Because we didn’t lose enough definitive talents this week, Alan Rickman has passed away. While I might have only a passing knowledge of David Bowie with which to remember him, for Alan Rickman his greatest hits are indelibly burned into my brain. And how could they not be? The man was a brilliant actor with a wholly unique presence, a performer who was destined to be iconic. He played some of the all-time great pop culture characters of the last thirty years, and cinema is so much richer for it.
Art by Dave McCaig
It was a shock to the world when we heard late last night that David Bowie had passed away from cancer at the age of 69. Not just because he had kept his 18-month battle completely hidden, or because he had just released a new album and launched an Off-Broadway musical. What was shocking about the death of Bowie was that he always seemed like an honest-to-God immortal, a constant in pop culture over the span of several generations. And while Bowie himself might be gone, there’s no doubt he’ll continue to be a constant for generations to come.
2015 is dead. Long live 2016! And let us celebrate the reign of the new calendarial overlord with… January, I guess? Because nothing rings in the New Year like another disappointingly slim selection of no-man’s-land movies and long-delayed write-offs. Thanks Hollywood! But honestly, cinematically-speaking this is still looking like a better January than most. Let’s see why.
Happy New Year, folks! As always, beginning a new year means reflecting on the old one, in cinema as much as anywhere else. 2015 was quite a good year for movies indeed, and while I doubt anyone will wholeheartedly agree with my selections I would hope that everyone still found their share of films to enjoy and learn from. But this is my blog, so it’s my list we’re talking about first and foremost… so let’s get to it!
At this point I think we all have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a Quentin Tarantino film. You’ll get your opaque cult cinema references, your flowery dialogue, your jet-black humor and your bloody ultraviolence, all linked together by the fearless audacity of Tarantino’s frantic cinematic voice. The Hateful Eight certainly has all of these ingredients present and accounted for, and I am not surprised to see some critics already complaining that it is standard QT fare. But to dismiss The Hateful Eight in this way ignores two new ingredients in this particular pot of Tarantino: the deliberate pace, and the unshakable nihilism. And with that in mind, I say that The Hateful Eight shows Tarantino forging new ground in his filmography, while still staying true to that audacious voice that has made him a modern cinematic master.