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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Django Unchained -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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As noted in the words regarding Les Miserables, we've come to a point at which films going through the DI process should look transparent and perfect to the original, and such is the case with Mr. Tarantino's Django update.

Shot on film, and taken through a 4k DI, the Panavision source material is perfect. Filtered, softer interiors look to be precisely what they are, and exteriors pop with detail and resolution.

I've a feeling that Anchor Bay will be selling more than a dozen of these Blu-rays, as the public has shown their appreciation to not only the Django legend, but along with it, to some of the funniest sequences in film history, along with some of the most violent.

My only advice to those who may be sensitive to political correctness, is to turn off your PC function, and enjoy.

One of the great pleasures of this film, is visiting with actors, some of whom we've not seen in years.  As well as others, who may be almost unrecognizable.  The fun is figuring out who these people are before the end credits roll.  One of these is Franco Nero, who played the original Django, back in 1966, and has been working in film ever since.  He may be best known here as Lancelot in the 1967 Camelot.

On a tech note, I'd love some input from those into both Civil War history as well as weaponry.  While the Django theme makes note in its lyrics to Colt .45, we're certainly in a pre-.45 era.

What I'm seeing seem to be Remington revolvers, very popular during the war.  But are there others used in the film that might be of later vintage?

Django Unchained is a terrifically satisfying piece of entertainment, presented to perfection on Blu-ray.

Highly Recommended.

RAH

 

Dave B Ferris

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Here is a link to an article published in the L.A. Times about the armorer who served Django Unchained.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-working-hollywood-20130217,0,695592.story

Here is the most pertinent section of the article:

Remington steel: The two main actors on "Django Unchained," Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx, used modern reproductions of the Remington 1858 percussion cap revolver. "You wouldn't want to use an over-100-year-old gun where it might fail on you," said Zanoff. "There's also a safety concern, because back then, the steel wasn't as good as it is right now." But the modern reproductions still require old-fashioned skills. "Back then, you had to load loose powder in, and then you put a lead ball in, and then you put a little percussion cap over a little nipple in the cylinder. And you can see that when there are close-ups of the guns, and there are a lot of them in the movie."
 

Robert Harris

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Dave B Ferris said:
Here is a link to an article published in the L.A. Times about the armorer who served Django Unchained.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-working-hollywood-20130217,0,695592.story

Here is the most pertinent section of the article:

Remington steel: The two main actors on "Django Unchained," Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx, used modern reproductions of the Remington 1858 percussion cap revolver. "You wouldn't want to use an over-100-year-old gun where it might fail on you," said Zanoff. "There's also a safety concern, because back then, the steel wasn't as good as it is right now." But the modern reproductions still require old-fashioned skills. "Back then, you had to load loose powder in, and then you put a lead ball in, and then you put a little percussion cap over a little nipple in the cylinder. And you can see that when there are close-ups of the guns, and there are a lot of them in the movie."
One of the more novel features on the Remington was that they had safety pins, which would allow the hammer to rest, as opposed to being over a live chamber.
 

Dave Upton

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I picked this one up last week. Since the wife is a Tarantino "zealot" , I expect it will get many repeated viewings.

Robert - thanks for your evaluation as always. I sat in a theater auditorium with an audience of african american, white and hispanic viewers, and everyone seemed equally amused. Great to see this sort of humor transcend the standard PC arguments and vitriol.
 

Reed Grele

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One of Mr. Tarantino's more entertaining films.

But, as with most period pieces such as this, some liberties have been taken regarding the amount of smoke emitted by the black powder handguns, shotguns, and rifles of the day. In reality, an indoor shootout, such as depicted near the end of the film, would have resulted in such a large cloud of billowy, acrid, smoke after only several rounds were fired, that none of the participants would have been able to see what they were shooting at. But, after all, this is not a History Channel documentary.

Not to mention that none of the firearms back then ever misfired, or had to be reloaded, which would have added at least another half hour to the proceedings.
 

TravisR

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Two of my favorite uses of pop music in a movie happen in Django Unchained- the beautiful montage set to Jim Croce's "I Got A Name" and the insane bloodbath using the mashup of James Brown and 2Pac.
 

