Yesterday, I made the bold move of watching two films at the cinema, both very different indeed.

With Star Wars, I guess that I was inclined to see it, since it had gotten to the point where I felt like everyone had seen it but me. I’m not the biggest SW fan in the world, though I definitely enjoy the original trilogy, and I have to say that I’m more a fan of Star Trek. Still, I was very eager to see what JJ Abrams did with the SW saga.

As for the Hateful Eight…Well, I always enjoy Tarantino films, so going to see that was a no-brainer.

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So, the first one that I saw was Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. It got off to a pretty average start but definitely picked up speed after a relatively short time, building up to a wonderful, tense, exciting climax. The story itself is pretty much the same as that of “A New Hope”, albeit with some new directions taken and the film perhaps relies too heavily on references to the original films. Even with this, the storyline was still engaging and I was always interested in what was happening.

As for performances, Adam Driver made for a suitably menacing villain, as did Domnhall Gleeson in full Peter Cushing Grand Moff Tarkin mode and John Boyega has a very interesting journey as Finn. But perhaps most noteworthy of all is Daisy Ridley, who I have to say I didn’t much care for at first, predicting that she would be a wholly unlikable character. However, by the film’s end, she definitely won me over and I realised what a wonderfully strong protagonist she was.

There’s not much else to say other than this is a very exciting film with genuinely satisfying action scenes, perfect use of humour and I am glad to see that this didn’t end up like The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. In terms of rating, it’s either a high 4 or a low 5. Since this is the first film that I’ve seen this year, so I’m feeling pretty generous, and since I can’t really point out any major problems:

5 Stars.

So then I left the cinema… and then came back within half an hour to see The Hateful Eight.

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So, what did I think of that? Well, the first few minutes were excellent, with some spooky, eerie music over the opening titles but then the next hour was excruciatingly slow, though filled with some funny Tarantino dialogue. At one point, I sat much lower in my seat and honestly thought that I could take a little nap at that point.

But then it started getting good, though overwhelmingly bloody. The high point was certainly the “earlier that morning” chapter, when the audience finally gets to see what’s really going on. When the action “kicked off”, I was definitely paying more attention.

Performances? Well SLJ is obviously awesome in anything and Kurt Russell was also wonderful to watch. But the film’s MVP  is clearly Jennifer Jason Leigh. As someone once pointed out, even when other characters are talking, your eye is still drawn to her and in all fairness, she out-acts pretty much everybody.

So in summary, after a long hard trudge in the opening act, The Hateful Eight does indeed produce some tense, exciting scenes and classic Tarantino dialogue. However, it does need to be reined in quite a bit and the film ultimately does far too little.

3 Stars.

So, that’s all folks . Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time I go for a double bill at the cinema. Not likely! 😉

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