Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Not for the Squeamish

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Not for the Squeamish

Article excerpt


Critic's Call: * * *

This Quentin Tarantino film, set in the South a few years before the Civil War, stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners brings him face to face with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz). He is on the trail of murderous brothers and only Django can lead him to his bounty.

Oscar-winner Waltz, who also won for "Inglourious Basterds," creates another distinctive character for the director.

This time around, he's joined by a gleefully villainous landowner Leonardo DiCaprio and Mr. Foxx as a slave in the pre-Civil War South who embarks on a journey for freedom, his beloved wife and Western- style justice.

That means bullets, lots of bullets, and blood that gushes, splashes and sprays in a way moviegoers will find stylized, Tarantino-esque or stomach-turning.

The movie is an homage to spaghetti Westerns but with improbable buddies, a married couple separated by the savagery of slavery and a plantation payback scheme.

There are lots of people cameos, including Jonah Hill, Bruce Dern, Russ Tamblyn, Amber Tamblyn, and Pittsburgher and special effects makeup guru Tom Savini. Samuel L. Jackson, buried under old- man makeup, gets a choice role as an elderly slave who has cared for the landowner since birth and functions as majordomo.

There's a lot of picture to watch -- 165 minutes' worth, which is far too long. That's even taking into account the darkly humorous moments, one involving Klansmen hoods that seems like an inappropriate TV sketch, and harrowing scenes in which a man is hung upside down like a slaughtered animal.

Extras include the featurette "Remembering J. Michael Riva" on the film's production design, making-of short, soundtrack spot. The blu-ray adds "Reimagining the Spaghetti Western: The Horses and Stunts of 'Django Unchained'" and a featurette on costume design.

-- Post-Gazette


Critic's Call: * * 1/2

This latest tale of terror based on a true story offers a few good scares and a consistently creepy tone.

It does fall into the horror film trap of gleaning a lot of its scares from terrorizing a child -- in this case a young girl played by Emily Alyn Lind, who looks like a very young Drew Barrymore. …

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