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The 2013 Oscar Predictions!

This is it.  It all comes down to this.  The Oscars.  Until it finishes and then we start a brand new year.  But we can all discuss about that and our post-depression after the 85th Academy Awards.  But let’s get straight to it.  Here are my predictions for the 2013 Academy Awards (and who should win).

Best Picture

Winner: Argo
Who Should Win:  Lincoln/Life of Pi
Spoiler Alert: Silver Linings Playbook

I hate hate hate how the Oscars are now predictable.  Though you always want to award film thats deserve the statue, it has become such a mammoth of a game with all these award shows and guilds prior to the big one.  It’s like if the two Super Bowl teams kept playing 4-5 times before the actual big game in February.  It’s became that big of a headache and has led to some anticlimactic years.  This year, it’s not so much predictable as frustrating.  Plain and simple: Argo is not the best film of 2012.  If I had a vote, I would probably have put Lincoln or Life of Pi as my number one rank, and Argo would most likely be my 5th or 6th.  Nonetheless, I predict it’s going to win.  Look out for Silver Linings Playbook to have a big night, and if does, this is going to be the icing on the cake.

Best Director

Winner: Steven Spielberg
Who Should Win: Spielberg/Ang Lee
Spoiler Alert: David O. Russell

As you can see, I’m very split between Life of Pi and Lincoln.  But considering I don’t have a lot of courage in these predictions, I’m going to stick with Spielberg just because it makes the most sense.  If Lincoln is somehow number one or number two behind Argo, then it makes a lot of sense that Spielberg will win his third Oscar for directing.  But something tells me Lincoln is not second.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Life of Pi or Silver Linings is ahead of Lincoln, which would lead to Director going to someone else.  I’m betting money on David O. Russell, not just because Vegas has him at +1500, but because I do think he has a legitimate chance of winning.  Over Ang Lee?  Not sure, but it all depends on how the night is playing out.  If we see De Niro and Lawrence win their respective categories, then I’d be a fool not to bet on Russell.  It’s anyone’s game.

Best Actor

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis
Who Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Spoiler Alert: Hugh Jackman

If there’s anyone that could potentially upset Abraham Lincoln is Hugh Jackman, but I don’t see that happening.  If it does, then you truly know that the Academy despised Lincoln and will not win one category throughout the entire evening.  But Lewis is going to win…….

Best Actress

Winner: Emannuelle Riva
Who Should Win: Jessica Chastain
Spoiler Alert: Emannuelle Riva

Though I predict Riva will win, she’s still not the favorite as Jennifer Lawrence is, but I think those who predict Lawrence will win don’t see the changing tide and emotional pull Riva has with the Academy.  They loved Amour, so much so they’re willing to sacrifice a 22 year old’s first Oscar (she’s going to get nominated again) and reward the 80’s something French actress who most likely will be her final film of her long and enduring career.  If you look at last year’s Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer, who definitely didn’t put in the best work in that category, but still won because of his age and career’s work throughout the 82 years he’s been placed on this earth.  It’s more of a congratulatory win rather than it being truly deserving, but this year, it’s both a congrats and a deserving vote.  I would’ve voted for Chastain who delivered one of the all time great female roles of all time, but I don’t think I need to go into much detail about why ZDT has gotten one of the all time screwed over campaigns in Oscar history.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Robert De Niro
Who Should Win: Tommy Lee Jones
Spoiler Alert: Christoph Waltz

I think the Academy loves Silver Linings Playbook a lot more than the rest of Hollywood, and when you have Harvey F****** Weinstein behind your campaign, then you’re always a threat.  The favorite to most people is still Tommy Lee Jones or Christoph Waltz, but I’m sticking with De Niro.  Waltz technically is in a poster role (dominates screen time) but still his performance is well deserving.  But he just recently won and the Academy usually doesn’t reward the same actors between small gaps.  I would love to see Tommy Lee Jones win, but I’ll stick to my upset pick.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Anne Hatheway, Les Miserables
Who Should Win: Sally Field, Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: Sally Field, Lincoln

If Sally Field wins this, I’m calling Lincoln for Director and Picture.  But I highly doubt it.  Anne Hatheway has swept this award since December.  It’s hers for the taking.

