Author Topic: Django Unchained  (Read 60492 times)

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squints

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #330 on: December 27, 2012, 12:19:38 PM »
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I'm officially over QT until he does something interesting again. Which, because of his fear that he'll be a shitty old filmmaker, we'll probably never see.

David Eddelstein's NYT review pretty much hits it right on the head (and i've heard this opinion about QT reflected on this board in the past). -

"For all its pleasures, Django Unchained feels too easy, too dead-center in Tarantino’s comfort zone. He’s not challenging himself in any way that matters. He has become his own Yes Man."

Quentin's been playin the same damn song for almost 10 years now. Time to switch it up.
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jenkins

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #331 on: December 27, 2012, 12:48:19 PM »
+2
spoilers

This time,

more impressed by the large number of characters. so many background characters you feel you know a thing or two about, thinking about Betina, Sheba, Big Fred, the Marshall, the woman with the crutches in the background who runs away, Old Man Carrucan. it's flatout amazing how large this world is, really, how massively imagined the thing is.

more impressed by the big daddy house sequence -- the music that plays when django walks over, the girls in the background (girl on the swing), django's first payback, and then his second payback, wow, the whipping, his face, the way django calls out to the onlookers to watch, firing off all the rounds. 'cause he's qt you know this scene was built to seed the later madness, and it totally works. notice also how when big daddy comes out to see what's happened, in his inner circle are black men holding guns.

I don't think this is a revenge movie. I think this is a story about a man in love who will stop at nothing to get his wife back. He just happens to get some revenge along the way.
the parallel with the Broomhilda legend is a romantic feature of the movie, and i like it, but fact is she's chillin' on a horse at the end, waiting for django to kill everyone. can't really call it along the way if he goes out his way.
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Kellen

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #332 on: December 27, 2012, 01:49:28 PM »
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Quote
5.
People in my theater were into the Mandingo fight scene, and Leo cheering em on, Some even clapped when the one slave broke the others arm.

Glad to see that racism is alive and well in America ( I'M KIDDING OF COURSE! ) Seriously though, what part of the south are you from?


My family had to move to Missouri about 4 or 5 years ago when my dad got a new job.  I'm originally from Chicago, and I lived in NY for about a year.  But yeah to say we have some knuckleheads here would be putting it kindly.

jenkins

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #333 on: December 27, 2012, 03:45:19 PM »
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Spoilers

An aspect of analysis that remains unmined for me is Django's trickery with the lequint people. Can I outsource thoughts again (busy, matt?)

Things this sequence does --

1 emphasizes a division in lines of loyalty. they could become partners, like Schultz, but unlike Schultz they are involved in slavery. No allies with the enemy

2 something to do with the slaves in the wagon. They must admit, yes, he is different, he rode in on a horse, he is a bounty hunter. Django seems permanently released from the shackles. unchained, right. He is forever something else.

3 related to 2, even if we guessed it, now we see, Django absorbed Schultz.

Others?
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RegularKarate

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #334 on: December 27, 2012, 05:53:35 PM »
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spoilers
the parallel with the Broomhilda legend is a romantic feature of the movie, and i like it, but fact is she's chillin' on a horse at the end, waiting for django to kill everyone. can't really call it along the way if he goes out his way.

He was definitely getting some hardcore revenge there, but he was there for a reason other than revenge. He had to get Broomhilda's papers and then make sure that there wasn't anyone who would tell the authorities about them.

jenkins

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #335 on: December 27, 2012, 06:02:15 PM »
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spoilers

hm, i had wondered about the papers in that they have schultz's name, but i hadn't considered that the ending was related to the papers. interesting. not really sure how slave records worked and if that was an intended connection, if it was necessary beyond possessing the papers, but it sounds plausible. conversely, he already possessed the papers and was waiting for everyone to return from the funeral and like, isn't exploding the mansion kind of worse than leaving someone? you done confused me. either way he now has people coming after him, as stephen notes.
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modage

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #336 on: December 27, 2012, 06:33:55 PM »
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LIGHT SPOILERS

The thing nobody seems to be talking about still is how the cameo nearly ruins the movie.

If put on the spot to list my favorite filmmakers working today, I doubt I’d get to five names without including Quentin Tarantino’s. “Pulp Fiction” is probably the single most important film of the 90’s (just go ahead and put it in the time capsule), “Kill Bill: Volume One” was one of my favorite cinematic experiences of the 00’s and “Inglourious Basterds” proved the filmmaker’s best work could still be ahead of him. Tarantino has talked a lot about his legacy (and talked a lot, period), promising to retire before he becomes an “old man filmmaker” and his work starts slipping. “Django Unchained” is his 8th film and Tarantino is not quite 50 years old but already the signs of age have begun to show. Besides “Death Proof, still his worst, ‘Django’ is probably his next weakest effort overall despite some great moments throughout.

