A Quick Review of Les Miserables and Django Unchained


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).

Django_Unchained_PosterIf 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

A Quick Review of The Dark Knight Rises

Hey Music Movie Fans!  It’s been a minute for movie reviews and today I come with a quick take on the highly anticipated Warner Brothers film, which is the end of the trilogy based on the DC Knightfall comic series, The Dark Knight Rises:).  Now, I am a big The Dark Knight fan, and couldn’t wait until last Wednesday night when I attended a screening of the film in IMAX. And judging by all of the smiles in the audience, and hands being raised quickly to win prizes during the pre-screening trivia, I knew I wasn’t the only geek, um I meant fan, in waiting ;). Now those who follow this blog know I don’t believe in spoilers, so I will do my best to keep it real and not “spill the beans.”

First off, those who wanted the action ante upped from the second film will in no way, shape or form be disappointed; and being directed, co-written, and produced by Chris Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) did anyone think it wouldn’t?.  This movie moves from opening sequence and doesn’t slow down too much; but it does allow for some catch up on the now hermit like Bruce Wayne (played by the amazing Christian Bale), who has become a recluse since his Dark Knight/fugitive status eight years prior.  We also have to wait midway in the film for Batman to find his way back to Gotham after an unfortunate run-in with the major villain in this movie, Bane.  Or is Bane the major villain in this movie?. Okay, I am going to leave that there! 😉 Wait, I will say this…I very much enjoyed and missed Heath Ledger as the Joker! Although, Tom Hardy (Inception, Warrior) brought the super, hulky, scary to the Bane role, it paled in comparison to the charisma and full-out chaos Heath Ledger created in the sequel to Batman Begins.  Sorry ladies and gents, but had to reminisce a little and no direct comparison of the two actors meant, but simply my realizing the impact Mr. Ledger had on the series.

Okay, I’ll move pass the bittersweet to some of my fave things about the film.  The fight scenes are majorly intense, and I actually cringed at one point (yeah comic book fans you know the scene to which I’m referring!).  Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) always makes me smile and I love the sense of  “calm during calamity” he adds to the Lucius Fox character. And Anne Hathaway (I loved her in Rachel Getting Married) is MAGNIFICENT as Catwoman/Selina Kyle!  But I have a gripe. It always amazes me how over-sexualized the female heroines/villains are made out. Case in point: when Batman rides his motorcycle there is no high rear, or rear raised high more accurately describes it, posterior angle.  But when Catwoman gets a chance to ride?  I’ll leave it there people, but go see the film and tell me you didn’t notice?

Another negative is with a close to three-hour running time, 2 hours and 44 minutes to be exact, you should make sure to load up enough snacks and visit a restroom before getting a theater seat!  It was a very long movie, and unfortunately the IMAX theater I visited was not the most comfortable.  Also, the movie is even more dark than the second in series, so if you have little ones waiting to see the film I would recommend heeding the PG-13 rating, as the violent images are certainly meant for a more mature audience.

Alright, there is so much more I want to say, but again it would involve some spoilers so I’ll just say go see this film!  And stop back and leave a thought or two below after you see it to let me know your favorite character/moment.  Look forward to hearing from you family.

Until next thought, Thomasena.