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Holiday Movie Preview, 2015
Posted By: Sam, on host
Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015, at 14:00:27

Here's my Top 10 most anticipated of the season:

10. Youth
9. Trumbo
8. The Martian
7. Secrets In Their Eyes
6. The Good Dinosaur
5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
4. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
3. Joy
2. The Hateful Eight
1. Spectre


The end-of-year prestige season usually starts later than this. Several awards bait movies debut
at the Toronto International Film Festival in September but don't open wide until later. This year,
however, it seems like there is enough going on in September to warrant mention here. We begin

September 16 - Pawn Sacrifice

Edward Zwick is a director that I always take note of. He specializes in character studies set in
tense war situations (Glory, Courage Under Fire, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, Defiance). His
previous film was an interesting departure (Love & Other Drugs), and at first glance a film about
chess champion Bobby Fischer also seems out of step with his usual fare. But if the trailers are
any indication (and they might not be), Zwick recounts Fischer's cold war era showdown with the Russian
grandmaster Boris Spassky with the same intensity he has with his wartime dramas.

There is already a great film about Bobby Fischer (Searching For Bobby Fischer), but there is room for
another: while that film dealt mostly with Fischer's childhood, this one zeroes in on the matches with
Spassky focuses on how it was treated by many as a "battle" of the cold war. Who plays Bobby
Fischer? That would be Tobey Maguire, an unintuitive but possibly inspired casting choice.

September 18 - Black Mass

This movie is about Whitey Bulger, the infamous Boston mobster who informed on a Mafia family.
Interestingly, his brother was a state senator. The film pairs up Benedict Cumberbatch at a high
point in his career, with Johnny Depp at a low point in his. Depp, playing Bulger, looks to be
shifting away from the quirky performances he's overdone as of late, but then again this is not
unfamiliar territory: Michael Mann's Public Enemies, in which he played John Dillinger, was only
six years ago. The early word is tremendously positive, and if it holds up after a wide release,
this could be a major awards contender and reinvigorate Depp's drawing power.

September 18 - Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Putting the recent spate of dystopian young adult series adaptations into perspective: The Hunger
Games > Divergent > The Maze Runner > The Giver. This is episode 2 in a trilogy (with no split
final episode, amazingly!) that is solid enough if you like the genre but unlikely to win crossover
appeal. I liked it well enough.

September 18 - Captive

I'll just quote IMDb on this one: "A single mother struggling with drug addiction is taken hostage
in her own apartment by a man on the run after breaking out of jail and murdering the judge assigned
to his case. . . . Ashley Smith's real life ordeal and the best selling book she wrote about it,
An Unlikely Angel, have been crafted in a mainstream looking thriller from Paramount with Kate Mara
granted the opportunity to move on from Fantastic Four with a completely different role. David Oyelowo,
a rare Hollywood star who openly talks about his Christian beliefs and how they influence his choices,
doesn't normally play the antagonist, so we're most curious about his performance."

Other than low budget indies, faith-positive movies are generally so broad as to be toothless, but
this does not appear to be watered down.

September 25 - The Intern

This film depicts the office working relationship between Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. No, she's
not his intern -- he's hers! Wacky hijinks ensue, and by the end -- I'm just guessing here -- the
characters will have learned to empathize with each other. Okay, so I sound skeptical. I'm not.
When movies like this fail, they tend to fail badly, and director Nancy Meyers hasn't exactly been on
a hot streak lately. Nor has De Niro, for that matter. But the trailers suggest exactly the right
tone and some compelling chemistry.

October 2 - London Has Fallen [Note: Since writing this, this moved to 2016.]

Remember "Olympus Has Fallen"? No, of course you don't. It wasn't very good. It wasn't
even the best Terrorists Take Over the White House movie of 2013. But somehow there's a sequel
to it. Maybe it can be more accurately described as a London-set remake, except that the main
character is the same guy returning for another perilous adventure.

Honestly, I like the idea of doing more straight-up action movies of the kind that were popular in
the late 80s and 90s, and it's bizarre to think that this genre is now considered "alternative" summer
fare. But I saw Air Force One back in the 90s, and you, Olympus Has Fallen, are no Air Force One.

