The Revenant, Mustang, Hateful 8

The Revenant

revenantSet in the 1820s in the wild frontier of the Pacific Northwest, this is a gritty story of survival, betrayal, and vengeance.  There are many times this film is difficult to watch and may even make you squirm in your seat or take an extra tight grip on your arm rest.

The acting is exceptional, especially Leonardo DiCaprio along with Tom Hardy as a really good bad guy.  DiCaprio won the well deserved Best Actor title in yesterday’s Golden Globe Awards.

The cinematography (by Emmanuel Lubezki) is incredible.  Nine months of filming in extreme winter conditions create the backdrop for both breathtaking and bleak scenery.

The enigmatic Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu delivers a film that is a powerful, unique production that will certainly garner audience approval and industry accolades.  It will be a classic.

Rating: 4 Globes

Mustang

mustangThis is the story of five sisters in a rural Turkish village and their coming of age experiences.  They are orphaned, raised by their Grandmother and overseen by their Uncle who demands strict adherence to conservative cultural behavior.

Incrementally, their home becomes a repressive island and one by one the sisters are targeted for arranged marriages.  There is still joy and laughter amongst themselves despite their situation.  There is tragedy and ultimately hope.

This may garner an Oscar nomination.  It is sweet, innocent, thought provoking, funny, frustrating, and bewildering.  This is a French production, with Turkish language and English subtitles.  In any case, it is absolutely worth seeking out either in the theaters or Pay-per-view.

Rating: 4 Globes

The Hateful Eight

hatefulThis is Quentin Tarentino’s eighth major motion picture.  I’m unclear if there is a connection to the title but there can be no doubt this is a Tarentino film.  This one is a Western, with outrageous characters, lots of twists and turns, lots of irreverent dialog, and oh, of course it wouldn’t be a Tarentino film without a healthy dose of blood, lots and lots of blood.

It has an impressive cast of characters.  Most notably, Kurt Russell doing his best John Wayne as bounty hunter; Samuel L. Jackson as Samuel L. Jackson as bounty hunter and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the ultra bad outlaw.

More notable bad guy portrayals are expertly delivered by Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, and Walton Goggins.  At three hours, you might come away exhausted.  But isn’t that what ‘pulp fiction’ stories are all about.  Oh, 70mm cinematography is off the charts good.

Rating: 3 Globes

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