Django Unchained

The Bleacher Bum says it’s a hit.

Django Unchained

Epic movies provide us with sights and sounds that are unshakeable. These sights and sounds pop into our minds when we are on an elevator or waiting at a red light, even if the movie was not in our consciousness at the time. Django Unchained is one of those movies.  Quentin Tarantino’s latest film deals with the heaviest of all subject matters: slavery in the United States pre-Civil War.  Jamie Foxx stars as Django, who is a recently freed slave. Django helps a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) look for three fugitives from justice. Their travels lead them all over the south, including to a notorious plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).   While Tarantino made the movie into a western in a nod to the spaghetti westerns, he does not take a lighthearted approach to its subject matter.  This movie is not for the faint of heart because of its violence, subject matter, language, and images.  Foxx, Waltz, DiCaprio, and several other stars are all exceptional. However, the true star of the movie is Tarantino.  As the film’s director, he took things to another level and provided us with images and sounds that we will never forget. GRADE: A.

Magic City: Season 1

The Bleacher Bum sends in this review

Magic City: Season 1.

Magic City is the nickname for Miami, Florida, and specifically 1960s Miami, Florida.  Magic City is a television period piece on the Starz Network.  It stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Ike Evans, the owner of the Miramar Playa Resort Hotel.  Evans, the King of South Beach, carries the weight of South Beach on his back, and his burden comprises his hotel, his family, his employees, the politicians, the mob, the criminals that frequent his hotel, and his past.  Evans is married to a former dancer from Cuba who struggles to be a suitable queen to King Evans. Evans has two sons: Stevie and Danny. One is good and the other is the opposite, but both are loyal.  Evans’s business partners/enemies are his former sister-in-law and the local mob boss.  The show primarily focuses on Morgan as Evans, the Miramar, and 1960s Miami.  The show is two parts Mad Men and one part Sopranos, and like those shows, it has some stellar performances, exceptional direction, and skillful storytelling to go along with its glitz and glamour.  Grade: B.

Skyfall

The Bleacher Bum sounds off with a new review.

Skyfall is the latest James Bond film to smoothly jump, crash, explode, and speed into movie theaters finely tailored with a cunning wit.  Skyfall is the third film of the franchise starring Daniel Craig as Bond…James Bond.  (There are unconfirmed reports that Skyfall might be Craig’s last Bond film, and he is to be replaced by Idris Elba.)   In Skyfall, Bond is out to recover a computer disk containing the true identities of all NATO spies before the spies are exposed. He has to go to Turkey, China, London, and Scotland on his mission.  Daniel Craig is getting very close to overtaking Sean Connery as the best Bond ever.  He handles the emotions of the character as well as he handles a gun or an Aston Martin.  Dame Judi Dench returns as M.  She is as driven and focused as ever while showing a touch of concern for her favorite operative.  Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, and Naomi Harris round out the primary cast.  If Craig is not the star of the film, it is only because director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) made the film more than just about chases, explosions, shootouts, cool gadgets, and Bond girls.  (Don’t worry – the Bond girls are prevalent).  In Skyfall, Mendes told a story of why and how these characters do what they do.  He just doesn’t show the what.  Grade: B+.

Game of Thrones: Season One

The Bleacher Bum proffers a second opinion.

Game of Thrones, Season 1.  Game of Thrones is based on a series of fantasy/medieval novels by George R.R. Martin.  It is my understanding that Season 1 covers only the first book. I cannot confirm because I have not read the books. (I ordered the first book today.) I think it is important to note that I am a huge fan of this genre, and I have since learned to my dismay, some people are very much not.  With that said, I think everyone would be a fan of this show because it is entertainment personified.  It is about the battles, politics, bribery, murders, curses, marriages, relationships, betrayals, bloodlines, histories, and scheming of seven families in ancient times.  They are all trying to seize control of The Seven Kingdoms aka The Realm. The cast is massive. The performances are phenomenal. The writing and direction are exceptional. The sets and scenery are majestic.  The deaths are breathtaking.  Everything is bigger and better on this show. This show is HBO.  And as an HBO show, this show is not for children under the age of 16. But this show is for people that like to be pulled in about 1,000 different directions.  Grade: A.

True Blood: Season 4

A new review from The Bleacher Bum.

True Blood, Season 4 was too much, too fast, too many people, and too many storylines.  Generally, HBO shows know how to pace itself.  Often the first couple of episodes of a new season of an HBO show are so slow that some viewers get bored.  This slow, ramping up pace is done deliberately for proper story development. The first three seasons of True Blood followed this model to the letter; however, Season 4 did not.

This season introduced more characters and each character has a special talent of their own. I think we are up to eight different forms of the supernatural since the show began. Vampires are the least of our worries these days.  True Blood also went very soap opera this season with lots of relationship drama.  Of course, Sookie was in the middle of all it, solving as many problems as she created.  To date, Season 4 is my least favorite season of True Blood, but there is a payoff at the end that sorta makes it all worth it. Sorta. Grade: B-.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

A new review from The Bleacher Bum:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: What do you get when you combine a terrible screenplay, miscast actors, and frenzied film direction? You get a film that will surely be nominated for a Razzie award this December. WTEWYAE is based on the best-selling book of the same name. I read portions of the book when my wife was pregnant; she read the book at least twice. While the book was beneficial, anecdotal, and entertaining, the movie was uneventful, dumb, humorless, and a black hole of fun. It is about five couples (an A-list cast with nothing to work with) that are dealing with the various stages of the pregnancy. If I was presented with the choice of giving birth to a child without an epidural or seeing this movie again, I would have a serious decision on my hands. GRADE: BIG FAT F!

Think Like a Man

New review from The Bleacher Bum.

Think Like A Man hit theaters on April 20th and has been the movie surprise of 2012.  The movie grossed $30,000,000 ($13,000,000 budget) in its opening weekend. It is the second largest opening weekend of a movie with a predominately African-American cast.  The movie looks at six guys and their relationships by using Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” as a guide.  I was worried that the movie would be the African-American version of Gary Marshall’s disappointing Valentine Day, but comedian Kevin Hart did not let that happen. Hart generates belly laugh after belly laugh throughout the movie.  And between laughs, you get to follow the ups and downs of six multi-faceted, interesting couples. Grade B+.