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Who Should Win: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Spoiler Alert: Michael Haneke, Amour

This award all depends on how the Academy feels about these three films.  Django, ZDT and Amour are all in a dead heat race as they’ve split the industry’s votes between the WGA, Golden Globes, BAFTA, etc.  I’m sticking with Quentin on this one, but that’s because I’m going with what my head thinks this year.  My heart tells me Haneke because the Academy is in amour with Amour (someone shoot me, thanks) but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these three wins, including the one I think deserves to win, Mark Boal.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Chris Terrio, Argo
Who Should Win: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

This is the category that I potentially think will give us a foreshadow of who’s going to win Best Picture.  All four possible BP winners are in this category (including Life of Pi) and whoever wins this category I believe could very well also be on stage for Picture.  The only film that I see winning Adapted Screenplay and not winning Picture is Lincoln.  Tony Kushner’s script is by far the biggest achievement, but as you’ve noticed with the prior guilds, sometimes achievement is not the most important.  If Argo wins here, we can slowly see the blocks tumbling away and it revealing who will win Best Picture.

Best Editing

Winner: Argo
Who Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Spoiler Alert: Silver Linings Playbook

If anything except Argo wins editing (which it should) then anticipate an upset at Picture.  The only film that wins this category but it eventually meaning nothing will be ZDT.  What a shame…

Best Cinematography

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Skyfall
Spoiler Alert: Lincoln

I don’t necessarily think Skyfall deserves to win, but I do think Roger Deakins does deserve his first damn Oscar.  He’s been nominated for the ninth time, but still is empty handed.  He’s the best director of photography working today, and almost no one touches him in terms of the quality of work he puts on year in and year out.  But I predict Life of Pi winning, and Deakins will have to sit out another year.  What a shame…

Best Production Design

Winner: Les Miserables
Who Should Win: Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: Anna Karenina

Okay, honestly, Anna Karenina is most likely going to win, but I just don’t want to feel stupid that if it does win, I at least have written it somewhere.  Well, I predict Les Mis is going to win a few categories and this is where it’ll win at least one Oscar.  It’s not the favorite, but I think the Academy just votes which film they enjoyed the most in certain categories.  Lincoln deserves to win, but it will be ignored.  Of course.

Best Sound Mixing

Winner: Les Miserables
Who Should Win: Skyfall
Spoiler Alert: Skyfall

All depends which film they enjoy more, Skyfall or Les Mis.  I’m going to stick with history here and say Les Miserables because musicals usually take this category.

Best Sound Editing

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Spoiler Alert: Life of Pi

I put Life of Pi as both winner and spoiler alert because I’m picking the upset here.  Skyfall and Argo are technically ahead of Life of Pi in terms of who’s in the lead, but Life of Pi sweeping the MPSE was enough for me to choose it.  Zero Dark Thirty deserves to win this award though, hands down.

Best Costume Design

Winner: Anna Karenina
Who Should Win: Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: Les Miserables

Anna Karenina will win the Oscar here.  If Lincoln does, potential big night for Lincoln.

Best Original Score

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Life of Pi
Spoiler Alert: Lincoln

John Williams will lose, but if he somehow doesn’t, then like Costume, could lead to bigger things.  Life of Pi though deserves to win this category.  Great great soundtrack.

Best Original Song

Winner: Skyfall
Who Should Win: Skyfall
Spoiler Alert: Anything other than Skyfall

If Adele performs and attends, you better give it to Skyfall.

Best Foreign Language Film

Winner: Amour
Who Should Win: Amour
Spoiler Alert: Kon-Tiki

Amour will win its first Oscar here (unless Screenplay is before Foreign Language film).

Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Searching for Sugarman
Who Should Win: The Invisible War
Spoiler Alert: How To Survive A Plague/The Invisible War

Searching for Sugarman has swept, but the Academy has a track record of not voting with the trends for documentary.  Only if this were true for everything else.

Best Animated Feature

Winner: Brave
Who Should Win: Wreck-It-Ralph
Spoiler Alert: Frankenweenie

I hope hope hope Brave doesn’t win, but I think it will.  the most deserving film here is Wreck-It-Ralph, and most experts are picking it to win.  But Pixar is the new monster, and it usually wins this category.  Also add in the fact it’s won many of the precursors, and I think you have your eventual winner.  Don’t be surprised if Tim Burton somehow goes up on stage and creeps everyone out.  And then Helena Bonham Carter will come up with him for some reason.

Best Visual Effects

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Life of Pi
Spoiler Alert: Anything Else

Richard Parker is the greatest achievement this year.