October 2 - The Martian

This is one to keep an eye on: This Ridley Scott film stars Matt Damon as an astronaut presumed
dead but then found to be stranded on Mars. Rescue is understandably a problematic undertaking, and
so Damon must MacGyver together a survival plan in the meantime. It's difficult to conceive of this
having the incredible tension and impact of Gravity, to which it is likely to invite comparison, but
I would be shocked if this turned out to be a missable film.

October 2 - Shanghai

John Cusack, Gong Li, Chow Yun-Fat, and Ken Watanabe star in this noir gangster mystery set in
Shanghai in the days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Slick streets, neon lights, and extravagant
period clothes make this, if nothing else, a visual feast. Bizarrely, the movie was shot and
released in China and other parts of the world way back in 2010 and is only just now seeing a limited
release in the United States.

October 2 - Sicario

The Canadian director Denis Villeneuve emerged in 2010 as a promising new director with Incendies.
I haven't seen that yet, but his follow-ups, Prisoners and Enemy, were brilliant films (the latter
being one of my favorite films of its year). I've seen Sicario, which deals with the drug war along
the U.S.-Mexico border, likened to Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, but with a sharper focus.

October 9 - Pan

Director Joe Wright is normally a maker of awards bait (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina),
sometimes makes interesting and unexpected choices: 2011's Hanna, for instance. This time his
surprise undertaking is this Peter Pan origin story. Peter is played by relative unknown Levi Miller,
supported by Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried, and Hugh Jackman. Wright's work is always visually
striking, and the trailers prove Pan is no exception. But it's tough to anticipate if this one will
stand out from the crowd or disappear from memory as soon as it disappears from theaters. I liked,
for example, the live-action version of Peter Pan from 2003, but I can't say as I thought about it
again after the credits rolled. My guess is that Wright is too good a director to make a forgettable
film, but his filmography is still short, and he's unproven with this kind of material.

October 9 - The Walk

You may have seen the documentary "Man On Wire," about the guy who crossed between the twin towers of
the World Trade Center on a high wire. This is a dramatic film that recounts that crossing. It is
directed by Robert Zemeckis and seems to delve heavily into the psychology of the man who did it.
Zemeckis was one of our most interesting directors for a while (Romancing the Stone, Back To the
Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Becomes Her, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away) and then seemed
to retire from live-action films to do motion capture animation (The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol)
before 2012's Flight. I'm always game to see what he's up to. Almost every one of his films is
very good if not great.

October 16 - Goosebumps

This adaptation of the hugely popular kids' books has an interesting meta premise: the imaginary
demons of Goosebumps author R.L. Stine are somehow set loose on the town, and it's up to his daughter
and her friend to set things right again.

October 16 - Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak is Guillermo Del Toro's take on the haunted house genre. It's such a perfect match for
his unique imagination that I was surprised he hasn't been there before. One of the film's stars,
Jessica Chastain (a particular favorite of mine) was outstanding in Mama (2013), which was a haunted
house film in all but a literal sense.

October 16 - Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg directs this Coen Brothers script about (from IMDb) "an American lawyer (Tom Hanks)
recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union."
Spielberg and the Coens are not natural fits, creatively speaking, but who's to say the partnership
couldn't work? I don't quite see the Coen influence in the material, but even if this was just a
work for hire for them, the script is bound to be strong. Spielberg, however variable his recent
output, remains one of the greatest directors of all time. I'm looking forward to this.

October 16 - Truth

In 2004, Dan Rather and Mary Mapes (news anchor and producer, respectively, of CBS News) broadcast
a controversial news report about whether then-President Bush, running for reelection at the time,
received preferential treatment in order to avoid fighting in the Vietnam War. The news report,
which relied on unverifiable documentation, ultimately ended their careers. This film, starring
Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mapes, dramatizes that story.

