Quentin Tarantino

Broken Projector - Indiana Jones

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Broken Projector! This week, hosts Scott Beggs and Geoff LaTulippe ask you to vote for which historical wrong Quentin Tarantino should right next and Rob Hunter reviews Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad. And in the main event, Scott takes The Last Crusade while HitFix‘s Drew McWeeny take Temple of Doom in a debate over the best Indiana Jones sequel. Download Episode #1

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Django

Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Django Unchained (and all of Tarantino’s other films). With Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has taken a decisive shift in his approach to storytelling. Abandoning the non-linear, present-set depictions of an organized criminal underworld in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill films, Tarantino has not only transitioned to more conventional linear storytelling (with the exception of the requisite flashback), but chooses familiar historical contexts in which to tell these stories. With the WWII-set Inglourious Basterds and now with the pre-Civil War-era Western Django, Tarantino has made a habit of mixing the historical with the inventively anachronistic, and has turned recent modern histories of racial and ethnic oppression, dehumanization, and extermination into ostensibly cathartic fantasies of revenge against vast systemic structures of power.

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

Due to the holiday, the past week has been lacking in movie news and light on posting in general compared to normal. So, if you were worried that all your family time and present opening cut into the hours you could have been reading FSR, don’t be. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been slacking on the features, either. You do have a lot to catch up with if you’ve been away from the site the past seven days, but it’s an organized pile of reading material for you, because most of the necessary content from the week is part of our Year in Review. And hopefully you got an iPad for whichever holiday you celebrate, so you can very easily read all the goods in our special tablet format (and check out the best downloads and apps for movie lovers). Before you get to the lists, take a look at our reviews of the movies that opened this week, including Django Unchained, Promised Land and West of Memphis (we also posted a late take on The Guilt Trip) and our interview with Promised Land director Gus Van Sant. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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Quentin Tarantino

Emerging from a nitrate fire in 1963, Quentin Tarantino was fed only exploitation films, spaghetti Westerns and actual spaghetti until he was old enough to thirst for blood. He found his way into the film industry as a PA on a Dolph Lundgren workout video, as a store clerk at Video Archives and by getting encouragement to write a screenplay by the very man who would make a name for himself producing Tarantino’s films. Peter Bogdanovich (and probably many others) think of him as the most influential director of his generation, and he’s got the legendary story to back it up — not to mention line-busting movies like Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained under his belt. He’s also the kind of name that makes introductions like this useless. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a guy who really loves Hi Diddle Diddle and plans to keep 35mm alive as long as he’s rich enough to do it.

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DJANGO UNCHAINED

Quentin Tarantino has very quickly, but not so quietly, found a new niche for his filmmaking talents as a teller of tall tales with a historical bent. He’s less interested in historical accuracy than he is historical tomfoolery, but that never lessens the sheer entertainment he finds in mankind’s relatively recent foibles and misdeeds. From Inglourious Basterds‘ band of World War II Nazi-killers to his latest film’s vengeful slave turned bounty hunter, Tarantino has shown a knack for fitting his charismatic and electric characters into unexpected historical contexts with entertaining as hell results. It’s 1858 in America, and Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a dentist on a mission. It’s light on tooth decay, heavy on bloodshed and utterly unrelated to the field of dentistry. He’s a bounty hunter whose latest targets, The Brittle Brothers, present a challenge in that he has no idea what they look like. Undeterred, Schultz acquires, apprentices and befriends a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who can identify the brothers. In exchange the ex-dentist will help the newly freed Django reunite with his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who currently belongs to a cruel but undeniably charming plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). What follows is a tale that would have made American History class a hell of a lot more memorable as Schultz and Django cut a bloody swath across the post-Civil War South through racists, enforcers and recognizable TV actors (Tom Wopat! Lee Horsley!) from decades past. The cinematic violence is paired with […]

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boiling-point

If there’s one thing Spike Lee is known for, it’s complaining about racism. Turns out he’s also a sometimes movie director, which I hadn’t realized, what with him being mostly in the news for being an asshole or calling Clint Eastwood a racist. This time he has his sights set on Quentin Tarantino and the upcoming Django Unchained.  Lee blew up Twitter (or at least my Twitter), criticizing the film and his perception that it makes light of slavery and uses it for laughs and entertainment rather than being Amistad 2. Lee said the film was “disrespectful to his ancestors” and called slavery a holocaust via Twitter. His exact words: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.” Wow, seeing Django Unchained must have really gotten under Lee’s skin – or I guess it would have, if he had actually seen it. Yeah, Spike’s diatribe against the film comes from his perception of it, not him having, you know, actually seen it.

