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).

Read moreCrazy antebellum: ‘Django Unchained’ is pulp non-fiction

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’

‘The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz’ has its moments

[rating=3]Starring: Ashanti, Jeffrey Tambor, Quentin Tarantino, David Alan Grier, Queen Latifah, Kermit the Frog, Miss. Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo the Great
Director(s): Kirk R. Thatcher
Writer(s): Teleplay by Debra Frank, Steve Hayes, Tom Martin, Adam F. Goldberg; Television Story by Debra Frank, Steve Hayes; Based upon the novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

Ashanti accompanies (l. to r.) Gonzo, Pepe, Kermit and Fozzy down the yellow-brick road in 'Muppets’ Wizard of Oz'
Ashanti accompanies (l. to r.) Gonzo, Pepe, Kermit and Fozzy down the yellow-brick road in ‘Muppets’ Wizard of Oz’

To be honest, it has been a long time since I’ve really enjoyed a Muppet movie. I briefly caught some bits and pieces of The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz when it aired on ABC, and can’t say that I was that impressed. But watching it in its entirety on DVD, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. There are some good scenes, with bits of clever humor throughout, but nothing even remotely comparing to the magic of the early Muppet movies.

What holds Oz down is its star, Ashanti. She has a lovely singing voice, but acting is clearly not her profession. Perhaps it was the fact that she was acting largely against puppets, but her awkward delivery really hinders the film. I understand why they wanted to cast a singer in the role, but they could have looked at someone with a little more acting experience (heck, Disney would probably have done better casting Raven Simone from their own series, That’s So Raven!).

Read more‘The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz’ has its moments