Monthly Archives: December 2012

Django Unchained (2012)

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Set in the south 2 years before the civil war, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, whose brutal history with his previous slaver lands him with bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the murderous hunt for the Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him straight to them. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: the finding and rescuing of Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), his wife whom he lost in the slave trade long before. Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of the infamous plantation called “Candyland.” Throughout the events that unfold, both Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave.

This incredible film is directed by the wonderful film visionary Quentin Tarantino. THE Quentin Tarantino. There is no other like him. Django Unchained contains great cinematography, a clever plot with great dialogue, and so many brilliant actors. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson all did their own thing, but they did it well. They all had unique characters and they shined portraying their different roles (I personally believe that Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson took the show though).

There’s a sensible reason why nobody ever wanted to be an Indian whenever we played Cowboys and Indians as kids. That’s because the white man was invariably the hero of the Westerns on which we’d been weaned, while the red man had always been presented as a wild savage dismissed by the dehumanizing affirmation that, “The only good Injun is a dead Injun.”

Hollywood has also promoted a set of stereotypes when it comes to the depictions of black-white race relations during slavery, with classics like The Birth of the Nation (1915) and Gone with the Wind (1939) setting the tone. Consequently, most movies have by-and-large suggested that it was a benign institution under which docile African-Americans were well-treated by kindly masters, at least as long as they remained submissive and knew their place. – by film critic Kam Williams

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Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to put a fresh spin on the genre, just as he did in the World War II flick Inglourious Basterds (2009). This is the first film I’ve seen that truly tried to portray a revenge story for the slaves, in their POV, and did it INCREDIBLY well. Finally, the audience is encouraged to take a deeper look at the excruciating suffering and bullshit the slaves had to go through, and Django welcomed us to sympathize with them and root for them throughout the entire film. Ofcourse, we can’t forget the bonus gory scenes, where Tarantino just ultimately wanted to add shock value to his film, as always.

The soundtrack made the movie though. It added the final touch. Rap music in a western film? It just really felt like this movie was for the black people, and rap music is a huge part of their culture, so why not embrace it and add their music to the scenes where Jamie Foxx is kicking ass, right?

 
 
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Tarantino Has His New Masterpiece In The Form Of Django Unchained

Tarantino Has His New Masterpiece In The Form Of Django Unchained.

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This is 40 (2012)

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HILARIOUS.

Can that suffice as a movie review? That one word sums it up nicely, I’m just saying.

Went in with my friend to watch this comedy, not really expecting it to be much of a comedy at all but was clearly proven wrong. There are those movies that are “comedies” but only make you half-laugh at certain points. You know what I mean. Not this movie. This is 40 has the whole audience laughing out loud throughout the entire movie. There were many moments where you just couldn’t stop laughing and there were great instances where the jokes kept on coming, one after another.

In This is 40, writer/director Judd Apatow takes another look at the lives of Pete and Debbie, the conflicted married couple featured in his 2007 hit, Knocked Up. Now, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Deb (Leslie Mann) find themselves facing the full spectrum of middle-aged angst – which includes trying to set a good example for their two daughters; dealing with the demands of their professional lives; and even having to confront certain realities about their own parents and upbringing.

Like most of Judd Apatow’s movies, This is 40 is pretty much spot-on with its insights. The thing is, these insights will most likely only be appreciated by a very specific sector of the viewing audience. Also like other Apatow works, the film feels long and slightly unfocused in its progression, offering a pastiche of skit-like scenes that vary in their effectiveness.

The acting. The cast. This is 40 wouldn’t be half as funny without the actors. Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, and Melissa McCarthy were all incredibly hilarious. A standing ovation is due for these 3 comedy stars.

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The Departed (2006)

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Packed full of gripping action, adventure, suspense, thrill, and brilliant storytelling, this movie is a treasure in terms of fine entertainment. It keeps you on the edge of your seat right at the beginning with its clever premise and then for the duration of the rest of the movie, and has shocking moments throughout the film that keeps you wanting more and pondering about what could possibly happen next after THAT just happened?

Beautifully and intricately written screenplay by William Monahan, it won him a WGA award and an Academy award for best adapted screenplay.

Then there is the magnificent Martin Scorcese who directed this movie perfectly in my eyes. Scorsese has truly directed a classic. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, “best-of” list, saying, “If they’re lucky, directors make one classic film in their career. Martin Scorsese has one per decade (Taxi Driver in the ’70s, Raging Bulls in the ’80s, Goodfellas in the ’90s). His 2006 Irish Mafia masterpiece kept the streak alive.”

Then there is the acting. Simply amazing. There wasn’t one major actor who fell short of portraying their role to its highest potential. Leonardo DiCaprio was magnificent in illustrating perfectly the kinds of inner psychological struggles his character was going through along with evoking emotion in the audience. Jack Nickolson is great at everything he does, but he brings Frank Costello, the mafia boss/FBI informer, to a whole other level. Matt Damon was astonishingly successful in making me hate him, something I thought was impossible while also bringing dynamic to his character. Mark Wahlberg was convincing as a dick in the beginning of the movie, and then was great at altering our perception of him toward the end making us root for him. And even Alec Baldwin had some good acting moments in this film.

Overall, this film works on multiple levels for not just fussy cinemagoers but general audiences as well. It never feels slow or self-important.

And this isn’t even an ‘awards seeking’ kind of personal arthouse film like some of Scorsese’s previous movies, rather “The Departed” is simply and purely a thoroughly entertaining mainstream blockbuster designed more to be enjoyed than to be analysed. Yet, much like Chris Nolan did with “Batman Begins”, it’s one of those great examples of the difference that a visionary director can bring to relatively conventional material – making a solid movie into something far deeper and more rewarding.

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Pride & Prejudice (2005)

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The most lushly romantic film I’ve seen so far, and it’s done so brilliantly that I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. As I’m not one to like or watch many romantic movies, this is speaking volumes. Perhaps it’s the mere fact that it’s an adaptation of Jane Austen’s great novel and the way it reveals the many social issues of 19th century England that makes me like it so much, as I’m highly interested in social issues. And although this story is set in the past, it retains a fascination amongst its modern readers/viewers because it can relate in one way or another to today’s complex social issues regarding romantic love and maturation (growing up) in general.

This particular adaptation of Pride & Prejudice presents the story gloriously. Elizabeth Bennet (Knightley) meets Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden) and she believes he is the last man on earth she could every fall in love with. However, as their lives intertwine in unexpected events, she finds herself captivated and entranced by the very man she swore to loathe for all eternity. Pride & Prejudice focuses on the prejudice between the 19th century classes and the pride that would keep lovers apart. This is a classic tale of love and misunderstanding that sparkles with romance, wit and emotional force.

The cinematography in this adaptation is stunning throughout the entire film, keeping your eyes glued to the screen. The actors are marvellous, with noted actors such as Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfayden, Judi Dench, and Donald Sutherland.

Memorable quotes:

Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you… I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family’s expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.

Elizabeth: I don’t understand.

Mr. Darcy: I love you. (Pause) Most ardently.

***

Mr. Darcy: So this is your opinion of me. Thank you for explaining so fully. Perhaps these offences might have been overlooked had not your pride been hurt by my honesty…
Elizabeth Bennet: *My* pride?
Mr. Darcy: …in admitting scruples about our relationship. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your circumstances?
Elizabeth Bennet: And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.
[they look at each other for a long time as though about to kiss]
Mr. Darcy: Forgive me, madam, for taking up so much of your time.

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