The Fence

Which side of the fence are you on? When making a film about a civil war, it’s a good question to ask.

So, when a director attempts to craft a harrowing and immersive experience set in a dystopian near-future America, deploying evocative cinematography, art-house editing and eclectic use of music, against a screenplay so bereft of logic and meaning, the result is some of the dumbest shit committed to film. This is quite an achievement considering how bad cinema has devolved since 2016.

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Tarantino 10

Quentin Tarantino is undeniably one of the most distinctive and influential filmmakers of our time. With his unique blend of genre-bending storytelling, razor-sharp dialogue, and unapologetic style, Tarantino has carved out a niche for himself in the world of cinema that is entirely his own. However, perhaps equally as intriguing as his films themselves is his decision to limit his directorial career to just ten movies.

Tarantino has been vocal about his intention to retire from filmmaking after completing his tenth feature film. This decision has sparked curiosity and speculation among fans and critics alike. Why would a filmmaker at the peak of his career choose to impose such a strict limit on his output?

One possible explanation for Tarantino’s self-imposed ten-movie limit is the desire for artistic control and legacy preservation. By setting a finite number of films for himself, Tarantino ensures that each project receives his full attention and creative energy. This approach allows him to maintain the high standard of quality that has become synonymous with his name and to leave behind a compact, cohesive body of work that reflects his vision as a filmmaker.

Another factor influencing Tarantino’s decision may be a desire to avoid creative stagnation. By placing a cap on the number of films he will make, Tarantino forces himself to continually push the boundaries of his own creativity and explore new artistic territories. This self-imposed challenge encourages him to take risks and experiment with different styles and genres, keeping his work fresh and innovative.

Furthermore, the ten-movie limit may serve as a form of self-preservation for Tarantino. The demanding nature of the filmmaking process, coupled with the intense scrutiny and pressure that comes with being a high-profile director, can take a toll on even the most seasoned filmmakers. By setting a finite endpoint for his directorial career, Tarantino can avoid burning out and ensure that he leaves the industry on his own terms.

The Wonderful Nine

According to Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” marks his ninth movie, indicating there’s one more to make before he retires. However, this statement seems contradictory, as he’s already directed 10 full-length feature films. Tarantino’s filmography includes “Reservoir Dogs” (1992), which stuck to the hard-boiled crime caper, “Pulp Fiction” (1994), another neo-noir crime film, “Jackie Brown” (1997), his homage to blaxploitation movies, “Kill Bill” (2003/2004), a Kung Fu martial arts opus, “Death Proof” (2007) an unapologetic grindhouse film, “Inglorious Bastards” (2009), a war movie featuring the first use of Tarantino’s revisionist plot device, that kinda didn’t work, “Django Unchained” (2012), a western that attempted to be all westerns at once, “The Hateful Eight” (2015), another western trying to be a John Carpenter film, and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2019) that reused the revisionist plot device somewhat successfully.

Tarantino regards ‘Kill Bill’ as a single entity, implying that a potential ‘Kill Bill: Volume 3’ could be part of it, although the original saga was released in two distinct parts: ‘Kill Bill: Volume 1’ and its sequel, ‘Kill Bill: Volume 2’. Considering “Kill Bill” as one films, there is only one more film left to direct.

But, what should that final film be?

The Elusive Ten

Here is a list of Tarantino’s unproduced projects that have been on the cards for the last few decades, that could possibly resurface as his final movie outing as a director. Having already covered and mastered genres of most pulpy exploitation films, such as crime, western, martial arts, and neo-noir, the only genres he has yet to cover are horror and science fiction.

Over the years there are dozens of projects that have been left on the back burner, but here are the ten that seem close to what we may get or already ended up with.

  • Spy Thriller – Briefly attached to a film adaptation of the 1960s TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. and later expressed interest in directing Casino Royale. So, a gritty espionage caper in the vein of Len Deighton’s Berlin Game, Mexico Set and London Match could be on the cards.
  • Disaster Epic – Taking inspiration from popular ’70s genre films like The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, and Airport.
  • Kung Fu – A classic Bruce Lee-style martial art movie in Mandarin with subtitles and releasing it with dubbed cut. But this is well-trodden Kill Bill territory.
  • Sgt. Rock – this comic book adaptation was offered for him to direct, but this evolved into Inglorious Bastards. We can cross the Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes World War Two action flick off the list.
  • Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! – became Death Proof.
  • Killer Crow – depicting a rogue group of World War II-era black troops – again Inglorious Bastards.
  • First Blood – an adaptation of the David Morrel novel First Blood.
  • Snake Belly – a Spaghetti Western comedy, aka the Terence Hill and Bud Spencer movie, but Django Unchained went this way.
  • The Movie Critic – a film, meant to be set in the 70’s that ended up being a sequel to Once Apon A Time In Hollywood.
  • A horror/science fiction film – Tarantino hinted at a project, which blended the classics The Thing, Halloween, Stalker and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, into a kind of “slasher sci-fi horror”. With a hard-core Star Trek spec script that came later, his interest in this genre is evident and logical considering that half the movies in the video store at the time were B-grade sci-fi horror knock-offs of these same classics.

The Final Masterpiece of Genre

If Tarantino intends to round out his ten-film oeuvre with a diverse array of genres, his choices get narrowed down to two options: a Spy Thriller or a Slasher Sci-fi Horror. The former would suit his style like a glove, resurrecting the essence of Jean-Paul Belmono’s The Magnificent [1973] or The Man from Rio [1964], encompassing car chase sequences, and stunt work, both of which are non-existent in Tarantino’s movies. The latter, however, appears to diverge further from his typical style, as none of his previous works have embraced the grandiose budgets, elaborate special effects, or fantastical themes inherent in this genre.