Bryan^H

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TravisR said:
Two of my favorite uses of pop music in a movie happen in Django Unchained- the beautiful montage set to Jim Croce's "I Got A Name" and the insane bloodbath using the mashup of James Brown and 2Pac.
Those were fantastic. I also really liked 'The Braying Mule' from Ennio Morricone, and 'Nicaragua' from Jerry Goldsmith.
I love Tarantino's use of classic studio logos(Universal for Inglorious Basterds, and Columbia for this film)

Great film.
 

Richard--W

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Forgive me for striking a sour note here, but I was not impressed. That business with the KKK night riders taking off their hoods so that they could see was not funny and served as a fourth-wall breaker. A similar joke was not out of place in Blazing Saddles (1973), but here it took me right out of the movie. After that I was acutely aware of the artifice I was watching. QT should have cut it. It adds nothing to the plot or characterizations. Further, after setting up the denouement in the Candyland plantation house QT postpones it by sending us on another interlude whereby Django escapes from a prisoner's wagon bound for jail, in an obvious riff on Taylor's escape from the prisoner's wagon in Planet of the Apes (1968). Nearly every scene is an exercise in sadism, building up to a moment of torture or killing and then lightening the act with humor. More to the point, I couldn't enjoy Django Unchained because I've seen the story told better before in The Legend of N----r Charlie (1972) and The Soul of N----r Charley (1973). QT simply gave Charley a new name, from a spaghetti western, but without utilizing that spaghetti westerns' premise or concepts. If Fred Williamson ever lets those two films out of the closet people would see where QT took his material from. While he adds a few flourishes and a torrent of dialogue of his own, QT hardly deserved the writing awards he received for stealing somebody else's story:


 

Robert Harris

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Interesting comments, and connections. Does Mr. Williamson control the above titles? As to connections, he did Inglorious Bastards (1978).RAH
 

Richard--W

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Fred Williamson does indeed control the titles. Code Red, which has a Fred Willaimson Signature Series on DVD, has been trying to persuade him to release the films but he wants more money than Code Red can afford. Fred Williamson is very proud of both films, I might add. In a documentary on the history of blaxploitation films he said that he stands by the n word in the titles and explains that he used the word to create sensationsalism that would result in ticket sales. I myself heard him say something similar at a reception once.

I would add that many scenes in Django Unchained imitate -- I refuse to say "inspired" -- specific scenes in exploitation movies of the 1960s and 1970s. There is not much originality here, just more talk, endless talk, and the slow steady build-up to acts of sadism. The folks who voted QT all the writing awards need to watch more movies.
 

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Richard--W said:
Forgive me for striking a sour note here, but I was not impressed. That business with the KKK night riders taking off their hoods so that they could see was not funny and served as a fourth-wall breaker. A similar joke was not out of place in Blazing Saddles (1973), but here it took me right out of the movie. After that I was acutely aware of the artifice I was watching. QT should have cut it. It adds nothing to the plot or characterizations. Further, after setting up the denouement in the Candyland plantation house QT postpones it by sending us on another interlude whereby Django escapes from a prisoner's wagon bound for jail, in an obvious riff on Taylor's escape from the prisoner's wagon in Planet of the Apes (1968). Nearly every scene is an exercise in sadism, building up to a moment of torture or killing and then lightening the act with humor. More to the point, I couldn't enjoy Django Unchained because I've seen the story told better before in The Legend of N----r Charlie (1972) and The Soul of N----r Charley (1973). QT simply gave Charley a new name, from a spaghetti western, but without utilizing that spaghetti westerns' premise or concepts. If Fred Williamson ever lets those two films out of the closet people would see where QT took his material from. While he adds a few flourishes and a torrent of dialogue of his own, QT hardly deserved the writing awards he received for stealing somebody else's story:
This. Times two.
 

Bryan^H

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TravisR said:
Or maybe some of them are aware of what he does but they still like what he comes up with when he takes from older movies and adds his own thing.
Yes. Tarantino's films are so enjoyable in my opinion because be borrows elements of film of a bygone era. Same goes with the borrowed film scores. He does so in great fashion. Make no mistake though all the films he has made are still strikingly original, and very well written. Compared to other current Hollywood movies, and even the 60's and 70's films he admires, his films are in their own class.
 

Billy Batson

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Well I'm very much looking forward to seeing this. I meant to see it at the cinema, but in the end just couldn't face a multi-plex, I tend to wait for the Blu-ray these days. Even if you don't like Tarantino's way with a movie, you have to admit his films do look great, I'm happy that he hasn't gone down the route of the gunge look.