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Lena Dunham

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the coolest movie column of the year. Most nights, at least. Coolest Person of the Year – It’s a fascinating thing, for Time’s Joel Stein to name someone like Lena Dunham as the “Coolest Person of the Year” for 2012. Here on the Internet, she’s been the subject of much derision. Her creation, the HBO series Girls, has been the subject of heated discussion. Is it terrible? Is it a gift from a place where more is expected from comedy? Or is it just awkward? No matter your take, it is interesting. And her bold sensibilities combined with the network shield of Judd Apatow has created something culturally relevant. She even lost her virginity to President Obama, or something like that. Either way, TIME is right. She is pretty cool.

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Danny Boyle

According to an interview with We Got This Covered, Quentin Tarantino is expressing the unlikelihood that he’ll ever direct Kill Bill Vol. 3 and the certainty that he’ll never dive into the world of James Bond. Meanwhile, Danny Boyle is also politely passing on Bond speculation, claiming that he’s “not very good with huge amounts of money.” Frankly, not getting a third Kill Bill is an excellent situation because it leaves Tarantino free to work on other fresh projects that don’t already exist as a complete story. Surely there’s another historical wrong that he can correct through film besides the Holocaust and American slavery. Still, if Casino Royale was the only chance we had to see Tarantino join MI6, it would be nice to visit an alternate universe where he launched Daniel Craig into a tuxedo. And wouldn’t it be awesome to see Boyle take on Bond? Give it some energy? Skyfall was a fantastic slow burn, but it’s time Bond kicked it back into high gear. His forthcoming film Trance – starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson — sees theaters in March 2013, but he hasn’t publicly committed to a follow-up. The same goes for Tarantino, who has a lot of projects to choose from (just counting from the ones he’s mentioned over the years that haven’t yet come to fruition). Other than these denials, there’s no word yet on what they’ll be focused on in the coming year. Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

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Culture Warrior

Editor’s Note: Landon is participating in a top secret experiment this week, so he’s invited colleague Joshua Coonrod to fill in for him. Your usual Culture Warrior and I teach at the same university (Indiana U – home of Breaking Away and the Hoosiers) in the same communications program. Amongst the most interesting things about teaching media studies at a major university is the sense you get of what young film students are interested in, what (few) films drive them into theaters, and how they understand the constantly shifting mediascape around them. While you obviously don’t have to be an academic to watch film, love it, study it and critique it (re: the title of this site), it is intriguing to consider how upcoming film students – who make a decision to invest copious amounts of time, energy, and money into the study of film – approach the medium. With all the end-of-year discussions of 2012’s best films, what have those students been heralding? From my experience – barely anything. I feel like there’s a lot of assumptions as to the answer to that question, though. Film students? They like foreign films, right? Really arty, cerebral shit? Don’t they want to prove themselves by knowing the most obscure, hard-to-find films? My semester began with a student introducing himself in (just about) the following way: “My favorite filmmaker is this director Quentin Tarantino. He made this film Inglourious Basterds. Everyone should really check it out.” People nodded. The student looked proud of himself. I stared blankly, wondering […]

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Pulp Fiction

A prominent theater owner once told me a story about two production assistants hustling it out for little pay on a Dolph Lundgren workout video. Part of the video involved Lundgren running down a sandy hill, so when they needed to do more takes, the PAs had to smooth out the footprints in the sand (of which, yes, there was only one set). The two PAs threw themselves into the task with such gusto that the director was awe-struck. They rolled on their sides down the hill, happily did any other task necessary and even grabbed a dog turd bare-handed to get it out of a shot on a sidewalk. The director talked about them to everyone, claiming they were the best PAs he’d ever seen in his career. One of them was apparently Quentin Tarantino. It’s a bit of a myth that he learned about movies exclusively by working at a video store, and even if this story isn’t true, it’s fun to believe it — if only to imagine Tarantino furiously doing menial tasks and ripping dog shit off the ground without question. However, Movies.com has a relic of his early career with a big more proof to it: an excellent video where Richard Gladstein recounts Harvey Weinstein‘s reaction to reading the script for Pulp Fiction for the first time.

