Amoeblog

The Films Within Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood'

Posted by Amoebite, July 24, 2019 04:50pm | Post a Comment

Once Upon a TIme ... In Hollywood - Amoeba Music - photo by Aaron Araki

By Jackie Greed & Aaron Araki

In the summer and fall of 2018, Los Angeles was transported back to 1969…and it was a glory to behold! At any given moment, you could drive by a block or two that had suddenly been covered in '60s signage and window dressing, with vintage cars parked alongside the curb next to an old parking meter. All of this period makeover was courtesy of Quentin Tarantino’s production of his 9th film, Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood. As we stumbled upon each re-created neighborhood, we admired all the wonderful attention to detail given to the various businesses (especially finding all the ephemera captivating). Throughout all the sights that were taken in, there was an immediate attraction to any advertising given to a film or television show. From large billboards and movie theater marquees to bus benches and the buses themselves, here is a spotlight of the many movies and TV shows that were captured from the on-location filming of Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood.

cinerama dome - Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood photo by Jackie Greed

cinerama dome - once upon a time in hollywood - amoeba music - photo by Aaron ArakiThe first shooting location we came across was right next door to Amoeba Hollywood at the Cinerama Dome Theatre. While at first it appeared that the iconic theater was setting up to screen Bernard L. Kowalski's 1969 epic, Krakatoa: East of Java, it soon became apparent, as the street filled with an array of classic cars, that this was indeed the set for Tarantino's then recently announced new film. As the sun went down and the sky hit that "golden hour," normal traffic was stopped and the roar of all the pre-1970 automobiles overtook Sunset Boulevard, while extras in slim fitting suits and shaggy hippy garb began walking the sidewalk, and the camera started rolling.  

Continue reading...

10 Essential Soundtracks to Add to Your Record Store Day Wishlist

Posted by Amoebite, April 16, 2018 03:33pm | Post a Comment

10 Soundtracks Record Store Day

Record Store Day is just around the bend, with all three of our stores ready to rock you with a stacked lineup of special appearances, performances, sales, and of course, exciting exclusive releases. This year, the good people behind RSD have outdone themselves in a lot of ways, in particular, with a truly impressive lineup of soundtrack LPs. From cult films to genre classics to the recently rediscovered, these reissues promise cool extras, sweet tunes, and plenty of good times. Some of these are available in ultra-limited runs, while others have been out-of-print for quite some time.

If you're a cinephile / soundtrackphile, read on for our picks for RSD 2018's most compelling soundtrack reissues available at Amoeba on Saturday, April 21st.

Krush Groove

Various Artists - Krush Groove [OST]

The Top 20 Soundtracks of 2016

Posted by Amoebite, December 29, 2016 04:51pm | Post a Comment

Top 20 soundtracks of 2016

There were lots of soundtrack releases to choose from this year, with many limited edition color vinyl versions creating excitement and selling out fast. Soundtracks play an incredibly important role in films by directors Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, and Nicolas Winding Refn, so it's no surprise that they each had two soundtracks appear on this list. Music from Star Wars films, new and old, made it on this list as well. Read on to see what made each soundtrack release so special.

Suicide Squad the Album

20. Various Artists - Suicide Squad: The Album

Although the movie was not incredibly well-received by critics, the soundtrack - which features Skrillex, Twenty One Pilots, G-Eazy, Panic! at the Disco, Eminem & more - landed it into our top sellers of the year.

Released on CD and LP.

Snowball's Chance in Hell: Django Unchained (2012)

Posted by Charles Reece, April 28, 2013 09:59am | Post a Comment

Along with Inglourious BasterdsDjango Unchained forms something of a diptych for Tarantino insofar as both are revenge fantasies set in two of history’s greatest atrocities: the Holocaust and American chattel slavery. In the interview he gave at the screening I saw last week, he certainly thinks of them that way. But before either film could begin to be written, one crucial difference in their respective historical situations delimited the possibilities of fantasy: one can fantasize about the end of the Holocaust by killing the highest members of the Nazi party, whereas there is no easily imagined personalized end to slavery through a few targeted acts of vengeance. Thus, the use of explosives against the Nazis seems a tactical act, a logical means of warfare. The use of bombs against slavery would border on what we call terrorism these days, or “irrationally” violent outbursts against a society (targeting civilians who can’t do anything to change the way things are, or think of the portrayal of the Watts riots, for example: why did they destroy property?). Slavery was a deeply structural violence, an ontological domination of a people that didn’t obtain in the instance of the Holocaust. Any heroic narrative set in the slave-built Southern economy is going to have a major hurdle to overcome: there is no real end in sight, the villain remains like the renewable heads of a hydra, nor is there a place to go where the hero’s limited victory will be recognized, much less celebrated (excepting the audience who might applaud at the film’s end). As Frantz Fanon famously wrote in Black Skin, White Masks:

The Jewishness of the Jew, however, can go unnoticed. He is not integrally what he is. We can but hope and wait. His acts and behavior are the determining factor. He is a white man, and apart from some debatable features, he can pass undetected. [...] Of course the Jews have been tormented — what am I saying? They have been hunted, exterminated, and cremated, but these are just minor episodes in the family history. The Jew is not liked as soon as he has been detected. But with me things take on a new face. I’m not given a second chance. I am overdetermined from the outside. I am a slave not to the “idea” others have of me, but to my appearance.

