"Django Unchained" is a very interesting, well-edited, well-directed… More"Django Unchained" is a very interesting, well-edited, well-directed and acted film, but it's also an uncomfortable film. Whether you have a problem with the violent depiction of slavery, the idea of a slave hero taking revenge, the torture that's shown, the death, or the blood, it just doesn't go down easy. As an action film it works rather well, and the fact that Django (Foxx) is out for vengeance against those that have wronged him and his wife, makes it one of the better motivated films about revenge. It also puts traditionally shown torture in exploitation films into a new context, as it's realistic and historically accurate, which only adds to the unsettling quality of the film. Christoph Waltz gives an amazing performance as a character that so rarely gets written or shown onscreen. Leonardo DiCaprio is very malevolent as Calvin Candie, showing us a villain that is almost unknowing of the absolute cruelty he inflicts, while also being arrogant, pompous, and spoiled. As a dandy he is nothing but interesting, although much more awe-inspiring is Samuel L. Jackson as the head house slave Stephen. His performance was incomparable, obviously the more complex and entertaining villain, even alongside Candie's absolute evilness. Stephen is both treacherous and crafty, unlike many villains seen before, and the fact that he betrays his own people makes him the more hated. The ending is where this film lost me. It kind of peters out here and there before gaining back its momentum, inevitably slowing to a grave pace at certain points. While the ending was significant in the awesomeness of the action, it felt tacked on in some way, less satisfying than if Django outright won, without consequence. That may seem selfish of me to say, and small minded, but a shootout would have felt better deserved.
With a great cast of both Brits and Americans, and a stalwart approach… MoreWith a great cast of both Brits and Americans, and a stalwart approach to satirical humor, director Armando Ianucci delivers a great politically motivated comedy. Delving into the oft-mined political sphere, as of late, "In the Loop" follows the bungling of an interview by Simon Forster (Holland) and the subsequent worldwide chatter between the US and UK. It also speaks on the subterfuge of being a political animal, and the hand holding that goes into bills, policy, and wartime paranoia. Everyone in this is so hilarious, and over-the-top in the best of ways. Peter Capaldi steals the entire show as Malcolm Tucker, a lewd, cussing, inflammatory politician who strives to keep his career while double crossing everyone in the process. His longwinded rants on the state of politics, and his own role in its demise are both funny and sadly close to reality. James Gandolfini, Anna Chlumsky, Steve Coogan, and Mimi Kennedy also give outstanding performances as players in an intrigue filled game, whether they know it or not.
I have heard varied opinions on what people seem to take away from… MoreI have heard varied opinions on what people seem to take away from this Spike Lee helmed indie, which became a conversation starter in the world of race relations back in 1989. Some find it racist, others don't find the ending too radically unnerving, or find it confusing compared to the rest of the film. Though I can agree that the ending was not the "right thing" that the title encourages, it still sparked interest. It speaks on the fine line between rioting in the street, and a friendly disagreement. That's what the film has to offer: a look into the boiling point that remains, even now. SPOILERS: The parallel between Radio Raheem's death and that of Trayvon Martin was interesting. Dying because you played your music loud, versus having Skittles and wearing a hoodie. Race is still a prevalent hot button issue in the world, and will be, maybe forever. This film is important, and the parallels to today's conversations about our country are staggeringly similar. Though you may find fault with the way the message is delivered, it still remains a pivotal effort in changing the world view currently in effect.
Matthew McConaughey is a revelation in this film, giving the absolute… MoreMatthew McConaughey is a revelation in this film, giving the absolute best performance of his career. As a whole this film is very entertaining, and the story being true just adds gravy to an otherwise delicious roast. Following an HIV suffering, homophobic cowboy named Ron Woodroof, (McConaughey) the film shows us the history of how those afflicted were treated, the merits of drug dealing to the sick, and the good deeds done by Woodroof in his life. The film doesn't preach empathy or tolerance, but watching this you gain that from the perspective of those dying. Leto is of course amazing as Rayon, a drug addled pre-op transsexual who becomes Woodroof's business partner. What really strikes you is the fact that medicine was rushed through FDA trials that didn't cure, that no one knew the truth of the disease, and maintaining health proved to be difficult at that time. Woodroof is a very interesting, lively character, and McConaughey is just great to watch in this, a role where he is virtually unrecognizable. He wholeheartedly deserves his nomination and I only hope this is a start to another phase in an already flourishing career.
The absolute in spy classics, and Carol Reed's best directorial… MoreThe absolute in spy classics, and Carol Reed's best directorial effort, "The Third Man" remains one of the most interesting and politically driven films of all times. The performances are amazing, to say the least. Joseph Cotten is Holly Martins, an expatriate from America, who comes to war torn Austria to find his friend dead, his job gone, and an unraveling mystery all set up for him to solve. As Martins (a mystery novelist) starts looking into his old friend's (Welles) death, he discovers a man he desperately doesn't want to admit knowing, and a conspiracy that extends to murder. Martins is so subdued and dark that he instantly fits into the everyman facade and runs with it. Alida Valli as Anna Schmidt was intriguing as well, fighting for the man she loves but also being shocked into empathy. Anna Schmidt is one of the more complex and interesting characters of the entire film, and though her motivations are clear, she still steals the show from time to time. The plot is interesting, the suspense is taut, and the cinematography is out of this world amazing. A must see, a classic, and a thriller worth being thrilled about.