'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' [Combo Pack]
(Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, et al / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital / R / 2019 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Quentin Tarantino’s 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore.
The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.
Blu-ray Verdict: Hollywood, 1969: Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) had a lead role in a hit TV western in the 1950s and early 1960s. Since leaving that show, he is having a hard time finding decent work. Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is Rick's friend and former stunt double.
He also acts as Rick's chauffeur as Rick has had DUI charges. The fictional element of the time period is mixed with true events: Rick's next-door neighbors are actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski.
Director/writer Quentin Tarantino has done a superb job in recreating the atmosphere of 1969. Those of us who were alive at that time, no matter how young, are left awestruck with sudden memory recall of people, places, and things that seemed completely erased from memory.
The level of detail is praiseworthy enough yet there is also a recall of atmosphere that recreates the era sometimes even better than watching films from that time period.
DiCaprio, always dependable, gives another standout performance easily conveying the insecurities of a "has-been" desperately trying to make a comeback. As DiCaprio is constantly in demand without ever experiencing a lower status, this is true acting.
Much like Tarantino's 'Inglorious Basterds,' this current film mixes fiction with historical events with very surprising results. This adds to the thrilling suspense in the final sequence to those of us aware of history and are led to more than a few shocks and not just the extreme violence (this is a Tarantino film after all).
Fair warning: If you don't love movies for their own sake, you may be tempted to disregard this movie. Anyone who thinks there is some sort of defect or error or problem with identify or politics or historical emphasis has no idea what's going on here.
The sheer orchestration of this construct is a sight to behold that rewards you for paying attention and gives you plenty to pay attention to. Light, sound, action, performances, all delivered in a fine concert.
In truth, Tarantino does not disappoint with the direction or production, but something's missing. The great big denouement feels unusually abrupt and civilized.
There are plenty of punches thrown, but none of the protagonists ever seem to be in any real danger. I'm not one for gritty gore, but I expected them to go on more of a life-changing journey.
The other acting is excellent also from others other than the lead men, showcasing the brilliant talents of Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Kurt Russell as an aging Stuntman, and the always entertaining Al Pacino as an ambitious Agent, to name but three.
In closing, there are some magnificent sequences in this film, some rather hilarious moments, a really good buddy-movie set up along the way, some great actors with some wonderful tight dialog throughout that doesn't ramble, but gets to the point. I appreciated all this and I'm sure you guys will too. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL BONUS MATERIALS:
• Over Twenty Minutes of Additional Scenes
• Five exclusive behind the scenes pieces including:
o Quentin Tarantino’s Love Letter to Hollywood
o Bob Richardson – For the Love of Film
o Shop Talk – The Cars of 1969
o Restoring Hollywood – The Production Design of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
o The Fashion of 1969
DVD BONUS MATERIALS:
• Over Twenty Minutes of Additional Scenes
Cut a rug with Rick Dalton in this clip from an extended scene!
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