Tag Archive: Quentin Tarantino


BEST PICTURE

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Lincoln

Les Misérables

Life of Pi

Amour

Django Unchained

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Argo

 

BEST DIRECTOR

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

WINNER: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

MY PREDICTION: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Michael Haneke, Amour

Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

 

BEST ACTRESS

Naomi Watts, The Impossible

MY PREDICTION: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

 

BEST ACTOR

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Denzel Washington, Flight

Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Frankenweenie

Pirates: Band of Misfits

Wreck-It-Ralph

Paranorman

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Brave

 

BEST FOREIGN FILM

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Amour (Austria)

No, (Chile)

War Witch, Canada

A Royal Affair, Denmark

Kon Tiki, Norway

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Sally Field, Lincoln

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Amy Adams, The Master

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

WINNER: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

MY PREDICTION: Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Alan Arkin, Argo

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

WINNER: Argo

Written by Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi

Written by David Magee

Lincoln

Written by Tony Kushner

MY PREDICTION: Silver Linings Playbook

Written by David O. Russell

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Amour

Written by Michael Haneke

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Django Unchained

Written by Quentin Tarantino

Flight

Written by John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom

Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty

Written by Mark Boal

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

‘Before My Time,’ Chasing Ice

‘Pi’s Lullaby,’ Life of Pi

‘Suddenly,’ Les Misérables

‘Everybody Needs a Best Friend,’ Ted

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: ‘Skyfall,’ Skyfall

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina

Robert Richardson, Django Unchained

WINNER: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi

MY PREDICTION: Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln

Roger Deakins, Skyfall

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

WINNER: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina

Paco Delgado, Les Misérables

MY PREDICTION: Joanna Johnston, Lincoln

Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror

Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Huntsman

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Searching for Sugar Man

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

WINNER: Inocente, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

MY PREDICTION: Kings Point, Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider

Mondays at Racine, Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan

Open Heart, Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern

Redemption, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

 

BEST FILM EDITING

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: William Goldenberg, Argo

Tim Squyres, Life of Pi

Michael Kahn, Lincoln

Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers, Silver Linings Playbook

Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, Zero Dark Thirty

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina

Alexandre Desplat, Argo

WINNER: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi

MY PREDICTION: John Williams, Lincoln

Thomas Newman, Skyfall

 

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel, Hitchcock

Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, Les Misérables

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Anna Karenina

Sarah Greenwood (Production Design); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Dan Hennah (Production Design); Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decoration)

MY PREDICTION: Les Misérables

Eve Stewart (Production Design); Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Decoration)

Life of Pi

David Gropman (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)

WINNER: Lincoln

Rick Carter (Production Design); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration)

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Adam and Dog, Minkyu Lee

Fresh Guacamole, PES

Head over Heels, Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”, David Silverman

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Paperman, John Kahrs

 

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM

Asad, Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura

MY PREDICTION: Buzkashi Boys, Sam French and Ariel Nasr

WINNER: Curfew, Shawn Christensen

Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele

Henry, Yan England

 

BEST SOUND EDITING

Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton

WINNER (tie): Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers

MY PREDICTION & WINNER (tie): Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson

 

BEST SOUND MIXING

Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia

WINNER: Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin

Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins

MY PREDICTION: Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White

MY PREDICTION & WINNER: Life of Pi

Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott

Marvel’s The Avengers

Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick

Prometheus

Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill

Snow White and the Huntsman

Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

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Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez met early in their careers in the early 1990s at the Toronto Film Festival. Tarantino had RESERVOIR DOGS and Rodriguez had EL MARIACHI at the time. They fast became friends and their careers developed on a similar pace. Tarantino followed up with PULP FICTION at around the same time Rodriguez came up with DESPARADO (an American, higher budget remake of EL MARIACHI). Both filmmakers, especially that of Tarantino’s, gained huge success and they became part of a new wave of indie movies that attracted the attention of mainstream audiences. When it was announced that Tarantino and Rodriguez would collaborate to make FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, film nerds shit themselves all over. With Tarantino writing the screenplay and Rodriguez directing, it was inconceivable that anything short of an instant classic would be made.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is about two brothers, Seth and Richie Gecko (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino), who are bank robbers on the run. They are attempting to flee to Mexico, where they plan to retire on their stolen fortune. Along the way, they kidnap a preacher (Harvey Keitel) and his two children (Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu). Driving the family’s RV across the border into Mexico, the motley crew seek out a biker bar called The Titty Twister, where the Gecko Brothers have arranged to meet up with their contact. However, The Titty Twister ends up being far more than a titty bar – it’s a hellish haven of blood-thirsty vampires!

