On a new double-decker Airbus cattle-hauler flying across the Pacific, I watched several movies. The last couple I slept through, and I really only remember the first 2: Jack Reacher and Django Unchained. Both movies had one thing in common, excellent supporting casts.
Reacher is a bad movie and I feel quilty that I spent 2-hours watching this Tom-Cruise vehicle. The plot is a “old as the hills” . . . . several murders to cover up one. And then let’s frame a known wacho because he will look really quilty. To the rescue, is the Cruise character, a world-class, fix-it loner. Hardly anything very original here. Toward the end of the movie Werner Herzog and Robert Duvall make short appearances. Each is good in his part. But why they agreed to appear in this disaster is anyone’s guess. I suppose it was for the money.
There was some heat (but not nearly enough) generated between Cruise and his female co-star. But whatever heat there was, was wasted. Even the chase scenes in this movie are boring. By all means, don’t rent this violent, stupid mess.
Django Unchained, on the other hand is a good movie . . . but not great. It is an interesting mix of spagetti western, baxsploitation, and keystone cops. The n-word is used a lot in this movie, but given the historical context, it didn’t seem particularly outrageous. The violence, however, is way over the top, particularly during the shoot out at the end of the movie. It becomes very gratuitous.
It seems odd, but for me, in its over-the-top sort of way, this says more about black frustrations during and after slavery than either Lincoln or 42. In this movie, with the help (and only the help) of a white bounty hunter, the Jamie Foxx character resolves his own racial problems (or issues, if you prefer). It’s not what I would call a “white-man-to-the-rescue”movie. (Although several critics disagree with this assessment.)
Django is a Quentin-Tarantino (director) vehicle and he makes a brief acting appearance toward the end. Christoph Waltz, as the bounty hunter, is excellent and rightly earned a best-supporting-actor Oscar. But obviously, this movie is not for everyone. It is at least 1/2 hour too long. And I would only recommend it for individuals who a high tolerance for difficult language and gratuitous violence. A rather select group, I would imagine (but it includes me); although the movie did gross well in theaters.