Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is a smashing hit for me. I absolutely loved it and Christoph Waltz is a big reason why. That man can act and deserves all the recognition and praise he is getting. Without him this is a good not great film. Waltz is German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, who teams up with freed slave Django, played by Jamie Foxx, in search of his bounties as well as Django’s long lost love. This journey leads them straight to Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DeCaprio, and his Mississippi plantation. Here they find Broomhilda Von Shaft played by Kerry Washington who is Django’s long lost love. This film is filled with several other stars including Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, and of course a cameo by Quentin Tarantino himself.
Django Unchained was one of my can’t wait movies for this year and it met all my expectations and then some. Like all Tarantino films, it is long and nearly feels like 3 small separate movies wrapped in one. It combines hilarious moments of dialogue with extreme violence and harsh racial language.
Rating – A
Recommend it – Yes
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a powerful film directed by Benh Zeitlin. It’s set around a 6 year old girl named Hushpuppy, played by Quvenzhane Wallis, who is growing up in a bayou community called the Bathtub. She lives there with her hot tempered father Wink, played by Dwight Henry, and follows them as Wink prepares Hushpuppy for a day when he is no longer around. Ice caps melt, the bayou floods, Wink’s health begins to fail, and prehistoric beasts called Auroches are unleashed. With Wink’s tough love combined with an almost desire for a daughter as tough as a man, Hushpuppy is ready to take on the world.
Quvenzhane Wallis’s performance as Hushpuppy is absolutely amazing. She steals every scene of the movie and captivates the audience, while seamlessly pushing herself into the Top Actress category come award season. For a young girl to fully wrap herself into a character and give a performance like this is rare. Dwight Henry was excellent as her father Wink and his repore with Hushpuppy was powerful, as you felt and saw his emotion. I love films with a heart and purpose bigger than their budget. It’s beautifully scored and the cinematography is amazing. The second the credits began to roll, I was ready to hit play again.
Rating – A
Recommend It – Yes
Moonrise Kingdom is a film that I was extremely excited to see once I saw the trailer and read a little about it. The film is set in New England on an island in the 1960s and based on a pair of kids who are in love. On one side of they island you have Sam Shakusky, an unpopular member of Troop 55 of the Khaki Scouts and is spending the summer with his troop at Camp Ivanhoe and on the other side of the island is Suzy Bishop, a somewhat angry child who is up for being rebellious and adventurous. The two pen pals decide it’s time to runaway together as a large storm is approaching the island.
The cast was able to be deep and filled with stars but didn’t cross that thin line of over powering the two young actors, Jared Gilman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy. Those two kids were excellent and portrayed their roles very well. Bruce Willis plays Island Police Captain Sharp while Bill Murray and Frances McDormand play Walt and Laura Bishop, the parents of Suzy. Edward Norton was excellent in his role a Khaki Scout Master Ward, his scenes with his troop were some of the most enjoyable moments of the film. Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman also have small but engaging parts.
Rating – A
Recommend it – Yes
In Friends With Kids, best friends Jason Fryman played by Adam Scott and Julie Keller played by Jennifer Westfeldt decide to have a baby together and basically move forward as a divorced couple. They will split their time with the child 50/50 and still be able to search for their true loves and or one night stands because they are strictly co-parents with no feelings for each other. Let the shenanigans ensue… right? Well… sorta. The thing that attracted me to this movie the most was the cast. Jennifer Westfeldt, who I hadn’t heard of, not only plays Julie but also was the writer and director of this film. I was very impressed with her performance in all aspects especially with this being her directorial debut but the people that drew me in were Adam Scott (Parks and Rec.), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd), Kristen Wiig (SNL, Bridesmaids), and Maya Rudolph (SNL, Away We Go.) It seemed like a cast that was hand picked by me.
The movie is decent. It has its laughs but also shines a “bright” light on how Jason and Julie’s plan “might” not be a good one in what I would consider a mild chick flick sort of way.
Rating – C
Recommend it – No