video review : The Hitcher

video review : The Hitcher

The first several minutes are creepy and intense. Early one rainy morning, a young driver named Jim Halsey makes the foolish decision to pick up a hitchhiker. That man, who says his name is John Ryder, turns out to be a psychopathic murderer.

The movie could go interesting places from there but doesn’t. The claustrophobic driver/passenger concept is abandoned for what becomes a grueling game of cat and mouse, marked by unlikely set-ups and a silly Bonnie-Clyde-like subplot.

my rating = 3 of 5

1986

video review : The Hateful Eight

video review : The Hateful Eight

If not for Inglourious Basterds, his masterpiece, I’d say Quentin Tarantino hasn’t wowed me, in a good way, since Jackie Brown. The Hateful Eight, like Django before it, is more epic in scale than substance. There are memorable quotes; the “goddamn Mexican” bit is hilarious; but they’re too far and few between to justify the script’s grandiose verbosity. Nearly every member of The Hateful Eight is a stone-cold killer, but they’re apt to talk you to death. That should be a positive. Tarantino has long had a knack for punchy dialogue. But he seems to be losing it.

The problem of the characters only sometimes saying interesting things to one another is compounded by the fact that they’re snowed-in at the mercy of a blizzard for most of the plot, which circles around a prisoner named Daisy Domergue; the one woman and most despicable of the bunch. The haven is a lodge named Minnie’s Haberdashery and, though this virtual stage play runs for nearly three hours, the suspense and bloodshed doesn’t begin until about the halfway point. Ironically enough considering the fact that a tighter edit could make the film better in half the time.

my rating = 3 of 5

2015