Django Unchained

The Weinstein Company

It’s November, which means the air is getting crisp, fallen leaves are crunching beneath people’s feet, and we’re missing all of it because we spend all of our time sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Starting to run out of things in your queue due to your couch prowess? Don’t worry, you won’t have to go outside or anything. New movies are being added to the service all the time, and here we have a list of good ones that have shown up recently. As always, click on the films’ titles to be taken to their Netflix pages. Pick of the Month: Django Unchained (2012) Quentin Tarantino’s first few movies are pretty much universally loved. Not only were they great, they were also at the forefront of a new movement in Hollywood, so they’re guaranteed to be remembered for a long time coming. Around the time he put out Kill Bill things started to change, though. His movies became more about style and less about substance, and the reactions to everything he put out from that point on began to vary quite a bit. Well, for my money, Django Unchained is the best thing this already legendary director has put out since the 90s, which makes it well worth your time. Not only does this movie have plenty of that patented Tarantino style to spare (all the riffs on Spaghetti Westerns, the carefully cultivated pop song soundtrack, etc…), it also deals with heavy subject matter that comes pre-loaded with emotion, […]

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BlazingSaddles02

Blazing Saddles could be the most difficult movie to celebrate with a Scenes We Love feature. Not only is it a laugh-a-minute comedy with too many classic moments to narrow down from, but more importantly it is such a politically incorrect work that it’s hard to showcase excerpts that don’t play too offensively out of context of the whole picture. I realized this long ago while listening to shock jock radio and hearing many of the most hilarious quotes from the movie turned into uncomfortable soundbites. Yet this movie, which turned 40 years old this month, is a masterpiece of satire, slapstick and silliness. It’s one of the most important American comedies ever made, not to mention possibly the funniest in the last half century. Like another classic that recently celebrated an anniversary — Dr. Strangelove, which also features Slim Pickens — it played the nation’s fears and flaws for laughs. With Blazing Saddles, co-writer/director/co-star Mel Brooks lampoons historical and contemporary intolerance, among many other things, as well as the Western genre. And it remains as relevant as any of the countless movies that have been influenced by it, from near-rip-off comedies like Three Amigos! to fellow subversive takes on systemic racism in 19th century America like Django Unchained. I invite further discussion of Blazing Saddles after this look at a number of my favorite bits, and I welcome mention of any additional scenes you love that I didn’t have room to include.

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letterboxd

The end of every year brings an onslaught of lists ranking movies of all kinds, and while we here at FSR like to keep our participation to a minimum one of our new favorites is the Letterboxd 2013 Year in Review. If you’re not already familiar, the site allows members to track, rate, and review movies they have seen, want to see, or have chosen to never see for as long as they live. I use it to track movies through the year including ones I’ve seen at film festivals, but you can find lists as diverse as Top 15 Manliest Movies, Nicolas Cage Appreciations, and Murderous Midgets & Venomous Vents. Yeah, I don’t know what that last one’s about either. Adding to the site’s functionality is a sleek design that truly shines with their Year in Review posting. Full screen images are accompanied by detailed stats informed by a user base that currently sits at 86,000 strong. 2013 saw the 18 millionth film logged since the site’s inception, and this year was their busiest yet resulting in outcomes both expected and surprising. Who would have guessed Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained would be Letterboxd’s most actively discussed film during 2013?

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ejiofor kinky boots

This weekend, the exceptional 12 Years a Slave began its initial expansion into wider release. Currently, the Steve McQueen film is playing in 123 theaters around the country, so a lot of people are just getting the chance to enjoy its brilliant performances and to be horrified by its most powerful scenes. When they exit the cinema, while wiping the tears from their eyes and attempting to rid their throats of the lump that’s been lodged there for at least half an hour, audiences are going to be curious about who Lupita Nyong’o is and where they’ve seen Chiwetel Ejiofor before. They’ll also be interested to know that they’ve just watched a remake, of sorts. 12 Years a Slave still has a ways to go before it reaches the mainstream, Middle America mall crowds. But when it does end up on a few thousand screens and watched by millions more, this guide will be here to recommend past films from the makers and stars of the movie, as well as some other relevant titles worth checking out.

