Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood Dir: Quentin Tarantino (2019) (USA)

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Film Poster

Release Date: August 14th, 2019 (UK)

Duration: 161 mins.

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley,

Website IMDB

Quentin Tarantino is, without a doubt, one of Hollywood’s best movie makers. He has cemented his place by making violent cinematic spectacles that are riffs on genre conventions replete with references and re-purposed iconic imagery from older genre films to synthesise entertaining experiences. The style is often the substance and it often feels like being in a closed world as thinly sketched characters act out their tales surrounded by callbacks to older entertainment. Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood feels like his most mature film to date because it is more of an open world. It speaks to more than just narrow sets of film fans as it relies upon and subverts the shared cultural memory of a wider audience who grew up with 50s and 60s Americana because the film is a melancholy love letter to a lost age in Hollywood where the transition from the fading allure of westerns to the glamorous swinging 60s was about to be knocked off course by the grisly fate of Sharon Tate, something that signalled the end of an era of innocence.

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Genkina hito predicts the 2011 BAFTA Awards

With the BAFTA’s (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) due to take place on the 13th February, the British film industry gets a chance to wave the flag for British talent and reward films from the rest of the world. The issue of what is or isn’t a British film depends upon the amount of British involvement but it is safe to say that Britain had a good year (apart from the UK Film Council getting axed).

Anyway, here’s what I think should win. When the results are read out on BBC One I’ll be able to compare and contrast. In the meantime I’ll probably change my mind after watching a few more films but first… 

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Inception – Film of the Year

A scene from Christopher Nolan's Inception released by Warner Brothers
Living the dream

You will find me repeating myself in this review. It’s because I love this film. Sorry A Prophet, I’ve been wooed away by something so imaginative and intelligent, which treats its audience like adults with brains. If you haven’t seen it, do so before reading anything about it. Even this review. You are excused.

The film begins on a beach. Amidst the crashing waves of the surf lies an unconscious thief or ‘extractor’ named Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). He is taken to an aged Japanese man who recognises him from his past. So begins a labyrinthine and elegantly unfolding plot that is a cross between Oceans 11 and Memento. It is an intellectual heist movie crossed with the most exciting of James Bond set-pieces.

A scene from Christopher Nolan's Inception released by Warner Brothers
One of the most impressive films I've ever seen

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Shutter Island

1954. A foggy Boston Harbour. A ship emerges from the fog, a US Marshall named Chuck is at the prow. Inside, coughing his guts out is his partner, Teddy Daniels. He looks directly at the camera and says, “Get a grip.” A warning amidst a convincingly menacing opening that sets the tone for Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island.

Scene from Shutter Island
A time when smoking was good for your health

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