This film made it pretty obvious that although they may be good friends, Rodriguez and Tarantino’s styles do not compliment one another. The first half of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN works beautifully and you’re completely taken in by the characters, the dialogue, and the situations. This first half is everything that occurs before the characters enter the Titty Twister and it has Tarantino’s work all over it. The dialogue scenes are long and satisfying, with exchanges that crackle with a constant energy. The Gecko Brothers are obvious Tarantino creations. Dressed in their signature black suits (just like Jules and Vincent in PULP FICTION), the brothers have a certain coolness about them and Tarantino has injected smart and quirky attributes into them (Richie wears a retainer because he grinds his teeth and he apparently likes to watch cartoons). The locations in the first half are also classic Tarantino – old shitty motels and diners and stores and products with interesting 1950’s sounding names like Benny’s World of Liquor and Big Kahuna Burgers (also featured in PULP FICTION). Finally, we have actors from Tarantino’s usual stable of actors such as Harvey Keitel (RESERVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION), Juliette Lewis (NATURAL BORN KILLERS), and the use of Blaxploitation stars such as Fred Williamson.

In short, the first half of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is character-driven and we’re fully immersed in a world created by Quentin Tarantino. So its quite a jolt when the film takes a complete tonal shift and turns into a vampire action movie. Its not the fact that the film turns into something completely different that bothers me (Joss Whedon’s CABIN IN THE WOODS does this as well and does it far better). I just didn’t find the second half of the film to be all that entertaining nor did the two halves of the film compliment one another. It wasn’t scary nor funny and it was as if I was watching a very bad straight to DVD horror film. This makes me wonder if Tarantino and Rodriguez recognized how uncomplimentary their styles were and decided that their next collaboration (GRINDHOUSE) would comprise of two entirely separate films. Interestingly enough, Rodriguez’s PLANET TERROR was stylistically the same as FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, but I think I enjoyed PLANET TERROR far more because I knew what to expect from the beginning. In contrast, I was expecting a melding of the two filmmakers’ styles in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, but instead I got one film that could not connect the two halves.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is George Clooney’s first major feature length film. Many cite to OUT OF SIGHT as the film that finally turned Clooney into a movie star. In just about every role he’s played, Clooney more or less performs his characters in the same way so if you like Clooney in one film, then you’ve liked him in every film he’s done. Here he flies off the screen as Seth Gecko, clearly lapping up the opportunity to flex his acting muscles and his roguish take on this dark antihero. Tarantino provides backup as Seth’s younger brother, Richie. Where Seth is instantly likeable despite his short fuse of a temper, Richie is a nauseating sex offender with a taste for rape and murder. Strangely enough, however, Tarantino’s nerdy brilliance in real life channels well into his character.

Harvey Keitel (with an on-again, off-again Texas accent) brings his usual level of excellence to Jacob, the preacher who has lost his faith in God after losing his wife in a car accident. Keitel does a great and believable job as playing a man who has lost his faith, but who at the same time struggles with this decision. His performance is restrained and subtle but without losing any of its intensity. Finally, we have Juliette Lewis, who plays the preacher’s daughter and despite not having many lines, she steals many of the scenes she is in. She sort of reminded me of her character in CAPE FEAR, but here she plays down the sexy nymphet and plays up the innocence of her character (after all, she is a preacher’s daughter).

The horror portion of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is only going to interest you if you’ve never seen a good horror film. If you want to see a horror film along these lines and that has been done much better, check out Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD 2 and Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE. Both of those films have the whole buckets-of-blood thing going but with more style and a sense of comic timing that FROM DUSK TILL DAWN completely lacks. Here, Robert Rodriguez is clearly behind the horror part of the film and at times it seemed like he didn’t quite know what to do with a bigger budget. The Titty Twister is a major location and its set up to almost be a character unto itself. However, we’re barely shown the contours of this bar before the action begins. Consequently, you don’t get a sense of place and mood before all hell breaks loose. Furthermore, we are briefly introduced to characters played by Tom Savini, Fred Williamson, Salma Hayek, and Cheech Marin. They are all two-dimensional characters and they seem to be included in the film to simply increase the cast’s name recognition. I felt cheated that none of these characters received better treatment in the screenplay.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN was a film that probably brought much more joy to its filmmakers and actors in making it than for the viewer watching it. If it wasn’t for the influence and prestige of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN would have unlikely been made. Without those names behind it, this story is no better (and actually worse) than any episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT.