Django Unchained, Tarantino’s Explosive Cameo

Django Unchained

Man, I love Tarantino movies. They’ve got action, adventure, thrills, sass, and hilarious amounts of blood and dismemberment; everything a good flick needs. That’s the short version of this Django Unchained review, to be sure, and it is bloody. That tends to happen when a freed slave turned bounty hunter gets to exact revenge on the sadistic slavers who took his wife from him. Paired with a charming German ex-dentist named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and armed with enough guns to change the air-to-lead ratio, Django (Jamie Foxx) sets out on a quest to buy his wife’s freedom from the nefarious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) of the Candie plantation.

Now, the first thing you should know about Django Unchained is that the story takes place in 1858 in the South. If gratuitous use of the N-word makes you uncomfortable or outright offends you, steer clear!

Django UnchainedThe story begins with a transaction gone foul: Masquerading as a dentist, Dr. Schultz approaches two slaveholders and their latest purchases in the night, wishing to acquire a particular slave that might harbor knowledge of his latest bounties. In truth, he is a bounty hunter employed by the United States government. When the slavers threaten to kill Schultz if he doesn’t depart immediately, one winds up with a hole in his head, and the other with his leg broken underneath a dead horse. Despite the bloodshed, or perhaps owing to it, Django agrees to help Schultz in his hunt, and the two depart for the Gatlinburg plantation where the Brittles are employed.

Over the course of their journey together, Django proves himself to be a competent bounty hunter, and so Schultz takes him on as a sort of partner/apprentice. They roam the land, exchanging the corpses of criminals for cash money, and getting themselves into particularly tight situations that are resolved only by Schultz’s immaculate charm. At a point, Django tells Schultz of his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was sold at an auction in Mississippi. Schultz realizes that he’s witnessing a real-life rendition of the German fable of Siegfried. He feels compelled to help Django, and so the movie shifts to its main attraction: Candyland!

Calvin Candie, the owner of Candyland, is a man that deals in mandingo fighting; a brutal form of one-on-one combat to the death with virtually no rules beyond winning at all costs. Schultz and Django – disguised as a novice mandingo aficionado and a talent evaluator, respectively – veil their desire to purchase Broomhilda with an outlandish offer of $12,000 for one of Candie’s top mandingos, Eskimo Joe. The head house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), doesn’t take too kindly to the fact that Django, a black man, isn’t treated like a slave. While Candie is seduced by the prospect of making money, Stephen sees right through the sham and lets his master know what’s what, forcing the two bounty hunters into a very dire situation indeed. And that’s the cliffhanger I’ll leave you with.

Django UnchainedOh, right. And that Quentin Tarantino himself appears as an Australian slaveholder and explodes within minutes. Horrible as it may be, that was the hardest I laughed throughout the entire movie.

This movie is two hours and forty five minutes long, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re touchy about racism or ultraviolence, you’re going to have a lot of both on your hands if you try to sit this one all the way through. If you’re sufficiently jaded as I am, you can laugh at the overdone violence, revel in the righteous vengeance Django and Schultz lay down on the sadistic slavers, and feel pretty good when the movie ends with a literal bang.

Anthony Quinn of Independent.co.uk thinks that Tarantino’s delicious Western spaghetti wasn’t cooked enough, and may have a bit too much sauce. In a single word, one might describe Django Unchained as tropey or campy, requiring viewers to take the film’s sporadically silly and dramatic content with a grain of salt. But as I said, I’ve got a blatant bias towards most every Tarantino film I see, so perhaps you’d best check out the Independent review here for more perspective before you watch.

The Hunger Games are Bloodthirsty

The Hunger Games

Ah, The Hunger Games. Nothing better complements an oppressive government than yearly battles to the death consisting wholly of children. Better yet, most of them don’t even want to participate! What’s a poor poacher to do when her twelve-year-old sister (against impossible odds) wins the Hunger Games raffle and has to sacrifice herself for the glory of Panem’s vindictive totalitarian regime? Easy answer in theory, but tough in practice: Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) has to volunteer, and more importantly, she has to win.

