As with Django Unchained, what we now tend to refer to as “America’s troubled racial history” is central to The Hateful Eight, though the racial hang-ups attributed to America are naturally filtered through Tarantino’s own, as surely as the streak of podophilia running through his films is no accident.
It is a film of indelible portraiture; the plot, as it is, exists largely to transfer our protagonists (and the camera) between congregations of winos, from gin mills to games of dominos around a flophouse common room’s pot-bellied stove.
The wide-gauge format reached its greatest popularity in the 1950s amid a boom of new innovations intended to reverse the fortunes of foundering Hollywood studios; for a time, they even appeared to have done the trick. But every great reign is followed by an epoch of decadence . . .
Magic Mike XXL is able to express something about catering to fantasy life with such clarity because it deals with the business of female fantasy—or, rather, the prepackaged version of female fantasy filtered through available cultural signs and symbols and enacted in the arena of the strip club.
For many of us, at some point in our upbringing, the movies variously played the part of babysitter, behavioral role model, playground inspiration, and substitute parent. For the six Angulo Brothers of the Lower East Side, stars of The Wolfpack, you might say that the movies were very nearly everything.
A compact 94 minutes, Heaven Knows What is a movie with feverish drive, dragged this way and that by Harley’s appetites and Ilya’s whim to carrot-on-a-stick her around with the promise of reciprocal affection. Throughout, the perspective commutes regularly between swooning intimacy and bystander detachment.
Tomorrowland is a folly and a failure, though there is something touching in its failure, tied as it is to the vision and personality of Walt Disney himself. No less than the Brook Farm and Oneida settlers, Disney was part of an American tradition of Utopian ambition.
The film is a comedy of camera mismanagement in which every 1.85:1 aspect ratio framing is ever so precisely wrong—or fails, rather, to be in the “right” place. Watching it, one is acutely aware of the thin line that separates classical screen grammar from gobbledygook . . .
The subject matter here may sound grim, but beneath this is a sentimentality that will be familiar to viewers of such films as Benji the Hunted and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Disney productions that specialize in assigning recognizable, sympathetic human motivations to animal protagonists.
"I had the impression as a child, from the age of five on, that man exists through language. Here, I had the impression that the world didn’t exist through language. What was around me seemed unreal, so I sought a reality in literature, later in other arts and music, cinema also, very much."