Archives for posts with tag: Bruce Dern

We live in times when some take delight in exacting moral leverage over others by judging yesterday’s actions against today’s standards. Those of us who aren’t as self-certain in matters of virtue can ponder films like “Chappaquiddick,” the 2018 retelling of the 1969 car accident that killed a young lady and altered Ted Kennedy’s life. It’s fascinatingly ambiguous and will get you thinking – if you’re someone still inclined to do that. As the Kennedy machine tries to save his political career, we’re reminded that Ted isn’t the victim, the girl is. But are we really talking about the car wreck?

For the first half of “The Hateful Eight” (2015) (BTW, I counted nine relatively hateful main characters, but anyway…), there is surprisingly little violence. There is, however, a scene in which bounty hunter Kurt Russell expresses concern that a duplicitous co-conspirator will get jumpy and reveal themselves. The jumpy one turns out to be Quentin Tarantino, who could no longer hold back his violent instincts and unleashes a torrent of blood that drowns what had been a downright Hitchcockian Western mystery. I’m not stupid. I know Tarantino deals in the visceral. But there’s usually a payoff. Here, not so much.

 

There’s a fine line between quirky and creepy. I’m not sure the makers of “The Cake Eaters” (2007) appreciated that. There’s a mom who takes naked pictures of her teenage daughter (It’s not what you think!). A guy who works in the high school lunchroom has sex with a special-needs student (It’s not what you think?). A guy who’s wife passed away two months ago is boinking some lady across town (It’s not what you think…). You know, the trailer is only a minute and 47 seconds, and it pretty much shows you the whole movie. And it’s better edited.