Dense with allusions to other work but more fun than a barrel of monkeys, Quentin Tarantino’s movies cry out to be viewed both singly and in relation to one another — as the journey of a boy who once lived through grindhouse movies and is now permitted to dramatize (and cinematize) his fantasies on an epic scale.
  1. Pulp Fiction
    This movie changed people's ideas about American independent cinema.
  2. Jackie Brown
    This is Tarantino's stoner movie, the one that makes you laugh at how long and convoluted the whole thing is -- until the violence comes and the trip goes bad.
  3. Kill Bill: Vol. 2
    Vol. 2 is a slow, deliberate Western with a purposefully incongruous dash of washed-out, zoom-lensy '70s Hong Kong Shaw Brothers.
  4. Kill Bill Vol. 1
    Kill Bill is like a revenger's-tragedy hall of mirrors: The heroine of one vigilante saga becomes the villain of the next.
  5. Reservoir Dogs
    It’s essentially a chamber drama with a small, all-male cast that’s set (largely) in one place. But you know from the way the men in black suits with skinny black ties seize the space in the first scene — and then, in a diner, argue for many minutes over the ethics of tipping — that Tarantino is announcing himself as a different kind of pulp director.
  6. Inglourious Basterds
    An epic mess, but loaded with amazing setpieces and taken over by Tarantino’s most charismatically murderous villain, Christoph Waltz as Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Inglourious Basterds is a revenge movie in which the movie itself is the best revenge.
  7. Death Proof
    This relatively short thriller in the double-bill jamboree Grindhouse (expanded to no particular end into a full-length feature) might be the purest distillation of Tarantino’s ambivalence about violence towards women. He’s a predatory humanist. It’s a deeply dark, sadistic, and fetishistic movie — and one that doesn’t make a lot of sense in the context of a salute to grindhouses.
  8. Django Unchained
    This is Tarantino’s most financially successful movie, and a lot of people love its rituals of injury and retribution. But for all its pleasures, we think it’s too easy, too dead-center in Tarantino’s comfort zone. After the thrilling convolutions — narrative and moral — of Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs, and even parts of Kill Bill, Tarantino has stopped challenging himself — or at least challenging himself in any way that matters to his growth as an artist.