FILM: THE HATEFUL EIGHT
CAST: Jennifer Jason Leigh,Kurt Russell,Samuel L. Jackson,Walton Goggin
DIRECTOR: Quentin Taratino
RELEASES: January 29
Set on the wintry Wyoming landscape a bounty hunter and his prisoner are forced to seek shelter in a makeshift inn along with six dangerous strangers. As a storm overtakes the mountainside stopover a plot of betrayal and deception ensues.
‘The Hateful Eight’ made its auspicious debut on April 19, 2014 as a staged reading benefitting Film Independent, a non-profit organization that champions the independent filmmaker. Downtown Los Angeles’s Ace Hotel Theatre, a former movie palace, swelled to its 1600-seat capacity as fans of Quentin Tarantino assembled for an unprecedented live performance of the writer-director’s latest work.
Tarantino performed his screenplay’s action and description lines alongside an award-winning ensemble of Tarantino “regulars”, including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Dana Gourrier and Zoe Bell.
Russell was not informed of the scale of the reading when he signed on to play John “The Hangman” Ruth. During the three-day rehearsal process, the actor heard rumblings from his fellow cast about a “theatre”. Russell remembers: “I said, ‘Wait a minute. What are you talking about?’”
“And then I found out we were going to be doing this at a theatre with sixteen hundred seats for charity. I thought, ‘OK, this is good,’” Russell muses. “It was kind of special. There was a lot of energy in the theatre. People were excited to hear it.” “I have terrible stage fright,” Tim Roth recalls. “It was a mixture of film and theatre, the reading. It was extraordinary fun. I was exhausted by the end of it. Everyone was revved up, and excited, and nervous. Quentin made a show out of it, and it was a hot ticket.”
“The audience went crazy for it,” Walton Goggins, who plays Chris Mannix, recalls, adding that there was a shared pride among the actors following the reading: “In that moment, we all looked at each other, and we all felt the same way: whether this gets made or not is irrelevant. We were here for this once in a lifetime experience, and if it were to get made, then that would be the icing on the cake.”
Although Tarantino intended for the reading to be a standalone event, the overwhelming response inspired the director to reconsider immortalizing ‘The Hateful Eight’ on film. “People gave us a standing ovation after the reading, which was amazing,” Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Major Marquis Warren, recalls. “We all looked at each other, thinking, ‘how’s he not going to make this movie after that?’”
Roughly eight months later, principal photography on ‘The Hateful Eight’ began in Telluride, Colorado.
Anyone in attendance at the staged reading would have heard Tarantino remark – more than once – that ‘The Hateful Eight’ would be filmed “in glorious 70mm.” Tarantino went one step further: he chose to film in a stunning, long-dormant format called Ultra Panavision 70.
Last used in 1966 on ‘Khartoum’, Ultra Panavision 70 employs anamorphic lenses (as opposed to traditional spherical lenses) to create a “gloriously” wide aspect ratio of 2.76:1. Ultra Panavision 70 was used on only a handful of films, including ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’, ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, and ‘Battle Of The Bulge’.
“Capturing this bleak Western landscape, capturing the snow, capturing the beauty of these locations would be perfect for 70mm,” Tarantino says, noting that the format also brings intensity to the film’s interiors. “I believe that these big formats offer more intimacy. You can be closer to the characters. It could bring you closer and invade the intimacy of the characters in its bigness. I don’t think that it is a format that is only meant for travelogues.”
The width of the projected image is only part of what makes Ultra Panavision 70 a preferred format. Film captures depth, colour and light in ways that the digital image cannot: “Oftentimes with the new digital world people say it’s so clear,” producer Shannon McIntosh notes. “We’re clear and in a way that is so beautiful because of this film. It is hard to imagine folks wanting to go back to look at a digital image after that. It’s spectacular.”
“When people see ‘The Hateful Eight’, they won’t ask, ‘Why did you bother shooting it on 70,’” Tarantino says. “How gorgeous it is, and how intimate it is, and how vivid it is, and how intimate it is will be the answer.”
FILM: THE 33
CAST: ANTONIO BANDERAS, RODRIGO SANTORO, JULIETTE BINOCHE, JAMES BROLIN, LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS, MARIO CASAS, JACOB VARGAS, JUAN PABLO RABA, OSCAR NUÑEZ, TENOCH HUERTA, KATE DEL CASTILLO, COTE DE PABLO, BOB GUNTON, GABRIEL BYRNE
DIRECTOR: PATRICIA RIGGEN
RELEASES: January 29
In 2010, the eyes of the world turned to Chile, where 33 miners had been buried alive by the catastrophic collapse of a 100-year-old gold and copper mine. Over the next 69 days, an international team worked night and day in a desperate attempt to rescue the trapped men as their families and friends, as well as millions of people globally, waited and watched anxiously for any sign of hope. But 200 stories beneath the surface, in the suffocating heat and with tensions rising, provisions – and time – were quickly running out.
A story of resilience and personal transformation, the film takes the audience to the Earth’s darkest depths, revealing the psyches of the men trapped in the mine, and depicting the courage of both the miners and their families who refused to give up.
Based on the gripping true story of survival – and filmed with the cooperation of the miners, their families and their rescuers – ‘The 33’ captures the never-before-seen actual events that unfolded, above and below ground, which became nothing less than a worldwide phenomenon.
‘The 33’ was filmed on location in Chile’s harshly remote yet breathtakingly beautiful Atacama desert just kilometers away from where the event took place, and deep within two mines located in central Colombia.
Director Patricia Riggen states, “This movie is about being trapped and alone and facing death, but it is equally about having faith and, in a way, coming back to life. It’s about rebirth and the strength of the human spirit and so much more.
“One of the first things that drew me to the project,” she continues, “was realizing how many people were touched by this story. In developing the film, I wanted to explore what it was that moved people around the world. What made them so invested in the lives of 33 men they would never know?”
Antonio Banderas, who stars as the de facto leader of the miners, Mario Sepúlveda, remembers following the events as they unfolded on television. Though he portrays one of the men trapped in the mine, he says, “The key for me was that the efforts to rescue the miners were successful because of the families pushing the government to do something. To fully understand this story, you have to see both the down and the up – what happened in the mine and what happened above. When you get the whole picture, it says so much about love and the value of individuals. It’s a celebration of life.”
“This movie is life-affirming,” echoes Lou Diamond Phillips, who stars as miner Luis Urzua. “There is humanity, there is hope, there is inspiration and an absolute tribute to faith in every frame. And because it is based on a true story, it can reinforce our belief in the human spirit. We are not manufacturing heroes in this film; we are simply shining a light on real people who became heroes.”
FILM: 5TH WAVE
CAST: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff
DIRECTOR: J Blakeson
In the new film ‘The 5th Wave’, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal 5th wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.