It's impossible to conceive of this film being the least bit apolitical: Robert Redford is known
for his liberal activism, Dan Rather was seen as a liberal news anchor and had courted political
controversy on other occasions as well, and George W. Bush remains a polarizing president. But where
will the editorial slant be? It's hard to imagine Redford playing in a film that disgraces critics
of President Bush, and yet that's how this particular story plays out. Were Rather and Mapes guilty
of imposing their own political views in their journalistic efforts, whether the facts bore them out
or not, or did they merely err in their eagerness to do the right thing?

This story easily can be told both ways or somewhere in between, as it continues to be amongst
the American people. This fact may answer the question: the film is based on Mary Mapes' memoir.

October 23 - Steve Jobs

Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin team up on this biopic. Sorkin, of course, wrote The Social
Network, another biographical film about a CEO in the tech world, and it seems like Jobs' character
and story is right up Sorkin's alley. And Boyle, like David Fincher (The Social Network), always
makes interesting films. But does anyone really want to see this? I'll certainly only be seeing
this one if it lives up to its high expectations -- which it very well might. I do concede that Seth
Rogen as Steve Wozniak is an inspired bit of casting, and Kate Winslet is great in everything.

October 23 - Suffragette

IMDb again: "The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground
to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State."

Carey Mulligan stars alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep. Mulligan is a force to be
reckoned with, and no doubt the subject matter lends itself to a powerful film. But whether this
winds up being genuinely inspiring or merely going through the motions of something important is
as yet unclear.

October 30 - Our Brand Is Crisis

Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton star as American political campaign managers on different
sides of an election in Bolivia in 2002. The film is based on the 2005 documentary of the same name,
but the trailer suggests something too stylized and lacking in pretension to be "based on a true
story." Suffice it to say I'm puzzled and intrigued by the approach to the material.

November 6 - Spectre

Obviously this is the movie I'm most looking forward to this season. James Bond's 24th outing takes
him back to the SPECTRE organization (which Bond fought back in his Sean Connery days), rebooted
through the great if obvious casting choice of Christoph Waltz. Sam Mendes is back in the director's
chair after helming the hugely successful Skyfall. The cast includes the wonderful Monica Bellucci,
who had inexplicably not played a Bond girl before, but now here she is, doing so at age 50, and why
not? I'm just hoping the "Bond is still becoming Bond again" trilogy is over, and we finally get to
see Daniel Craig play the character fully-formed.

November 6 - The Peanuts Movie

The timeless Charlie Brown cartoons from the 60s and 70s are so definitive that it makes me wince to
think of them "reinterpreted" for a modern audience in 3D animation, especially after witnessing the
travesty committed to Mr. Peabody and Sherman not too long ago. But the trailer actually suggests that
this film retains the heart and soul of the comic strip and the early cartoons. If that's true, it'll
be great to see these characters at play again.

November 6 - Spotlight

From the IMDb: "The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child
molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church
to its core."

At this point I don't know very much about this one except that early Oscar handicappers are calling
it a serious Best Picture contender. But the subject matter isn't actually fun, is it? Is it the
sort of thing I really want to put myself through, however important and noble the film's aspirations?

November 6 - Trumbo

Bryan Cranston plays Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter who survived the blacklist
period through ghostwriting. His story is a compelling one, in part because of how it exposed (if only
in retrospect) how ineffective the blacklist actually was and in part because Trumbo was one of those
artists who persevered in the face of great adversity and still managed to produce brilliant work.
Cranston looks fantastic in the trailer, but that's no surprise.

November 13 - By the Sea

Angelina Jolie, who continues to be most prolific in high-profile acting roles, has been quietly
directing small movies on the side. Her most recent, Unbroken, earned her considerable critical
acclaim. Her followup to that, however, feels risky: it stars herself and her real-life husband
Brad Pitt as a couple who are adrift and growing apart until they spend some time in a quiet seaside
town and spend time with the locals. If there is any hint of pretension or ego in it, it could be
savaged as a work of celebrity indulgence, but I suspect this won't happen: Jolie is not the least
bit flamboyant with her directorial work, and it's low key enough that even if it fails, it can do so
under the radar.

