Quentin Tarantino's first few stabs at directing are reminders of how much talent he has and how wasted that talent has been lately. His first film (aside from 1987's partially lost My Best Friend's Birthday) Reservoir Dogs created the template that his future films would use with successively diminishing returns: intricate crime plot, snappy dialogue full of pop-culture references and extreme violence. It also demonstrated Tarantino's love for 1970s kitsch, which in this film is mostly evident in the "K-Billy Super Sounds of the Seventies" soundtrack. That would not be enough to satisfy his '70s nostalgia, though, and he would go on to make four films whose chief purpose seems to be paying homage toâor simply re-creatingâthat era's cinematic guilty pleasures. There's Jackie Brown, a really good movie and a love letter to blaxploitation heroine Pam Grier. Then there were the genre-sampling Kill Bill movies, which were fun but became tiresome as they did little more than re-create samurai and martial arts movies. But his nadir was Death Proof, his utterly empty contribution to Grindhouse. Maybe with Inglorious Bastards, his forever-in-production World War II film, he'll return to making movies that are worth the hypeâand his abilities. Reservoir Dogsscreens at midnight Friday and Saturday at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane. Call 214-764-9106.
Fri., Jan. 11; Sat., Jan. 12, 2008