Hateful Eight is an enjoyable film on several levels, but like Death Proof and Inglorious Basterds it's also very self-indulgent on Tarentino's part. It's not QUITE as self-indulgent as those movies, but it definitely tried my patience a couple times. When Tarentino made Django Unchained either he (or the people around him) were able to reign in his more ridiculous impulses which enabled him to craft a movie that told a story brilliantly and was still a lot of fun. That was a return to form and I was hoping Hateful Eight would be more like Django Unchained and less like Inglorious Basterds. In the end, it split the difference.
Kurt Russel and Samuel L Jackson deliver amazing performances and are equal parts menacing and hilarious. Much like his first film, Resevoir Dogs, the story of Hateful Eight is a crime caper with one primary set; only this one takes place in the late 1800s. It's ironic that Tarentino tries to fill his movies with interesting / quirky characters and often focuses on them and their dialogue to a fault, when the best characters in this movie were the set (the "Habberdashery") and the blizzard raging outside. His non-human characters help set the mood perfectly and lend the film a feeling of authenticity while the human characters, however funny and impressive in their own right, often make the film feel ridiculous.
The movie simmers for an hour and change before any real action takes place. I consider myself a pretty patient guy but the older I get and the more great works of film I'm exposed to, the more tired I grow of films that are needlessly wordy. The Hateful Eight contains too much exposition and you could easily cut a half hour from its running time and lose none of its impact. This is the "self indulgence" of Tarentino I mentioned earlier and it was so prominent in Inglorious Basterds that it literally put me to sleep the first time I saw it.
The film is scored by the legendary Ennio Morricone and Tarentino tries to emulate the audio cues of old spaghetti westerns with various degrees of success. He also inserts a narrator a few times which was a bad decision that feels jarring and completely unnecessary.
Despite its flaws, the film is a visual feast and I'm glad I saw it on the big screen. It's a movie with a straight forward plot and obvious themes that doesn't necessitate repeated viewings, so I doubt I'll watch it again unless I want to get another look at those beautiful landscapes and the amazing set. Good, but far from his best.