Long ago, the people of Panem rebelled against their government, and were brutally defeated. Their failure wrought more than death; in order to crush the spirit of any future rebels, The Capitol began hosting the Hunger Games. Every year, two people from each of the twelve districts– one young male and one young female – are selected via a raffle known as the Reaping to compete in a twenty-four person epic battle royal. The lone victor will be granted a life of riches and luxury, and will be celebrated by all the districts until the day they die. The PTSD doesn’t factor into any of that, though, nor does the fact that no amount of media will trick the poorer outer districts into being okay with the terrible lives The Capitol has forced them into.

The Hunger GamesThe dystopian future in which Hunger Games is set is colorful, in both a literal and metaphorical sense; the inner districts are so outrageously stylish that you might go blind just by glimpsing their fashion sense. Everyone has brightly colored hair, outfits worthy of an LSD-addled Lady Gaga, and a posh sort of disregard for the bloody reality of the world they live in. The color fades in the outer districts, however. The further you get from the Capital, the less immersed you become in fashion and whimsy; by the time you hit twelve, there’s hard manual labor as far as the eye can see, from coal mines to power plants. The blatant class divide is consequent of the past rebellion more likely than not, and unfortunately is bound to produce more of the same.

The revolution begins within the Hunger Games themselves, oddly enough, with an act of defiance thought up by Katniss Everdeen herself. Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) helps slightly. I’d get into detail about her tribulations during the games, and the means by which she initiates the fall of The Capitol, but that’s the action; that’s where all the thrill and fun is. If you’re seeking visceral, in-depth descriptions of people getting their assorted limbs and/or internal organs punctured by arrows and having their faces eaten by genetically engineered mandogs, I suggest you read a book about that or something. Like the Hunger Games book by Suzanne Collins. Or the movie that I’ve been describing to you. It’s got a well fleshed-out and complex story to it, so go watch/read the thing.

The Hunger GamesAngela Watercutter of Wired speaks of how the character of Katniss Everdeen breaks the mold of female heroines by not being subject to arbitrarily sexualization her or being helpless without a male lead. If you’re sick to shit of gender roles, then yeah, Hunger Games is definitely an empowering movie to watch. Lots of people die, but the movie’s empowering nevertheless. You get to see Katniss overcome all manner of adversity, from oppressive political bullshit to deadly hallucinogenic wasps, and most things in between. Read the full Wired review here!

Serenity and Psychic Secrets

Serenity

Serenity feels like it’s an episode of a sci-fi something that I wouldn’t mind watching regularly. Then again, I’m an absolute sucker for space mercenaries; the merc charm just gets me. On the flipside, I’m not really a fan of political themes, but sci-fi tends to harbor them all but reliably. Serenity is a ship full of Alliance dissenters, Alliance being the powerful and controlling organization that’s trying to swallow up the known universe. Of course, they’ve got some deep dark secrets that a member of Serenity’s crew might just know, so they engage covert operation “murder the shit out of that person really fast.”

SerenityDr. Simon Tam, with the help of Serenity’s crew, counter-kidnaps his sister River from an Alliance training facility, where she was being mentally programmed for nefarious purposes. The Alliance is not pleased with this loss, especially considering River is a high-grade psychic who happened to peek into the minds of everyone around her during her training, which includes politicians. Politicians who held highly classified secrets that would critically drop the public opinion of the Alliance if they were to be released, at that. The Operative is hired to kill everyone who came in contact with River after her escape, and ensure her safe return before the Alliance’s dirty laundry is put out to dry.

Initially, the crew of Serenity has no idea why they’re being hunted down by government assassins, or why River suddenly flips her shit and starts killing everyone after seeing a cheerful octopus themed commercial. Simon puts her to sleep with a code word, which raises all kinds of questions, eventually shuffling them to Mr. Universe for answers. Mr. Universe is an infamous hacker who hides in a nebula-encased outer planet and broadcasts pirate signals. He decodes the commercial and reveals it to be a subliminal message meant to activate River’s programmed combat training.

SerenityAfter that, it’s a battle against time, the government, and battle-hungry insane cannibalistic rapey Reavers to figure out the Alliance secret and make it public before the crew of Serenity is collectively subjugated and/or wiped out. Hint: The secret has something to do with the Reavers. But I’m not telling you anything else! It’s a great watch, so you’ll enjoy the ride. Plenty of emotional ups and downs, and a conclusion worthy of a top-notch sci-fi thriller!

