Having your Cake and Eating it too in Django Unchained

Why I do declare!  Leo is a VILLAIN!

Why I do declare! Leo is a VILLAIN!

In 1858, somewhere in the Texas wilderness, a German immigrant dentist (Christoph Waltz) comes across some fellas transporting slaves and begins to curiously inquire about a certain one named Django (Jamie Foxx).  Turns out that dentist is a bounty hunter, and he needs Django to identify some targets.  Turns out that Django, once unshackled, is more than happy to oblige.  Thus begins the start of a beautiful friendship in Quentin Tarantino’s latest bit of exploitative hipster shock-schlock historical revisionist revenge fantasy.  In his own signature absurdist self-referencing way, Tarantino combines many of the good elements that made Inglourious Basterds his masterpiece with many of the bad elements of every other overrated film he’s ever made.

See that dentist ain’t such a bad guy, wielding his own brand of justice, and Django has his own personal mission to track down his wife (Kerry Washington, allowed only to cry and get pushed around) who was sold down river in Mississippi to a one Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) of the infamous plantation called…you guessed it…Candie Land.  Thus an episodic journey begins culminating in an overly elaborate scheme to free Django’ wife, and for the first well-paced two hours it’s a pretty damn entertaining ride. Continue reading

A Review of the “Grindhouse” Double-Feature


 DON’T!!!!! (But I Did), 8 April 2007
David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

Like the classic double-features it pays homage to, “Grindhouse” features one half far superior to the other. The two-for-the-price-of-one deal is a mixed bag of schlocky, exploitative crap that pays off early for movie buffs.

“Planet Terror”–8/10. Like his “Sin City,” Robert Rodriguez’s zombie fest is pulpy, unapologetic over-the-top fun. He perfectly captures the spirit of the grindhouse films of old. His film is funny, violent, ridiculous, and pointless in all the right places and continually delivers the money shots of oozing flesh wounds, exploding bodies, severed limbs, decapitations, and chicks with machine guns (and one, Rose McGowan, with a machine gun leg that is every bit as spectacular as you imagined). The cast is all in on the joke and spectacularly game at every point (Marley Shelton as the lesbian anesthesiologist and Jeff Fahey as J.T. “the barbecue man” standing out). Operating at a crisp clip with no-nonsense or any attempt to parade as art, “Planet Terror” offers plenty bang for your buck and could easily stand alone. It’s the perfect example of giddy “insider-fetish” film-making where the director entertains the audience by first pleasing himself.

The “fake trailers” shown before and after “Planet Terror” are laugh-out-loud hilarious and operate brilliantly as both spoofs and homages. My personal favorite was Edgar Wright’s trailer for the searing psychological thriller “DON’T!” which in a sad bit of irony, could’ve been the tag-line for what comes next.

“Death Proof”–5/10. Quentin Tarantino’s rambling tale of an ex-stuntman stalking annoying and shallow women with his “death proof” car operates like a retarded Frankstein monster of a film made up of all the worst parts of Tarantino’s past efforts. A great performance from Kurt Russell and some fun car chase scenes aside, the rest is chock full of bad acting, worse writing and self-satisfied direction. This is the type of film where arbitrary dialogue is spouted by overly hipster actors playing non-characters we can’t wait to see die. Tarantino directs it smugly as he parades women in their undies and hot pants around and shows us some cool cars getting banged up, but it has no sense of fun to it. It’s the perfect example of banal “insider-fetish” film-making that bores its audience because the director first and foremost pleases himself.

Bottom line: Where as the “Kill Bill” films should’ve been edited down to one flick, this movie, joined at that skull like deformed twins, should’ve been severed. Oddly then the film-makers would’ve been left with a horrifying scenario. No one would want to see Tarantino’s half.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database