Merry Christmas Music Movie Family! I pray that your holiday is filled with good people, good music, and great food! Are you headed to the movies today to see either of the major films opening that are being lauded, à la Les Miserables or Django Unchained? I screened both within the past month and would or would not recommend both based on your personal taste and/or preferences.
Let’s start with the musical Les Miserables. I mean, the production – stellar. The cast performances amazing, well except for Russell Crowe’s singing (sorry Russell, but you know it’s true). But all the hoopla about Anne Hathaway’s (Rachel Getting Married, The Dark Knight Rises) performance is the TRUTH. She was phenomenal as Fantine, a part she said her mother was understudy for during her performance days. And Hugh Jackman (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Real Steel) astounded as Jean Valjean, wait until you see how much weight he lost for the part! If you are not familiar with the musical, it is far from being a lighthearted Mary Poppins type of story, and is not a good choice for a younger audience (it is rated PG-13). So if you need to take the kiddies with you to the theater, Les Miserables is not the choice for you. You can read more about the story or watch the trailer at http://www.lesmiserablesfilm.com/.
Which brings me to Django. Now I must preface this review with I was on the “I won’t go see Django Unchained” team when I first heard about the film. But a screening opportunity presented itself, and I’d read so many controversial statements and articles about, that I became intrigued and decided to check it out. I also enjoyed the Tarantino vehicles Kill Bill (Vol. 1 and 2) and Reservoir Dogs, so I went to the film expecting to see a bunch of gore, especially with the content matter. And boy does Quentin Tarantino do gore. Needless to say, Django is not the family Christmas movie, unless your hanging with a bunch of adults or older teens (it has an R rating).
If you don’t know the premise, the movie is about a former slave named Django (Jamie Foxx; Ray, Any Given Sunday) who with the help of his bounty hunter mentor Schultz (Christoph Waltz; Inglourious Basterds, Carnage) attempts to rescue his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington; Ray, The Last King of Scotland). The duo finds out that Broomhilda is on a Mississippi plantation called Candyland, owned by a brutal master named Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio; The Departed, Inception), and formulate a shady plan to gain her freedom. Now if you can go into Django Unchained with the mindset that Tarantino is an overzealous fan of 60’s and 70’s spaghetti western and blaxploitation movies, and this is his super violent mash-up of the two, you might actually enjoy this film. I enjoyed parts of the story, mostly when the bad guys received their comeuppance, but the film began to lull midway, and I felt it was too long. My biggest problem with Django is slavery is too heavy a topic for me to view intertwined with fantasy. Even though Jamie Foxx described it on a recent award show as “Kunta Kinte gets his revenge,” I don’t buy it. There was nothing fantastic about slavery and, as original as it is, Django didn’t convince me a revenge story needed to be told in this fashion. You can get more info about or watch the trailer for Django Unchained at http://unchainedmovie.com/
If you’re looking for another film to see tomorrow, and don’t have to worry about the kids, check out The Impossible with Golden Globe nominated actress Kate Winslet, which is based on a true family’s survival of the 2004 tsunami tragedy. And if you have the kiddies, why not Monsters Inc., which was re-released in 3D? Whichever film you decide to see, stop back by and let me know your thoughts.
Merry Christmas family. Until next thought, Thomasena