Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is so gloriously, wickedly indulgent, compelling and hilarious. The film QT was born to make. The world is a more colourful place in Quentin Tarantino’s twilight zone. Round two, please.
Quentin Tarantino might not have the largest directorial resume in Hollywood, but all of his solo directing work over 25+ years has been met with mostly positive reception. So to say that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the film he was born to make is high praise indeed. That Shelf managing editor Jason Gorber was also pleased by Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, although he admitted that not everyone will feel the same way:
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Historically dubious, thematically brilliant, QT finds his form in film that could win Palme d'Or or be picketed by audiences, or maybe both. Thrilling, provocative, blackly comical, intensely unsettling masterwork.Sometimes you can summarize your feelings for a movie in just a few words, and that’s just what Thrillist’s Emma Stefansky did with her praise for the latest Quentin Tarantino movie:
But not everyone was willing to declare that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a success across the board. The New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan was more measured with his reaction:
I reeeeally liked Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
There Were 10,297 Balloons in Up. The animators who created the pack of balloons in Up actually created every single one. The film’s effects artist, Jon Reisch, told Tech Radar that, “The entire canopy is filled with balloons. We didn’t just simulate the outer shell.” And they even got a specific count of exactly the number of balloons: 10,297.
There will be many, many hot takes to come on the new Tarantino but I don’t mind letting mine cool off on the counter a little longer. I know it’s more relaxed than I was expecting, and that DiCaprio is terrific, funny and poignant. The rest, I’m gonna mull over.Indiewire’s Erick Kohn also felt into more mixed territory with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, though he did appreciate the Easter eggs and lead performances:
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a meandering Tarantino hangout movie, plays w/history, celebrates the art of the TV western & the creative thrill of performance. DiCaprio & Pitt are better than ever. Lots of nostalgic Easter eggs. It’s fun! But manage expectations.FirstShowing’s Alex Billington noted how as has been made clear in the marketing, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood delves deeply into the culture that Quentin Tarantino grew up with:
As expected, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Tarantino referencing other films and TV and old Hollywood and good times in the 60s. Digging into his past and showing us, through perfectly crafted cinema, his feelings about moviemaking and artists and the Manson murders and more.
Torontoist contributor Jesse Hawken said that fans of some of Quentin Tarantino’s most famous movies will appreciate what he delivers in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: fans of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill know what to expect from Quentin Tarantino and once again he delivers! A hip, cool joyride that injects a shot of classic Hollywood cool to the multiplex. Leave the kids at home for this one, folks!Finally, Anne Thompson, also of Indiewire, complimented Once Upon a Time in Hollywood not just for its premise, but also for what the lead actors brought to the table:
Tarantino’s gorgeous Once Upon a Time in Hollywood lovingly recreates a showbiz period that is long past, of cowboys, manly men and crazy hippies. DiCaprio and Pitt are funny and brilliant, as is Margot Robbie as sweet Sharon Tate. It’s an elegy.So while it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, as is frequently the case with Quentin Tarantino’s filmography, it sounds like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is another winner for the director. Considering that its only opening weekend competition in July is the animated Wish Dragon (another Sony release), that, along with these positive reviews, ideally bodes well for its box office performance, although there will still be The Lion King to contend with, as it opens the weekend before.
It’s also worth mentioning that there was a bit of a ruckus surrounding Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Cannes screwing. Deadline reports that hundreds of ticket holders were turned away from the premiere. These tickets cost as much as $1000+ each, and even though they were scanned, the holders were held at the edge of the red carpet until being told there was no more room left in the theater, despite the fact that some people had arrived early. This is evidently one of several disorganization issues that have popped up during the festival. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follows a television actor and his stuntman trying to navigate the changing Hollywood landscape, all as The Manson Family is up to its illicit activities. The sprawling ensemble cast also includes Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Al Pacino , Luke Perry, Lena Dunham , Damian Lewis, Bruce Dern and many, many more. It is Quentin Tarantino’s first movie not to be associated with Harvey Weinstein, with Sony Pictures winning the distribution rights.
"Amélie." Audrey Tautou doesn't know how to skip stones; the stone-skipping scenes were made with special effects.
You can judge Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for yourself when it’s released in theaters on July 26. For now, you can look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies are opening later this year. As for Quentin Tarantino, he hasn’t officially announced what movies he’ll work on next, although he did say that his Star Trek movie is still a “very big possibility.”