Continue reading...

Unleashing My Essay and a Few Others on Django Unchained

Posted by Charles Reece, January 8, 2013 07:44am | Post a Comment

My essay, "Snowball's Chance in Hell," on Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is up. I had some problems with the film:

So, instead of a critical reflection of Django’s narrative, complicating his own generically derived existence as black performativity (cf. blaxploitation), Stephen is treated as little more than a blackface projection for white fantasy. As Tarantino has stated over and over in interviews, he clearly wants his audience to take sides, cheer at the ending — not, I conclude, reflect on the problematic that the house negro presents. Django is the oppressed that white folk would like to be in such a situation, fighting for freedom (just as they would now, of course), with Stephen’s freely working for subjugation the negation that gives such freedom meaning — as if chattel slavery and its concomitant subjugation of black identity were a choice made by the subjugated!

Ishmael Reed
really didn't like the film:

Throughout the movie,Tarantino reminds us that the Foxx character is unique. Comic book white racists, when reacting to Django, say things like “I ain’t never seen a n—– like you.”Or “I ain’t never seen a n—– on horseback.” In case you didn’t get the message it’s said twice in the movie that Django is “one in ten thousand” blacks. It might have been Django producer Reginald Hudlin who introduced Tarantino to the “Talented Tenth” concept originated by W.E.B DuBois. I wish that Hudlin had written the movie. As it stands, Foxx is chained to this stupid screenplay.

Tarantino, despite the history of black resistance, apparently believes that progress for blacks has been guided by an elite, which doesn’t explain the hundreds of revolts throughout this hemisphere which weren’t guided by German bounty hunters nor Abraham Lincoln, nor a Talented Tenth Negro.

Regarding Samuel Jackson's Stephen, Jelani Cobb gets it exactly right:

Django’s true nemesis is not the slaveholder who subjects Hildy to cruel punishments but Stephen, the house slave devoutly allied with the slaveholder. The central conflict is not between an ex-slave and a slaver but between two archetypes—the militant and the sellout. But in creating Stephen, Tarantino necessarily trafficked in the stereotypes he was ostensibly responding to. Samuel L. Jackson plays Stephen’s overblown insouciance and anachronistic mf-bombs to great comedic effect. There are moments, however, when ironies cancel each other out, and we’re left with a stark truth—at its most basic, this is an instance in which a white director holds an obsequious black slave up for ridicule. The use of this character as a comic foil seems essentially disrespectful to the history of slavery. Oppression, almost by definition, is a set of circumstances that bring out the worst in most people. A response to slavery—even a cowardly, dishonorable one like what we witness with Stephen—highlights the depravity of the institution. We’ve come a long way racially, but not so far that laughing at that character shouldn’t be deeply disturbing.

And, if that's not enough, Armond White gets really nasty with his summation of Jackson's performance:

In Django Unchained Jackson is to Tarantino what Stepin Fetchit was to John Ford -- the actor who personifies his director’s sense of the Other. This is not an alter-ego thing; it transfers detachment into “sympathy.” Roles like Jules in Pulp Fiction, Ordell in Jackie Brown and now Stephen the ultimate Uncle Tom display Jackson’s patented shamelessness -- his Nigger Jim flair. Jackson reverses the anger that 70s black militants felt toward the Uncle Tom figure into an actorly endorsement. He embodies the dangerous Negro stereotypes harbored by Tarantino and every Huck Finn wannabe.

Finally, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has an interesting discussion with Tarantino, where the director explains his hatred of John Ford:

Oddly enough, where I got the idea for the Klan guys [in Django Unchained] -- they're not Klan yet, the Regulators arguing about the bags [on their heads] -- as you may well know, director John Ford was one of the Klansmen in The Birth of a Nation, so I even speculate in the piece: Well, John Ford put on a Klan uniform for D.W. Griffith. What was that about? What did that take? He can't say he didn't know the material. Everybody knew [Thomas Dixon's] The Clansman at that time as a piece of material.

One of my American Western heroes is not John Ford, obviously. To say the least, I hate him. Forget about faceless Indians he killed like zombies. It really is people like that that kept alive this idea of Anglo-Saxon humanity compared to everybody else's humanity -- and the idea that that's hogwash is a very new idea in relative terms. And you can see it in the cinema in the '30s and '40s -- it's still there. And even in the '50s.

Despite the film's profound flaws, I think it has more to say about America's racial history than any other film in recent memory. But, minimally, the film is worthwhile simply as the cause of that Armond White review.
<<  1  2  3  4  >>  NEXT