November 13 - Rings

This is essentially "The Ring 3." The Naomi Watts film was fantastic, but the sequel was forgettable.
For this third film, both the director and the cast are unknowns: it feels like a sequel designed to
make cheap use of the franchise name, rather than something somebody believes will live up to it.

November 20 - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Great books. Solid movies. The first movie, directed by Gary Ross, was probably the best, but the
replacement director has done a stand-up job. Like most split finales, Part 1 felt like the incomplete
story it was but should wind up being retroactively better if Part 2 doesn't crash and burn for some

November 20 - Secrets In Their Eyes

This is an English-language remake of the outstanding Argentinian crime thriller by the same name,
which was the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner for 2009. Such remakes are rarely as good as
their originals, probably because foreign classics depend in part on cultural idioms that don't
necessarily translate. But there are some -- like The Next Three Days (a remake of 2008's Anything For
Her, from France), Christopher Nolan's Insomnia (a remake of a Norwegian film), and the
aforementioned The Ring (a remake of the Japanese film) -- that are nearly as good. If this falls
into that category, I'm very interested. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts star.

November 20 - Carol

Few crime novels get under the skin like those of Patricia Highsmith. Her work, which includes the
source material for Strangers On a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Two Faces of January,
delves deeply into the psychology of seductively charismatic but offbeat and often disturbed
individuals. Carol is based on her second novel (not a crime novel) called The Price of Salt, which
caused a stir in its day. Oscar buzz has been stirring for a while now, both for the leads, Cate
Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and for the film itself, which is directed by Todd Haynes. Haynes'
Far From Heaven was probably a near miss for a Best Picture nomination back in 2002 (and did secure
a screenplay nomination).

November 27 - The Good Dinosaur

Is this the quietest Pixar release ever? I'm generally acutely aware of Pixar films that are within
about eight months of release, but I keep having to remind myself this one, about an unlikely
friendship between a boy and a dinosaur, exists. If the marketing is really that subdued, the
commercial prospects on the film might take a hit. But Pixar is more about quality than hype, and
many of its biggest successes were discovered organically rather than through an opening weekend
marketing machine.

Anyway, 2015 is a gift for Pixar fans. It's their second film this year, from a studio that
doesn't always even manage one. If it's half as good as this past summer's Inside Out, which was
enthusiastically praised, we're in for a treat.

November 27 - Creed

The existence of this movie is inexplicably hilarious. I think it's the title, which follows the
recent fashion of last-name-only movie titles. Who's Creed? Why, the son of the late Apollo Creed,
of course, a troubled youth wrestling with the weight of his father's legacy. Who better to mentor
him than the oft-retired Rocky Balboa?

Aging stars don't usually do right by themselves stretching their heyday successes thin, but Stallone
defied the odds a few years back by making not only a very good Rocky sequel but a decent Rambo one
as well. Can he do it again? Very possibly -- the trailer looks pretty good, the title character
is played by a promising up and coming actor (Michael B. Jordan, from Fruitvale Station), and even
though the last "mentor a kid" episode of the Rocky series was its nadir, it's still probably the
only promising way to continue the series.

November 27 - I Saw the Light

This is a biopic about Hank Williams. Musical biopics can often be very good, but they're rarely
great. An exception is the recent Love and Mercy, about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, which I
found enthralling, tragic, and delightful all at once. I couldn't get it out of my head for days.
Usually the best you can hope for is something like Walk the Line: exquisitely acted, a joy to listen
to, but ultimately a transient pleasure. If this is only that good, I'll have no complaints, but
is there reason to think this won't be Great Balls of Fire or Beyond the Sea? With an untested
director, tough to say.

November 27 - Victor Frankenstein

Is the awful Van Helsing sufficiently in the rear view mirror that we can attempt to revive the
classic Universal monsters again? Maybe? What's interesting about this project is that in contrast
to Van Helsing, which doubled down on its monster myths (escalating them to the point of absurdity),
this one takes a deconstructive approach. The film, recounted from Igor's perspective, has a "man
behind the myth" feel to it.

