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Django Unchained

Django Unchained

(2012)
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Well what can be said about Django. There will be no surprises in this review, you can all see I've given it five stars and have now been to see the film three times haha.Django opens 'somewhere in Texas' with the eponymous lave being freed from his life of servitude by Dr. Schultz, a dentist turned bounty hunter wanting to locate 'the Speck brothers'. Django and Schultz set off on a successful career before Schultz, having come to care for Django as a surrogate son, aids him in his quest to free hi wife 'Broomhilda' from Calvin Candie, a narcissistic plantation owner who has turned to Mandingo fighting (where two slaves fight to the death) to satisfy his entertainment.Quentin Tarantino is, for me, a very hit and miss director. With entries such as Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds being sub par, whilst others such as True Romance being sky high masterpieces. Django: Unchained definitely falls into the latter camp.With incredible and ultra-violent action, clever plot and subplots and well fully fledged, 3D characters (not to mention a perfect balance between romance, action, comedy and drama) Tarantino presents to us one of the most honest presentations of America's dark past while encasing it in genre, simultaneously providing a deep message, an original story (purposefully ignored by less daring directors/film makers) and an entertaining watch, which is essentially what we all go to the cinema for.The soundtrack can be jarring, and this is my own flaw, though personally i like it, and so I'm really having to push myself to concede a negative in what I view as a near perfect film.A bone fide must see film.

The Prophecy

The Prophecy

(1995)
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Hmmm, what to say about the Prophecy. Well, the story follows a would be priest now detective, who saw visions of a second war in heaven before he could be welcomed into the church. A man (simon) reveals he is actually an angel who has taken the soul of a war veteran to prevent it from getting into the hands of Gabriel's forces,(Gabriel played by Christopher Walken) who want to use it as a weapon to win the war in heaven. Along with this we have Viggo Mortesen (Aragorn from LOTR) as Lucifer, who essentially is pissed because 1) other angels have taken up what he sees as his war and 2) if they win, he believes heaven will become a second Hell and to quote him, "Two Hells is one Hell too many."The film has some good points, the idea is pretty original, and I do take my hat off to any one brave and bold enough to dive into the whole 'religious war' theme because of its depth and how easily complication can arise. The idea of the human soul as a weapon isn't new, but the film pulls it off well and there are good performances all round, especially from Walken as Gabriel.However, the story, as bold as it is, doesn't really get pulled off, the effects aren't amazing and I didn't really feel any development of the characters that made me connect with them. I mean, was I meant t be sorry for gabriel when he says God doesn't talk to him anymore? I mean, the guy cried a little but I was like 'wtf he just tried to rip that kid to bits and now he's gona try again'At the end of the day it's ok, but nothing more than that, I will watch the sequels but are't holding out much hope. 2 stars.

Dragonwyck

Dragonwyck

(1946)
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

While the book has a more complex story, and in my opinion, better ending than the film, the film has Vincent Price. Ergo it' a hand's down victory for the film!??Basically the story follows the life of a young girl who hears word from her mother's cousin at Dragonwyck (the name of a huge gothic estate), the letter announces the cousin, VanRyan (Price) would like for his cousins daughter to come to him and see what life is like for the upper class as well as perform the duties of a carer for his daughter.?Originally she is drawn in by the beauty of his home and by his charm. But slowly realises that VanRyan is a loveless man, wholly obsessed with his goal of having a son to carry on his name.?Price, as always, delivers a phenomenal performance, especially in one of the later scenes when we see how, due to his secret drug abuse, his mind has began to wither, leaving him fanatical and increasingly bitter. He, as per usual in my opinion, outshines all the others who act with him. The story is interesting, and is based on some truly great literature, nowhere near as popular as it deserves to be.?I didn't care for the borderline supernatural element of the film however. If your involving curses and ghosts etc, I find myself being in the all or nothing camp. PLus the bible bashing father was annoying, and I really didn't understand the problem everyone had with VanRyan! He owned some land and din;t want to sell it to the farmers that worked it? IT'S HIS LAND! Why the hell should he? If some one walked into your house and said, this room is my now, here's some money, you wouldn't think 'huh, guess I'll have someone to talk to all the time now' you tell them to leave!?There's little more that I can say without giving the plot away, while it isn;t the best film ever made, I think it's a lot better than some people believe, and a great movie if you want to see Vincent in one of his rare 'not cheesy' horror performances. Four stars.

The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter

(1955)
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Hmm, before I proceed with the review just saying I preferred the old system of having a percent bar for ratings but no matter! I proceed anyway.

It's no secret that Robert Mitchum and film noir go together like butter and bread, but this film takes him away from the role of the rough and ready but ultimately moral private dick or similar and shows him as Revered Harry Powell; a mentally unstable travelling preacher, obsessed with the concept of damnation.?On release the film was critically panned by critics, a move which dissuaded director Charles Laughton, from every sitting in the director's chair again. To be fair, there are some flaws. The music the film relies on I found jarring; Mitchum, while often seen as being amazing in the role now, I found to be far less sinister than people make out, and in fact there are moments in the film which are more akin to a slapstick comedy (shelf of jars landing on Mitchum's head). Other moments that make the film seem a bit too comical are immediately after that when Mitchum chases the two children protagonists up the stairs with arms as stiff as ironing boards.?On the whole however, there is more that redeems the film that detracts from it. The performances are stellar all round, even from the children, which is very rare. The films leading lady is killed off half way through, something which I haven't seen in any other film bar Hitchcock's 'Psycho'. Some of the camera shots are sublime, such as when the children are hiding in the barn, and you see the blacked out silhouette of Powell riding in the distance. Obviously, most of the violence is off screen with it being an old film, but don't forget how risky this film was to make, and just how big a gamble it was for Mitchum to star in. The role of a mad travelling priest, murdering widows and making off with their money could have destroyed his career. Plus, there are some really nice shots of the life on the river.?The message, to move onto my final point, is really emphasised by the end. When the evil Powell meets his polar opposite in Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish), an adoptive mother hen figure, who teaches forgiveness, selflessness and purity as opposed to Powell's damnation, greed and perversion of religion to justify his actions.?All in all, a good film, and due to modern sensibilities not being like what they were in the past, one you can watch with the whole family. Four stars.??Goodnight, "Chilllll-drennnnn"

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Intel Hollywood Star Program (July 2012 - December 2012)
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