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Defending Tarantino

What critics who attack the director's borrowings miss.

And let's not ignore Tarantino's many talents that constitute actual directing. I love his always-confident, never intrusive camerawork; his pacing, which allows scenes time to breathe without losing momentum; his uncanny ear for music. In recent years, he has revealed an aptitude for expertly staged and choreographed action sequences. And did you ever notice the 20-year trail of great performances he has coaxed from undervalued or forgotten actors? Career bests for everybody from John Travolta to Pam Grier to Chris Tucker. He turned character actors like Steve Buscemi and Samuel L. Jackson into household names. He made icons out of an Austrian actor previously unknown in the U.S., and even the dad from Free Willy. He knows how to pick those guys and how to bring out the best in them.

Where'd he get all that from? City on Fire?

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