December 4 - MacBeth

Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard play Lord and Lady MacBeth in this lavish, brooding
production. Despite having a great admiration and affinity for Shakespeare's plays, MacBeth isn't
one that particularly resonates with me. I find Lady MacBeth's guilt-ridden descent into madness
compelling, but the rest, let's be frank, is about a mopey lunkhead doing dumb things and feeling
sorry for himself.

December 4 - Youth

This arthouse drama by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino has been quietly accruing some critical buzz.
The cast, Sorrentino's most recognizable, probably has a lot to do with raising its profile: it's
headlined by Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, and Rachel Weisz, and the supporting cast includes Paul
Dano (who has done amazing work over and over again without particularly earning a lot of name
recognition for himself) and Jane Fonda. Of these, Caine has always been a favorite of mine, and
Weisz has become one: I never thought, back in her Mummy days, that she'd wind up doing complex,
masterful performances she turned in in character studies such as The Constant Gardener and The Deep
Blue Sea.

The story is about Caine and Keitel as friends, one a retired musician and one a film director trying
to piece together a respectable capstone for his career. They're on vacation in Europe with their
children, whose lives are on uncertain courses. That plot synopsis tells you nothing other than it's
a family drama (about them, not for them) and a character study. How good it is probably depends
entirely on the strength of the writing, as we can presume that the acting will be solid.

December 4 - Life

Robet Pattinson stars as a photographer assigned to photograph James Dean. I'm guessing the title
has a double meaning, referring both to Life Magazine and to Dean's tragic fate. It's interesting
that the film's focus is the photographer, not the star, and it might be interesting to see a
storyline that provides the context behind some of the more famous James Dean photographs. But other
than noting that director Anton Corbijn has a short but distinguished filmography, I don't have enough
basis to make any guesses about how good this might be.

December 4 - Hitchcock/Truffaut

Amusingly, this documentary is about a number of film directors that are neither Alfred Hitchcock
nor Francois Truffaut. Rather it's about how these other filmmakers were influenced by Truffaut's
book-length interview with Hitchcock, which was a revelation in its day and perhaps the most
influential factor in Hitchcock finally receiving the critical admiration he had earned decades

The appeal of a documentary like this depends entirely on what filmmakers are interviewed in it.
They are Wes Anderson, Olivier Assayas, Peter Bogdanovich, Arnaud Desplechin, David Fincher, James
Gray, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, Paul Scrader, and Martin Scorsese. Make your own
judgment, but half of those names are enough for me.

December 11 - In the Heart of the Sea

Ron Howard directs this seafaring adventure spectacle about a real-life event from 1820, when a
sperm whale took it upon himself to prey upon a whaling ship and stranded its crew at sea.
Old-fashioned adventure stories are a dying breed these days, so I wish I were more interested, but
at this point I feel like I've seen every possible disaster-at-sea movie and don't know what's left
for a new one to do. I'm sure this could surprise; let's hope it does.

December 11 - Legend

No, it's not Tom Cruise prancing about in a pixie costume. It's a pair of notorious British gangsters
running organized crime in the East End of London during the 1960s. The film is by writer-director
Brian Helgeland, whose output is, shall we say, uneven. (He wrote the screenplays for
L.A. Confidential and The Postman in the same year.) His work as a director is less distinguished
than his writing, although his last film, "42," was solid. Legend is the sort of material that's
securely in his wheelhouse, and the early buzz is mostly positive.

Still, it would have to be outstanding to catch my attention. If ocean adventures are exhaustively
covered by other films, gangster sagas sure are, and several times over besides.

December 18 - Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Here we are! It's the most anticipated film of the decade, right? But hang on. I don't want to rain
on anybody's parade; I want this to be great as much as anybody. But look, didn't we all feel about
The Force Awakens the way we once felt about The Phantom Menace and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of
the Crystal Skull? I'm convinced that replicating childhood joys is impossible. No matter how great
the trailer looks, I think anybody with unreserved expectations for the film is heading for
disappointment -- even if The Force Awakens is an excellent film in its own right.

