Tag Archives: kurt russell

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019) – My rating: 7/10

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a comedy-drama written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Produced by Columbia Pictures, Bona Film Group, Heyday Films, and Visiona Romantica and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is an international co-production between the United States and the United Kingdom. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie — I am neutral as to the quality of the movie but I feel it is worth seeing.

****  SOME SPOILERS  ****

In February 1969, Los Angeles actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), star of 1950’s Western television series, Bounty Law is now a struggling has-been. Realizing he is no longer the young budding star he was in the 50s, Rick shares this revolution with his best friend and former stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), that his career is over. Cliff, a war veteran, lives in a trailer behind a drive-in movie with his pit bull, Brandy.  He drives Rick (whose license is suspended) around town and relies on him for work because there have been rumors circulating that Cliff got away with killing his wife.

Meanwhile, actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and her husband director Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha) have moved next door to Rick’s house, causing him to have dreams of befriending the couple in order to restore his failing status.  Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) stops by Polanski and Tate’s house looking for record producer, Terry Melcher, who used to live there but is turned away by Tate’s ex-boyfriend, Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch). Cliff later picks up a young hitchhiker he’d seen around town, named Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) while driving Rick’s car. He drops her off at the Spahn Movie Ranch, where Cliff shot Bounty Law. She tries to persuade him to stay, but he is suspicious of the large number of hippies squatting on the property.  Worried that owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern) is being taken advantage of, Cliff insists checking on Spahn despite Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s (Dakota Fanning) objections; Spahn dismisses Cliff’s fears. Returning to his car, Cliff discovers that Steve Grogan (James Landry Hébert) has slashed his front tire; Cliff brutally beats Grogan and forces him to change the tire. Manson girl, Sundance (Cassidy Hice) goes to fetch Charles “Tex “Watson (Austin Butler) but Cliff is driving away by the time Watson arrives. Meanwhile, Rick lands the role of a villain in a new series called Lancer. He strikes up a conversation with his young co-star Trudi Fraser (Julia Butters), a method actress. During one of his scenes, Rick struggles with his lines due to his alcoholism and later has an emotional breakdown in his trailer. He returns and gives a powerful performance that impresses the director and Trudi, bolstering Rick’s confidence. After watching Rick’s performance as a guest star on an episode of The F.B.I., director Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino) offers Rick the opportunity to shoot a Spaghetti Western in Rome.

I really didn’t dislike Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, I thought it was a bit slow at times and downright boring at times.  I wasn’t sure where this movie was trying to take me or what the moral of the story was until the end.  Tarantino rewrote a story everyone knew and made it the way he wished it had ended.  This twist was a big surprise that made the movie worth seeing.  The acting was absolutely brilliant. FYI: This was the last film to feature (Luke Perry who played Wayne Maunder) and died in March of 2019. This also became the first Tarantino film not to be associated with producer Harvey Weinstein, after Tarantino cut ties following sexual abuse allegations against Weinstein in October. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that critics had “an overall positive view” of the film, who called the film “Tarantino’s love letter to ’60s L.A.” and praised its casting choices and setting, though some were “divided on its ending.”  Bounty Law is based on Wanted Dead or Alive (1958–1961). Rick Dalton’s relationship with Cliff Booth is based on that of actor Burt Reynolds and his longtime stunt double Hal Needham. Once Upon A Time… isn’t for everyone however, I highly recommend it to those who like a good fantasy ending.  Check It Out!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017) – My rating: 9/10

What can I say about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — history is repeating itself.  It’s even better than the first one, a different story, still a quality film.  Good humor, good plot, fantastic special effects, brilliant acting, awesome costumes, great makeup and great directing.  What else do you need.  I truly enjoyed this second sequel.

The Guardians of the Galaxy consist of: Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax  The Destroyer (Dave Bautista), voice of Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a genetically modified raccoon bounty hunter and mercenary who is also a master of weapons and military tactics, Voice of Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), a tree-like humanoid who began growing from a sapling at the end of the first film and is Rocket’s accomplice.   Vol. 2 opens with The Guardians of the Galaxy battling an inter-dimensional monster for Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), the golden High Priestess and leader of the Sovereign people, (a genetically engineered race who are “gold and perfect and wanting to be physically and mentally impeccable”) in exchange for Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s estranged, adopted sister who was captured while attempting to steal valuable batteries from Ayesha and her people.  The Guardians no sooner leave Ayesha before being attacked by a fleet of Sovereign drones because Rocket has stolen some of the batteries for himself.  The drones are mysteriously destroyed but the Guardians are forced to crash land on a nearby planet.  The mysterious attacker reveals himself to the Guardians as Ego (Kurt Russell), Peter’s father.

At this point the story begins to take shape.  We learn about the characters and their missions and many more are introduced and so the plot thickens.  We have a father who is meeting his son for the first time, and a son who never knew his father existed.  We also have sisters who have no love for each other, in fact one wants the other dead along with their father.  There is also Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), a blue-skinned buccaneer who is the leader of the Ravagers and also the father figure who raised Peter Quill as well as a member of the Guardians along with Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Yondu’s loyalist.  If that isn’t enough, there’s Ego’s pet empath, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Taserface (Chris Sullivan) leader of a mutinous group of the Ravagers and the dumbest of all characters in the film. Lastly, another character introduced in Vol 2 is Stakar Ogord/Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone) a high-ranking Ravager who has an intense history with Yondu, a kind of father/son type of thing, according to Stallone.

