The Following Article contains massive spoilers to “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”
In 1969, America was forever rocked by the vicious Tate-LaBianca murders which saw the Charles Manson family convicted for murdering five people including up and coming actress Sharon Tate. Decades later, Hollywood and many artists are still considerably fascinated not just by Charles Manson, but the Manson Family. On the anniversary of Sharon Tate’s murder, a lot of Hollywood jumped on the band wagon to find a way to highlight or explore the events leading up to her terrible murder. Except for Quentin Tarantino. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has managed to become yet another Tarantino masterpiece that has sparked endless discussion and arguments.
Despite the fact that Tarantino stages another alternate reality where the bad guys endured horrible deaths, “Once Upon a Time…” still managed to get approval from Sharon Tate’s family. And that’s probably because, refreshingly, Tarantino takes the piss out of Charles Manson and the Manson Family.
Quentin Tarantino has always been a connoisseur of Hollywood and the concept of filmmaking and storytelling. There’s a certain peculiar magic that comes with creating a narrative and how it allows the creator to do whatever they want. With all of Tarantino’s movies, he’s paid tribute to ideas like Chopsocky cinema, gangster pictures, blaxploitation, and with “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” he pays tribute to Hollywood and the one and only Sharon Tate.
I was always such a big fan of movie serials and pulp superheroes even before my initiation in to comic books. I loved characters like Superman and The X-Men, but I also loved The Shadow, Commander Cody, and the Green Hornet. Some of those heroes made up some of my most entertaining fantasies, and it wasn’t a big adjustment considering most of the nineties’ superhero movies were mainly adaptations of pulp heroes like “The Phantom” and “The Rocketeer.” Kerry Conran remains one of the most prophetic filmmakers of all time.
No one loves Kevin Smith more than Kevin Smith. He’s a fan of not just building this façade of an extended universe with his films, but the smug idea that he ultimately rejected Hollywood when all is said and done. After endless efforts to hit the mainstream vein, and re-invent himself as a horror director, Smith has come back to doing what he does best: Repeating himself, repeating the same old jokes, and giving his hardcore fans a ton of weed jokes, and near endless pop culture references about “Star Wars” and “Batman.”
Johannes Roberts’ “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is a real testament to the concept of the score and how a great score can often help enhance a movie going experience. A lot of times the score can even become its own character. “Uncaged” has a score that genuinely stinks with a droning blaring bass that sounds more like library music than anything else. And that’s when there is a score since inexplicably, only about twenty percent of the movie’s run time has an actual score. The rest is complete silence that punctuates this absolutely awful sequel.
An immortal woman trying to make it through this world without too much hassle and find her next meal, as she finds a way to make things work, her activities attract the attention of people on both sides of the law.
In the nineties, many American movie studios were trying to beat Disney at their game by basically—mimicking everything that made their movies a hit. They didn’t try to rewrite the rules until the early aughts; before then we had a bunch of movies that were basically D grade copies of Disney hits. Richard Rich is a once Disney animator who tries his best to riff on Disney, taking a classic fairy tale and adding about every trope from the Disney list you can imagine, right down to funny talking animals. What he forgets is entertainment and a sense of life.
If anything, Deon Taylor’s crime thriller is a perfectly fine if somewhat overlong and derivative thriller that skates by mainly because of its charismatic cast including Mike Colter, Tyrese Gibson and Frank Grillo, respectively. It’s a shame because in a world where we’re discussing body cams, police corruption, and inner city crime, “Black and Blue” has the golden opportunity to tackle the issue head on. Instead it hits it briefly and doesn’t do much with the topic, instead building a thriller that feels oddly derivative of Antoine Fuqua’s “Training Day.”