I think there's good reason to expect that it will improve on the prequels, but if all we get is an
incremental improvement, that won't be enough. The best we can hope for is something as good as
Abrams' Star Trek reboot, which I think was pretty good but whose reception was neither unanimous nor

What I'm getting at is that this (both the anticipation of it and the actual viewing of it) can be a
lot of fun with the right expectations. But I see a lot of people with the wrong ones. Go ahead and
mark "Force Awakens backlash" on your calendars now. It'll happen, deservedly or not.

December 25 - Joy

David O. Russell will hit a wall eventually, but who's to say it'll be this time? He's had three
great films in a row (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle), the two most recent
with his Joy stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Not a lot is known about the film other
than the broad strokes of the story: Lawrence plays the struggling single mom who invented the
Miracle Mop and soon found herself at the top of a powerful corporation. Four generations of her
family come into play, the cast being rounded out by Russell regular Robert De Niro and other
such luminous performers as Isabella Rossellini and Virginia Madsen.

Russell's recent work has been criticized of aping Scorsese, but I don't buy it: his style bears some
similarity, but it's all his own. And who can resist his personal comeback story? After an early
masterwork (Three Kings) and a decade of artistic failures, he improbably found his groove again,
whole and matured as if he'd never lost it, and now can't seem to do wrong. His relentless success
since 2010 (combined with his volatile early reputation) has prompted some backlash, but it's wholly
undeserved. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing this.

December 25 - Concussion

Will Smith takes on a dramatic role as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who discovered
CTE, a football-related brain injury. He wants to spread the word, against the wishes of the whole
institution of football. It's a David and Goliath story that might even continue to play out around
the movie itself, as it would surely be against the best interests of many network conglomerates to
advertise the film.

December 25 - Point Break

This is a remake of the 1991 film Point Break. Remake, did I say? That's not politically correct
anymore, is it? I'm supposed to say reboot, or reimagining, or maybe just say it was "inspired by"
the earlier film. Anyway, it's a remake.

December 25 - The Revenant

From the IMDb: "In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against
those who left him for dead after a bear mauling." That frontiersman is played by Leonardo DiCaprio,
alongside Tom Hardy. It's currently considered one of the de facto Oscar frontrunners by virtue of
the fact that director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's previous film (Birdman) won last year's Best
Picture award. That frontrunner status doesn't necessarily give it an edge in the long run: how
bookmakers handicap the race now won't matter once people see the film. But it's a contender until
it isn't. For me, Inarritu is a skilled filmmaker, but his work rarely resonates.

December 25 - The Hateful Eight

Speaking of movies I'm greatly looking forward to, here's Quentin Tarantino's next. It's a western
that feels like his Stagecoach (though that's an unlikely influence for him, as he's not a fan of
John Ford) in that it takes a bunch of strong characters with clashing personalities and agendas,
mashes them together, and regards the ensuing fireworks. Tarantino veterans Kurt Russell, Samuel L.
Jackson, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen get ample opportunity to chew scenery, while newcomers Jennifer
Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, and Demian Bichir feel like they must have been in Tarantino movies all along.
But they haven't, and, as was the case for John Travolta way back in Pulp Fiction, the potential for
The Hateful Eight relaunching careers is enormous.

But the most striking thing about the trailer is the absolutely gorgeous cinematography from Robert
Richardson, a three-time Academy award winner and frequent collaborator of such directors as Martin
Scorsese, Oliver Stone, John Sayles, along with Tarantino himself. But there's more than just an
established artist behind the visuals of The Hateful Eight: the film was shot in 70mm, using
Panavision anamorphic lenses with an ultrawide 2.75:1 aspect ratio. These lenses just aren't made
anymore: they're the same actual lenses used to shoot Ben-Hur and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
back in the late 50s and early 60s.

Also of note is the musical score, for two reasons. One, Tarantino has never used an exclusively
original score before. Two, because the great Ennio Morricone is doing it. Morricone has done music
for Tarantino before, but he hasn't done a full score for a western in 40 years. The western genre,
of course, is where Morricone made his reputation with his iconic score for The Good, The Bad, and
The Ugly.

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