Sunday, February 14, 2016

Yes, Quentin Tarantino can act

I took in four films at this year's edition of Cineplex's Digital Film Festival, an event that 99.999 per cent of movie goers are unaware of. I took in a couple of screenings on the various nights and the sparse crowds told the tales. In the first of each night's double bill at Devonshire Cineplex's cinema 9 (noticeable by the dent on the screen's left hand side as if someone had thrown a tin can at it) there were relatively more people. The attendance crashed for the later film. On my first night, the first film, Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), had perhaps a dozen people in the theatre, the next film Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012) had just me until a couple arrived. This past Thursday, there were a few more people for the first film, True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993) but again fewer - less than a dozen - for the second, From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez, 1996).....To be honest, I had to force myself to see some of these offerings, especially Inception and Looper. Sci-fi isn't particularly my bag, especially if it doesn't seem to have transcending social or political messages applicable to our own lives. But the cast of Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine) looked promising. Was I mistaken! This film, which is supposed to work on several levels of the waking state and dreams - with a whole lot of conscious subconscious manipulation going on  - ironically came across as mind-numbingly opaque with one sequence being indistinguishable from another - i.e., was this the dream or reality? Looper was more linear but boring, and I ended up walking out about two-third's through, though it was good to see Bruce Willis again. In brief, the film is about futuristic hit men  who time travel to get their quarry. But as a plot it was rather lame. It would have been more exciting if the assassins went after those in their neighbourhood. And if you're going to invent the future it better damn well look like it. The cars these characters bounce around in look like souped versions of boxy 1990's subcompacts. Their weapons appeared a cross between a sawed off shotgun and musket....The double bill this past Thursday was a lot better. First was True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino and set - ta da - partly in Detroit (with scenes of Windsor's Riverside Dr. in the background). The problem is: this dark comedy is really dated. It has the look on an early 90's film that at the time was probably hip and cool but its techno boppy score by Hans Zimmer and styles of the period now looking almost dorky. The second film was better, and unexpected. First off, Quentin Tarantino starred in the entire thing, and he wasn't bad at all. He plays Richie Gecko to a young still non gray-haired George Clooney's Seth (picture above), two (real bad) dudes on the run and heading for a drug deal in Mexico. They kidnap a God-fearing evangelical family - played by Harvel Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu - and order them to drive their  RV across the border. The gang all ends up at the Titty Twister, a dive to end all dives full of ferocious bikers and other desperado types, with strippers and whores galore. As you can imagine immense amounts of violence ensue and - the surprise for the uninitiated -  virtually everyone turns into vampires.

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