THE HATEFUL EIGHT
2015, The Weinstein Company, 187 min, USA, Dir: Quentin Tarantino

For this wintery Western, writer-director Quentin Tarantino has marshaled an all-star cast including Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth and Bruce Dern. In post-Civil War Wyoming, a blizzard brings eight desperate characters - a combustible mix of bounty hunters, lawmen, criminals and ex-soldiers from both sides of the war - under the roof of stagecoach stopover Minnie's Haberdashery; it’s anybody’s guess who will make it out alive. Featuring glorious widescreen vistas and music by Ennio Morricone, Tarantino’s eighth film pulses with blood and betrayal.


THE DRIVER
1978, 20th Century Fox, 90 min, USA, Dir: Walter Hill

Criminally underrated and overlooked upon its initial release Walter Hill’s auto-noir, THE DRIVER, has justifiably built a cult following over the past decade from filmmakers, cinephiles and academics alike. Created in homage to Jean-Pierre Melville and Euro crime cinema, Hill pits existential getaway driver Ryan O’Neal against pit-bull detective Bruce Dern for a cat-and-mouse pursuit across the wasted underbelly of ’70s Los Angeles.

THE DRIVER is lean, mean and underpinned by a masterful cast that delivers sardonic wit and bitter brilliance on par with the very best film noir. Making her Hollywood debut, Isabelle Adjani has never been cooler in this twilight world where names are eschewed for actions. Where Hill most notably deviates from his peers and predecessors are the truly electric chase sequences. Breathless even by today’s standards, Hill repeatedly throws the viewer against his bumpers as he perilously races across LA’s unforgiving asphalt – an astonishing accomplishment considering the now-antiquated state of cars in 1978.

An influence on almost every heist film that followed, THE DRIVER represents a highlight of Hill’s stellar career and a stone cold, tough-as-nails masterpiece.


THE 'BURBS
1989, Universal, 101 min, USA, Dir: Joe Dante

This mix of comedy and horror was putty in the hands of director Joe Dante. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) decides to spend his weeklong vacation just hanging around the house, but that turns out to be less relaxing than expected thanks to new neighbors the Klopeks. Strange noises and bulky garbage bags coming from their house arouse Ray’s suspicions, and when another neighbor vanishes mysteriously, he and his friends on the block team up to discover what secrets lie in the Klopeks’ basement. With Bruce Dern and Carrie Fisher.


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