Tag: Jamie Foxx


Django Unchained

January 12th, 2013 — 8:50pm

Django*****

Django Unchained – rm

This is another  Quentin Tarantino revenge movie but yet it is like nothing that we have ever seen before. The brilliance of Tarantino ,who wrote the screenplay and directed the film, is that the movie is not what it seems to be.  It begins looking  like  fanciful story that is a “shoot em up western” – maybe the so called spaghetti western (because they were made also by filmmakers of Italian background,) where some guys come to town on some mission and all sorts of things happen. The movie is initially set in Texas two years before the Civil War. A German-American dentist turned bounty hunter  (Christopher Waltz) ambushes a transport of a few slaves because there is this one slave, Django (Jamie Foxx)  who can recognize three criminal  brothers who he is trying to track down dead or alive  to collect a bounty on their head put there by  the federal government.  The next thing you know, we are being drawn into the world of plantation slavery and the vicious, cruel, sadistic manner  in which white people in the South were treating the blacks (a word by the way was never used since the “n word” prevailed.) Because the viewer can only take so much of this painful inhuman treatment, the film is laced with clear satire and if you can believe it , humor. Then, when the revenge factor kicks in there are endless shootings of mainly white guys with gushes of blood all over the place to the background of what seemed to be haunting western music. The story has it’s twists and turns and didn’t resolve itself for  2 ¾  hours. In the end we are left with an indelible view of the horrors of this period of our history served up to us in satire. In addition this film was a magnificent showcase for outstanding acting performances. Christopher Waltz may very well get himself a second Oscar as the conniving but sensitive dentist bounty hunter. Jamie Foxx evolved from captured slave to an unforgettable John Wayne type hero wearing a pair of shades. Kerry Washington did a great job as Brunhilda the German speaking slave who didn’t say much but her eyes told her story.  Samuel L. Jackson was not recognizable at first by us but he nailed his role as a true “Uncle Tom” at the plantation who ultimately identified with his masters. Finally, Leonardo Di Caprio as the mean rich  Mississippi plantation slave owner really got into his part and must have done a great job since we hated his character.  We didn’t feel that way about the film. In fact, we felt quite the opposite. (2012)

 

 

Comment » | 5 Stars, Action, Drama

Thunder Soul

August 19th, 2011 — 1:00am

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Thunder Soul – sp- This is a true story destined to be an American legend. An all black 1970’s Texas High School stage band with a music director, who could have been a professional musician but chose to teach and use music to change young people’s lives, becomes the “best band in the land.” They introduce the rhythms of funk music along with great body movements by the band as they present their powerful sound. They win all kinds of competitions and trophies including the coveted band competition in Alabama. They get invited to play in Europe and Japan where they received acclaim on a par with professional musicians. 30 plus years later filmmaker Mark Landsman is listening to NPR and hears the story of this band and decides he might want to make a documentary about them. He visits the now retired leader Conrad O. Johnson, known as Prof, in Houston and convinces him to tell his story as he constructs a documentary about that historical time in the history of of Kashmere High School and this band. Much to his surprise, he then learns that some of the old band members are planning a surprise reunion concert for old Prof who has had failing health. The film becomes about these now older band members who return to prepare for this get together all with heartfelt stories about how the Prof and the band had been so meaningful to them. There are film clips of the 1970s with many of the band members in full Afros and the band with its full rich sound. These mostly guys and some gals are older, wiser, larger but still remember how to play as they are whipped into musical shape by one of the members who has taken on the leadership role for the reunion concert. The views of the musicians now in their 50s along with the wonderful sound which they can still make is captured quite well. In fact the background soundtrack throughout, even when the band is not seen playing, sets the mood and the joy of the film. There are some wonderful clips of Prof as a younger man and now as his once young charges have returned to pay tribute to him. Jamie Foxx loved the film idea and took on the role of Executive Producer. We only wish that Landsman had chosen to tell us a little more about how the returnees had been impacted by their experience, which they all agreed, had changed their lives. Had any of them become professional musicians? Had they passed on this great musical experience to their children? While we suggested to Landsman that it would be great to see a little of this info in the credits, he felt that it was mainly about the music and the personal stories were secondary. He did drop the tidbit that he is working on a fictional version for a feature film, which I am sure, will be a great opportunity to fill in the blanks in this great story. (2011) 

Comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary, Musical

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