I recently caught a press screening of The Hateful Eight in 70mm and I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed it — in contrast to Quentin Tarantino’s last film, Django Unchained, which was for me a crushing disappointment. It looks, however, like QT’s new blood-soaked western is going to be the most divisive film of his career thus far — with some critics already claiming that it’s the most vile and depraved thing he’s ever done while others have praised it for representing the birth of some kind of new political consciousness in his work. Personally, I think both of these extremes are ridiculous and enjoyed it for being the rip-roaring genre piece that it is, precisely the level on which I’ve enjoyed most of Tarantino’s movies. Chief among its virtues are that it’s an incredibly suspenseful and ingeniously plotted piece of work and it uses the 70mm format to breathtaking effect. I’m also grateful for what I perceive to be QT’s apology for his misguided criticisms of John Ford while on his Django Unchained World Domination Tour; The Hateful Eight contains explicit homages to both Stagecoach and Ford’s use of the effete British actor Alan Mowbray (the clear source of Tim Roth’s “Mobray” character) in both My Darling Clementine and Wagon Master. Perhaps Tarantino decided to spend a little more time with Ford after reading Kent Jones’ brilliant rebuttal to his remarks in Film Comment? Anyway, for my latest Time Out Chicago blog post, I talked to Julian Antos, technical director of the Music Box Theatre, about the unique challenges of projecting The Hateful Eight in 70mm. If you have any interest in seeing this film, you owe it to yourself to see the “Roadshow” version in 70mm.
In other news, in last Friday’s edition of Cine-File Chicago, I have a new capsule review of Charles Poekel’s sweet, low-key and ultra-realist indie Christmas, Again, which I highly recommend. Chicagoans have one more chance to catch it on the big screen at the Siskel Center tonight.