Best Makeup and Hair

Winner: Les Miserables
Who Should Win: The Hobbit
Spoiler Alert: Les Miserables

Technically, The Hobbit is the favorite, but what I think most people are forgetting is the new addition to the category, Hair.  I don’t think Academy members know squat about makeup and hair, and I really don’t think they liked the Hobbit and its HFR nonsense, so in response, they’ll make sure it loses the one category it most likely should and would win.  Les Miserables, take your Oscar.

Best Live Action Short

Winner: Curefew
Spoiler Alert: Henry

Best Animated Short

Winner: Paperman
Spoiler Alert: Adam & Dog

Best Documentary Short

Winner: Open Heart
Spoiler Alert: Inocente

Well, there they are folks.  I do expect my predictions to get demolished tonight, but hey, who cares?!  But good luck and enjoy your Oscars night.  And in tribute for the films of 2012, here is a great video.

The 2013 Oscar Preview: Acting Categories

Acting!  Now, for our four acting categories.

Best Supporting Actress

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

There really is no discussion here.  Anne Hathaway is going to win Best Supporting Actress.  She steals the film and she will still this win, as almost no other actress will come close.  Performance wise though, I Sally Field in Lincoln matches Hathaway’s vibrato and intensity.  Her crucial part as Mary Todd Lincoln is crucial for the film, and her astonishing work would’ve been recognized in almost any other year.  I will say this.  If for some reason Hathaway doesn’t win and either Weaver or Field shock the world in a huge upset, their win would be a foreshadow for both Director and Picture.  But I’d bet my left arm on Anne Hathaway.  In other news…Russell Crowe is performing at the Oscars.  Shoot.  Me.  Now.

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

This is most likely the closest race out of any category this year at the Academy Awards.  There is no lead, no favorite and more advantage.  Technically, Waltz should be the favorite considering he has received the most guild awards including the BAFTA and Golden Globe, but he just recently won for Inglourious Basterds which usually is an automatic no win.  But his role in Django is so fascinating that many seem to think that just can’t ignore his performance.  But I’m still sticking with the assumption that most voters will realize that they can’t give him two Oscars in the same category with less than 2-3 years apart.  That moves on to Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln.  His win at the SAG and Critic’s Choice is very important, considering the acting branch in the Academy has the most amount of members.  But winning the SAG does not always equate to winning the Oscar.  My guess is that if Tommy Lee Jones win Supporting Actor, then you can safely assume that Spielberg will win Directing, but then again, I’m betting on myself to look like a complete fool come Oscar night.  That’s why my pick will most likely be Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook.  I think people love Silver Linings, but I also think people love De Niro even more.  Though he’s already received two Oscars before, it’s been 21 years since his last NOMINATION.  And considering how my picks are going, I think the Academy will feel it necessary to reward Silver Linings for its achievement in some category.  Though most people will bet on either Waltz or Jones (which is the smartest and safest thing to do), I wouldn’t be too shocked if De Niro’s name is inside that envelope.  And you can make sure I’ll be bragging all night on this blog.

Best Actress

Emannuelle Riva, Amour
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

This is also another category that’s almost impossible to predict.  The race for Best Actress has changed constantly over that last few months, with a new leader taking the top spot every week or so.  After Zero Dark Thirty was released, it was almost certain that Jessica Chastain would receive her first Oscar, establishing the start of a marvelous career we are about to witness.  But when that shit storm hit of ZDT’s pro-torture nonsense, it took down any chance for ZDT to dominate, let alone win one Oscar on Sunday.  I do hope ZDT wins at least one, but I don’t think it’ll be in this category, which is a shame.  Chastain turns in an amazing performance, as does Wallis and Watts.  Both are amazing works of art, and their respective film truly rests on their shoulders, supplying the emotional and psychological toll of their situations.  But the favorite here is Lawrence mainly because Silver Linings Playbook is a film that the Academy eats up, a la Argo.  Her performance is great, and just like Chastain, will have an amazing career with future nominations and win(s).  And because of this huge potential and promise from both Chastain and Lawrence, I believe they will cancel each other out and make room for 82-year old Emannuelle Riva, the oldest actress to ever be nominated.  Amour is adored, and she pulls in one of the most harrowing performances of the year.  Amour will win at least 1-2 Oscars, and Best Actress is a strong possibility.

