Quentin Tarantino – The journey Vol. 2

Since my last appearance, I’ve consumed a couple more of those Tarantino movie things that I somehow managed to avoid for so long. And it’s only right that I now add them to my growing list, the first part of which I documented in my last blog outing. The rankings as they stand are…

  1. Inglourious Basterds
  2. Kill Bill Vol. 2
  3. The Hateful Eight
  4. Kill Bill Vol. 1

So where do the new contenders Reservoir Dogs and Once Upon a Time In Hollywood fit into the mix?


I liked Reservoir Dogs a lot, and it’s easy to see why so many people rate it highly. The acting is strong, the soundtrack is great, and I love the way almost everything happens in that one warehouse. The opening breakfast scene started everything off shakily for me, and I was thinking that Tarantino might have lost me already. I mean, who were these people? Why did I care? What on earth was Tarantino himself doing at the table? I’m really glad he didn’t continually crop up, because that was really distracting. But the upward slope kickstarted after the opening credits, and kept going up.

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Quentin Tarantino – A journey

I seem to have earned myself something of a catchphrase, especially at uni in film student circles – “I haven’t seen that.” As many horrified film students soon discovered, I said it about a lot of Tarantino films. All of them, in fact. So I decided that it was about time I went on a journey of discovery, into Tarantino world. I started with The Hateful Eight. Because if you believe the people, the only way is up from there. Next on my hit list was Inglourious Basterds, which was followed by both Kill Bills a few days apart from each other. So, how does this Tarantino newbie rank them all?


Coming in at no. 4… Kill Bill Vol. 1

In a word? Mad. In a large part that came from the numerous styles that featured throughout the film, which I found made the whole thing feel disjointed. And it was never clear how much of it was experimental, and how much of it was supposed to be saying something profound. In which case, any profoundness soared way over my head. I found the film to be a bit uncertain of what it wanted to be.

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Stranger Things 3 – Girlfriends, gore, and good god that ending

I came into this season with the fear that it wouldn’t be as good as Stranger Things has been in the past – the fear of sequel syndrome. I was more than a little concerned that the threat would become stale, now that these kids have battled the Upside Down for two seasons already… how would the threat this time be something new? But the show very quickly put my worries to bed – it was another great offering and I devoured season 3.


The Mind Flayer itself got an upgrade, and that helped to keep things fresh. This is one of the things I continue to be so impressed by in Stranger Things (their Easter Eggs and pop culture references aside), they are so very good at making things look gross. Some of their best effects are their gore effects, and I wonder if this is a nod to the gory horror films of the 80s? From the exploding rats early in the season, to the construction of the new and improved Mind Flayer in the hospital, to El’s horrendous leg injury in that finale – the best VFX in Stranger Things, is in goop and gore and grossness.

But back to nicer things. The kids have all grown up a bit now – quite a lot, you realise when the boys start talking – and their stories are developing into bigger, older stories. That was one of the things that stuck out to me this season, and especially in the development of relationships, for all the characters not just the kids. And this seemed to have particular focus on girlfriends, woohoo female empowerment buzzword – TICK.

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Toy Story 4 – When they said ‘to infinity’…

I’ve said it before, that sequels maketh Hollywood, and yet again this proves true with the release of Toy Story 4. I was disappointed from the beginning this film was even being made – it seemed so pointless when the third instalment had wrapped up the story so perfectly. Plus the timing of Toy Story 3, released over 10 years after the first film, meant that the sweet sadness of Andy giving up his beloved toys for someone else to enjoy, Andy growing up, tugged at the heartstrings of all the right people, of the right ages. It just worked. Another film seemed so unnecessary.

Did we really care about the journey, now that our beloved Andy had gone off to college? What about this plastic spork ‘toy’ we’ve been seeing everywhere? And Bo’s new character development that was so heavily publicised? What more could Toy Story 4 give us, really?


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Aladdin – Lazy filmmaking

So as if Disney aren’t getting enough money out of the entire world already, they’re churning out yet more remakes of old classics. If they were all good, it might not be a bad idea… but safe to say they’re not. And it’s getting lazy.


Their latest offering is a live action remake of Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie, with Will Smith put up to the task of filling Robin Williams’s gargantuan shoes, and needless to say, that was not to everyone’s delight. Though it has to be said, that wasn’t the worst part of the film. Not that it was a total disaster. There were some good things to say about it. Some.

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Welcome to Night Vale – And now for something completely different

Podcasts. They’re a thing now, right? Well, for those of you that are more on trend than I am. But even I have delved into the world of the podcast, courtesy of a couple of Waterstones booksellers.


The guys recommended to me a podcast called Welcome to Night Vale, on the basis that I was a fan of stories set in the weird and wonderful worlds of fantasy type books. They pitched it to me as a bunch of short episodes of wacky stories set in one American town, mostly unrelated to each other, but with the occasional continuing thread. They told me it’s set up as a radio show, and the presenter has the most golden voice in the world, and the weather section is… well, they chose not to spoil anything for me.

So I gave it a try. And in three weeks I’d listened to over 40 episodes.

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The Rook – Dear you, the book you are reading should be this one

“Dear You, the body you are wearing used to be mine.”

Now if that opening line isn’t going to capture your attention, I don’t know what will. But that’s how this book opens, and it’s one of those rare and magical times that an opening line does everything it’s supposed to do at its best. You’ve got an enticing idea, and character, it gives you some sense of what to expect in the coming 400 pages, and it perfectly tees up the tone for the rest of the book. So if you’re turned off by that line, you can close the book on this post right now.


But I should probably say a few words on what Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook is actually about. Ahem. Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) wakes up in a park in central London surrounded by dead bodies wearing latex gloves. With no memory of who she is, she has only the letters her previous self left behind to piece together the plot that led to the gloved corpses in the park, and her own identity. Which she quickly learns is as a leading member of a secret government organisation tasked with protecting Great Britain against supernatural forces. So a piece of cake really.

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