So, it turns out Serenity is the movie of a failed TV series that didn’t make it past its first season. Coulda fooled me! Olly Richards of EmpireOnline says that whether you’re genre savvy or just looking for some fighty space-action, Serenity is the movie for you. Though it relies on worn but beloved character archetypes, it has a feel all its own. Here’s the alt review! Not that you need to read it: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=10125

What the Hellboy

Hellboy

Apologies to anyone who thought my punny title insinuated a predominantly negative review. It’s actually more medium positive. Ahem. Shall we begin?

I didn’t know Guillermo del Toro did Hellboy. Huh! The costumes and CG definitely make sense now, which is to say, they’re over-the-top but tolerable… for the most part.

Hellboy is the action-packed story of a demon summoned into the world by Nazis only to be captured by America and raised to fight the forces of evil. Those of you who have played Bloodrayne basically already know the entire plot, so watching the movie is a formality. On top of the perfunctory involvement of the Third Reich in Satanic affairs, Grigori Rasputin is set in the seat of the antagonist. You’d think a perverted false-prophet freeloader would warrant a less important position, but there you go.

HellboyThe story resembles something out of a comic book (which it is): Spunky, strange-looking heroes with unusual superpowers, and villains looking to do something outlandishly evil and apocalyptic for no real reason. Take Abraham Sapien, one of the non-combat sidekick types. He’s a fish-man with the “unique” frontal lobe that lets him read minds and sense the timelines of objects he touches. Or Liz Sherman, a humanoid pyromancer with a past full of bullying and misfortune, who so happens to be Hellboy’s love interest. Hellboy himself gets immunity to fire and a big stone hand that he uses for smashy fun time. I suppose his tail counts as a part of his hero loadout, but he only ever uses it to steal a six-pack of beer, so I’ll leave that judgment up to you.

HellboyThe deal is, the Nazis want to use Hellboy to open up a special gate that will free a terrible Eldritch beast and subsequently turn Earth into Hell. They begin their devious scheme by releasing a hellhound called Sammael, the uh… dog of many titles. He regenerates from grievous wounds and lays plenty of eggs, so most of the fight scenes are engulfed by his generous presence. This is rather unfortunate, because several of the concluding fights seem particularly quick if not rushed, whereas ol’ tentacle chops gets three or four chances to hump Hellboy to death. No humping actually happens, okay?

Despite its sometimes icky CG and silly-angsty sense of humor, Hellboy is a fun movie to watch. It’s two hours long, which unfortunately doesn’t manage to escape the inescapable time-crunch of turning a written work into a movie. It’s not too harsh an impact, though, so despite the fact that you’re going to wish Hellboy spent a few more minutes slapping the giant purple tentacle cactus, you’ll be satisfied with the film as a whole.

HellboyKim Newman of Empire Online liked del Toro’s movie adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic. It’s a comic, by the way. Thought you should know. As it turns out, Guillermo remained extremely loyal to said comics, so fans will be able to enjoy a good watch without too many “THAT NEVER HAPPENED” moments. And newcomers might have reason to check out the source material! Here’s the alt review link for your perusing: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=9788

Elysium, Rich and White Edition

Elysium

I’ve seen less subtle political statements, but I can’t think of any at the moment. I mean, I’m not a very political person at my core, but I know the ideology to an extent. Immigration, health care, the 1% of Americans sitting on the 99% of the wealth, all that. Elysium’s got it all, and then some. It’s a story about a tattered Earth filled with poor, sick citizens, and an orbital station full of rich snobs with machines that can cure any disease. The lone hero must somehow find a way to save the day and give equal rights to everybody! Hurrah for equality! Niell Blomkamp did this one. You may remember his other film, District 9, with the nitty gritty realistic 3D CG. Well, he brings back all the charm from that alien infested little number, minus the aliens, plus some cyborgs. Also Sharlto Copley, the guy who played Wikus Van De Merwe. Neat!

ElysiumMatt Damon is Max, a felon gone straight who works in a robot construction facility on Earth. He used to be a criminal mastermind (maybe), but has since decided to make a living doing “honest” work for the guy who built the Elysium satellite. He’s got a nurse friend named Frey who has known him since he was a kid, and she’s got a kid with leukemia. Remember those all-healing machines? I smell a setup.

