Django Unchained (2012)

Gorgeous poster, though probably not in the category of previous Tarantino films.  Argue about that.

Gorgeous poster, though probably not in the category of previous Tarantino films. Argue about that.

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino (we could argue over what his “best” movie is, but the safe bet will most likely always be Pulp Fiction)

Written by: Tarantino

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Remar, Kerry Washington, Laura Cayouette, Walton Goggins and Samuel L. Jackson.  Also, check the tags for many actors that basically filmed cameo roles.

What it’s about: in 1858, a former slave becomes a bounty hunter and searches for his wife

B-Movie Alternate Title: It’s a pretty B-Movie title already

Movie Mash Up: Inglourious BasterdsTombstone + probably hundreds of blaxpoitation movies that Tarantino has watched

What I liked: I have to admit, Jamie Foxx ruled in this movie, and I hate having to say that.  Tarantino wrote such a great character in Django, and knew exactly how he wanted the character to appear and succeeded on all levels.  I would argue that Christoph Waltz deserves to be nominated in the Best Actor category, rather than the Supporting Actor category for his performance in this movie, but whatever.  It is a fun movie, dealing with some super serious themes, and it may be Tarantino’s funniest movie yet.  Argue some more about that too, if you want.  The movie looks gorgeous, and flows fairly well (see below), so well that at points it doesn’t exactly feel like a near three hour-long movie.  DiCaprio was amazing in it as well, particularly the scene in which he actually accidentally cuts open his own hand, bleeding profusely all over himself, and continues acting.  Don’t know how Kerry Washington felt about having his blood smeared all over her face, though.

What I disliked: The running time of nearly three hours is fairly daunting, Tarantino movie or not.  You could make arguments about trimming the fat and lessening the homages to whatever obscure movie Tarantino was referring to with whatever camera angle or sound cue, but you don’t have the same movie then.  I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable movie fan, but I probably don’t know half of the references Tarantino is making, even in regards to certain actors and actresses he ends up casting for whatever reason.  There were some scenes throughout that I thought were misplaced or came from some wacky sitcom script (the Jonah Hill cameo scene springs to mind), and while they weren’t terrible, they did put me off a little.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: While it is pretty great, the exceedingly long running time and excessive (but totally in context) usage of the word “nigger”, probably means it isn’t for everyone.  Tarantino fans will eagerly lap it up, though.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

I am surprised this .gif hasn't been Hasslehoff'd.

I am surprised this .gif hasn’t been Hasslehoff’d.

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

First of all, I’m pissed that this is the third Transformers movie and where the hell is Judd Nelson?  Secondly, it isn’t as bad as Revenge of the Fallen was, I mean, how could it be, right?  That thing was a steaming pile of excrement.  However, just because it’s better, doesn’t mean it’s good.  I’m sure a more anal-retentive person that cares more about Transformers could dissect all the plot holes in this film and rage for hours, but since I don’t care about the mythology and long ago learned to divorce source material from film (thank you Bourne trilogy), I’m not going to do that.

All I’m going to say is that it is a far less racist film than the preceding one.  There’s a tonne of name actors and That Guys in the movie, and the best portions of the movie involve the awesome Alan Tudyk.  Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a less impressive Megan Fox, just as Ken Jeong is a less impressive Rainn Wilson.  The “twist” can be seen a mile away (and I need to find a new metaphor for that), and the fight scenes contain much robot-on-robot violence and thousands of humans dying.  It is ridiculous and easily the most tragic thing I’ve seen today.  Patrick Dempsey lets us all have a little therapy by finally acting like the douchebag we want him to be, but sadly gets owned by Shia LaBeouf.  And other things happen.

It’s not a good movie, not even average for what I would expect a popcorn movie to be.  It won’t make you forget about how terrible Revenge of the Fallen was, and it is far too long by about 45 minutes.  If you must see it, watch it, but you have been warned, human.

2 / 5

X-Men: First Class (2011)

When I first heard that Fox was going to be making a prequel to the mostly quite good X-Men Trilogy (the less said about X3 the better), I was ready to dismiss it without a thought.  Then casting was announced, and some of those decisions got me a bit excited (Jennifer Lawrence in any/every/nothing gets me excited).  Then the reviews came in, which mostly amounted to “well, that was good, I’m … actually surprised” for the most part.  Having just watched it, I will say that it should be the template that any prequel / reboot attempts and – this point may come under contention – it may well be one of the finest comic book movies ever made, damn whatever Ebert said about it.

I have nothing at all bad to say about the movie.  The production design, the execution, the writing, the story, the acting, all top notch and far better than I expected it to be.  I wasn’t a big X-Men fan (DC guy here, which nowadays feels like being a Nintendo Kid), so I don’t go into it being all annoyed about what characters are doing and origins and such, but I know the gist of it.  It is a fun movie that balances action, suspense and storytelling with great performances.  You don’t even need to know that much about the characters or have seen the original Trilogy (not THAT one) to enjoy the movie (I assume).

5 / 5

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Okay, before July, I had never seen a Fast & Furious movie.  I might have seen a combined 2 minutes of commercial footage, but I never intended on ever ever watching them.  Then The Rock was in Fast Five, which I knew I’d eventually see.  Of course, this was around the time that I was still employed by that asshole company Blockbuster.  Now, even though I was laid off by them, I knew I was still going to want to see F5 (or however the cool kids are abbreviating it) because I’m still a wrestling nerd, and aside from The Scorpion King, I don’t think there’s a Rock movie I’ve not seen.  But I didn’t want to go into F5 (not the Brock Lesnar move nor the EVIL TWISTER OF DEATH) not knowing what was going on, or why chicks still dig Vin Diesel.  So – since I was told the Fast & Furious movies weren’t terrible – I decided to watch all of them.

Now, I was actually surprised that I didn’t hate The Fast and the Furious, but sequels are usually not as good, and 2F2F (I feel dirty typing that) certainly lived up to that reputation.  It wasn’t horrible though, just so you know.  This was a movie I watched a couple weeks ago, so no snarky commentary on it, just today’s Movie A Day.

2 / 5

This is probably not going to be the format for most of the blog, just movies that are sitting in the queue, waiting to be counted for the Movie A Day project.  From now on, I’m intending on  writing running commentaries (MSTK style or serious, depending on how a movie is grabbing me) for movies I’m watching.  In theory.

Wanna learn more about this movie? 2 Fast 2 Furious at the Wiki or at IMDb