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Denzel Washington, Flight
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Again, another category filled with great performances.  This is definitely a strong year for Best Actor, and anyone of these actors not named Daniel Day-Lewis had a legitimate chance of winning if not for, well, Daniel Day-Lewis.  There really is no need for discussion here because just like Anne Hathaway, Lewis is running away with this award ever since people first flocked to see Lincoln.  If there’s any chance of an upset, which then I will throw my remote at my television set and then cry, is Hugh Jackman.  The Academy is raving over his performance, and just like Lewis, rests on his abilities to carry the film.  I don’t see it happening, but if there was any possible chance that another name could be called, it’d be him.  Even smaller chance for Bradley Cooper, but there’s no reason for anyone to think this is going to anyone else except Daniel Day-Lewis.

Tomorrow we will dive into the Directing category.

DJANGO Spoof on SNL Entitled “DJESUS UNCROSSED”

There’s no other character to play to heighten your possibility of winning an Oscar than playing Jesus.  And with the growing popularity of Tarantino’s new genre, this makes total sense.  Christoph Waltz plays the title role, and pretty much they’re just shooting up Romans.  Fun indeed.

The Best of 2012 Awards: Top Ten Performances of 2012

This was a year full of memorable performances from a wide range of actors.  From the veterans where we expect great work to those who are up and coming and launched their careers in fast forward mode.  Especially this year, it was hard to limit to ten performances, especially in some films where there were multiple great performances, and unlike my Top 10 (top 15 this year), there are no ties.  So without further ado, here are my top ten performances of 2012.

Denzel Washington – Flight
Denzel Washington’s career has become somewhat of a type cast.  Honestly, if you look back at his career, he plays that same role over and over again.  The intense and innovative cop is his bread and butter, and unfortunately, he’s gone that route way too many times.  But in Flight, he takes on a new role where he widens his acting abilities, pushing his skills away from the usual screaming and yelling to the subtle and inner struggle of a character.  As Whip Whitaker, a seasoned commercial pilot, he encounters his inner demons through an extraordinary experience where his initial heroism turns against him.  In this film, we see Washington portray a man where his strongest characteristics are not through his verbal and outward personalities, but in the heart and the soul.  His problems with drugs and alcohol has ruined almost everything in his life, and this is his final chance to before it all comes to a crashing halt.  Washington has never been better, and one may even say his performance in Flight is stronger and more profound than his Oscar winning role in Training Day.  Nonetheless, he deserves an Oscar nomination here and brought out his A game in Flight.

Anne Hatheway – Les Miserables
The best thing about Les Miserables is Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine.  Though her role is short, her presence is important and strongly felt as the mother of Cosette.  Her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” is by far the most emotionally engaging number in the film, showcasing Hathaway’s ability to act and sing at the same time.  Her Fantine is the best I’ve seen in any Les Mis production, and her performance will definitely garner her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting, most likely a win.

Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
It was tough to choose between all the amazing performances in The Master, specifically Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s, who will definitely be in the hunt for Best Supporting Actor, but Joaquin Phoenix’s role as Freddie Quell is mesmerizing, difficult and completely unadulterated as he consumes his character, leaving no trace of Phoenix and all of Quell.  This is a extremely challenging individual, and you can see from not by his words, but by his movement, his facial expressions and by his body language that Quell is full of hurt and pain.  His relationship with Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman) is truly beautiful to watch, and Phoenix pushes this film towards masterpiece status.  Though some may disagree considering it’s material and subject matter, we can all agree this film relies on the performances, especially Phoenix’s.

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook isn’t a perfect movie, or is a great one.  But it’s entertaining, and the best thing to watch is Jennifer Lawrence.  She plays the personality disorder very well, and I might’ve rather watched her character and her struggles more than the eventual plot.  But this film truly relies on Bradley Cooper and Lawrence, and though I disagree with some of the film’s decisions or it’s characters, it’s great to watch Lawrence, a young and upcoming actress, get her second Oscar nomination.  Her career has already been very successful, but we haven’t even seen the best of Lawrence.  She’s one of few young actors that will be the future of Hollywood, and her role in Silver Linings Playbook is evidence of this.

Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Just like The Master, it was a tough choice between Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.  Two key supporting roles in Lincoln, but I had to choose Jones (I’m not sexist), mainly basing it off the importance of his character in passing the 13th Amendment.  I know, that’s not fair to Field or Mary Todd, but whenever Jones speaks throughout the film, that’s when I’m most engaged.  I care for every word he speaks, and his performance is crucial to the success of Lincoln.  Just like many other performances throughout this list, Jones is going to get nominated for Supporting, and it’s very possible he’ll win.