One day, Maxie-boy gets trapped in a robot-cooking room and is exposed to radiation. His apathetic robot doctor gives him some pills that will allow him to function normally for the five days he has left. Then he dies. Well, not yet, but he’s gonna. Unwilling to accept this, Max checks up with his old criminal contact Spider, the head of a gang that tries to transport people to Elysium to use their magic healy machines. After some negotiation, he has Max agree to have a robot suit surgically integrated into his body, and to kidnap the head of the robot construction corporation. This fat cat has special codes in his brain-box that are capable of rebooting Elysium and making every last Earthling a citizen of the satellite, which means unrestricted access to the cure-all.

ElysiumJodie Foster- excuse me, Delacourt will have none of this. She’s the head of defense up in the giant aristocratic ring, and she sends a crew of hitmen to protect the reboot codes. She wants to be president, by the by, and the codes will let her do just that. So, guess who runs the hitman show…? WRONG, it’s Sharlto Copley. Remember how in District 9 he played the guy that gets victimized by military assholes? Well, he’s the military asshole this time around, and he comes off as a bit of a freak. Kruger’s the name, murder’s his game! You’ll see a lot of violence whenever this guy rears his head, so be ready. He also gets his face blown off. Cool!

You get all the fancy tech you’d expect from a Blomkamp movie, plus sassy antagonists with their own hidden agendas. Freya winds up filling the damsel in distress role a little too perfectly, which caused my overall opinion of the film to drop just enough that my concluding rating changed from “grawesome” to “sure why not.” It’s a must-see if you liked District 9, and worth a shot if you’ve not.

ElysiumRobinson O’Brien-Bours of PolicyMic isn’t fond of Jodie Foster’s French, and you shouldn’t be either. I failed to mention just how obnoxious the political commentary was, but Mr. PolicyMic did not. As such, you should give this gent’s take on Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi action film a read, and learn a thing or two about why it’s better to be subtle when you preach. Here’s the portal: http://www.policymic.com/articles/59309/elysium-movie-review-weird-immigration-sub-plot-kill-this-movie


Blood: The Last Vampire, 90 Minutes of Murder

Blood: The Last Vampire

Blood: The Last Vampire is exactly what’s written on the tin. It’s about a Japanese vampire named Saya that hunts down demons for a secret government agency while disguised as a schoolgirl. You get to see her slaughter a lot of things while pushing through sub-par plot and dialogue. Also, the special effects are and I quote from my first viewing of the movie, “No” on a scale of 1-10. I’ll complain more after I get further into it, so prepare yourself.

Saya has to go to a Japanese all-girls school in an American military base to beat down a pair of demons disguised as humans. Saya gets to wear a cute little schoolgirl outfit because reasons, and it’s really easy to tell which girls are the demons because they’re colossal jerks and try to kill a transfer student with katanas. Saya’s agents clean up the mess she makes of the demons, and the military fellas on the base start asking questions.

Blood: The Last VampireOh no, Onigen, the ultimate super powerful demon, is coming to town to kill everybody! That means all the demons that have blended into society get to come out and wreak havoc. Their poorly rendered 3D bodies get to slightly damage poorly rendered building chunks and then they get cut to pieces by Saya. Good plan, right?

There’s some more stuff about transfer student’s dad, and then she hangs out with Saya and the both of them go to face Onigen together. Despite the icky quality of the film, I shouldn’t spoil anything except for the fact that the big reveal is actually pretty stupid and royally clichéd.

Now to complain about things! Yay! I’ll start with the fact that the demon outbreak fight scene is strung the hell out. Slow motion every other second, the same slash being played over and over again for like sixty different generic demons… Ugh. It’s rare that I actually lose immersion during a fight scene and wonder to myself, “Are they done yet? Geeze Louise.”

Blood: The Last VampireThe constant and intrusive flashbacks aided in giving Saya some backstory, but it’s the same old, same old. She met her old master, trained under him, then Onigen killed him and she swore revenge. Also she had a boyfriend but her vampirism made her eat him. Tasty!

The last complaint was the terrible effects, but I already gave that enough mention that saying it again would be like packing this review with so much filler that it begins to resemble a movie called Blood: The Last Vampire.

I think I’ve made my point. Despite the overall poor quality it does have some pretty nice scenes near the beginning, however, so feel free to watch the first half hour or so before dropping it like an unwanted child on the doorstep of a random kung-fu master. Can you dig it?

