Currently browsing the "historical fiction" tag.

Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

I wish I could say I was a ‘Tarantino fan’. But sadly, I am not. Mostly because I’m generally squeamish when it comes to violence, and decidedly traditional when it comes to story structure. So imagine my surprise at finding several things to genuinely like (or at least, appreciate) in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, even though it doesn’t have much by way of story and does indeed take a bloody turn, albeit toward the very end of a decently-paced 2 hour, 40 minute epic. Quentin Tarantino films (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, etc.) are still very much an acquired taste, but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood goes down somewhat easier for the non-fan, thanks to the stellar performances of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. They are a joy to watch as fading television western star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt), two guys struggling to adapt to changing times in “Hollywood” – the place, and the industry – in the summer of 1969.

Sarah’s Key

It’s been several weeks since I saw Sarah’s Key, but it’s the type of movie that sticks with you, as most Holocaust-era set films often do. But what sets this one apart is its spotlight on an event that I certainly don’t recall ever hearing about in school: a Nazi-authorized roundup of Jews in France in 1942. Not Germany (or Austria or Poland…), but France. Thousands of men, women and children were held for two days in cramped, unsanitary conditions at the Velodrome d’Hiver in Paris (think ‘Superdome’ during Hurricane Katrina) then carted off to concentration camps. That’s the context for the film’s story, which is based on a best-selling novel by Tatiana de Rosnay.