Tarantino XX Collection [Blu-Ray]
For all the Tarantino devotees hoping the XX Collection would finally see trash cinema's biggest champion step up to the microphone to apply his famous exuberant verbiage to his work, prepare to be disappointed. Other than in the repurposing of pre-existing footage and features, the divisive auteur has no personal presence in this celebration (i.e., promotional opportunity) of his now 20-year career. Each film he directed in its entirety is included in its most robust Blu-Ray release version, along with True Romance, Tarantino's publicly stated favourite of the scripts he wrote but didn't direct. Nothing new has been added to the bonus content of the individual movies, but if by some stroke of funding and timing you haven't upgraded to HD versions of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill (volumes one and two presented separately), Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds, all are solid home video packages, if lacking the personal touch of the filmmaker. As far as the two discs of bonus content unique to this collection go (presumably intended as a major selling point), boasting 15 hours of "never before seen" features, while technically accurate, it's a little misleading. Calling much of this content "never before seen" is akin to labelling a bunch of extended scenes "deleted." An entire disc is taken up by "Critics' Corner," parts of which have been included on individual releases. This hardly seems worth the allocation of space, but if you're keen to watch five critics discuss the major points of praise and contention in Tarantino's oeuvre with limited insight, this is a goldmine of time-wasting banality. Unsurprisingly, the sole female voice in the mix is the only one that has a perspective that isn't all fawning and worship. When not being verbally bulldozed by host Elvis Mitchell, Stephanie Zacharek provides some astute observations about the insular specificity of Tarantino's highly referential obsessions. The boys are content to praise the obvious motifs and cultural influence of the director's work, with the exception of Death Proof, which everyone agrees was a bit out-of-step with the spirit of the Grindhouse project. Disc two is less superfluous, but only marginally so. There's a Jackie Brown Q&A hosted by Elvis Mitchell, featuring Tarantino and stars Pam Grier and Robert Forrester, along with a bunch of trailers for Tarantino's upcoming Django: Unchained, but the main attraction is "20 Years of Filmmaking" a documentary on the lauded writer/director's career up to this point. Producers, actors, his agent, disciples (Eli Roth and RZA both seem overwhelmed by adoration for the man) and best buddy, Robert Rodriguez, show up to tell his Cinderella story, but Tarantino, in any form, is absent, other than in archival footage. Maybe when Rodriguez gets his box set the self-indulgent but undeniably talented Tarantino will indulge his eager audience.
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