Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Django Unchained

My View:  Django Unchained (2012) Set in the South in 1858, Django (Jamie Foxx), a former slave who has turned bounty hunter, with the help of his partner, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), look for Django’s long lost wife, Hildy (Kerry Washington). They find her on Calvin Candie's (Leonardo DiCaprio) plantation, where the main sport is slaves fighting to the death. I loved the first 45 minutes of this film, which is part comedy, part spaghetti western (western films made in the 60’s/70’s in Italy). Waltz and Foxx play off each other extremely well, as Dr. Schultz teaches Django the finer points of bounty hunting. But the film bogs down when DiCaprio’s character enters the picture, as there is quite a bit of sitting around dinner tables and porches, talking about slavery. Samuel L. Jackson, in a part that only he could play, is the butler Stephen, who is Candie’s right-hand man, and helps with the rest of the slaves, looking out for his master. I did enjoy the ending, but I just wish the film was about 20 minutes shorter. Be warned that there is an incredible amount of violence with lots of bloodshed, whipping, raping and other really savage.   My Rating: Full Price   Django Unchained Website
My View:  Les Miserables (2012) Based on the Broadway hit, this musical takes place in 19th century France where Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), has been running from the law for decades after breaking parole. Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), the illegitimate daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway), after Fantine can no longer afford to take care of her. But by doing this, Valjean may be discovered by the police inspector, Javert (Russell Crowe), and his life could take a turn for the worse. Anne Hathaway is amazing in this film as the mother of Cosette who loses her job and has to sell herself to make sure her daughter survives. Hathaway’s song, "I Dreamed a Dream", is the highlight of the film, and the use of live recording as they were filming is displayed at its best with her performance. The other notable performance is Samantha Barks, who plays Cosette’s rival, Eponine.  Barks solo song, ”On My Own”, is an extraordinary bit of singing and is probably the best song in the film.  But, 99 percent of the dialogue is sung, and I found that the constant singing was a little tiring. Microphones were mounted under the cameras to catch all vocals, so there are quite a few close ups in the film, and this also gets very old during the film's 157 minutes. Jackman has the most to sing, as he is in almost every scene, and, as expected, does a superb job. While I found Crowe’s voice enjoyable, it is a performance that you will probably either love or hate. Overall, while there were some enjoyable performances, and a couple of amazing songs, the film was not the experience that I felt it should have been and, by the final scene, I was just ready for it to end.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Les Miserables Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Film of All Time)
#10 Worst Film
Gigli (2003) Ben Affleck plays Gigli, a mob hit man who has been hired to kidnap the brother of a district attorney. Jennifer Lopez plays Ricki, a lesbian hit woman who is assigned by the mob to make sure Gigli doesn’t screw up. Affleck and Lopez were a couple in real life when this stinker was made, but there isn’t any evidence on film, as their isn’t an ounce of chemistry between the two. The plot is as dumb as the hit man that Affleck plays, and Lopez keeps claiming to be a lesbian (she tells just about everyone in the film this), but she is about as believable as Christopher Walken is as the detective trying to solve the case. Lopez and Affleck were paid a combined 25 million dollars for this film.  I think they should pay us every time we see it.   Gigli Info
Forgotten FilmTender Mercies (1983) Robert Duvall plays Mac Sledge, a legendary country singer, who has fallen on hard times due to his drinking. He finds himself abandoned in a small, west Texas motel run by a widow, Rosa (Tess Harper) and her young son (Allan Hubbard). Through the kindness of Rosa, Mac slowly gets his life back on track, falling in love with Rosa, and he begins to write songs again. But life is complicated, and his ex-wife Dixie (Betty Buckley), a big country star herself, comes back into the picture to possibly mess things up. Duvall gives one of the best performances of his career, bringing depth and warmth to a very flawed character. Everyone in this film did their own singing with Duvall and Buckley lighting up the screen with their vocal talents. This is almost a perfect film with an incredible script by the Texan writer Horton Foote, whose talent for finding the right words for his characters shines throughout.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Tender Mercies Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  Total Recall (2012) Not really a remake of the 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger but more like a total retooling. I liked Kate Beckinsale in this film but found it way too long and very confusing.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Total Recall Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)The Last Exorcism Part II (2013) Should it really take two films to perform an exorcism? I think one was enough.    The Last Exorcism Part II Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Les Miserables: Petty Cash Buyer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You42 (2013) The life story of Jackie Robinson. Trailer looks amazing. Just hope the film lives up to the man himself.   42 Info
Until Next Time!

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