Grim Pickings / 16 August 2019

Cinemas & Home Entertainment This Week…

GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with Tarantino’s ninth feature opening in cinemas while home entertainment delivers the highest grossing film of all-time!


Quentin Tarantino’s latest is a love letter to the Hollywood of his childhood, stylised within every inch of its scope and aural presentation, so richly textured that at times it becomes overwhelming. Like the home of a devout collector boarding on obsessed hoarder, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD often feels too jam-packed with ‘cool stuff’ aka pop-culture references that it not only becomes superfluous but at times distracting from the centralised action. That said Tarantino’s ninth feature is less of a conventional narrative and more of a fan-fiction mood piece with the film’s plotting stretched across a 161 minute runtime so one is never truly at odds with following its simple and rather coincidental story. For all its self-indulgence, revisionist history and prolonged duration, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD does offer up a reasonably fun insider perspective of a bygone era of Hollywood while providing a surprising amount of laughs along the way. It’s a far cry from JACKIE BROWN or PULP FICTION but it is exciting to see a filmmaker like Tarantino taking chances so far into his career, even if somewhat ramblingly nostalgic.  Taking place in Hollywood in 1969 where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognise anymore.


While it’s only been a year since AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR opened in cinemas, its cliffhanger finale made the wait feel like an eternity and our anticipation could not have been greater…to find out whether Ant-Man would go ‘Thanus’ to save humanity. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t. Now in the interests in keeping this micro-review spoiler free, we’ll just say that ENDGAME is everything you could want from an AVENGERS film and more. Filled with awe-inspiring action, a few heartfelt moments and sheer awesome, ENDGAME is quite possibly the best film in the MCU yet. Despite its three hour run time, there’s never a dull moment and while there’s no action after credits, there is something so keep an ear out as the final Marvel logo rolls at the close of the credits. The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Disney’s 4K Ultra-HD & Blu-ray releases contain an Audio Commentary with directors Anthony & Joe Russo and writers Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, six Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel and seven Featurettes ranging from ‘Remembering Stan Lee’ to ‘The Women of the MCU’. LONG SHOT
Jonathan Levine, the writer/director responsible for 2013 zom-com WARM BODIES, returns with this Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan lead rom-com. While providing its fair share of laughs, LONG SHOT unfortunately deviates a little too far into the absurd and crass to maintain a genuine sense of sincerity to deliver on its promise of romance. 
Charlotte Field (Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she’s a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for…well, mostly everything. Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a gifted and free spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his babysitter and first crush. When Fred unexpectedly reconnects with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humour and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamorous lifestyle in the limelight. However, sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents. 

Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.