...& I managed to preorder the Blu for a mere £10!
 

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EddieLarkin said:
QT lambasted John Ford's cinema during promotion for Django, insinuating he made racist films. I thought some here may be interested in this brilliant response from Kent Jones to QT's comments:

http://filmcomment.com/article/intolerance-quentin-tarantino-john-ford
The entire article is worth reading, regardless of what side of the Tarantino fence you stand on, but this last paragraph sums it up nicely for me:

"If Waltz’s admission of the irresistible impulse to take vengeance on the ignorantly powerful is the key line in Django Unchained, the key line in The Searchers, delivered in the first third of the film, is its polar opposite. As Jeffrey Hunter’s Martin and Harry Carey Jr.’s Brad prepare to join John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards on his quest to find his nieces, Mrs. Jorgensen (Olive Carey) takes Ethan aside and pleads with him: “Don’t let the boys waste their lives on vengeance.” Ford’s film is about the toll of vengeance on actual human beings, while Tarantino’s recent work is about the celebration of orgiastic vengeance as a symbolic correction of history. Ford’s film has had a vast and long-lasting effect on American cinema, while the impact of Tarantino’s film has, I suspect, already come and gone. But then, Ford only had the constraints of the studio system to cope with, his own inner conflicts aside, while Tarantino must contend with something far more insidious and difficult to pin down: the hyper-branded and anxiously self-defining world of popular culture, within which he is trying to be artist, grand entertainer, genius, connoisseur, critic, provocateur, and now repairman of history, all at once. It makes your head spin. And one day in the future, I suppose he might find himself wondering just what he had in mind when he so recklessly demeaned one of the greatest artists who ever stood behind a camera."

Regarding Tarantino's Academy Award acceptance speech, I believe that, if it were down to the two, it will be Ford's films, not Tarantino's, that will still be talked about and studied a hundred years from now.
 

Bryan^H

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EddieLarkin said:
QT lambasted John Ford's cinema during promotion for Django, insinuating he made racist films. I thought some here may be interested in this brilliant response from Kent Jones to QT's comments:

http://filmcomment.com/article/intolerance-quentin-tarantino-john-ford
from the article:

"Tarantino’s ill-chosen words more or less force a comparison between his recent films and Ford’s. As brilliant as much of Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds are, they strike me as relatively straight-ahead experiences—there is nothing in either film to de-complicate; by contrast, one might spend a lifetime contemplating The Searchers or Wagon Master or Young Mr. Lincoln (39) and continually find new values, problems, and layers of feeling. And while Tarantino’s films are funny, inventive, and passionately serious about racial prejudice, there is absolutely no mystery in them—what you see really is what you get. Within the context of American cinema, Django is a bracing experience . . . until the moment that Christoph Waltz shoots Leonardo DiCaprio, turns to Jamie Foxx, and exclaims: “I’m sorry—I couldn’t resist.” The line reading is as perfect as the staging of the entire scene, but this is the very instant that the film shifts rhetorical gears and becomes yet another revenge fantasy—that makes five in a row."


I agree with this. And I also feel Tarantino should definatley try something new over the revenge theme he has been doing in so many of his films. I always enjoy his films, but the revenge theme was already getting stale at 'Inglorious Basterds' for me. There are so many other directions he could go that would solidify him as a great film maker to me.
 

Derrick King

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Kent Jones is wrong about it being five revenge films in a row. Death Proof and Django Unchained are not revenge films. And I'm not sure I'd label Inglorious Basterds as a revenge film, but I am willing to concede that point.
 

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Derrick King said:
Kent Jones is wrong about it being five revenge films in a row. Death Proof and Django Unchained are not revenge films. And I'm not sure I'd label Inglorious Basterds as a revenge film, but I am willing to concede that point.
Yeah, revenge has played a part in alot of Tarantino's movies but it's not usually the main plot. The last segments of Death Proof and Django Unchained are about the characters getting revenge on the bad guy/guys for what they have done to them earlier in the movie but it's not what drives them for the rest of the movie. In Inglourious Basterds, Shosanna has a plan to avenge her family's murder but that plot is augmented with the men on a mission story of the title characters. In my opinion, Tarantino's only revenge movie(s) is Kill Bill(s).
 

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