A little about Peter Quill:
He is a Half-human, half-Celestial leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy and was abducted from Earth as a child, raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers and is now famous throughout the galaxy for having saved many people.

A little about Ego, Peter’s father:
Ego explains he is a god-like Celestial, an immortal consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Forming a human guise, he traveled the universe to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother, Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to deliver Quill after his mother’s death, but he was never showed up and Ego had been searching for him ever since.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is quite entertaining and well worth seeing on the big screen.  I am happy to see Zoe Saldana’s character, Gamora being developed a little more. She seemed unfeeling and appeared to have an  angry attitude most of the time. In Vol. 2, she has warmed up a little and comes off a little more human. Hollywood has a tendency to drag out demolition and fight scenes as well as car chases, so you may find a couple of those drawn out scenes in Vol. 2, other than that, I think you’re in for a real treat!

 

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DEEPWATER HORIZON (2016) – My rating: 8/10

deepwaterhorizonDeepwater Horizon is an intense drama based on a true story.  On April 20, 2010, Transocean, a private contractor that operates Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling rig, is set to begin drilling off the south coast of Louisiana on behalf of BP.  Chief Electronics Technician Michael “Mike” Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and rig supervisor James “Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell) are surprised to learn that the workers assigned to pour the concrete foundation intended to keep the well stable are being sent home early without conducting a pressure test, at the insistence of BP managers Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Robert Kaluza (Brad Leland).  Mike confronts the BP managers (Donald and Robert) refusing to take the rig out unless the proper safety test are conducted.   Donald comes up with an acceptable test and Jimmy reluctantly accepts.  All seems well but in fact, the test put more stress on the rig, weakening the foundation that was already crumbling.  Without waiting for the results of the test, Donald orders the well to be opened.

Ultimately, the foundation fails causing a blowout that kills several men.  Unable to seal the well, oil ignites killing more of the workers.  As a result, the rig blows up in parts as the oil spews into the ocean, causing one of the biggest oil disasters on record.  How the crew handles the fire and works toward getting the environment under control, as well as escaping is remarkable, exciting and emotional.  The end of the film shows the actual men who were killed and the BP managers responsible.  Deepwater Horizon is now on DVD/Blu-Ray and is definitely worth watching.  Check it out!

[DEEPWATER HORIZON is nominated for Sound Editing and Visual Effects]

 

THE HATEFUL 8 (2015) – My rating: 8.7/10

TheHatefulEightWhat a great American Western Mystery. Witty, surprising, well acted, entertaining with non-stop action brought to you in pure Tarantino, outrageous, unpolitically correct style, with the use of the “N” word close to, if not more than 100 times. Minnie’s Haberdashery is where the Hateful 8 mostly took place in the freezing winter during a blizzard that was so forceful, neither man nor beast could survive. The Hateful 8 is split into 6 chapters: “Last Stage to Red Rock”, “Son of a Gun”, “Minnie’s Haberdashery”, “Domergue’s got a Secret”, “The Four Passengers” and “Black Man, White Hell”. For some reason, having the movie divided and labeled brought even more mystery and added to the question, what’s wrong with this picture? Quentin’s direction kept the audience guessing until the very end. No predictions here.  For 3 hours and 7 minutes, the surprises just kept coming.  The cast was brilliant. Kurt Russell plays John Ruth, a bounty hunter aka “The Hangman”, Samual L. Jackson plays Major Marquis Warren, a former soldier turned bounty hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Daisy Domergue, a fugitive being brought in for trial but ultimately to hang, Walton Goggins plays Sheriff Chris Mannix, a racist and the newly elected sheriff of Red Rock, Demián Bichir plays Bob the new haberdashery manager, aka “The Mexican”, Tim Roth plays Oswaldo Moleray also called the “Little Man” whose job is hanging convicted criminals, Michael Madsen plays Joe Gage, known as “The Cow Puncher”, Bruce Dern plays General Sanford Smithers aka “The Confederate”, Channing Tatum plays Jody Domergue, Daisy’s brother, James Parks plays O.B. the stage coach driver and Danna Gourrier plays Minnie Mink, the haberdashery owner.

I really like the Hateful 8, which has been nominated for several awards winning 7 so far. It borders on being a comedy but is a violent, racist, bittersweet story of crime and injustice, that takes place some time right after the Civil War with the use of very strong language, in the wild, wild west, told Quentin Tarantino style.

NOTE:  Tarantino attended a Black Lives Matters rally in 2015 and supported the violence against Blacks that caused him to be labeled as a cop hater.  Quentin says he’s not a cop hater but when he sees a murder, he must call it what it is and is not threatened by talk of boycotts.

[THE HATEFUL 8 is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Cinematography and Original Score]