Ezra Miller – The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Ezra Miller wasn’t even originally on my list, but I just recently watched The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and I couldn’t help but include him in.  Miller, who introduced himself to the film industry through his masterful work in We Need To Talk About Kevin (who was slightly overshadowed by Tilda Swinton’s powerful performance), he revolves himself in a completely new character, who similarly is an outcast in school, but is much more alive and active in his interactions with friends and colleagues.  But his performance is so important to the film because it is energy and the lifeblood.  Miller’s character is what brings everyone together, as his lively personality and the perky individual he is connects all the major characters through friendship and love.  He’s a rebel because he has to be, and that’s the only way to deal with his pain and suffering, and he hides his true self without acknowledging it to the world, until at the right moment, he has nothing else except to show his true self.  It’s a wonderful performance that most likely will get overlooked, and what a shame it will be.

Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of The Southern Wild
This is a film that I haven’t talked about at all, mainly because I saw this extremely late, and it already passed it’s buzz.  But there was a reason why it had such strong potential through the awards circuit this season when it was released at Sundance.  This is one powerful film.  Set in the slums of New Orleans where the potential of storms threaten their livelihood, we’ve got a seven year-old girl who puts in one of the best performances of the year.  Her on screen presence is what makes this film move, and it’s a magical ride.  It’s one of the most moving films of the year, and the last 30 minutes is all you need to see to validate her seat at the Academy Awards.  This an indie film that needs to be recognized in all categories, but if there’s one that needs to be put on the forefront, it’s Wallis’ defying and transcending portrayal of Hushpuppy.

Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
I’m, of course, being biased because Christoph Waltz is one of my favorite actors today, and I’ve only seen him in two films.  That says a lot about those two performances, but no one can deny the magnitude of his work in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained.  It’s unfortunate because I only had room to fit one performance from this masterful film, and though I was tempted to go with Leonardo DiCaprio, it was Waltz that eventually won the spot.  His Dr. King Schultz is the pulse, and the character is too memorable to ignore this year.  He is truly one of the most charismatic and charming actors today, and I truly believe Tarantino has many more roles he wants to write for this gifted German actor.  Nomination must be in the book for Christoph Waltz.

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty is one of the most controversial films of the year, and it unfortunately took a toll of its potential Oscar run.  But what it didn’t take away is Jessica Chastain’s harrowing and powerful performance as Maya, the mother***** who was responsible for finding Osama Bin Laden.  You see her progress and growth throughout the film, realizing that her change is necessary not for her own life’s work, but for the satisfaction of this country.  Her change resembles the similar change this country went through after 9/11, and from her strongest and most powerful lines to the final tears of completion, this is an important piece of work delivered by an actress who has career path that’s full of potential and success.  Even though she’s one of the greats right now, she’s still underrated, and when she gets more dominating work, she’s in line for more nominations and wins.  Expect her to win for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
It’s clear that there is no other performance that tops Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of our 16th President.  Though I have issues when films are purely fulfilled by one actor’s work, in this situation, it’s perfectly fitting, considering that Lincoln is the life and soul of this film, being the main proprietor and motivator for the 13th Amendment.  Lewis, easily the best working actor of our generation, knocks it out of the park, and without any hesitation, provides us with one of the great performances of all time.  I truly thought he would never top his Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, which is also one of the all time greats, but in the end, this is his career defining role.  I can’t think of any other actor who could play Lincoln, and when you have a role where only one actor can play, you know you have an individual who’s been given his own place in Hollywood.  From Lincoln’s voice, body language and just his overall persona as a father, husband and leader, we don’t just witness an Oscar-winning performance, we witness true art and masterpiece on screen that will last for ages.  Standing ovation indeed.

Honorable Mentions:
Sally Field – Lincoln
Phillip Seymour Hoffman & Amy Adams – The Master
Leonardo DiCaprio & Samuel L. Jackson – Django Unchained
Javier Bardem – Skyfall
Ann Dowd – Compliance
Suraj Sharma – Life of Pi

This Is Why We Go To The Movies: Django Unchained Review

It’s time to finally place Quentin Tarantino as one of the great American filmmakers.  After witnessing Django Unchained, it’s with certainty that he deserves to belong as not only has he created his own genre, but also a style and quality only Tarantino can reach.