Oh dear LORD it’s a movie based off of an anime. That explains everything. Holy hell. Ross Miller of ScreenRant will explain to you everything that I didn’t initially understand. He’ll let you know why the CG is forgivable, why the action is better without wire fighting… I don’t know. I need to look a few things up. Excuse me: http://screenrant.com/blood-the-last-vampire-reviews-ross-15155/

REC 3 Genesis Please Stop

REC 3 Genesis

Rec 3 Genesis is about as typical as they come, perhaps too much so. I’ve seen the first, but not the second, and for a religious zombie movie, it really doesn’t bring a lot to the table. It has several would-be badass moments, but Rec 3 does what most sequels do to their parent series: Murder them and bury them under piles of bad reviews. I’m definitely not throwing lilies on the casket, as a shovelful of dirt would better describe my opinion towards this little blood-n-gore zombie film.

Oh, and before I forget, they dump the found footage motif a short way in.

A cute couple, Clara and Koldo, are getting married, and the celebration is… Well, it’s like a strobelight rave with a bunch of horny camera-toting douchebags running around in black and pink tuxedos. The first hazmat team appears unceremoniously, and is dismissed with just as much flash. The first bite occurs after first witnessing all the partying and partygoers, which is displeasingly impersonal.

REC 3 GenesisIt’s best if I rip the characterization a new bum hole so I can get to describing what else bums me out about Wreck 3. The married pair really like each other and say that they do a lot. The guy in the SpongeJohn suit talks about how he avoids copyright claims. Everyone has a quick line before they’re eaten and made a part of the zombie horde.

The groom and a caterer find suits of armor, cudgels, and shields in the giant wedding… church-mansion. They put them on, and the caterer is promptly eaten. The bride winds up underground with a Frechman and a chainsaw, cuts some people into pieces, then loses the chainsaw. The groom takes the broadsword they used to cut the cake and doesn’t really kill any zombies with it. Maybe one or two.

The priest reads from the Bible, which seems to put the zombies into some kind of trance. This is handy for allowing the couple a chance to escape, but not when the groom’s father has a hearing aid and bites the bride because he can’t hear shit.

REC 3 GenesisSpoiler alert: The groom uses the sword to lop off the bride’s infected arm, but she turns into a zombie anyway and they both walk out into the middle of a bio-security squad and are shot to death. They hold hands as they lie bleeding on the ground.

You’ll have to excuse the lack of linear description in this review. The forgettable plot and the forgettable characters bled together a little too cleanly. It was one big, bland, undead-filled blob with some scripture and “I love you” thrown in every once in a while. Attack of the sequel! Another one bites the dust.

Tasha Robinson of AVClub, thank you for letting us all know that Rec 3 Genesis is filled with in-jokes referencing the series. I honestly wouldn’t have noticed a single one if you hadn’t told me. Even now that I see them, I’m not… exactly smiling. It’s kind of a bad movie. But here’s a review link so you can read a review that isn’t as painfully negative and critical: http://www.avclub.com/articles/rec3-genesis,84628/

Jurassic Park, Hypothetical Hell

Jurassic Park

I call it hypothetical hell because it uses worst-case scenario situations to move things along. Meaning if we were to clone dinosaurs, hypothetically, we wouldn’t be as dumb as some of the characters in this movie.

The only reason I like Jurassic Park is because it has velociraptors, a tyrannosaurus rex, and Jeff Goldblum. If you don’t like any of those three things, then this probably isn’t the movie for you. Yes, it’s a dinosaur classic, but when you give it a close look… It just falls to pieces. And Wayne Knight just manages to make everything slightly more annoying. As do the children. And the main couple. The lead geneticist is okay. Maybe I should actually explain something…
Jurassic ParkOkay, so this one’s a kiddie classic. Came out 1993, had some ballsy dino-tastic 3D effects, and touched on the sci-fi yet modern issue of genetic modification. John Hammond, the billionaire genius, found a mosquito preserved in amber, and managed to extract fresh dinosaur blood. From that, he cloned several dinosaurs and made Jurassic Park! You see a lot of close-ups of people being astonished. Dinosaurs! Whoa.

Dennis Nedry is shown to be a spy and saboteur from the start. He has a contact outside the amusement park that wants to obtain some dinosaur embryos from Hammond’s personal collection. In order to do that, Dennis has to shut down the park’s electricity so he can jack the embryos and escape to the docks before he’s discovered.