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IntroActorInjured

Like any workplace, injuries happen all the time on set – the only difference is that you don’t tend to burn your genitals while organizing a meeting or suffer major brain injury while carpooling for lunch, unless you suck at driving. On film sets, despite every precaution, these things seem a lot more organic. That said, it’s way more rare when an actor or actress willingly undergoes physical harm, either for the sake of the art or through sheer dedication to the role. I’m not talking about poor Tippi Hedren or Peter Lorre being forced to by their directors – no, these are actors who only had themselves to blame. For the sake of brevity I’ve also excluded crazy people who like to flip around, like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, from the list. They transcend a list like this, but there are plenty of other actors who gave their bodies to the craft in big ways

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Drinking Games

At the end of 2012, maverick director Quentin Tarantino brought his latest ultra-violent and over-the-top exploitation film to cinemas, raking in more than $400m in worldwide box office. Now, Django Unchained is available on DVD and Blu-ray. While King Schultz and Django Freeman travel through the American South, collecting bounties, you can relax and enjoy their ride with an ice cold beverage of your choice. Let the offensive language slide and get into the tribute to spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation cinema. Just don’t take that language with you when you shut the movie off, regardless of how many drinks you’ve had.

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discs going by

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Going by the Book When a new police chief arrives in the rural town of Sam-po, he decides his fastest way back to the city is to impress the locals and his higher-ups with something flashy and result-oriented. The town has seen a rash of bank robberies so he sets up a simulation involving his officers and the bank… one cop will play the role of robber, and the others will respond and arrest him. Unfortunately for him and his plans though he picks traffic cop Jung Do-man (Jung Jae-young) as the robber and orders him to do his best. And Jung’s best is apparently better than anything the police can throw at him. I like to think I’m pretty up on my Korean cinema, but this fantastic 2007 film has escaped my attention until now (so thanks to 5 Points Pictures for giving it a US release). This is a very funny movie with both situational comedy and some darker laughs including the best rape-related gag since Eric the Viking. Jung’s robbery turns into a standoff with police and manages all the ridiculousness of Dog Day Afternoon with only a fraction of the sweat and drama. You’d think that would lessen the suspense, but it doesn’t. The film also gets kudos as being the rare Korean movie to run under two hours. See it! [DVD extras: Making […]

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Django

This week, our Video On Demand Power Ranker Supreme 3000 has been a little viral and under the weather (we told him to be careful when going on robot dates, but he says he loves and trusts Siri, and we think she gave him robot-mono) so it’s not exactly a quantity week. That said, with directors like Quentin Tarantino and Terence Malick leading the way, it sure is a quality week of VOD and digital releases.

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mnad_uhura

New shots from Star Trek, a bit about Michael Bay’s ninja turtles and some fun facts about why Will Smith may or may not want to kill Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s all there in tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark…

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Best Picture

Here it is: the Big Kahuna of the Oscar season. Bestowed upon the producers, the Best Picture award is easily the most memorable category of the Big Six. It often coincides with a Best Director win, but with almost twice the nominations than Best Director and some high-profile snubs, there’s always a chance for an upset. Best Picture is also one of the most divisive categories out there. To target a specific talent or role, it’s easy to zero in on one element of a film. A medicore film can have fantastic, Oscar-worthy cinematography. A film that has no shot at comprehensive awards can offer a scene-stealing performance for a Best Supporting Actor or Actress win. But Best Picture? That’s as comprehensive as it gets. Since the nominations have been made and all the complaints about why certain movies weren’t on the list (like the awards-forgotten Moonrise Kingdom) have been logged, it’s now time to focus on the nine films that made the cut. While the statuette is handed to the producer of the film, it’s an honor that everyone involved in the production can enjoy. Such a picture will either become a minor all-but-forgotten footnote in Oscar history (like The Last Emperor or last year’s The Artist), or it will become a well-known winner of cinematic legend (like The Godfather or Titanic). It will also serve as great marketing copy for any future DVD or Blu-ray release from now until the end of time. Read on for the nominations […]