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With the year winding to a close, the last great hopes of the 2012 movie-going public are left resting on the final films set to roll out in the coming weeks. Let’s be frank – 2012 has had some real disappointments in various ways (we’re still wincing from Prometheus, and plenty of people didn’t find what they were looking for in The Dark Knight Rises), but there’s still time for certain productions to deliver on their promise. Certain productions like Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, for instance. While we’ll have to wait until next month to see the film (one that Tarantino is probably still cutting together as we type this), we can certainly have a good time with the project’s latest batch of marketing materials. Months from now, they may be all we have to look back on fondly, should Django follow in other disappointing footsteps (however, we pray it won’t). The film’s official website has recently rolled out and, in addition to being just damn fun to explore, it also features some fun takeaway bits, like these new wallpapers that focus on seven specific Django characters (and Tarantino himself, of course). It looks like all the wallpapers are also available as Facebook cover images, if you’re into that sort of thing. Just go Django-crazy, okay? Check out the eight new wallpapers after the break. Doesn’t your computer deserve a flashy, anachronistic treat today?

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Star Wars

We all know what time it is, people – it’s time for our daily Star Wars: Episode VII rumor! While this week’s other rumors have centered on people possibly wanting to get involved with the project (namely, that director Colin Trevorrow might helm the project and that screenwriter Michael Arndt is probably a lock to script it), today’s is all about people who are not interested in signing their lives away to Disney’s latest endeavor. And, man, are some of these people being harsh about it. To wit, the project’s “maybe-director” list has been rumored to include names like Trevorrow, Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Matthew Vaughn, and many more, but at least three possible helmers have now taken various opportunities to talk about how not interested they are in the project. Who’s out? Let’s find out.

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Foreign Objects - Large

Quentin Tarantino has never shied away from the debt he owes to foreign cinema when it comes to his own films, and whether they’re called homages or ripoffs the bottom line remains that certain movies from overseas inspired some of his most well known features. Reservoir Dogs is a blatant lift of Ringo Lam’s City on Fire, Inglourious Basterds found inspiration from Enzo Castellari’s The Inglorious Bastards and Tarantino’s two-part, female led revenge thriller Kill Bill? You need look no further than Toshiya Fujita‘s 1973 classic, Lady Snowblood. Japan, 1874, and the cries of a newborn baby can be heard echoing in the cells of a women’s prison. Deemed a “child of the netherworld” upon her birth we next see Yuki Kashima (Meiko Kaji) twenty years later as an adult walking a secluded and snowy road. A group of men approach carting their gang boss leader in a rickshaw, and when they attempt to forcibly move Kashima she slices and dices her way through them like blood filled bags of butter, painting the snow red as she goes. As the gang leader falls beneath her blade he asks who sent her, and he dies knowing only that it was revenge.

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Screen Shot 2012-11-02 at 6.00.52 PM

A movie like The Man With The Iron Fists, with the tagline of “They put the F.U. in Kung Fu,” can really go either way. While such a tagline promises some cool fight scenes and much bad-assery, do the goods stop there? Also, can RZA from The Wu-Tang Clan direct? Hell yes, RZA can direct! While the film does lag at around the three-quarter mark, not only are its fight scenes awesome and bloody, but they are creatively shot and have great cinematography. This, in combine with a gleefully clever and referential script co-written by RZA and Eli Roth, make for a fun film that fits nicely within the film’s “presentor,” Quentin Tarantino’s, postmodernist pantheon. After all, there’s even a cameo from Pam Grier.

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The Man With the Iron Fists is an ambitious first feature film. Not only because it cost more than the average directorial debut, but it’s from a nearly nonexistent genre with an unproven director at the helm in the form of rapper-turned-actor-turned-director RZA. Many would scoff at this project, but one man who didn’t is Eli Roth. It became a labor of love for both RZA and Roth, who came on as both a producer and co-writer of the film. From the sounds of it, RZA and Roth wanted to make the Star Wars of Kung-Fu movies. The long haul process of making the movie was about achieving that level of scope and world-building with a small amount of means, which is $15m, to be exact. Still, with that amount of money, The Man With the Iron Fists isn’t as big of a financial risk as it is a creative one. This wasn’t an easy project to get going, but as Roth told us, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Here is what The Man with the Iron Fists producer and co-writer Eli Roth had to say about the scope of the film, the importance of filmmaker buddies, and how Five Easy Pieces inspired Cabin Fever:

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RZA is excited for The Man with the Iron Fists. Whether it’s of high-quality or not, the Wu-Tang Clan leader got to make a martial arts movie — and, to sweeten the deal, as his first film to boot. That’s something to get giddy over, the chance of introducing an audience to a whole new world. Based on his name drop of Star Wars, that’s what RZA set out to do. Some may be surprised RZA is taking a crack behind the camera, but speaking with the writer/director while on his Man with the Iron Fists tour, we learned it’s been a dream ever since he was a kid. Now that the dream has come true, The Man with the Iron Fists already seems to have built up his directorial stock, considering all the projects he’s been signing on to make. Hopefully we’ll see more movies from him where he’ll, once again, tell his crew, “I want him looking like fucking Rod Stewart.” Here’s what RZA had to say about the sober mind directing requires, controlling a team of 400 people, and the importance of preparation:

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This Tuesday is the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of Reservoir Dogs, the film that not only put Quentin Tarantino on the map as an era-defining filmmaker but also gave the 3rd wave ska scene its own Phenix City Story (or Guns of Navarone or Dr. No or Scarface). Never mind the movie’s immediate legacy, though, because two decades later the story of “five total strangers” who “team up for the perfect crime” has outlasted the oddly inaccurate marketing (i.e. those lines from the posters, which also feature Chris Penn in a suit), the many copycats, the ska album samplings and even the overshadowing success and popularity of Pulp Fiction as the director’s big breakthrough to remain a significant pioneer and classic of American independent cinema. During its run in U.S. cinemas, which followed a debut at Sundance and appearances at Cannes and Toronto, not to mention earlier openings in parts of Europe, Reservoir Dogs never played on more than 61 screens, yet it earned close to $3 million. I’m certain it never hit my town in the suburbs, but I recall the first time ever hearing about it via a drawing of an ear in Entertainment Weekly illustrating a short note about the famously violent scene (my memory of this could be slightly off). And like so many of the film’s fans, I didn’t see it until the video came out the following Spring, at which time the torture bit became just one of numerous memorable moments. In […]

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If you want to go into Django Unchained unspoiled, then watching the second trailer isn’t the brightest idea. While the first teaser was all about attitude, this one is much more story heavy. It has the set up, the conflict, and some rather spectacular money shots. A few of those shots may be best to experience on the big screen first, so if you want to go in fresh, stick with the first trailer. However, if you want to see more of a slave owning Leonardo DiCaprio, then check it out:

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Apocalypse Now

This content series is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. It’s widely known that Quentin Tarantino worked at a video store before making it big, but it’s a widely held misconception that he earned his movie education while restocking the shelves of Video Archives. The filmmaker told MSN in 2009: “I want to clear something up about this. People always say I became a movie expert by working in a video store. I was employed by the video store because I was a movie expert. Before I went to Video Archives, I’d get the TV guide every week and read it cover to cover. Look at every movie playing. Circle all the movies I was gonna record. When I first discovered Howard Hawks, I spent a year and a half reading the TV guide and they played about 80 per cent of his entire oeuvre on Los Angeles TV.” Obviously, “Watch as Many Movies as Possible,” isn’t much of a secret, but it’s a more honest, tougher-to-take method for success than our vision of Tarantino soaking up movie knowledge through osmosis in Manhattan Beach. The secret involves a lot more homework. In that same spirit, here are 3 other secret ingredients that made great films as great as they are (and in some cases, possible at all).

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The moviegoing world was saddened earlier this week when it was learned director Tony Scott had died. Despite the manner of his death, it’s no less sad when a filmmaker such as Scott, who continued making films well into his 60, had many more films to helm. We felt it was time to hear some filmmaking insight from the man himself, which leads us to True Romance. The movie itself is a modern classic, an energetic tale of love, drugs, and a whole bunch of bullets courtesy of fledgling – at the time – screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. He also provides a commentary for the film, a rarity for the Pulp Fiction writer/director, but we’ll cover that another time. This is Tony Scott’s time, and here, without further ado, are all the things we learned listening to him speak about his film, True Romance.

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published: 11.26.2014
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