Quentin Tarantino Furious at Disney Over Star Wars Theater Booking: “They Are …

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Quentin Tarantino Accuses Disney of “Extortionist Practices” Over Theater Booking.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first in the franchise in 10 years and the start of a new trilogy, is set for release on Dec. 18. The Oscar-winning filmmaker vented on the Howard Stern show over a slight in which his upcoming western, “The Hateful Eight,” was booted from a planned run at Los Angeles’ Cinerama Dome starting on Christmas Day in favor of keeping “Star Wars” at the iconic theater through the holidays.Quentin Tarantino’s latest feature (only his eighth as the credits tell us) is a thoroughly contradictory affair and one that only he could have made: an epic shot on 70mm which is also an intimate chamber piece; a blood-spattered Western in which there is actually far more talk than there is action. When Sergio Leone first zeroed in on Clint Eastwood’s narrowed eyes and gritted teeth in A Fistful of Dollars, he wasn’t just showing off his leading man’s face – he was revealing the craggy topography of his soul.

The choice of venue is no small issue for the notorious cinephile — his preference is for audiences to see his latest three-plus hour epic in 70mm in a hundred venues across the country that could accommodate the format. For the trick to work, you need time, the right cast, and some very wide-angle lenses to drink the details in – and the stately, imperious, pyrotechnically thrilling new film from Quentin Tarantino has all three in ludicrous supply. Tarantino’s Western is scheduled to premiere there on Dec. 25, but the filmmaker says plans have shifted. “A couple of days ago … the Disney distribution people came down to the ArcLight and said, ‘No, you’re going to break your commitment with The Hateful Eight,” Tarantino’s told EW’s Dalton Ross on his SiriusXM radio show. “You’re going to not give them the theater on Dec. 25. TWC has known since advance ticket sales went on sale for Force Awakens in late October that it would not get the dome, but Tarantino wasn’t informed until recently. And in fairness, Tarantino’s film does lots of that, particularly in its glorious opening act (all praise to his cinematographer Robert Richardson: the landscapes have a sculptural grandeur, and there is a sunset here that captures what I’m fairly certain is a previously undiscovered shade of pink).

Instead, Hateful Eight — which held its worldwide premiere at the Cinerama Dome — will play in another auditorium at the Arclight equipped to project in 70mm film. So they actually literally are engaging in extortionist practices against us. … They’re coming out to destroy us, to grind us into the gravel.” Disney did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment. But after around 45 minutes the film arrives at the cramped confines of Minnie’s Haberdashery, a general store on the road to the frontier town of Red Rock, and there it remains for most of the rest of its leisurely three-hour running time.

This shady way station is the stage for a confrontation between eight of the orneriest varmints Tarantino has yet dreamt up – a rogue’s gallery without anyone to root for. Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) and John Ruth (Kurt Russell) are two bounty hunters sharing a stagecoach to Red Rock, along with Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Ruth’s murderous captive, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a gee-shucks ex-Confederate and the town’s new sheriff, who’ll see that justice will be done on arrival. They’re Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern), an old Confederate general, Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), a taciturn cattle-hand, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), a flamboyant hangman, and Bob (Demián Bichir), the shop’s temporary Mexican caretaker.

But what follows has more in common a classic Agatha Christie drawing-room mystery – albeit one that descends into the kind of grotesque blood-letting that would probably cause Hercule Poirot’s moustache to unfurl, with a swanee whistle sound effect, before the elegant Belgian detective fainted face-first into a spittoon in the corner. As the characters gruffly suss one another out, realising that all is not what it seems, you find yourself scrutinising their faces, or raking through the background for clues, watching loaded, spotting alliances being forged and broken.

The first act of the film slowly ratchets up the pressure – imagine the deliciously meandering, threat-laden dialogue of Inglorious Basterds’s opening scene, teased out to two hours – and at the intermission, I still had next-to-no idea what the film would do next. (The tension is heightened even further by a superb Ennio Morricone score, full of furtive contrabassoon and mounting music-box dread.) To avoid spoiling the fun, let me just say that the rapid series of developments at the beginning of act two caused a broad and beatific smile spread across my face which a week later has yet to fade. Minnie’s Haberdashery becomes America writ small, fraught with all the hideous, baked-in racial tension that lingers in the United States to this day. (At one point, the room is even divided into rival North and South areas.) And while its eight inhabitants might be individually despicable, they’re also a product of their shared history, and their fates are all but predetermined as soon as they walk through the Haberdashery’s door.

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