I promise you, Django Unchained is a film you’ve never really seen before.  Granted, no one really makes a movie about slavery.  Anything that makes America look bad in the eyes of history is practically untouchable in the film industry.  I can list out many amazing film ideas where America looks awful and terrible, but I’ll save that lesson for another article.  But slavery, easily the most disgraceful and unfortunate period of this country’s short lifetime, is too difficult and too dark to depict for any writer/director.  But obviously, Quentin Tarantino does it successfully with ease, as his natural comedic, violent and charming tones bring an entertaining equation to screen.

The film follows Django (Jamie Foxx), a once enslaved African-American in Texas, and a German dentist named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).  Following a “business transaction”, these two partner up in the bounty business, as Dr. Schultz needs Django to point out specific criminals, and in return, will help DJango find his estranged wife.  After a cold winter of white people killing, they eventually get their eventful destination, Candie Land, owned by the ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Though the film is set during slavery, the film is primarily focused on the relationship between Django and Dr. Schultz, and their goal in finding and rescuing DJango’s wife, Broomhilda.  Though we see the harshness and violent era of slavery, we aren’t left alone in this dark era without any escape.  The journey that we take with Django is what reminds us that we aren’t in this adventure about escaping slavery, but about a man finding the love of his life, and what he must do to retrieve and rescue his wife.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t witness the extreme racism of which was the pro-slave South.  When I watched this film the first time, I would say about 40-50% of the film made me uncomfortable and unsettling.  No movie uses the N word more, and that kind of exploitation made this experience difficult.  We are constantly thrown into troubling situations where the white male constantly disrespects and disowns African-Americans, and no film has ever dared to go this far.

And without question, Tarantino wanted it this way.  I’m not going to lie, my opinions of the film were confused and discombobulated, wondering if Tarantino crossed the line and went too far (who knew I would get offended…).  But after a second viewing and fully being aware of what to expect, it was obvious to me that this racist world needed to be spotlighted in full frontal.  Besides showing the insane atmosphere our country was in during the 1800’s, it’s also necessary for our protagonist.  When Django lashes out in revenge, we are completely satisfied.  We have no remorse for the increasing body count, and we root for our hero to not just find his gal, but to also take vengeance to those who supported this heinous crime to human life.

This film is one big tight rope act.  There are so many possibilities of doing wrong, from being offensive, being too serious or too light hearted.  But if there’s one director that can succeed making a comedy through slavery, it’s Quentin Tarantino.  He’s in complete control, and his style and quality of filmmaking is showcased through his quirky uses of music to the way the body responds to a gunshot wound (wow was there a lot of blood).  What’s most impressive however with Tarantino is how aware he is with his characters.

He knows exactly who to cast, and it all starts with Django.  Originally rumored to attach Will Smith (I can’t imagine Will Smith playing this role), Jamie Foxx kills it in by far his best role yet.  He’s not overpowering nor underwhelming.  Foxx perfectly balances the hatred of those who done wrong and the motivation to find his love.  But the film relies on the performance of Christoph Waltz.  My goodness, besides Tarantino’s films, we should be ever so grateful for his introduction of Waltz to the world.  One of the more gifted and charming actors of our time, is there anyone else we would’ve wanted to play Dr. Schultz?  This isn’t Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds (ironic that a German witnesses the worst part of American history), but this is a character filled with grace and responsibility.  Devoted to his promise, we see a man who hates slavery, and finds purpose in helping a once enslaved man begin his new life of freedom.  I have no doubt that Waltz was the only choice for this role for Tarantino, and I hope these two work together for years to come.

But we cannot forget Leonardo DiCaprio’s work as Calvin Candie.  It was refreshing to see him play a villain, and though he falls back to his tendency of over-emotional reactions, we welcome this because we aren’t rooting for him.  We are afraid and intimidated.  This is not what we’re used to nor expect from DiCaprio, and it was a pleasing experience watching him have a blast with this character, as was Samuel L. Jackson.  A black household completely devoted to his owner, Jackson is also best when paired with Tarantino.  Waltz, DiCaprio and Jackson all deserve Oscar nominations.

This is a film worth waiting for.  It’s worth paying the overpriced ticket, the overpriced popcorn and the overpriced soda for.  This is why we go to the movies.  Quentin Tarantino is fully aware that the art of the theater is slowly dying, and his way of fighting back is by making movies like Django Unchained.  We should all be thankful, as he’s made one of his best films, and easily one of the best films of 2012.

Django Unchained receives 4 stars (out of 5).