hippie Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) a lift to the Spahn Movie it seems that also his life will be influenced by a woman. Curious to find out what happened to their lovely neighbour Tate? Well, she got married to a rather famous Polish director. It seems that Hollywood is the only thing that connects the three of them. Well, a Tarantino movie wouldn’t be a real one if there wouldn’t be more than what meets the eye…

A brilliant tribute to Hollywood made by outstanding people

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”. Well, the title says it all. Tarantino is honouring Hollywood most meticulously and nostalgically. TV and movie pastiches, numerous billboards, the typical 60’s cinema theatres, the incredibly recognizable pop tunes, and commercial advertisements are all passing by. However, it’s mostly the film crew that was able to get the right vibe flowing through the film. First of all, there’s the stunning production design from Barbara Ling. She thought of every single detail: whether it’s the interior of the saloons, the neat and clean design of Dalton’s mansion or colourful and dazzling parties, it’s all achieved beautifully.

We also have to applaud the flawless work of Arianne Phillips who was in charge of the massive variety of costumes. From rock ‘n roll cowboy to stylish actor and from just an everyday outfit to multi-coloured, elegant and chic dresses, it seems that no costume was too hard to find or to create for her. If you’re Quentin Tarantino then you know how to choose your cinematographer and with Robbie Richardson, he made a faultless choice. Richardson brings life and colour to this film like no one else can.

Pitt + DiCaprio + Robbie = the perfect trio

Pitt, DiCaprio, and Robbie all in the same film. Do we need to tell you how great that casting was? Probably not but we’re going to do it anyway. One thing is for sure: DiCaprio is not going to have to wait for another Oscar as he did for his first. He’s spot-on as Dalton. One moment he has to deliberately act like a beginning actors while a few seconds later, he has to perform like it’s his last scene ever. DiCaprio does it with an enormous amount of flair, emotions, and craftsmanship.

Having one great actor was not enough for Tarantino as he also added Brad Pitt to the cast. Pitt oozes tranquillity, charisma, and personality as the rough-though, straight-to-the-point but also loving stunt double Booth. It will be an extremely close call who will take home the awards for best leading actor. If you’re looking for a leading actress who performs impeccably a beautiful, full-of-life and determined upcoming actress, then you should go for Robbie. She gives this film the more elegant, colourful and joyful touch.

And the award goes to…

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” may or may not be Tarantino’s penultimate film and if he decides to fold up his director chairs after his next film, then we hope that that movie will be from the same calibre as this one. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is a visually stunning, perfectly performed, while also being a craftily and passionately made homage to Hollywood in the ’60s. It would come as absolutely no surprise if “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”, its director and cast become the front-runner during the following award season.  

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Official Trailer)

Also Read: 5 Horror Films & The Real Events Behind Them


What Makes A Tarantino Film?

May 2, 2019

I was only eleven when Pulp Fiction was released but when I finally saw it a lot of references suddenly made sense. Pulp Fiction had a huge cultural impact and as well as influencing films it was referenced everywhere from Spaced to adverts for Cartoon Network. Quentin Tarantino is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential directors of the last thirty years. With his new film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, coming out later this year I have been watching a lot of his films – so what can you expect from a Tarantino film?

Interesting Dialogue For The Sake Of Interesting Dialogue

Reservoir Dogs (lataco.com)

Tarantino has a very particular style of dialogue. A lot of filmmakers would say dialogue that doesn’t move the plot on is unnecessary but many of Tarantino’s films contain long conversations that are just people talking. They aren’t setting up for something later in the film or giving important exposition, they just talk. The best scene in Reservoir Dogs is the discussion between hardened criminals about whether or not they should tip in restaurants. Inglourious Basterds opens with a harrowing but mesmerising scene of a French farmer being interrogated by an apparently very polite Nazi and while this does set up a lot of the plot I would argue you could do that in ninety seconds. Later in the film characters play a version of the Rizla Game which is equally riveting. Many people have tried to imitate Tarantino’s dialogue and failed and he is probably one of the most quotable writers working in Hollywood today.

