Tag Archives: Kurt Russell

Movie reviews: ‘Deepwater Horizon’ compels, ‘Miss Peregrine’ soars

Summit Entertainment

“Deepwater Horizon” (R) Kurt Russell, Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich and Kate Hudson excel in the compelling true-life tale “Deepwater Horizon,” which recounts the harrowing Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig disaster in April 2010. Most news accounts focused on the fixed camera on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico as BP’s crippled oil well spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf. Not chronicled so much was the oil rig disaster itself, which claimed 11 of the 120 crew members on board as the rig caught on fire, exploded and crumbled.

Directed by Peter Berg, “Deepwater Horizon ” is a must-see in IMAX, as the immersive sound and big, big picture literally takes you inside the disaster. As the rivets pop on the oil rig and shrapnel flies, the sound design of the film of  the flying debris will have you ducking for cover. It’s an incredible cinematic achievement.

20th Century Fox

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (PG-13) Tim Burton is back with a fantastical look at the oddities of life with “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” a highly entertaining family adventure that works on all levels. Chronicling the plight of a group of children with “Peculiar” abilities and the creatures who want to eliminate them, the movie is not only full of heart,  it  manages the tricky balance of being funny, quirky, creepy and thrilling all at the same time.

Interviews: Tim Burton, Samuel L. Jackson, Ella Purnell, Leah Gallo

Some fans of  Ransom Riggs’ 2011 best-selling novel of the same name may bristle at some of the changes Burton makes with some characters, but as a cinematic experience, “Miss Peregrine” soars. Eva Green is engaging as always as the titular Miss Peregrine, while Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell are terrific leading the ensemble cast of “Peculiar Children.” Samuel L. Jackson is wonderfully creepy as Mr. Barron, a shape-shifting creature who needs to nourish himself on the eyeballs of Peculiars to regain his original human form.  All told, “Miss Peregrine” is Burton at this very best.

Tim Burton Book 2
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Movie review: ‘The Hateful Eight’

'The Hateful Eight' (photo -- The Weinstein Company)

By Tim Lammers

“The Hateful Eight” (R) 2 stars (out of four)

It’s hard to get behind a movie where most everybody is hateful, especially one that is nearly three hours long. But that’s the case of Quentin Tarantino’s whacked-out Western “The Hateful Eight,” a movie typical of the controversial filmmaker’s style of excessive, graphic and sometimes downright perverted violence, talky dialogue and the liberal use of the N-word. Tarantino clearly wants to think of himself in the hall of great filmmakers throughout history with this attempt at a cinematic epic, but instead succeeds at remaining a legend in his own mind.

At 2 hours, 49 minutes, the wide release version

of the film (his 70mm “Roadshow” version is even longer, and includes an overture and intermission), the biggest thing working against “The Hateful Eight” is it unnecessarily excessive length. The long and short of it is, the film surrounds the plight of eight characters (did I call them hateful?) who are forced to live in closed quarters with each other during a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Wyoming anywhere from 6-12 years after the end of the Civil War. Holed up in a lodge called Minnie’s Haberdashery, all eight of the characters have an extreme distrust of each other and their possible hidden motives, raising the tension level so high that it’s quite apparent that not everyone is going to make it out alive before the blizzard lets up.

One of them, the bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell), believes the prisoner he’s taking to Red Rock to hang — the murderous Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) — is in cahoots with at least one of the people in the cabin, and they’re plotting her escape and killing everybody else in the process. Also in the lodge is the former Civil War hero-turned-bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), former Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) and the presumed sheriff of Red Rock (where Daisy will hang) Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). Rounding out the “hateful eight” are the shifty innkeeper Bob (Demien Bichir), and two other travelers – the cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth).

Tim Burton Book 2
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There’s no doubt Tarantino has a few unique ideas in The Hateful Eight” and assembled a terrific cast for the film, and standing out among them is Leigh, who appears to be reveling in the shameless, vitriol-spewing ways of Daisy. Goggins is also great as Mannix, who has most character arc. Russell is also great as the grizzled bounty hunter who would probably be likable if he didn’t smack Daisy around so much or hurl the N-word with reckless abandon. But because he does, he’s hateful, too.

Tarantino’s biggest problem is he believes in his own hype and simply doesn’t know when to stop. Perhaps the biggest issue is the inclusion, once again, of “real” dialogue, featuring characters having mundane conversations with one-another. Hey, a bit of reality is great, but it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that it’s also monotonous, pointless chatter that does nothing to move the story along. The movie would have been a lot better an hour shorter.

Not surprisingly, “The Hateful Eight” gets preachy, too, broaching political issues. Tarantino obviously likes to stir the pot, whether it’s with his N-word-filled dialogue, or off-camera with his inflammatory rhetoric against New York City police officers. In this film, clearly the guy isn’t afraid to say or demonstrate anything through his “vision,” including the repeated beatings of a woman and a sick scene of sexual violence and humiliation (told in flashback) perpetrated by one of the eight. Of course, both targets of the hate have questionable backgrounds, which apparently makes Tarantino think it’s OK to brutalize them.

The question is why, after eight films, does the filmmaker continue to do it? If anything, the three hours of “The Hateful Eight” will give its viewers enough time to think about why they keep letting this guy off the hook. True, his “Pulp Fiction” was revolutionary for its time, but since he’s been giving us the same flavors — some tasty, some bitter, some vile — packaged in different ways. It’s time to shake up the formula, Quentin.

General-Star Wars