In the film, Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a slave freed by a German bounty hunter named Schultz (Christoph Waltz, obviously) who is tracking The Brittle Brothers, the same trio of rednecks who sold Django and his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) into slavery. Initially Django is wounded and unsure of himself, he’s never been free before after all, but very quickly adjusts to the lifestyle of a bounty hunter. A little too quick in fact, because Schultz and Django catch up to the Brittle Brothers fairly early on and Django gets his revenge, killing all of them. It’s actually one of the most successful sequences in the film because the violence acts as emotional catharsis. It’s impossible not to feel that justice is being served as Django whips one of them repeatedly. It’s a true Tarantino moment: uncomfortable, thrilling, emotionally affecting and unfortunately it’s all downhill from there.

After this sequence, Django and Schultz head off to buy back Broomhilda but the stakes are never quite as personal again. The love story that the film supposedly hinges on just doesn’t really work. Lovely Kerry Washington is wasted here as Broomhilda, a disappointingly one dimensional love interest only really allowed to cry and suffer. (Especially after the kick-ass heroines in ‘Bill’ and ‘Basterds’ I would’ve hoped fro better.) The biggest problem with the film is that Tarantino can’t seem to decide whether to use the slavery-era setting as a backdrop for a fun shoot-em-up revenge film (a la “Kill Bill”) or go a little darker and dig a little deeper into some of the more upsetting aspects of that period. He tries to do both and doesn’t succeed wildly at either. It’s not as fun as it should be and fails to gain any emotional traction (after stirring up some deep feelings early on).

Django himself is forced to play second fiddle to Schultz for most of the film so we don’t get to know much more of what’s going on in his head beyond the tough-guy exterior he displays. Waltz is good but familiar, though his character on the surface is quite different from Hans Landa, his rhythms are a little too similar to distinguish himself. Leonardo DiCaprio, on the other hand, is a total scene-stealer. Playing boy-prince Calvin Candie, a plantation owner who’s taken ownership of Broomhilda, the second half of the film is a stand-off between Candie and our heroes as they try to outsmart him into selling them Broomhilda. Like Brad Pitt in ‘Basterds,’ it’s great to see DiCaprio (usually saddled with the serious leading man role) cutting loose and really having fun playing a supporting character and his scenes are among the highlights of the film.

For a director known for his impeccable soundtracks culled from various forgotten pop hits and unknown Ennio Morricone cuts, ‘Django’ is probably his most scattershot and weakest to date. Several contemporary rap songs seem shoehorned in and out of place. Perhaps most disappointingly is that until the end of the film when shit really starts to hit the fan, the whole thing is just a bit too restrained. It feels a little long, a little disjointed, not quite as epic as it could be. When you’ve got an ego as big as Tarantino does, you’d better deliver the goods and unfortunately ‘Django’ just doesn’t quite get there. The most horrible moment in the film comes towards the end of the film when the director chooses to insert himself into the most egregious and distracting cameo in recent memory (complete with Australian accent). While the film isn’t a total wash, lapses in judgement like that make you wonder if maybe he shouldn’t have pushed up his retirement.
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Kellen

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #337 on: December 27, 2012, 06:47:30 PM »
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Maybe it was the random Rick Ross song that just starts banging out of  the speakers but looking back on it I think this was the weakest QT soundtrack.

Neil

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #338 on: December 27, 2012, 06:50:48 PM »
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one thing that stands out as bizarre to me is that character with the bandanna covering their face.  It appears as though this person is going to be a serious nemesis, wielding an axe, and a special costume that stands out, but then nothing.

Did anyone else notice this, or know what i'm referencing here?

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #339 on: December 27, 2012, 08:07:49 PM »
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one thing that stands out as bizarre to me is that character with the bandanna covering their face.  It appears as though this person is going to be a serious nemesis, wielding an axe, and a special costume that stands out, but then nothing.

Did anyone else notice this, or know what i'm referencing here?

I did notice.  I thought it was a woman. I read the script and didn't remember that character but thought there was going to be some kind of later reference to that character since it seemed she was singled out and unique compared to the rest of the characters in the shack. 

Maybe it was the random Rick Ross song that just starts banging out of  the speakers but looking back on it I think this was the weakest QT soundtrack.

I saw the film with a predominately black audience. I don't go the theater often but when I do it's for something like the master which is a predominately young and white audience or a blockbuster like Dark Knight which has a variety of people.  The audience loved it when that black coffins song came on.  From a director that has long stated his influences and love is in black cinema and culture, his films never really crossed over into a large black audience. Judging from the reaction of the theater I was in, He might have finally done that.  The soundtrack went over well as long with the humor. I remember being in the largely white audience of Inglorious Basterds and being the only person laughing at the jokes.  You would have thought this was a full blown comedy from the audience in Django.


