Archive for September 2nd, 2019

Acting as Artifice

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Leonardo di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Dakota Fanning, Maya Hawke, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Margaret Qualley

Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, writer and director Quentin Tarantino returns to the big screen with his 9th feature film the brilliantly titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starring Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Brad Pitt as buddies actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth in a fictional tale set in Los Angeles in 1969.

1969 was the year that the real life film director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by the followers of the Charles Manson cult which shocked the American film industry to its rotten core.

Firstly two disclaimers: this is an extremely long film and secondly it’s really only aimed at serious movie buffs and serves as Tarantino’s ode to the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age before the film making industry got taken over by corporations, sequels, digitization and streaming.

Margot Robbie as actress Sharon Tate

Tarantino artfully pays homage to the act of buying a ticket and going to the cinema in a rather poignant scene when the young actress Sharon Tate superbly played by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) actually pays to watch a film she is starring in at a Westwood cinema.

The rest of this marvelously meandering film belongs to the two major stars, DiCaprio who is superb as the washed up TV actor Rick Dalton who is desperately trying to make a Big Screen comeback but lands up starring in a string of Spaghetti Westerns in Rome.

Oscar nominee Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys) is phenomenal as the stunt double past his prime Cliff Booth in one of his best onscreen performances yet especially the gorgeous scene when he takes his shirt off on the roof of Dalton’s Hollywood Hills mansion in the scorching Californian sun to fix the TV aerial.

Booth also inadvertently stumbles across the hippie cult followers of Charles Manson in an abandoned studio lot in Chatsworth, California featuring some great cameos by Dakota Fanning (Ocean’s 8, War of the Worlds) as Squeaky Fromme , Oscar nominee Bruce Dern (Nebraska) as George Spahn and Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys) as the seductive hippie hitchhiker Pussycat.

Tarantino expertly captures the zeitgeist of Los Angeles in 1969 at the peak of the counter-culture movement with lurid production design by Barbara Ling and costumes by Oscar nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips (Walk the Line, A Single Man, Nocturnal Animals, W. E.).

With some expertly placed cameos including Oscar winner Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman) as hot shot producer Marvin Schwarz and Damian Lewis as real life star Steve McQueen.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is slowing moving in the first two acts of the film, while the third act is phenomenal especially the hippie flame throwing sequence.

Tarantino could have quickened the film’s pace in the beginning to actively propel the narrative forward but he is a notorious auteur and not interested in packaging films to please audience expectations.

Unbelievably, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood did get a standing ovation at its glittering film premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival so Tarantino did something right.

This film gets a rating of 8 out of 10 and accurately portrays acting as artifice.

This is not Tarantino’s best work but written and directed in the vein of his crime thriller Jackie Brown, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is strictly recommended for Tarantino fans and those that enjoyed Pulp Fiction, Django Unchanged and Inglourious Basterds.

Film Directors & Festivals
Review Calender
September 2019
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  
  • Top Players Talk Trying to Keep the Indie Production Ecosystem Alive in Locarno StepIn Webinar
    Can the indie ecosystem that’s at the heart of the European film industry survive with streaming giants encroaching on its underlying business model, just as the theatrical experience is teetering? Maybe. But if the indie filmmaking ethos does survive, its business model will definitely be different. That was the main takeaway of a webinar on […]
    nvivarelli
  • Technology to Play Increasing Role in Film Festivals and Markets, Locarno Panelists Say
    Day three of the Locarno Film Festival StepIn 2020, moderated by Variety‘s Leo Barraclough and hosted by the Variety Streaming Room platform, brought professionals from various parts of the film festival and market sectors together for a panel on the Future of Film Festivals and Film Markets. Jérôme Paillard, executive director of Cannes Film Market; […]
    Eli Countryman
  • Five Takeaways on Survival of Indies in Post-Pandemic Landscape From Locarno’s StepIn Webinars
    Keep your budgets low and have faith in the resilience of arthouse cinema and theaters, film festivals and markets. But also be ready to engage with streamers that could become an integral part of new indie business models in the post-pandemic landscape. Those were some of the upbeat tips that surfaced from the Locarno Film […]
    nvivarelli
  • John Gore Organization Lays Off Employees Due to Coronavirus
    John Gore Organization, the Tony-award winning production company being “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Band’s Visit,” has laid off roughly a hundred employees. The staffers had previously been furloughed, but with Broadway’s shutdown continuing for months, the cuts have now become permanent. John Gore Organization also owns The Broadway Channel and Broadway.com, two leading sources […]
    varietybrentlang
  • TV Ratings: CBS’ PGA Championship Coverage Easily Tops Rerun-Heavy Sunday
    The Sunday night TV ratings race wasn’t exactly as close as the PGA Championship finale, which easily out-drove the competition. CBS’ coverage of the golf major’s final day averaged a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49. Around 5.6 million total viewers tuned in to watch 23-year-old Collin Morikawa emerge victorious, two strokes ahead of former world […]
    Will Thorne
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90