Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
I really didn’t want to see this movie. In fact, if ANYTHING else had bothered to come out this weekend I would have seen that instead, but nope! Everyone had to make way for this film so I guess I have to try and be professional! I don’t know, with everything we’ve heard about Tarantino recently it’s just hard for me to get excited to see his movie’s again; let alone support a new one. Cancelled or not, I just personally feel very much deflated thinking about him and going to see his latest movie just felt like even more of a somber experience. Still, while acknowledging the very real and very important context of the artist behind the art, is there a good movie to be found here? I guess we might as well find out…
Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an actor struggling to find steady work in the hectic world of late sixties Hollywood after a rather unsuccessful string of movies following a decent television career playing the lead role on a western. His stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has stuck with Rick all this time since he’s had trouble finding work elsewhere and seems to have accepted his lot in life even if he’s basically Rick’s assistant at this point. Fortunately for Rick, he’s got a decent gig lined up playing the bad guy in some TV pilot which will hopefully get him some attention (otherwise he’ll end up doing Spaghetti Westerns which I guess weren’t good things to be in at the time) and this also means that Cliff has the day to himself which he uses to pick up a hitchhiker (Margaret Qualley) who wants to introduce him to her buddy Charlie who’s got a bunch of followers out in the desert. Oh, and on top of that Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Rick’s next door neighbor, and she’s doing stuff as well like… seeing movies and dancing around the house. Can Rick nail this latest role that may be his last chance to stay relevant? What will Cliff find at the compound the hitchhiker is taking him too, and will he be able to leave if things get out of hand? Is it just me, or is Tarantino trying a bit too hard here? Or perhaps not hard enough?
The Twilight Zone and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Warner Bros Television and based on the series created by Rod Serling
Episode directed by Brad Turner
We’re back with another episode of The Half-Remembered Zone and this is one that I remember quite a bit; particularly the ending which… I don’t remember liking all that much? It’s an interesting episode to be sure, but I mostly remember it feeling like some sort of PSA about dealing with loss rather than something I could genuinely connect with. Then again, I watched these episodes when I was a foolish teenager and now that I’m a foolish man I might have a slightly different perspective on it. Has this episode aged like a fine wine, or am I about to chug a gallon of fifteen year old milk that didn’t go down too smooth the first time around? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with two friends Andy and Marco (Clifton Collins Jr and Greg Serano); the former with a terminal illness and the other trying to show him a good time by driving fast and reliving old memories. It’s not doing much to stave off the constant coughing and the fear of death, but I do think the dynamic here is very strong between the two. Marco is definitely cheery in that way that people get when they want to help someone forget about what’s wrong and () is brutally honest about how scared his of dying at such a young age. We find out that this car Marco is driving was built by Andy and that it’s going to be in a big race in just a week’s time that Andy is afraid he won’t get to see, but as luck would have it while they’re cruising on this rainy night, they find that the track has already been set up and that no one else is there. At first Marco is hesitant to do this and thinks that Andy should get to a hospital, but Andy is adamant that they take one LAST LAP together and so Marco drives the course. What neither of the realized is that driving ridiculously high speeds on a track on a rainy night is PROBABLY not the best idea and so they end up crashing the car. Andy wakes up in ambulance seemingly no worse for wear despite the whole cancer thing, but Marco… well he didn’t make it. Well sucks to be him I guess, but somehow (I’m guessing THE TWILIGHT ZONE did it), Andy no longer seems to be terminal. In fact, he’s basically back to his old self which is a detail I DEFINITELY don’t remember from the first time I saw it and on top of that the race track completely disappeared when Andy goes to visit it the next morning which I don’t remember either.
Triple 9 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films
Directed by John Hillcoat
I had not even heard of this movie until I saw a poster for it at the theater. Hell, I don’t even think I saw a trailer for it before the movie came out! That seems kind of odd considering some of the actors they have in here such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Kate Winslet. Then again, the movie also has Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, and Clifton Collins Jr, so maybe it’s not so much an under the radar hit and more of a lower tier movie that happened to luck out in the casting department. Still, with so little to go on as to what this movie was about, it definitely had the chance to surprise me and offer something unexpected. Is this a hidden gem that got sprung on us just as we were leaving February, or is this the just one more subpar mess that we have to deal with before ending one of the worst months for movies? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows way too many characters, but I’ll try to make it as clear as possible (definitely clearer than the movie makes it). You’ve got the leader Michael (Chiwetel Ejifor), the fuck up Gabe (Aaron Paul), the fuck up’s brother Russell (Norman Reedus), the bad cop Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and the even worse cop Franco (Clifton Collins Jr) who make up a team of five criminals that pull of heists I guess. In fact, the movie starts right as they begin their latest scheme which is to knock over a bank looking for something specific for their employers who I believe are Israeli mobsters led by Irina (Kate Winslet). Now the Israeli mobsters need this crew to pull of another job, but the job is neigh impossible in the time they would normally have to do it (three minutes before the cops come). Their plan is to cause a Triple 9 which is the nickname for killing a cop (radio code 999) at which point all the police in the city (the ENTIRE city) will converge on that location, and it JUST SO HAPPENS that Marcus has a new partner in the form of Chris (Casey Affleck) who would be perfect to kill because… reasons. Why would someone kill a cop that is so directly tied to them? Anyway, what the bad guys here aren’t aware of (or aren’t all the concerned about) is Chris’s uncle Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) who’s investigating the bank robbery and is starting to pick up some clues. Not only that, but things begin to deteriorate between the bad guys and after something PARTICULARLY heinous happens to them, the fuck up starts to… well, fuck up. There’s also a subplot about a Mexican gang causing trouble in the city, something about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s son, and then Gal Gadot shows up a couple times to remind us that she can act even if Batman v Superman turns out to be a giant bomb. Can these guys pull off the heist without killing each other or getting themselves killed first? Will Casey Affleck survive to the end of the movie? Can someone get me flow chart for all this? I’m already confused…