Shutting down the electricity is possibly the stupidest thing anyone could ever do in a park full of dinosaurs. So is using the DNA of sex-changing frogs to fill the gaps in the dino DNA. “Oh yeah, we make sure all the dinos are female so none of them can breed.” Uh, whoops. So they’ve been breeding, AND the electric fences are down? Meaning dinosaurs everywhere? Uh oh. Oh nooo. Cue several chase scenes and close encounters. “Clever girls…” The guy who said that was promptly eaten. By velociraptors.

Jurassic ParkSamuel L. Jackson is  also eaten by a velociraptor, but John Hammond’s lawyer gets eaten by a T-rex. The little boy gets blasted by an electrified gate and survives, damn it all. The little girl manages to “hack” the entire facility’s security system and auto-lock the doors to trap the velociraptors. Hah. Hahaha- what? Methinks that’s cheating.

So let’s sum it up. The acting is cheesy, the plot has some holes, and the CG is fantastic. Want to know a secret? The main couple and the kids escape. It’s a horror movie for kids. Of course they’re gonna escape! Don’t get mad at me and cry “spoiler alert needed!” You already knew what you were getting into! Roarrr!

Ahem. It’s obvious that I don’t care too much for this particular piece, but that’s why I engage in the habitual attachment of alternate reviews to my reviews. Because sometimes, I can be a nit-picky jerk with impunity because I offer a balance of opinions!

Samuel Walters of DauntlessMedia portrays the film through the Spielburg filter, which is probably a good idea. This movie was meant to be watched by the dinosaur loving kiddies of the 90s, am I right? So I was being a little harsh in taking a “grown up” perspective while reviewing this Jurassic wonder-filled thingamabopper. You should probably read this review. It’s much nicer: http://dauntlessmedia.net/film/jurassic-park-film-review.html

Blood Diamond, This Is Africa

Blood Diamond

I didn’t really take Leo DiCaprio as the kind of actor that would play a diamond smuggler looking to secure passage out of Africa using a massive raw diamond as leverage. That said, I was happy to see him. Blood Diamond presents its audience with realism, not acting. To get specific, I mean the nitty gritty, not the glamour. Of course there’s acting. The point is, the movie doesn’t reek of Hollywood taint. You can watch it without having to pause and rinse your mouth out after a long, almost premeditated speech about how a mercenary’s cold heart thawed because of the girl of his dreams. Got it? Glad you’re listening.

Solomon Vandy is a fisherman in the village of Shenge, in Sierra Leonia. The Revolutionary United Front makes a sweep through his area, shooting up everyone they can and kidnapping who they leave alive. Solomon’s son Dia is conscripted and brainwashed by the RUF, and Solomon himself is forced into slavery, panning for diamonds.

Blood DiamondDiamond panning under the RUF is a far cry from safe and simple. Stealing a diamond means your life. Disobedience means your life, or maybe a hand. Odds are, if you’ve been enslaved, you may as well consider yourself dead. Solomon, however, chances upon a pink diamond the size of a bird’s egg, and buries it just as the government comes in and shoots the place up. He winds up on a truck heading to a prison in Freetown.

Danny Archer shares a similar fate, though under different circumstances. He works for South African diamond company executive Van De Kaap, making a living off of smuggling diamonds across the border into Liberia. The border officers catch Danny in the act and confiscate his goods, then slam him into the same truck Solomon was shoved in. The leader of the RUF camp shouts about Solomon’s family, name, and diamond before being carted away. As such, the two set up a deal where Danny will find Solomon’s family in exchange for the ruddy big diamond.

Danny eventually enlists the aid of Maddy Bowen, a journalist who he initially doesn’t care for. At first, she’s just a threat to him because she could blow his smuggling operation. Soon after, she becomes a valuable asset because she has a certain level of influence among the locals. Together, they try to rescue Solomon’s family while simultaneously trying to locate the diamond that’s going to save Danny’s ass from his employer’s vengeance.

Blood DiamondThe movie’s just over two hours long, but it feels a lot longer. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. Does it have slower parts? Yeah, it does. Does it drag its ass? Nope. The content and quality of Blood Diamond is evenly distributed all throughout. That, coupled with the fantastic acting and above-par plot, should keep you interested until the conclusion rolls around.

