If he's to be believed, Quentin Tarantino has one movie left in him.
As the director turns 57 today, Tarantino has repeatedly said that he's planning to hang up his spurs after his tenth movie - whatever that might be. Rumours have ranged from some kind of horror movie to the long-fabled 'Star Trek' movie he's been threatening for years.
But what is his best and which is his worst movie? Here's our take.
9. 'THE HATEFUL EIGHT'
You can read our two-and-a-half star review, but the thing to take away from 'The Hateful Eight' was that it was easily Tarantino's most indulgent, undisciplined work. With a running time that spans three hours - and somehow feels longer - Tarantino reigned himself into a single room, but let everything out in that room. Gone was any kind of subtlety, any kind of nuance or reservedness. Instead, Tarantino gave us both barrels - but the thing backfired.
8. 'DEATH PROOF'
As part of his Grindhouse experiment with compatriot Robert Rodriguez, Tarantino harked back to the likes of 'Vanishing Point', 'Two-Lane Blacktop' and other great car movies of the '70s. Taken on its own merits, 'Death Proof' is reasonably good and proved that - if he wanted to - Tarantino could competently direct an enthusiastic car chase. However, when 'Death Proof' is stacked against 'Pulp Fiction', 'Inglorious Basterds' or 'Django Unchained', it comes up short.
7. 'DJANGO UNCHAINED'
'Inglorious Basterds' proved that Quentin Tarantino was able to direct on a much grander scale than anything he'd done before. 'Django Unchained' was him underlining that fact. A great central performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, 'Django Unchained' is every bit the love letter to blood-soaked Westerns that he hoped it would be. However, it did portend to 'The Hateful Eight' and its overbearing running length. One of his best soundtracks, as well.
6. 'ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD'
Critics would argue that 'Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood' is about nothing, and nothing really happens until the final act with the flamethrower and the dog and all that. That's a fair point - but the point of 'Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood' is that it's a low-stakes, leisurely drive through Hollywood's heyday, complete with a luxurious cast and an easygoing story that doesn't tax too much and doesn't set you on edge. It's as laid back as Tarantino has ever been, and is exactly what he set out to make - a hang-out movie.
5. 'INGLORIOUS BASTERDS'
Probably Tarantino's best-known movie outside of 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Inglorious Basterds' was the director moving firmly away from the smaller movies that he kicked off his career with. Brad Pitt's good, Michael Fassbender's great but Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa is simply the best. Slick, erudite, completely villainous, Tarantino famously remarked that the movie wouldn't have happened had it not been for Waltz and his ability to take the role and make it his own.
Seeing as how Tarantino classes 'Kill Bill' as one movie, we'll do the same here. It's the closest thing Tarantino's ever done to a comic book movie because Uma Thurman is essentially a superhero in this. David Carradine is great as Bill and you have the one-eyed Daryl Hannah in there as well. Working with the famed Yuen Wo-Ping to choreograph its fantastic fight sequences, it has moments of brilliance and some of his best pieces of dialogue.
3. 'RESERVOIR DOGS'
For a film that's over twenty-five years old, 'Reservoir Dogs' still has a sheen to it that's truly unmistakable. Tarantino set out his style cleanly and efficiently, working with well-worn actors like Harvey Keitel, Lawrence Tierney, and then-newcomers such as Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi. You could see the forming of his style in 'Reservoir Dogs'; his ability to build a world, smart and snappy dialogue and an ability to slide a song perfectly over a scene like it was written just for that moment.
What can be said about 'Pulp Fiction' that hasn't already been said? Easily his most well-known movie, it relaunched the career of John Travolta and oozed 'coolness' in every scene, from the sexy dance scene at Jack Rabbit Slims to the endlessly quotable Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winfield. The assembled cast of Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel blend together to create a singular work that is unmistakably his own.
1. 'JACKIE BROWN'
What makes 'Jackie Brown' his best movie (for us, anyway) is that it's the least Tarantino movie he's ever made. There are none of his usual gimmicks or flourishes in it, it doesn't rely solely on genre to get its point across. It's a straightforward, down-to-Earth story about a flight stewardess who gets mixed up with Samuel L. Jackson's arms dealer and has to think her way out of it.
It's a beautifully told, elegantly made character study and to think it follows something as outsized as 'Pulp Fiction' shows that Tarantino understood what he was doing when he went in. An uncommonly human performance - in a Tarantino movie, anyway - by Robert Forster and Pam Grier, 'Jackie Brown' is a slight and beautifully subtle movie that worked brilliantly as an antidote to his heavily stylised work. Compared to anything he's done, it is - in our opinion - his best work.