Monday, April 22, 2013

Django Unencountered

Django Unchained: Brutal but surprisingly hilarious, sort of *Blazing Saddles* meets *Inglorious Basterds*. I was a little disappointed by a lot of the casual sexism; Brunhilde is basically just a damsel-in-distress, and the intriguing fact that one of the gang of thugs on the Candieland plantation is clearly female was never really explored. But Christoph Waltz is hilarious as Dr King-Schultz, and the whole thing winds up as a kind of pop-culture riff on oppression and complicity. I saw the censored-by-the-Chinese-government version on an airplane, so I'm looking forward to the DVD release.

  The Big Sleep: Still brilliant and complex and compelling, a noir with the actual plot told in euphemism, allusion and things left unsaid.  

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: I was actually pretty astonished at how bad this was. The plot is minimal and predictable, the protagonist is thoroughly unlikable (I'm pretty sure the director *didn't* intend that I should be cheering when his wife took the kids and left him, but I did), and it's one thing to get a famous French director who speaks no English in for a cameo, but giving him a major part is asking for trouble. The spaceship was pretty but even as a big fan of early-Eighties electronica I found the whole communicating-through-synth sequence got boring really fast. Seriously, the same guy made Munich and Empire of the Sun?  

Yesterday's Enemy: Before they got pigeonholed as a horror studio, Hammer used to make other things, and this movie, adapted from a teleplay by Peter R. "Doctor Who and the Sensorites" Newman is a rather good morality-of-war piece: a British unit in WWII Burma commit a war crime, shooting two Burmese villagers to get a third to talk, and then are captured by the Japanese and subject to exactly the same treatment. With a young Leo McKearn.

Movie count for 2013: 23