The Actors

Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro in Jackie Brown (Imdb.com)

Like many auteurs Tarantino likes to use the same actors again and again. Samuel L Jackson has featured in seven Tarantino films (eight if we include True Romance) and actors like Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Uma Thurman pop up again and again. Tarantino also has an odd trait of casting actors who perhaps wouldn’t be on most directors’ wish-lists. Who will get a small role in one of his films – someone like Oscar-nominated Christopher Walken who gave a great performance in Pulp Fiction or someone like Don Johnson, star of Miami Vice, who certainly managed to say his lines in the right order in Django Unchained? These unusual choices are all the more mystifying when Tarantino’s credibility and budget would allow him to hire just about anyone.

Music & Sound

Tarantino soundtracks are usually very, very good. Not only in picking good songs like Misirlou by Dick Dale and Del-Tones or Woo Hoo by The’s but just in picking short bursts of music and sound. Songs that get featured in Tarantino films can lose all other context, Stuck In The Middle With You is a very good song and has a very pleasant sound but for millions of people, it will bring back one of the most brutal scenes in Tarantino’s work.

It doesn’t even have to be whole songs, it can just be a snippet of music – in Kill Bill: Vol 1 the character Elle Driver whistling as she calmly walks down a corridor to murder someone and after watching it the sound will be stuck in my head for days.

Tough Women

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (thehypegeek.com)

Tarantino does have a habit of including tough, strong women in his films. Obviously, four of the five Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in Kill Bill are women (as well as one member’s bodyguard, Go-Go). Shoshanna in Inglourious Basterds is an unstoppable force of nature, Daisy Domergue is as dangerous a villain as anyone and, of course, Jackie Brown is a much more toned down and realistic portrayal of a strong woman. The shot of Uma Thurman wearing the yellow and black jumpsuit holding a samurai sword is already an iconic image.

However, Tarantino’s sensitivity is not always what it could be, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 has a very distressing rape scene which I don’t think needs to be in the film at all and I have heard people say they were disgusted at the violence meted out against Daisy Domergue in The Hateful Eight; as they felt it was being played for laughs. With all that being said I do think Tarantino shows women in roles they often don’t get to play.

Adult Themes

A less violent image from Django Unchained (rte.ie)

Tarantino films are violent and characters swear a lot. There’s lots of sex and drugs. Sections of Kill Bill are blood-drenched massacres. A Youtube edit of Pulp Fiction in which every word apart from the F-bomb is removed is almost four minutes long. If you make films about gangsters, drug dealers, assassins, slave-owners etc then you’re going to have to include unpleasant things. I’m not complaining about this as such, but it’s something to be aware of. Jackie Brown, a film about drug dealers, is probably the tamest, with the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) only giving it a 15 certificate, practically a family-friendly film in Tarantino’s world.

The Problems

Tarantino is by no means a perfect director and there are many problems with his work. Tarantino makes long films and I think even the biggest fan of his work would admit he needs an editor, or more accurately, someone to tell him not all of his ideas are brilliant and you can cut bits out. The Hateful Eight was over three hours long and bear in mind, nearly all of that film takes place in one building.

Then there is his other notorious problem – he keeps casting himself in his own movies when he can’t act. Sometimes it’s tiny, almost unnoticeable roles, like Answering Machine Voice in Jackie Brown but in Reservoir Dogs he was one of the gang and in Pulp Fiction he has the utterly bizarre role of one Jules’s friends. Not only did he cast himself in Django Unchained he made the unwise decision to adopt an Australian accent. Tarantino may well be a filmmaking genius but he’s been told that far too many times.

As I have mentioned Tarantino is a fan of strong language and he is very loose with using certain words – racial epithets – that he should think more about whether he really needs to use them.

So there is a brief overview of Tarantino’s work, how will Once Upon A Time In Hollywood fit in with it?

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Trailer)