I'm officially over QT until he does something interesting again. Which, because of his fear that he'll be a shitty old filmmaker, we'll probably never see.

David Eddelstein's NYT review pretty much hits it right on the head (and i've heard this opinion about QT reflected on this board in the past). -

"For all its pleasures, Django Unchained feels too easy, too dead-center in Tarantino’s comfort zone. He’s not challenging himself in any way that matters. He has become his own Yes Man."

Quentin's been playin the same damn song for almost 10 years now. Time to switch it up.

I remember a friend telling me years ago that Tarantino mentioned he planned on retiring young because he felt a lot of directors lose their touch in old age.  I guess that's what you were referring to and it seems you're right.  While I enjoyed the film it's not worth the hype every Tarantino film receives.  I don't see a huge different between the Tarantino films of the past 10 years and the other Tarantinoesque filmmakers out there now.  Minus Inglorious Basterds, which I loved but not as much as others, is there really a huge gap between Tarantino's films and the other filmmaker's he's inspired? There is but I think there should be a much larger gap. The big difference really is that Tarantino is able to get his films made with big budgets, stars and studio backing. Is there another filmmaker in history that could have gotten Django Unchained made with an estimated $80 million budget? 
If you think this is going to have a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.

jenkins

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #340 on: December 27, 2012, 08:20:36 PM »
+2
Gotta admit this movie is growing on me big time. I've found thoughts back on the movie pleasurably rewarded with new discoveries, and there are many textures to investigate. The movie feels living and breathing to me, that's nice.
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Reelist

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #341 on: December 27, 2012, 09:09:02 PM »
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one thing that stands out as bizarre to me is that character with the bandanna covering their face.  It appears as though this person is going to be a serious nemesis, wielding an axe, and a special costume that stands out, but then nothing.

Did anyone else notice this, or know what i'm referencing here?

I did notice.  I thought it was a woman. I read the script and didn't remember that character but thought there was going to be some kind of later reference to that character since it seemed she was singled out and unique compared to the rest of the characters in the shack. 


That was Zoe Bell, stuntwoman from Kill Bill and star of Death Proof. Maybe they were just trying to hide the fact that it was her? She's too pretty to be involved with that gang of miscreants.


so many background characters you feel you know a thing or two about

wasn't until the second viewing that I realized Billy Crash is gay. I thought he just had a funny walk.

the woman with the crutches in the background who runs away

no idea who this is, what scene?
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pete

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #342 on: December 27, 2012, 09:39:06 PM »
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I think it's a revenge movie because all the set pieces hinged on the suffering/death of the villains for the enjoyment of the audience. every bad guy is guilty of being complicit in slavery or murder, so in that sense, the transgression may be less personal - but they spend way less celluloid and ink celebrating love than punishing the characters, and they made sure, like an old exploitation film - that every carnage is more or less justified. the love story is just a way to carry the characters to certain places.

I think this film, even moreso than his other films, has the engine of a comedy, in that every scene is a setpiece where all the mechanics work to deliver "punchlines" to the audience, but the punchlines aren't always funny - they can be elicit other emotional responses, but it's a movie that's packed with moments aimed at eliciting very specific responses (I think there was an interview in which he can be heard saying how he wants to conduct the audience like an orchestra). The film is more audience-oriented (and more skillful at audience manipulation) than any other movie I'd seen this year. A lot of them big summer tentpole movies share the same aim, but are burdened by the traditional script structure, which actually don't allow for all the setpieces and payoffs that will satisfy the audience, hence most of the summer blockbusters either fall apart or hedge all their bets on a very drawn out and spectacular climax. QT's a guy who's figured out how to circumvent Save The Cat formula and still hold a layman's attention, and he's only getting better at the latter (or the audience is really coming around to his style of filmmaking through the aid of current television climate and other films that imitate him).

So, as much as I enjoyed the film, and as much as I (and I assume many other filmmakers and writers) aspire to be that adept at audience communication, there's still something unsatisfying about watching a film where the director's every intention is not a mystery. Even Superbad had messy, personal moments.
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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #343 on: December 28, 2012, 01:31:48 PM »
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i'll join the ranks of the underwhelmed here, which seems to be the only response you can have if you aren't black or have seen more than 10 movies.  this really is like watching tarantino shoot fish in a barrel.

RegularKarate

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Re: Django Unchained
« Reply #344 on: December 28, 2012, 03:09:08 PM »
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spoilers
 he already possessed the papers and was waiting for everyone to return from the funeral and like, isn't exploding the mansion kind of worse than leaving someone? you done confused me. either way he now has people coming after him, as stephen notes.

But Stephen mentioned that assuming that someone would live to report him. The only ones he lets live are the slaves and I don't think they're going to report him. People will look for him, but they won't know who they're looking for... this is unless I'm forgetting something (and I usually am).

 

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