Django Unchained (2012) Review

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Django Unchained

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Starring:
Jamie Foxx
Christoph Waltz
Leonardo DiCaprio
Kerry Washington
Samuel L. Jackson
Walton Goggins
Dennis Christopher
James Remar
Michael Parks
Don Johnson

Running time: 165 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)

Set in the antebellum era of the Deep South and Old West, the film follows a freed slave (Foxx) who treks across the United States with a bounty hunter (Waltz) on a mission to rescue his wife (Washington) from a cruel plantation owner (DiCaprio).

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My Opinion:

Django Unchained got second place after Stoker when I asked all of you which film I should review next. Sorry it’s still taking me a bit of time to get around to these reviews.

I should maybe re-watch this one as I saw it in the cinema back in January but I remember it well anyway. I still consider it my favorite film of 2013 (UK release date). But it’s one of the only 2013 movies that I didn’t review. I have a strange relationship with Tarantino films – I think they’re brilliant but I also can’t fully watch any of them as I’m a mega wuss about violence. Figure that one out… Plus so many people love Tarantino and there will be tons of great reviews online from people who are proper writers and I don’t know what I could really add to all that. So, as usual, I’ll just discuss what I personally liked about the film.

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I’ll get right to it and say that there’s ONE very specific thing that made me really go for this movie even though I literally “saw” less of this than probably any other Tarantino film as I found the violence in this one the most disturbing yet & didn’t even look at the screen for a couple entire scenes (the “Mandingo” fight for one – the sound effects alone were enough to make me feel ill). I think everyone knows what I’m going to say that one specific thing is as I think most people agree:

CHRISTOPH WALTZ

He’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I have to say I’m not one to worship actors – I just like movies. I do have some favorite actors, of course, and a few actors who will make me actually watch a film they’re in (or, more often, avoid one). But I just enjoy watching movies I think are good and for the most part don’t care who’s in them as long as the actors fit the part and they’re not really horrible at acting and they’re not Tom Cruise.

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But… Oh my god I love Waltz in Tarantino films! I know that not ALL the credit can go to Waltz, though – As many people have already said, there’s just something about a Tarantino script combined with Waltz’s acting that’s just the perfect fit. I really need to watch Inglourious Basterds again – the scene with Waltz at the beginning was so intense (I barely watched that scene. Sorry – I just couldn’t! My heart was pounding like crazy).

I love the character of Dr King Schultz in Django Unchained. He’ll go down as one of the all-time best characters with one of the all-time greatest performances (in my opinion but, hey, he did win an Oscar for it). This is why poor Jamie Foxx seems so overlooked in the title role – He was fine but he just didn’t quite have that special “something” that Waltz has so his performance naturally pales in comparison.

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Before I go on kissing Waltz’s ass too much, there was one other performance that I also felt was worthy of at least an Oscar nomination: Leonardo DiCaprio. Why does he keep getting overlooked? Is it because he’s a former “heartthrob”? I’m not exactly a Leo fan but I think he’s had some amazing performances in a variety of films and Django Unchained is one of them.

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As for the film itself, I liked the overall story. I like revenge (Kill Bill being my favorite Tarantino film) and I like some good old-fashioned “rescue the helpless woman” sometimes as it’s set in the old West (or old South). I found the “Blazing Saddles” type of comic relief scene with the masks funny, all the stuff at Candyland was great, Don Johnson was actually not bad and, as already mentioned, DiCaprio and especially Waltz were brilliant and a joy to watch whenever they were on screen (which was quite a lot, luckily).

Tarantino’s role was a bit embarrassing, the violence was too much for me, and I’m not 100% sure if it’s okay to like Samuel L Jackson’s character or not. I love the guy (I’ve had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!) but that role was probably getting into iffy territory and I’m so not going there – there’s already been enough talk of the excessive use of the N word in this so I’ll leave that to intelligent people to dissect. I also felt that Django Unchained lost its way a bit in the last 45 minutes or so – it started to feel a little overlong and seemed to not be completely sure how to end although I found it a satisfying enough conclusion.

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Summary:

Django Unchained is another great film from Tarantino with a brilliant script and excessive violence than can be a little hard to watch. But I suffer through the violence as I think Tarantino is one of today’s most talented filmmakers. I’ve never watched classic Westerns but did force myself to watch the excellent Once Upon A Time In The West for the first time a couple months ago and it’s made me appreciate Django Unchained even more and made me want to further explore the influences on the film. Django Unchained isn’t a perfect film and does lose its way toward the end but with such a mesmerizing performance from Christoph Waltz, who cares? The man is amazing.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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See where Django Unchained ranks in My Top Five Films Directed By Quentin Tarantino.

