The Hateful Eight 70mm & Tarantino, Jackson & Russell QnA

Quentin Tarantino is back in a HUGE way; his latest, his eighth, THE HATEFUL EIGHT is currently on a week’s release on 70mm screens in the country before it will get its standard release to all digital cinemas. Somehow Kernel Blake, his wifey (DDJ) and myself won the ticket lottery to attend a screening of the film in 70mm at The Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne. This was one epic screening that had Tarantino, Samuel L Jackson and Kurt Russell in attendance for a Q and A following the near three hour screening. There were 700 seats available for this movie and 10000 people applied for tickets, it was so popular there were people outside prior to the movie offering thousands of dollars to buy your ticket and one person went so far as to make their own faux Orpheum uniform and try to get past security posing as a staff member. Hollywood royalty was in the house and for the first time in a long time I paid for the experience and experienced one of the best cinematic experiences of my entire career, and as a movie critic and twenty year long cinema projectionist that says a lot. THE HATEFUL EIGHT is out now at The Orpheum, The Ritz and Event Cinemas George St in Sydney (FULL AUSTRALIAN SITE LIST HERE), it will release in digital to the rest of Australia on January 21st from the folks at Roadshow Films, it is rated R and runs for a whopping 167mins – do yourself a favour and get to one of the 70mm cinemas to see this as Tarantino intended.

 

The Hateful Eight Movie Poster Image

 

BY JASON KING

In 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 (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), 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 (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), 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 (Demian Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all.

 

The Hateful Eight Kurt Russell Image

 

Besides an old school Western, in his unique style, Tarantino has done one of the most remarkable things I have seen in cinemas in years gone by: he has brought back the magic of cinema, something obliterated by digital cinema. He made an old matinee style movie, I felt guilty for not watching it on a Sunday. It opened with five minutes of film with an image onscreen and the word OVERTURE printed over it with the soon-to-be Oscar winning score of Ennio Morricone playing, this was akin to the foyer lights rising and falling or the old bell in the foyer. We all received a souvenir program for the movie as if we were seeing the theatre, I will treasure mine. And we also got an intermission that was exactly timed to 12mins, during this time we got OVERTURE again and no dawdling, at 12mins the film just started, everything was brilliant. Seeing it in the grand Orpheum definitely added to this marvellous experience.

Technically the presentation was a marvel but my old projection training noticed two things, 1) the print already had horizontal loop scratches on the left hand side, minor and only noticeable if you know your stuff (it also adds to the old film style) and 2) The projector shutter needs to be retimed, noticeable ghosting on text indicating mistimed. Haha – still got it :). But the marvel we got far outweighs – perfect depth of field with 65mm film with a ratio of 2.76:1 giving more image that a standard scope 2.39:1. Tarantino filmed on Panavision 65mm cameras and found in the studios wrapped and preserved the actual lenses used to film BEN HUR – the actual BEN HUR – the history and nostalgia for film aficionados is epic.

OK – my technical rave part is over :).

 

The Hateful Eight Samuel L Jackson Image

 

Tarantino goes back to his roots with THE HATEFUL EIGHT, it’s heavily influenced by RESERVOIR DOGS and THE THING in that it is an isolated snow story, a story that is pretty much a stage play disguised as a film and was originally a sequel of sorts to DJANGO UNCHAINED, it still remains in this universe but is in a different place with different people – and something of note: Tarantino is considering making this into a stage play.

While we get some beautiful outdoor shots and LOTS OF SNOW, the majority of HATEFUL is a one-room movie, a stunningly designed isolated cabin, this turns it into a purely dialogue driven film, and believe it or not, dialogue is what Tarantino does best, he happily takes the piss, sets up unfathomable situations and turns them into incredible pieces of cinema through the magic of words and the delivery from actors.

I will go as far as calling this my favourite Tarantino movie, it is superbly directed, superbly scored (Morricone’s score is spellbinding), incredibly acted, beautifully shot and perfectly cast. It will definitely not be for everyone, do not expect abundant action, expect suspicion, tension, twists galore and a fair bit of over the top gory effect (my mum will loathe it for the overuse of violence). A shot to the head does indicate an exploding head and HATEFUL does have one of the best vomit-like scenes of all time.

 

the hateful eight movie image

 

Acting-wise HATEFUL is a powerhouse; Jackson is in his best Tarantino form, not as many quotable spiels as PULP FICTION but he owns Major Marquis Warren. It was odd seeing him for real at the Q and A screening, would you believe he is actually funnier and more witty in real life than his characters are, him and Tarantino can bounce things back and forth like a husband/wife comedic duo, it was GOLD. Kurt Russell is in his best form also, John Ruth is another iconic character to add to his list of greats and I am so glad he was cast, initially it looked like this character was going to be played by Christoph Waltz. Russell is one of my heroes and I lost my shit seeing him at the Q and A, he actually gave us the “it’s all in the reflexes” line from BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, you could see us geek boys squealing with glee. When asked how long it took to grow the most glorious handlebar moustache you will ever see he answered, “about two and a half weeks,” Tarantino without missing a beat “the masculinity in the audience just disappeared and everyone’s dick just shrunk an inch.”

It was great to see Michael Madsen back onscreen and personal fave Tim Roth truly shone as Oswaldo Mobray. Bruce Dern is always a legend and his interactions with Jackson are cinematic gold. Demián Bichir Najera as Bob was great in its comedic relief and while you can’t see him under hat and facial hair I really don’t think I know him from anything, he played Fidel Castro in both CHE: PART ONE and TWO. Walton Goggins was an exceptional member of the eight and he can always play one of the most annoying characters you just have to hate, but my god his does it well.

And I have saved the best for last; Jennifer Jason Leigh dominates the screen with Daisy Domergue, never can I imagine a movie where a woman is so badly treated but takes it all with a grain of salt, I never saw it as violence against women, I saw it more of gender blurring, she really wasn’t much considered a woman, she was considered a player in this story and one not to turn your back on. Her comedy and level of acting in this is her career best and in a fifty year career (odd considering she still looks thirty) gains her first Oscar nomination. I truly believes she gives the best performance in her category this year but cannot for a minute see the Academy awarding the award to such a truly depraved and crass character, I love her in this movie.

 

The Hateful Eight Samuel L Jackson Image

 

For a movie that nearly never saw a lens or screen due to the draft script being leaked online I applaud QT for making it and for a film that has already leaked online I laugh at the idiots who would download this movie to watch on a monitor at home because the joke is on them, they will miss out on 95% of the glory that is THE HATEFUL EIGHT on the big screen. I will pay to see this again in 70mm because it is truly an experience to behold. MUST SEE CINEMATIC GOLD.

 

5 Pops

 

 

 is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.