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Movie Review: Django Unchained

Had a chance to see a screener of Django Unchained Tuesday night, and I was very impressed; great movie.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave.

 

The movie was fairly predictable in that you had no doubt it was a Quentin Tarantino film.  It had the violence and bloodshed, the cinematic elements, the melee, crazy costumes and even crazier scenarios. The transitions and soundtrack are typical as well, but with Tarantino typical typically also means awesome and Django Unchained is no exception. You should probably know by now if you like Tarantino films and really that’s all you need to know in order to decide if you should see this one or not.

 

The acting was excellent too. We know Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are great actors, but Christoph Waltz did an amazing job in his role of the ruthlessly apologetic bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz as well.

 

The movie is listed as a drama and a western, but it has plenty of humorous moments as well.  Not least of which is a scene with Jonah hill and a Klan wardrobe malfunction, or pre-Klan since 1858 may have been too early for them. The music is wonderfully anachronistic and hilarious. I know there are allusions to other westerns, like Blazing Saddles, but having not seen many westerns I couldn’t point them specifically but I could sense a familiarity to the dialogue and the audience chuckles gave it away.

 

The plot itself starts with Django being rescued and then spends some time with the bounty hunter bit and character development before it takes off to Candie-land in a Bondesque infiltration mission to find, rescue, and free Django’s wife Broomhilda; this is where DiCaprio and Jackson come in. The events are mostly predictable, but it doesn’t take anything away from the movie and you’re kept wonderfully entertained and in suspense about what’s happening.

 

It seems like many movies are earmarked for at least awards nominations before they’re even completed these days. It comes off as an inner-circle a popularity contest sometimes, but Django Unchained was probably the best movie I’ve seen all year, so I’ll be happy to see it get that type of recognition.

December 5th, 2012 by Ceetar in Television and Movies
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The Last Modern Classic Movie

I watched the Back to the Future trilogy this weekend.  Great movies, and modern classics.  It got me thinking about those truly classic movies that people talk about, and quote and reference, forever.   Another good example is the Princess Bride.  In the latest Dresden Files novel by Jim Butcher, Harry references the classic quotes “Never start a land war in Asia, and never go against a Sicilian with death on the line”.

 

So what were the last classic movies?  The Matrix in 1999, Gladiator in 2000 both probably qualify.  If you’re willing to considered animated, which you probably should, I think Shrek in 2001 qualifies as a classic.  Finding Nemo is another one to consider from 2003.  I’d like to mention that Harry Dresden references The Matrix in the latest book as well.

 

I don’t count movies based on books.  The Lord of the Rings movies were great, but they were part of the a greater set of lore than just a movie.   Some of the comic book movies, like Spider Man, have been great but are part of something bigger.

 

Another movie, or movies, that I’m on the fence about is Kill Bill.  Great movie in my mind but I don’t think it has quite the mainstream staying power that a true classic would have.  Quentin Tarantino is a well known and famous director, but the violence and target audience make it more of a cult classic than a mainstream one.

 

I want to include Avatar, but even though it made so much money and everyone saw it it was more about special effects than it was about the story itself.  Without an interesting and captivating story, I don’t think a movie can count as a classic.

 

So that’s that.  I think you can make a very strong case that the ‘reigning modern classic’ is about a fish lost in the Pacific Ocean.

November 29th, 2011 by Ceetar in life, Television and Movies
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