the hateful eight trailer

The Audience

I saw The Hateful Eight at 10:50 at night on a Monday and the theater was still completely sold out. I know I can chalk a certain amount of this up to living in a cinephile-friendly town full of movie fans who don’t care about little things like “work in the morning,” but the energy in the lobby before the theater started seating was electric. People were excited to be here. People were excited to be watching a movie in this format. The Ritz’s small lobby was jam-packed – you couldn’t walk a single step without bumping into someone else. I’ve seen screenings this busy before, but never this late on a Monday night.

The energy of the lobby carried into the theater. The Hateful Eight is a lot of things, but it is, above everything else, a crowd movie. Whether that crowd is laughing at its pitch-black comedy, cheering on its merciless cast of vicious characters, or cringing at the third act’s brutal and bloody violence, this is a film that all but demands an audible reaction every few minutes or so. During the (hugely necessary and well-timed) intermission, you could feel the mixed reactions brewing in the air. For every filmgoer who was giddy to get back to their seat for the final stretch, there was someone else who was more wary about what lay in store. Although a 15-minute break in the middle of a three-hour movie allows for a fantastic physical break, the real pleasure came from having a chance to pause, think about what you’ve already seen, discuss your feelings with your neighbors, and mentally prepare for what comes next. Stretching has nothing on having the chance to reflect on what you’ve seen mid-movie.

The Projection

I’ve seen enough movies projected in 70mm to know that this is my absolute favorite way to watch a movie. I also know that I’ve been spoiled, and that for many moviegoers (especially younger ones), this may be their first chance to experience this sadly antiquated format. That’s why the news of so many screenings going terribly wrong was such a huge bummer – when someone who actually cares about what they’re doing is manning the projector, 70mm is downright magical.

Thankfully, the Ritz did not disappoint. Our projection was flawless and a testament to the power of film and the trained professionals who know how to give film its due in a movie theater.

I’ve grown so used to watching digitally projected films on a daily basis film still has the power to knock me on my ass. From the film’s opening shots, Tarantino and cinematographer Robert Richardson take full advantage of their film stock and those old, impossibly wide lenses they dug out of Panavision’s vaults. The outdoor sequences serve as a reminder why this was the format of choice for Hollywood’s biggest epics. You haven’t seen color and detail until you’ve seen 70mm projected properly on a big screen.

However, The Hateful Eight eventually moves indoors for the bulk of its running time, and that’s where the 70mm presentation gets really interesting. Sweeping vistas and gorgeous landscapes are natural subjects for this format, but a violent, intimate, racially charged thriller about a group of bad people trapped in a building that’s way too small really takes on a special kind of life through this lens. The claustrophobic set takes on a life of its own. Every close-up takes on an unforeseen importance. You become aware that you’re watching the results of a chemical process instead of a bunch of pixels. The fine and ever-shifting layer of grain over every image makes the movie feel downright alive. The handful of scratches (which is inevitable with any film print) only remind you that you are watching a physical object, not a digital file. The Hateful Eight is a raw, personal movie. It demands a raw, personal format.

Continue Reading The Hateful Eight Roadshow Report >>

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