It is possible he might opt for a simpler horror narrative infused with sci-fi elements, cautious not to jeopardize his reputation with a risky cinematic spectacle. On the other hand, he might succumb to greed, integrating espionage elements into his Slasher Sci-fi Horror project, immersing himself in the world of special effects, particularly practical effects reminiscent of 1980s FX artists, and leveraging the goodwill studios are likely to extend towards him.

The Belmondo Effect

Cinema, as a medium, has undergone a remarkable evolution since its inception, with various genres adapting and transforming over time to capture the ever-changing tastes and sensibilities of audiences. One of the most dynamic and enduring is the action genre, having matured into a multifaceted cinematic realm that explores complex themes, character development, and innovative storytelling techniques. As visual entertainment, the action genre has continuously evolved, reflecting the shifting cultural, and societal dynamics involving thrills and violence on the screen. Within this evolution, certain individuals have left an indelible mark on specific genres, forever altering the trajectory of filmmaking. One such luminary is the iconic Jean-Paul Belmondo, whose charismatic presence and groundbreaking performances have left an enduring influence on the action genre, including stunt work, car chases, and martial arts in cinema.

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The Asimov Cosmos

It could sound like a clique stating my first ever science fiction read was Isaac Asimov back in the late ’70s, but this may have been unavoidable. This guy was an iconic American writer and professor who dominated the genre for half a century. He even boasted he was the “Best Science Writer” backed up by none other than Arthur C. Clarke. They actually had made an agreement with each other, negotiated as they shared a cab in New York, the so-called “Clarke–Asimov Treaty of Park Avenue”.

The treaty stipulated that Asimov would always proclaim Clarke as the greatest science fiction writer in the world, with himself as runner-up, and Clarke would similarly proclaim Asimov as the best science writer, with himself as runner-up.

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The Iberian

Why is Russell Crowe not in the upcoming Ridley Scott Gladiator movie? As Paramount and Scott Free prepare for the new venture into the world of ancient Rome once again, with a late 2024 release, it seems that they’ve settled on making this a sequel.

Maximus Decimus Meridius meets his end at the end of the original 2000 epic historical drama film after the general is betrayed by the new Emperor Commodus, has his family killed, and is forced into slavery. After serving in the gladiatorial arena, and getting his revenge on Commodus, Maximus succumbs to his wounds and dies a hero.

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The Omega Legend

Of all the tropes, the ‘Last of a Kind’ concept is one of that rare theme, plot and character devices that has evolved into mythical existence with one perfect master stroke. Richard Matheson’s classic vampire novel towers over them all. ‘I Am Legend (1954)’ is an ingenious hybrid of two previous classics, such as Mary Shelley’s ‘The Last Man (1826)’ and Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula (1897)’. Vampirism and plague, a combination that captures the definitive pretext for a last man alive narrative, grounding the myth of the supernatural with the reality of pathogens.

Matheson also deploys another trope in the finale of the story, one that is more devastating in its social commentary. The vampires, the pandemic, and the last man on Earth are just the setup for the novella’s central message, and it’s the one element shunned by all the film adaptations to date.

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Gods of Wokeness

The golden age is over.

Works of art are no longer produced to quench a bored populace, who thirst for the type of content that frees them from their mundane lives, enhancing their outlook on life with fascinating stories, old and new, inspiring them to understand their lives and the world they live in.

Post-2016, works of art have degenerated into force-fed garbage that nobody wants, needs or trusts anymore. Deranged by political agenda or succumbing to incompetence, producers still want your money but aren’t willing or capable of delivering what the consumer wants.

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The Carpenter

All artists are influenced by the previous generation of artists. Westerns were part of John Carpenter’s cinematic diet growing up. John Ford, and Howard Hawks, these filmmakers were shaping cinema at the time, stamping out a movie language that would become the standard for anyone wishing the tell a story using cinema.

A fan of horror and science fiction movies such as The Thing from Another World and Forbidden Planet, John Carpenter defined another set of standards for a new generation of filmmakers. The modern horror genre is partly his offspring. Like his predecessors, Carpenter mastered the long game, building the tension until the big payoff. 

Nowadays, it’s clear that motion pictures have devolved somewhat. Big-budget Hollywood blockbusters lack most of the qualities that gave movies from the past the greatness they deservedly earned. Nowadays, even B-grade movies are more pathetic than ever. Low-budget productions are missing the mark completely.

It’s as if the current batch of filmmakers has stopped learning from the best.

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Star Wars

Star Wars: A Lost Hope

Now that this sad shit-show of a saga is over, the only thing we have left, is the thought, ‘what if they did a decent sequel trilogy with a coherent story without the political rape that Disney inflicted upon this series?’. How hard was it to produce something that remotely resembles a Star Wars story?

Apart from the visuals, there are three fundamental flaws with Episodes 7, 8 and 9. The visual effects and art design are the trilogy’s best asset, but sometimes they do act against the films. The entire narrative seems to be built around these great visuals. And then, to make things unbearable, the cluttering of the SFX is overdone, almost to the point of ridiculousness.

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Rise of the Dark Empire: A Star Wars Tragedy

Life imitates art.

It inevitably has to, because art starts off by imitating reality in an attempt to explain it in ways we humans can understand. We tell each other stories, to teach ourselves how to coexist in this strange existence, this universe. We learn from these tales all about what it means to be complex social beings.

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