Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ is well-worth the journey

Bruce Dern gives the performance of a lifetime in 'Nebraska'
Bruce Dern gives the performance of a lifetime in ‘Nebraska’

Just to clear things up for some of the people who were sitting near me when I watched Nebraska, the terrific new film from director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways, About Schmidt, The Descendants), it has no connection to the album of the same name by Bruce Springsteen.  Bob Nelson based his screenplay on his own experiences visiting a small town in Nebraska and from news stories about people showing up at the offices of Publisher’s Clearing House, believing they’d won the big sweepstakes prize.

“Woody Grant” (Bruce Dern) thinks he has won that big prize.  He and his wife “Kate” (June Squibb) met, married and lived a good chunk of their adult lives in Hawthorne, Nebraska before relocating to Billings, Montana.  It is in Billings that the film opens with Woody’s son “David” (Will Forte) having to go to pick up his father at the police station.  Woody was planning to walk the 800 or so miles to Lincoln, NE to claim the million he’s convinced he won.  After all, he got a letter saying he’d won, somehow ignoring the conditional “if” portion that made winning contingent on his number having been selected.

Read moreAlexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ is well-worth the journey

Quentin Tarantino unchains his penchant for violence in ‘Django Unchained’

Christopher Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx in 'Django Unchained'
Christopher Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx in ‘Django Unchained’

Django – nickname from the Romani language meaning “I awake”.

Django – A 1966 film in the genre of “Spaghetti Western” starring Franco Nero.

Django Unchained – a 2012 film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino.

If the name of Tarantino as writer/director didn’t make this clear upfront, Django Unchained is a very violent but stunning film. Don’t let its running time of 165 minutes give you any reason to hesitate choosing this fine film.

Read moreQuentin Tarantino unchains his penchant for violence in ‘Django Unchained’