‘The Revenant’ brings back majestic movie making

“Oh, make no mistake. It’s not revenge he’s after. It’s a reckoning.” – Val Kilmer as “Doc Holliday” in 1993’s ‘Tombstone’

Revenant (noun) One who returns after death or a long absence (Origin – French)

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant is one of the best titled films of 2015.  It’s also one of the best films of the year overall.  Inspired in part by the true exploits of famed frontiersman Hugh Glass, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Glass.  He is the scout for a unit of trappers led by Captain Adam Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son “Hawk” (Forrest Goodluck) is also traveling with the unit.  Hawk is one-half Pawnee Indian and most of his conversations with his father are in Indian language.

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You should invest in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Wolf of Wall Street'
Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it” – the real Jordan Belfort

The movie The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, a man whose story had already inspired one movie, Boiler Room.  Martin Scorsese’s film is a much better movie, and offers more insight into a man for whom there was never enough.  Never enough money.  Never enough sex.  Never enough drugs.  Jordan Belfort should be made the poster boy for the era of conspicuous consumption that went on in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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‘The Great Gatsby’ comes to the big screen…again

Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in 'The Great Gatsby'
Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in ‘The Great Gatsby’

[rating=3]Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Brendan Maclean and Amitabh Bachchan
Writer(s): Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Director(s):  Baz Luhrmann

The Great Gatsby is actually the fifth time that the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has been adapted as a motion picture (history of the other four later).  Any conversation about “the Great American novel” must include Fitzgerald’s most successful tome, although many will offer other possibilities for that particular label.

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Crazy antebellum: ‘Django Unchained’ is pulp non-fiction

Jamie Foxx is 'Django Unchained'
Jamie Foxx is ‘Django Unchained’

[rating=3]Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino’s filmography is now long enough for his own telltale calling cards to emerge in his latest genre time warp, Django Unchained: his episodic narrative, his usury of genre tropes with modernist updates, violence galore, use of a wronged protagonist to seek vigilante justice and speak for a greater population, whether it be women (the Kill Bill films) or Jews (Inglourious Basterds).

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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’