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20 July 1995
Pulp Fiction 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 198 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 571 17546 5
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Reservoir Dogs 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 113 pp., £7.99, November 1994, 0 571 17362 4
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True Romance 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 134 pp., £7.99, January 1995, 0 571 17593 7
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Natural Born Killers 
by Quentin Tarantino.
Faber, 175 pp., £7.99, July 1995, 0 571 17617 8
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... When Orson Welles said the movies were the greatest train set in the world he probably wasn’t thinking about the toy crashes he could arrange. QuentinTarantino obviously sees the movies as all kinds of fun, but his screenplays and films are full of accidents, scarcely imaginable without them. It’s not the bloodshed or the blowing away that’s so unusual ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inglourious Basterds’

10 September 2009
Inglourious Basterds 
directed by Quentin Tarantino.
August 2009
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... What would you get if you combined The Great Dictator with Pulp Fiction and shifted the scene to France? One answer might be QuentinTarantino’s new film, Inglourious Basterds, but it’s not a great answer because the film itself is so many things. Of the identifiable movies within its fanciful confines, one is rather good, another is so ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Django Unchained’

24 January 2013
Django Unchained 
directed by Quentin Tarantino.
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... Is there a worry here? An act of national self-reassurance? An uneasy celebration of questionable moments? An easy celebration? Whatever the answers to these questions, they have nothing to do with QuentinTarantino’s Django. This is a violent and lurid movie lover’s movie, alternating fluently between comic-book massacres and brief, bleak reconstructions of actual horrors. It would be cruel if it ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Babel’

25 January 2007
directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
September 2006
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... González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. These two gave us Amores Perros and 21 Grams, and they can’t seem to get out of the habit of the multiple plot. Once upon a time only QuentinTarantino was interested in this kind of thing, but then there was Crash, and currently it can seem as if there are only two kinds of movie on offer: movies about penguins and movies with tricky storylines ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash

9 March 2006
The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... chart in 1969), lyrics by Shel Silverstein, is more joke than song, about a man who gives his son a girl’s name, because he thinks it’ll toughen him up. When Cash sings it live, on At San Quentin, you can hear the prison inmates go wild; goodness only knows what they’d have done had he decided to perform his version of the excruciatingly sentimental barbershop favourite, ‘Daddy Sang Bass ...

I don’t want your revolution

Marco Roth: Jonathan Lethem

20 February 2014
Dissident Gardens 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Cape, 366 pp., £18.99, January 2014, 978 0 224 09395 8
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... shorter, and the way easier, than any of them could have dreamed. In fact, the fate of the pop-culture-filled novel turned out not to be so different from that of other arts during the same period: QuentinTarantino was making arty B-movies, or B art-movies, at the same time that Lethem was writing Amnesia Moon, a homage to Philip K. Dick, and Gun, with Occasional Music, a homage to Chandler and ...
20 June 1996
directed by Joel Coen.
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by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.
Faber, 118 pp., £7.99, May 1996, 0 571 17963 0
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... Beyond the, uh, acts of God, force majeure.’ And then later he says twice, rather solemnly: ‘Blood has been shed.’ The fancy diction in the nasty situation recalls the films of QuentinTarantino, and the actor is Steve Buscemi, who appears in a not dissimilar role in Reservoir Dogs. In Fargo, when Buscemi returns to the hideout he and his fellow hood are using, his face ripped by a gun shot ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon

9 August 2001
One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... and some of the history plays only). ‘It is easier, in fact,’ notes Katie, ‘to write down the people in world history that they both like: Bob Dylan (although not recently), Graham Greene, QuentinTarantino and Tony Hancock.’ Andrew and David, it has to be said, would probably count Nick Hornby somewhere between Martin Amis and Jeffrey Archer. How to Be Good is uneven. Compared to Parsons ...

Fundamentally Goyish

James Wood: Zadie Smith

3 October 2002
The Autograph Man 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 420 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 241 13998 8
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... like ‘name three vintage Hollywood decapitations’, or go on about Kitty Alexander and Lauren Bacall, are now coming to seem dismally familiar. We have had High Fidelity, and White Noise, and QuentinTarantino, and The Sopranos, and Fury, and by now we get the idea that we are poor sops in the society of spectacle, and that everyone under fifty speaks in consumer clichés and TV tags. It may be ...

Futzing Around

Will Frears: Charles Willeford

20 March 2014
Miami Blues 
by Charles Willeford.
Penguin, 246 pp., £8.99, August 2012, 978 0 14 119901 6
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... is adored by his peers and big-deal crime writers like Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block praise his work. ‘Nobody,’ Elmore Leonard said, ‘writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford.’ QuentinTarantino cited Willeford as one of the major influences on Pulp Fiction. There can be something a little suspect about being so well respected by fellow practitioners: the appeal may not extend to ...

The Colossus of Maroussi

Iain Sinclair: In Athens

27 May 2010
... alongside regular bus users for a lurching, swaying ride, uphill, past a seemingly endless accumulation of small grocers, peddlers of hub-caps, warehouse sex clubs, graffiti and finger-jabbing QuentinTarantino billboards pimping whisky: I WRITE MY OWN SCRIPT. After the cemeteries, the allotments, the Euro-funded super-highway, there was that familiar sense of being out on the edge of things ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis

18 March 1999
Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... This charged poetic of sensory experience sets Sallis apart, not only from the current stars of hardboiled lite, the Florida ecologist Carl Hiaasen and grizzled Elmore Leonard (as cannibalised by QuentinTarantino), but also from Mosley. The Griffin books won’t reduce to exploitable Hollywood storylines, they’re much too rich and strange for that. Villains don’t have to be land-grabbing ...

When the beam of light has gone

Peter Wollen: Godard Turns Over

17 September 1998
The Films of Jean-Luc Godard 
by Wheeler Winston Dixon.
SUNY, 290 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 7914 3285 8
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Speaking about Godard 
by Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki.
New York, 256 pp., $55, July 1998, 0 8147 8066 0
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... monument or Grand Old Man, perhaps because of the new alliance which has taken shape between experimental film and video in the larger art world, perhaps even because of the cult status given him by QuentinTarantino, of all people. Wheeler Winston Dixon’s new book presents a macroscopic view of Godard’s career to date, covering every film or video he has ever made. It is divided into five chapters ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood’

12 September 2019
... murders of 1969, that you could hear the ice rattling in cocktail shakers all the way down the canyon from Cielo Drive, Los Angeles. At least this is what ‘one of the killers would later say’. In QuentinTarantino’s new film, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, we not only hear the ice, we see a drunken Leonardo DiCaprio making his margaritas with it, and taking a sip from the ice-cruncher as he ...

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