We are very fortunate that The Hateful Eight, the eighth film by master filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, was made at all, because it is possibly his best work to date.
Everything, from the scintillating writing, the most intense of storyline scenarios, a soul searing soundtrack courtesy of legendary composer Ennio Morricone, the phenomenal acting, and the absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking cinematography is truly remarkable.
This review will offer NO SPOILERS; The Hateful Eight may not be your favorite of the filmmaker’s great works, but it is so damn perfect it may well be his best classic from start to finish.
And The Hateful Eight Special Roadshow Engagement presented in 70mm Ultra Panavision 70 almost never happened!
When the early draft of the movie was leaked to the world, Quen had lifted his plans for the movie, in disgust, and decided to shelf it . . . at least until he had his cast do a one-time reading of the script in a former 1,600-seat movie palace in L.A. on April 19, 2014.
The overwhelming response from his closest comrades inspired Tarantino to make the film after all.
And not just in any old way, because Quen's triumphant western The Hateful Eight would be filmed using a lost art of film, the 70mm cut, with an aspect ratio of 2.76:1 to make it far wider and give a clarity and illusion of movement so real that few great flicks of yesteryear ever amazed viewers with the detailed views, like that of Ben-Hur, and Khartoum (which was the last time a picture was made in the format, in 1966).
The wrinkles of the gritty faces, the depth to the blood splatter, the threads of smoke winding up and out of the cracks in the 19th century walls, as snow specks enter in, comes across in breathtaking fashion.
The traditions of the greatest westerns, like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, come across amazingly well.
The wide stretches of the west, Wyoming, and the gnarly blizzard sidelining the eight unique and wonderfully deep and hateful characters in a watering hole slash inn called Minnie's Haberdashery speaks to a seemingly simple plot.
Kurt Russell’s John Ruth, “The Hangman”, wants nothing more than to weather the storm and bring his quarry, Daisy Domergue, to the town of Red Rock where she will hang and he will carry back a ten thousand dollar bounty.
But when he is forced to hole up for a few days with “The Bounty Hunter” Major Marquis Warren, played to perfection by Samuel L. Jackson, and six other dangerous and nefarious characters, the sheer edge of your seat intensity is boiling throughout the riveting three-hour version of the film.
And rarely have three hours gone by so quickly as watching the fallout of the interesting and engaging “Hateful Eight”.
The snow piles high and the stories, the suspicion, and the attitudes of the thorny, weather-beaten men and woman make for a most entertaining, thrilling, and, at times, hilarious tale like no other.
The vernacular is probably the most accurate for any presentation of post-Civil War era pictures to date.
The realism is remarkable in every aspect here!
The gruffness, the obstacles, and the brilliant lines, they all resonate starkly.
And there are enough great lines from Quen in this film to fill a book on writing.
Throughout the experience of The Hateful Eight you are anxious, as the unexpected lashing out of killers or the triumphantly belly-busting jokes continually keep the audience in perpetual suspense and awe.
One of the overlying themes is of overcoming racism, getting beyond black and white on a personal level, and it is done extremely well.
The Hateful Eight Special Roadshow Engagement presented in 70mm Ultra Panavision 70 is a throwback to the enthralling events of the 1950’s and 1960’s, where the roadshows gave audiences a longer version of the film, a program and a fantastic event.
And it is truly an event that cannot be missed.
Rune Works Review Grade: A++
Star Wars: The Force Awakens returns adventurers and moviegoers alike to a galaxy far far away, and what an exhilarating experience director J.J. Abrams has orchestrated masterfully in Episode VII of the philosophical space myth series.
There will be no Spoilers in this review, but if you do not want general aspects described in their incredulity, then please look away from your screens now.
Only in our wildest dreams could space battles achieve such heights!
The ship-to-ship sequences carry the brilliant innovations of George Lucas, who based much of his scenes on actual military footage taken from the air, and evolve to another level.
The X-wings are back, along with the TIE fighters, and their weight, speed, and scratched up exteriors resonate on adept realism and stunning impactfulness.
The acting here is phenomenal, from both the fan favorite returning cast and the newest stars in the franchise.
On the old school side, Harrison Ford brings Han Solo back to the same shoot first anti-hero we all know and love, who is kick ass and snide, albeit a bit weathered with a few more years than he had in 1983 with Return of the Jedi.
Ford steals the show for much of this film.
Forget his last portrayal of Indiana Jones, who was left looking and feeling old, not because of the man but because of the poor writing and story.
Meeting Ford stride for stride is Peter Mayhew reprising his role as Chewbacca, whose excellent acting is too often overlooked and is not easy, as he accutely portrays much of the wookie’s feelings with movement and an unintelligible language.
Adam Driver storms the scene with a twisted and powerful young Sith, whose anger is realistically felt and feared, as the human in him drowns in dark power.
And then there is the amazement of Daisy Ridley playing Rey.
She is smart, tenacious, and endearing, and has a great dynamic with the conscience-laden traitor Finn, played to perfection by John Boyega.
And let's not forget BB-8, the amazing spherical droid that chirps its way into our hearts while paying homage to R2-D2!
The story is remarkable in that it plays on the foundation from Episode IV and yet covers wholly uncharted ground.
The start has some clunkiness about it as a whirlwind of storylines and character introductions take place, but like in any great story a little time is needed, a small investment, to get into the stark world that has been created and feel for those figures whose paths determine where the story goes.
In many ways Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the new Episode IV, the new start of the series, of another trilogy.
This is by design, and this is a damn good thing.
Like Lucas before him, Abrams understands the tropes of myth and the standards of drama.
Nothing will ever be as good as the original Star Wars trilogy. They are classics of film.
But Star Wars: The Force Awakens far eclipses the prequel sequels (Episodes I-III), enough to forget they ever existed, and goes beyond to make something totally new and vast where anything is possible once again.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the start of something great.
And we have not seen anything like this in a long long time.
REVIEW GRADE: A+
"Rune Works Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was written by R.J. Huneke
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