A&E » Film

Bland films and rich art

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The cinematic menu at the Whistler Village 8 is not looking all that fresh this week. Certainly, James Bond and Spectre is playing on a lot of screens and they still have Matt Damon in The Martian, but when it comes to new dishes the offerings are anything but gourmet.

Burnt is opening, a movie where Bradley Cooper plays a chef... and I kinda stopped paying attention after that.

Definitely, chefs are artists but if the true role of the artist is to push the boundaries of the societal status quo in hopes of finding a better path into the future, then how much can we really invest in a movie about a down-and-out chef trying to reclaim his status so he can cater to the most privileged parts of society and reclaim that elusive "three-star review"? It doesn't help that the movie looks about as enjoyable as finding a bloody fly in your crab bisque. Just sayin'.

Also opening, Love the Coopers, the first Christmas movie of the year. Huge red flag that there were no pre-screeners for this one but even without that, doesn't anything heavily "Christmas" marketed this early in November just seem desperate and flaky?

In any case, Love the Coopers has a great cast (John Goodman even!) and I hope every one of them enjoys their paycheck because all I see is a disjointed trailer, an unproven writer, and a lesser-proven director trying to sell me a PG-13 Christmas movie in early November. It's actually less appetizing than Burnt.

Thankfully the snow is falling in Whistler and there is lots to do outside. With the Village 8 under new management, we should just chalk this week up as a "transition period," but Hotel Transylvania 2 plays on the weekend for parents who need to take the kids somewhere warm and dry (avoid Peanuts at all cost).

On the small screen, the download of the week is as many Star Wars movies as you can handle because the new J.J. Abrams Star Wars is just weeks away. What I am more excited about however is Quentin Tarantino's upcoming flick, The Hateful Eight, which looks like a more stripped down, Reservoir Dogs-style, stage play-esque Tarantino film than we have seen lately. With a cast stacked like only Tarantino can, and a three-hour run time, this one looks to be a claustrophobic western fraught with betrayal, deception and snappy dialogue. Tarantino has never made a bad flick.

Which makes it all the more random that the American National Association of Police is pushing for a boycott of The Hateful Eight because they took issue with something Quentin said at an anti-police-brutality march in New York last month.

Reportedly, Tarantino is quoted as saying, "I'm a human being with a conscience and if you believe there's murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I'm here to say I'm on the side of the murdered."

It sounds pretty tame considering the situation south of the border, where the prevalence of police shootings, brutality, and racism seem to have changed very little since the early 1990s, when Tarantino started making films and NWA started pushing buttons with songs like "F@ck Tha Police." Racism in America has always been a thematic element to Tarantino's work. As mentioned, the role of artist demands that he take a stance, so why complain when he does?

The other downloads of the week are Tarantino-written films made by other directors. Tony Scott's True Romance (1993) is a well-known classic that came out after Reservoir Dogs and really set Tarantino up as an artist to watch (catching Christian Slater on the tail-end of his meteoric career didn't hurt either).

While Scott messed around with the scene-sequence and ending, Tarantino was reportedly happy with the way the film turned out.

That was not the case with Natural Born Killers, a super-black comedy anomaly directed by Oliver Stone and released in '94. While the film was an early (almost sage-like) critic of celebrity culture and the media, Tarantino distanced himself from the picture and most reports claim his script was drastically rewritten to fit Stone's twisted vision.

The original Tarantino Killers script exists though, and focuses much more heavily on the Wayne Gayle reality-journalist character than the Mickey and Mallory star-crossed lover/killers that ended up driving Stone's version. Depending on how deep down the Tarantino wormhole you're willing to go, this script is an off-menu treat that's well worth ordering.

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