Directors: Charlie Kauffman & Duke Johnson
Starring: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
With his screenplays for Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation, and his directorial debut Synecdoche New York, Charlie Kauffman has shown himself to be one of the cinema’s truly unique voices. He thinks outside the box. But where his experimentation is usually at the narrative level, with Anomalisa, which he has written and co-directed with Duke Johnson, the experimentation is stylistic. This sombre tale of alienation and despair is told through stop motion puppetry.
Michael Stone (David Thewlis) is a respected customer service expert and author of the bestselling book ‘How Can I Help You Help Them?’ He has flown into Cincinnati for one night to speak at a convention. While he has a wife and son back in Los Angeles he is desperately lonely and sad man, haunted by a relationship from a decade ago which ended badly, something which is particularly front of mind at the moment given she lives in Cincinnati. In the corridor of his hotel he meets Lisa, a customer service rep from Ohio in town for the convention, and is quite taken with her. There is something about her which makes her stand out from the sameness of everyone else. She is an anomaly, an Anomalisa. Continue reading
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen
At a time when the film industry has become almost uniformly digital, Quentin Tarantino remains a passionate supporter of the celluloid process. With his eighth film, The Hateful Eight, he has put his money (or rather, someone else’s money) where his mouth is and chosen to shoot the film in the long dormant Ultra Panavision 70mm format. The last film to be shot on this super wide screen format (2.76:1) was Khartoum in 1966. Yet while employing a film format which is associated with epic spectacle, with its minimal locations The Hateful Eight is probably Tarantino’s smallest scale film since Reservoir Dogs – though twice as long and with fifty five times the budget, indicative of the increasing excess of Tarantino’s work.
Bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is taking wanted murderer Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock to collect the $10,000 reward. While most bounty hunters prefer the ‘dead’ option in ‘dead or alive,’ when John “The Hangman” Ruth catches you, you hang. Continue reading