My Shitty Django Unchained Haiku:

To rescue his love
Django and Schultz hunt bounty
The D is silent

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You’re Next (2011) Review (Yeah – the current horror film)

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You’re Next (2011?? What? Apparently so… Looks like it spent a couple years at film festivals first)

Directed by Adam Wingard

Starring:
Sharni Vinson
Nicholas Tucci
Wendy Glenn
A. J. Bowen
Joe Swanberg
Barbara Crampton
Rob Moran
Ti West

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

The Davison family gathers at a remote house in the woods (as you do) to celebrate the 35th wedding anniversary of their parents. While celebrating, the family is attacked by a gang of masked invaders.

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My Opinion:

It’s been too long since I’ve gone to a movie (like, a month!). After spending the past couple of days catching up on reading all the blogs here, I read loads of extremely positive reviews for You’re Next (plus one blogger who hated it). So, even though I’m not really a modern horror fan and a massive wuss about gore, I said what the hell as it’s only 95 minutes long and went to it.

Now, I’m just back from this and still trying to collect my thoughts but figure I should get this review out there quick otherwise I’ll never get around to it. Normally I like to think about the film for a day or two. I’m not entirely sure yet how I feel about it. I think there are some good things about it but I was disappointed that there wasn’t even more dark humor than there actually was – from the reviews I read I thought there’d be a little more of that. What there was, I enjoyed (especially at the end).

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I liked that there’s a strong female lead. I get bored with women in horror movies seeming to only be there to flash their tits and then die horribly. I suppose I liked some of the more “inventive” deaths but, not being a fan of gore or slasher flicks (other than the cheesy 70s & 80s ones), it was a bit hard to watch. And I didn’t exactly watch the screen the whole time! So… I suppose I’m not actually the best judge on just HOW gory it got. Certainly sounded rather, um… Juicy at times! Okay – I think it’ll be easier to just break this one down into what I liked and didn’t like so much…

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What I liked:

– Like I said, a strong female lead who isn’t just there to show us her boobs.

– Some inventive deaths although really too violent for this wuss.

– Barbara Crampton played the mom. And she’s aged really well. The chick from Re-Animator! And Chopping Mall, which I love but shouldn’t. That kind of horror is more my speed… And, um, The Young & The Restless! I used to watch it when I lived in America, okay?! So sue me. :-p

– The animal masks were pretty cool.

– The dark humor but I wished there’d been more .

– The fact that the guy who directed a movie I just happened to watch two nights ago (Ti West – The Innkeepers) is actually in this. (I love IMDB). FYI: I preferred The Innkeepers to this.

– The length. Maybe bad for a film-lover to admit but I think horrors & comedies don’t need to be much more than an hour and a half long.

– The music at the end. It was a bit… I don’t know. Reminded me of The Thing with a little bit of Dawn of the Dead? I know too little about movie music to continue this discussion – just thought it worked well at the end of the film.

– The second half. I thought it started out quite slow and took a fairly long time to get interesting. But it really picked up speed about halfway through.

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What I Didn’t Like So Much:

– Too violent.

– Not enough of the dark humor – more would have made this one better. I’m not talking Tucker And Dale Vs Evil levels of humor (I loved that one – and it gives me a chance to link to a review of mine, I guess! Review HERE). But there’s so little that it almost felt out of place.

– Felt a little pointless (PART 1). We’ve seen home invasion movies a lot and others have done it better. It felt like a pretty standard home invasion flick but with more gore. It will be and probably has been compared to The Strangers, which I thought was better in terms of suspense & creepiness. Also think I preferred the film Ils (Them). And (I’m going to get in big trouble for this one and have a bunch of you horror fans yelling at me) I liked The Purge better than You’re Next (I won’t go into full detail on that now – my review is HERE if you’re bothered). The Purge at least had a great concept even though it wasn’t as well executed as it could have been. You’re Next has an extremely simple concept we’ve already seen many times but its execution was better than that of The Purge. So I guess it depends on what you prefer from a film…

– Felt a little pointless (PART 2). As far as the violence… I don’t always get as into violent films like these when the people don’t seem THAT horrible but we have to watch them die in awful ways. Other bloggers have said the family is unlikeable so it’s fun watching them die but, aside from a brother who comes across as a prick, they don’t really seem deserving of the excessive violence. But that’s probably just me – I’m not a fan of all the torture porn that’s around these days. You’re Next doesn’t fall into that category but the violence feels a little unnecessary at times. Or… Pointless. Not that every film (and certainly not every horror film) NEEDS to have a point. But… I don’t know what I’m trying to say so I’ll sum this up now.

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Summary:

You’re Next is a pretty standard home invasion flick but with more gore, a couple inventive deaths, and a sprinkle of dark humor. Horror fans who love the more violent films of the genre will like this one. Luckily a strong female lead helps make up for some of the film’s weaknesses and the final half of the film is much stronger than what I thought was a pretty slow start. Overall I don’t think it’s a bad film – it’s a decent enough film for its genre but doesn’t feel as fresh & original as I was kind of expecting from the many reviews that I’d read. Maybe I’m just too picky these days?

My Rating: 6/10

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**I suppose I’ve not even mentioned the other horror film that’s received lots of praise this year too – The Conjuring. Much more my type of horror and I feel it’s more worthy of the praise it received. Review HERE.