Django Unchained March 18, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Western , add a comment
Over the last few years I have felt Tarantino has been basically making films which in essence are him whacking off as a Director and making a movies using every uncontrolled implus he has. It started with ‘Kill Bill’ the “4th” movie by Quentin Tarantino and continued with ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Inglorious basterds‘ in which he let himself loose on his homages to earlier cinema. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy those films. I got a real kick out of them but at times felt he was out of control and making films that just weren’t as engaging. Yet people were still eating it up as Tarantino cinema. Well I remember a time when Tarantino cinema was ‘Pulp Fiction’ and that was the fucking bomb. When I saw the trailers for ‘Django Unchained’ I was expecting more of the same as recent offerings, this time a movie stuffed full of western homages and basically Tarantino diddling with himself yet again. But I thought “fuck it, you got to see it anyway”. So the lights go down and before 10 minutes of the film had even passed I thought how wrong my expectations were and how amazing this film was.
Almost 3 hours later I came out of the cinema believing I had seen the best Tarantino film since Pulp Fiction and I felt that way throughout the entire film. This a pretty fucking great movie and definitely in my top 10 of this year. He nailed it. I’m delighted he did. I also have to disagree with those that thought it was overly long because the film had my complete attention for every second of it’s silvery goodness. I put a large part down to the script with dialogue that isn’t just bringing us from point A action scene to point B action scene but actually has resonance and MEANING. That combined with the beautiful cinematography, ear blistering soundtrack and fantastic acting particularly of Christopher Waltz, Samuel L Jackson, Leo DiCaprio, Jamie Fox and a cameo by Franco Nero had me feeling like I wasn’t watching a Director whacking off but was been whacked off by what was onscreen.
Ok, so Historical accuracy aside this is a Tarantino film and some of us enlightened folk know that he makes film these days that are films rather than accurate historical flicks. That is unless you actually believe that he thought Samurai swords were allowed as carry ons on Airplanes (use your heads people). The tricky thing is that there are aspects of Django which are definitely addressing history and issues of America’s past. Yet it isn’t an allegory and Tarantino himself doesn’t call it a western per say but a southern. He’s clearly made a film where he is saying something and yet not abiding to any type of rule in the way he does it.
The other controversial aspect of the movie is the depiction of violence and I do believe that this was more graphic than needed to be and you shouldn’t be takin your lady friends to this one fellas.. Then again, I sure wasn’t aching for a real gun fight after seeing people’s faces implode in this movie. I don’t believe violence in movies inspires violence in reality. We have 24 hour news coverage that does that, News which dramatically depicts wars, executions and bombings as entertainment that scares the shit out of society and has some of us locked indoors in fear. If movie violence inspires people to go out and do the same then those people are likely to have a mental problem to begin with and lets face it, movies don’t put AK47s in people’s hands. If you are going to blame films for violence then you’ll have to blame novels, blame history and blame Tom and Jerry.
My own grip is that this was fuuking loud! The director sometimes does give notes for the projectionists as to how to light the film. That might include sound too. Anyway the sound on this was definitely loud enough to strain my ears to the heights of standing by a speaker at a night club.
What’s next for Tarantino? Anyone for Zatoichi? I dreaded the idea before but now…… do it do it do it!!
Go see ‘Django Unchained’. But for a more appreciative experience go watch ‘Django’ and Sukiyaki Western first!
Favorite Quote: “Sorry, I couldn’t resist” - Dr. King Schultz
Shane October 11, 2011Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Western , add a comment
One of the greatest Westerns along with High Noon, The Searchers and Winchester 73.
A stranger (Shane) drifts into town. A man not looking for any trouble. Polite and courteous he tries to keep a low profile but finds himself inbetween a conflict between the man he works for and a cattle baron. It starts to become apparent to people around him that there is more to Shane then they think.
Shane is a high moral standing man, not the first to throw a punch or to be dragged down to another person’s level but is someone who will stick up for what’s right. Under his timid gentle exterior lies the heart of a skilled gunfighter not to be messed with. He’s a man’s man. Yet he deals with any situation with great humility and strength and is an inspiration to the young boy in the movie. Through his eyes Shane’s story is told. The character of Shane is as charming as the film itself and I think that’s why it’s is so popular. Little else is revealed of the character except that he wants to settle down and get out of the life he’s been living. Shane is not proud but he is a man who has lived by his gun and eventually such a man can’t escape that kind of life catching up with him.
The ending. What is Shane’s fate? He rides off to his next destination still being the person he’s always been and nobody who sees him leave would think any different.
Favorite Quote: “What have you heard, Shane?”- Jack wilson
Sukiyaki Western Django October 12, 2007Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Western, Asian Cinema , add a comment
Back when films like “Django” and “A fist full of Dollars” were been released they were called Spaghetti westerns. Like noodles from Japan, the italians had taken them and changed them into something completely different (Spaghetti). Thus when they took the classic American Westren movie they made it into something new and exciting. Django and Fist Full of Dollars are themselves based upon the Japanese film Yojimbo which is also based on the Novel Red Harvest. Takashi Miike brings this full circle by taking the classic spaghetti western “Django” and making it into his own unique vision. A Sukiyaki Western.
The story as mentioned is taken from Django and Yojimbo, a Gunman enters a town and is faced having to choose between two rival gangs who have taken over the town in their search for gold, the town people who are left would rather use the Gunman to rid them of both gangs.
The mix of these Genres from Western to Samurai is a lot of fun and presents some beautiful scenes and comedic moments. The setting is timeless. A western town in Japan with English speaking Japanese characters who live by the gun instead of the sword. The last Chapter of the film is balls to the wall action present with the most beautiful visuals and for me Kaori Momoi stole every scene she was in. The other actors gave great performances and they clearly are enjoying it, but it’s hard to match the sexiness of Momoi as she licks the hot barrel of her gun after blasting dudes away.
The film is in English, not dubbed. The Japanese cast speak English although some of you may still need subtitles if you have trouble understanding accents or people with broken English. The English mainly spoken in the movie is phonetic. This seems funny at first but you get used to it and I didn’t have much trouble understanding anything at all except for a few words here and there which I could guess. It’s not something that takes away from the enjoyment of the film. It might even add to the fun of this film. Even Tarantino seems to be doing a Bruce Lee impression in some of his scenes.
For those of you who have been put off or could not stomach Miikes previous movies I am sure you’ll find this far more palatable. I think one of his best. It’s not what you might expect from a Miike film, he left his mark on it but clearly there have been so many other influences to this work. I am pretty sure Tarantino made a few suggestions, in particular the final epilogue which made me giggle with glee as the Django theme played. I am delighted to see Tarantino working with the likes of Miike since he himself is obviously a fan of Miike’s work. One hopes we may still see a Tarantino produced Tetsuo III.
Favorite quote: “Every man has got his own reasons for why he has to keep on living.” ~ Ruriko