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Best Cinematography

Cinematography, like many technical awards, is an incredibly difficult art form requiring years of experience, an encyclopedic knowledge of light and color, and an impossible ability to adapt to an industry whose technologies of capturing moving images are always changing. But that doesn’t mean someone as inexperienced as the Academy voters or myself shouldn’t be allowed to judge all that hard work! This year’s cinematography category is surprisingly controversial. Mihai Mălaimare, Jr’s work on The Master, once thought a shoo-in for this category, wasn’t even nominated, nor were other visually enthralling films, like Darius Wolski’s work on Promtheus. That said, the films that were ultimately nominated no doubt contain some expert cinematography (because I would know), but, as the political nature of these things always indicates, the question of “best” is highly suspect. Here’s how the nominees size up, with my prediction for the winner in red…

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Best Original Screenplay

The very foundation of any film is its screenplay. It presents the story that inspires the director’s overarching vision, and ideally it gives him or her a road map to follow on a creative journey. It creates human beings out of thin air, and it steers actors toward the motivations that will allow them to bring said human beings to life with an authenticity that makes them resonate. Adapted screenplays are often great, but there’s always an inherent compromise that comes with them. You’re taking material that worked in a different medium and trying to shoehorn it into film, even though it might have strengths or weaknesses that don’t translate to motion picture well. Thus, the award for Best Original Screenplay may be the most pure award when it comes to recognizing artists for their ability to create within the realm of cinema. Here are the original screenplays that the Academy feels best represent the potential of what film can be from this past year (with my predicted winner in red):

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Django Action Figures

I want to tell you a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down. It started a couple weeks ago when the awesome collectible manufacturer NECA released a line of Django Unchained action figures. These things were hoss, similar to the ones released for Inglorious Basterds, that is, they were tall, well made, and something an adult could have in his house. Plus, one of them was of James Remar, and how cool would it be to have a James Remar action figure? SUPER COOL. However, I hadn’t yet seen the film. I saw the price on-line: about $40. Not bad, but what if the movie sucked? I am not the biggest Tarantino fan in the world, so I figured I’d wait until after I saw the movie before deciding whether or not to get one. My plan worked perfectly, or rather, it would have, if not for Al Sharpton and other overly sensitive ass-bags who want to ruin everything for everyone that isn’t them.

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Old Spice Unchained

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the most talented, most handsomest, often silliest movie news column on the planet. Movie news columns from other parts of the galaxy might be able to compete, but they are yet undiscovered, so they can suck it. He’s On a Horse – Sometimes memes are fun. In this case, mashing the Old Spice guy together with Samuel Jackson’s head house slave character in Django Unchained is a simple, wonderful choice.

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

It’s too bad everyone (but me) hates Catfish so much, because otherwise the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story would make for a great movie, documentary or drama. It’ll still probably wind up being told in some form or another anyway. Or perhaps it’ll just inspire a Law & Order SVU episode (the death of a pro athlete’s girlfriend is investigated… but then it turns out she never existed in the first place!). For now, it’s our lead-in to another Reject Recap, where the best film-related stories on FSR and around the web are listed for you to easily get caught up with. We understand, you were too busy following the Manti drama and the Lance Armstrong confession and mourning Mr. Drummond this week. As we head into the weekend, you should first feast your eyes on our reviews of new releases, including the Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback (The Last Stand), the scary movie with the feral children and a raven-haired Jessica Chastain (Mama), the fake Sidney Lumet film (Broken City) and the Common drama from the previous Sundance (LUV). I don’t think we liked any of them, really. But, hey, Quartet is expanding a bit, and Will Ferrell sure made that sound enticing at the Golden Globes when he pronounced it “Cordet.” Speaking of which, you’re only a few days behind, but if you missed those awards, you can read through our live-blog transcript and feel as though you actually watched. Now, check out the biggest and best stories and original […]

