In Review: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Submerged in a murk of ruminative nostalgia, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood emerges with a clarity for former masculine ideals and a sense of eras coming to a close. A culture is dying, and its creators’ existential security with it. We follow a fictional dwindling movie star and his stunt man as they hurtle into obsoletion, aware of the tide turning beneath them while they are also too stuck in their ways to adapt instead. We also follow the emerging star Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) as she wanders casually toward history, an event that marks both a beginning and an end.

As Tarantino crafts this tale, his most ponderous and slippery creation, it becomes apparent that he’s grappling with the current state of filmmaking affairs, rewriting history to discuss an industry on the precipice of seismic change on multiple fronts. But of the many things that Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is – bruised, affectionately satirical, hesitant – conclusive is possibly not one of them. It’s Tarantino’s least demonstrative film, and ultimately his most open to interpretation.

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In Review!: “The Big Short”

The 2007 financial crisis has left behind not only global financial destruction and economic distress, but also lingering rage among the masses still mind boggled about the particulars of just what hell caused so much upheaval. That rage fuels the fire of Adam McKay’s The Big Short, a well-intentioned misfire that somehow aims to clarify through cacophony.

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Perhaps the clang and clutter of the film’s construction is intended to reflect the over-stimulated world that we find ourselves in today, where every bit of consumerism and media drives a culture of distraction that keeps us from noticing the rug being pulled out from under us, let alone how and who is doing the pulling. But the film distracts us much in the same way: cocaine editing and zipping eyesore handheld filming prevent any type of resonance with the subject. It’s simply too much and the film buckles under the strain of withstanding such recklessness.

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