Special mention goes to Djimon Hounsou for doing such a fantastic job with his role. You’d think Leo would be the focus by default, but I beg to differ. You rarely see average Joe protagonists that refrain from indulging in obligatory heroics, yet come through as the “good guy” all the same. Better seen than heard, I suppose. Check the film out and see what I’m rambling about.

But first, the Itsvery movie review take on Blood Diamond! To my surprise, many people found that Solomon was a flat, clichéd character. While I can see how that can rouse a bit of discontentedness, I do believe that Solomon was all he needed to be. He was a simple man with simple needs, and he pursued them in a way befitting his personality and situation. Sure, we in the audience may not find him very spectacular, but that’s realism over Hollywoodism for you. Anyway, check out the review here: http://www.moviereviewblog.net/2007/01/30/blood-diamond-by-edward-zwick/

Snatch, Crime Can be Confusing

Snatch

Snatch is one busy movie. You have six criminal organizations vying after a single priceless diamond, making threats, mistakes, and murders. It certainly fits the bill for a crime thriller; rigged boxing matches, heists, robberies, kidnapping, murder… and dogs. It’ll be much easier to understand just what kind of movie Snatch is if you hear a little bit about the web of events.

Turkish (Jason Statham) and Tommy (Stephen Graham) are two fellows in a great deal of trouble. They’re meant to rig a boxing match for a notorious crimelord called Brick Top, who’s known for murdering useless lackeys and feeding them to pigs. When they go to a “pikey” encampment in an attempt to buy a better trailer, Gorgeous George, their boxer, gets his face punched in by Mickey O’Niel (Brad Pitt). So, they hire Mickey to fight the rigged fight. Only, he takes his opponent out in one punch instead of going down in the fourth. Brick Top is not happy.
SnatchAll the while, Franky Four-Fingers and his crew are busy stealing an 86-carat diamond from a jewelry store while disguised as rabbis. The heist is successful. Frankie contacts Doug the Head, a self-proclaimed Jewish man who’s known for moving gemstones. He tells his New Yorker friend Cousin Avi that Frankie’s got ice, and Avi wants to buy.

Frankie meets Boris the Blade, who convinces him to head to the boxing match and place a few bets. Boris knows that Frankie has a gambling problem, so he hires a few thugs to steal the diamond from him while he’s at the bookies. The thugs this time around are Sol and Vinnie, two pawn shop owners who have a lot of bad luck with crime. They manage to steal the diamond, but not before their getaway driver Tyrone shows his face to a camera.

Cousin Avi then wants to know where the hell Frankie’s gone off to, since nobody really knows that Boris shot him in the head and stole his briefcase. Since Doug the Head isn’t any help, Avi flies to London and employs the help of Bullet-Tooth Tony. Using one of his contacts, Tony finds out about the pawnbrokers and proceeds to hunt them down. Unfortunately, Brick Top already has his fingers in that pie.

SnatchAvi and Tony get to the diamond at Boris’s place first, though with Sol and Vinnie in tail. The former pair head to a pub to clean up, but not before Boris appears and ambushes Avi. Sol and Vinnie try to do some ambushing too, but their replica pistols don’t intimidate Tony. One clusterfuck with guns later, Sol and Vinnie make off with the diamond. Before they can get it to Brick Top, Tony hunts them down again.

Don’t ask how, but the diamond winds up in the belly of Vinnie’s dog, and in a panic, Avi accidentally shoots Tony. Crime is messy. That’s about all the plot you need to know in order to understand what Snatch is like; confusing.

So much as I enjoy the complexity and depth of the plot of this movie, it’s a little difficult to keep track of at times. Maybe more than a little difficult. You’ll meet a bunch of funky criminal characters, see most of them get their faces blown off, and probably have a laugh or two when Brad Pitt does his unintelligible pikey accent. Oh, and don’t feel bad if you don’t understand him. You’re not meant to. You are meant to watch this movie if you have a thing for black comedy laced crime thrillers, though, because this is a great one.

Joshua Tyler of CinemaBlend sees Snatch as a clusterfuck too, but finds that director Guy Ritchie drops the ball with his choice of dialogue. Also, the word “fuck” is used 163 times, so I suppose that accounts for the dialogue’s quality… Snatch is 104 minutes long, which means 1.5 “fucks” are said every minute. That’s quite a bit. But hey, there’s more to the review than profanity. Check it out: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Snatch-95.html

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