This is yet another New Orleans-based Nicolas Cage movie. I haven’t seen every movie in his oeuvre, but this makes at least four to be set there (The Runner, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Stolen were the other three for those playing along at home). Maybe the dude loves New Orleans, who knows? Anyway, this is a pretty pathetic excuse for a movie. Cage’s wife is raped, and he is approached by a mysterious stranger who promises to get revenge in exchange for a favor later. The bad guy, of course, wants Cage to kill someone, and he refuses. This turns into a boring back-and-forth between Cage and bad guys leading to a shootout in an abandoned mall. The problem with this movie is that it seems to not care about doing anything unique. They have a good setting and a decent premise, but just piss it away for generic plot points. Its ham-fisted plot and straight-forward directing style make it as generic as they come. Cage is perfect, though, he’s never been bad in anything.
The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino’s newest film proves he doesn’t understand the definition of the word “brevity.” A sprawling three hours in length, his latest Western is a tale of loathsome people stuck in a cabin, riding out a snowstorm. It’s a story that could be taut and thrilling, easily told in a lean 90-minutes, but for some goddamn reason, it’s twice that long. Sally Menke had been Tarantino’s editor from Reservoir Dogs until Inglourious Basterds. After her untimely death, Tarantino has been off the reins. His new editor, Fred Raskin, either doesn’t have the balls or the wherewithal to tell Tarantino when enough is enough.
The movie contains all of Tarantino’s trademarks: rambling speeches, a growing sense of dread, anachronistic music, events out of synch, and ultra-violence. When this movie works, it absolutely works. From the point where Samuel L. Jackson’s character figures out who the bad guys are until the end, the movie is enthralling. But that comes over 90 minutes in. Almost everything up to that point is needless, and getting there is laborious.
The characters are great, the performance are great, and the music, by the legendary Ennio Morricone, is great. The problem is the fucking editing. I needed to take Adderall to stay awake during the first half of this movie, because nothing even remotely fucking interesting happens for the first 90 minutes. That’s an entire feature length! He really needed a better editor here. Even at two hours, this could have been a masterpiece. As it stands now, it’s needlessly bloated. Tarantino often indulges himself, frequently going in delightful tangents, but there is no delightful tangent here, The Hateful Eight just wastes time.