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Django Unchained Sam Jackson

After I saw Django Unchained for the first time, I jokingly tweeted that it was going to be funny when a bunch of white people get nominated for Academy Awards for this movie about slavery. Then the Academy Award nominations came out, and it became less of a joke and more an eerily accurate prediction. I’m not telling you that to give you the impression that my twitter feed is magical or that following me will make your life immeasurably better (even though it is, and it will), just to remind you that the Oscars aren’t really about the best or most important movies, performances, or artistic accomplishments, which is why when you look at a history of the winners you’ll see a curious absence of classics like Die Hard or Star Wars, and an overabundance of moviesthatsuck. Because instead of telling us what movies were the best, the Oscars tell us what movies made the Academy feel the most warm and safe.  Nowhere is this more apparent than when looking at how the Academy treats movies about slavery. They don’t want a smart, artistic analysis that properly explores the darker aspects of the fact that the United States contributed to a centuries-long genocide. They want movies that gloss over the pain and suffering. At best, they want movies that cut right to the part where white people get forgiven. Which is why we see the following trend in this brief list of every movie to deal directly with slavery […]

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ted_02037204

Once upon a time, the Oscar nominations were filled with titles unfamiliar to the regular Joe. Not unknown, necessarily, but at least not widely seen. But today, thanks to all kinds of home video platforms and theatrical distribution for even the short film nominees, it’s not always so impossible to see everything before the big night. To help those of you wishing to be completists, I’ve listed all of this year’s recently announced Oscar nominees and noted how and where you can see them, whether presently or soon enough. It may not be entirely doable, as some foreign films haven’t officially been released here, including one that doesn’t even yet have a date, and some titles are in the middle of their theatrical to DVD window. But there are a bunch that can be streamed right this moment on your computer via Amazon, Google, YouTube and other outlets, each of which I’ve marked accordingly courtesy of GoWatchIt. Only three are through Netflix Watch Instant, by the way (How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War and Mirror Mirror). And one short has been embedded in the post. 

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JENNIFER LAWRENCE and BRADLEY COOPER star in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

The 70th Golden Globe Awards will be held tomorrow night, and I invite you to join myself and FSR’s awards guru, Daniel Walber, for live-blog commentary during the ceremony. We’ll try to keep it smart, avoid too much snark and will likely be obeying the rules of the drinking game that co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have devised. It will also hopefully be more conversational than remarks we could have just tweeted, in order that I can turn the discussion around as a more readable post-event recap of the night. In case you’re too busy paying attention to your TV to also read our words simultaneously. Anyway, you can’t head into a big awards telecast viewing without predictions for what you think will win. Daniel and I seem to agree on exactly half of the movie categories. So, maybe it won’t be such a predicable night. Check out our choices after the break and give us your own predictions in the comments. If you do better than either of us, we commend you in advance (and maybe at the end of our GG coverage too).

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catchingfire_firstlook

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column that cares. Bring Me Your Katniss! – We begin this evening with one of a few new images from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the holiday-releasing sequel to that other movie about a girl with a bow, an arrow and a will to live. The above image is our first look at Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee. Seriously, these names…

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The Dowager Countess

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly quarrel with the boundaries of good taste. It’s a nightly column that took some holiday time off, but it now back for its third (we think) season of rocking your world with links about entertainment, non-entertainment and other wordy pursuits in-between. Downton? Damn Near Killed Her – As you should already know if you reside on the Internet, Downton Abbey is back for its third season here in the United States of America. And as has been the case in the past, we just can’t get enough of that elegant British melodrama. If we had to place bets on what really connects Downton with its hip young American audience, we’d say that it has something to do with Dame Maggie Smith. See the following video as exhibit A.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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