Tag Archives: Inglourious Basterds

Can’t Wait: ‘Django Unchained’


While my other movie series, I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Film School, looks back, I figured I should place at least one foot in the here and now of giddy anticipation.  Therefore, Can’t Wait focuses on upcoming movies I, well, can’t wait to see, along with a few reasons why.

For all the “importance” that their epic running times imply, the spaghetti Westerns of Sergios Leone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West) and Corbucci (the original Django) are some of the most gleefully fun stories ever put to celluloid.  Throughout his career, Quentin Tarantino has channeled that playfulness and, after years of crime and kung fu pastiches, his 2009 war film, Inglourious Basterds, he finally borrowed a spaghetti structural template.  With his upcoming Django Unchained, Tarantino’s doubled down on the Leone-Corbucci influence by crafting a cowboy hats-and-horses shoot ’em up himself.

Jamie Foxx and Chrostoph Waltz seem to continue doing their thing: Acting well.  Leonardo DiCaprio, though, is the surprise.  He plays against type as the gregarious villain, Calvin Candie.  His joy at being bad is palpable.  He looks comfortable in his skin without having to play a pained, tragic hero that has been his career of late — his work with Martin Scorsese in The Departed and Shutter Island especially.  Hopefully that ease will rub off on the film as a whole, outside of the promising glimpses provided by the trailer.  If that does happen, DiCaprio may finally win the Oscar that has thus far eluded him in his career.

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Can’t Wait: Andrew Dominik’s ‘Killing Them Softly’


While my other movie series, I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Film School, looks back, I figured I should place at least one foot in the here and now of giddy anticipation.  Therefore, Can’t Wait focuses on upcoming movies I, well, can’t wait to see, along with a few reasons why.

After watching The Godfather for the first time as an adult — I had only seen it at the age of 12 — and The Godfather Part II for the first time, period, in the past week, you could say I’m on a mafia movie kick.  While Coppola’s films rank among the greats, their high-minded take on the upper echelons of mob life is not my favorite of the genre.  As I wrote last week, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas ranks in my 10 favorite films, and I think that’s because of its focus on the smaller aspects of the life; the two-bits, the less successful ones.

Writer-director Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) appears to share Scorsese’s mindset in that regard, as evidenced by the new trailer for his upcoming Killing Them Softly.

Now, doesn’t that feel like one of Elmore Leonard’s lost gems?  Brad Pitt’s scuzzy-goateed, aviator-clad heavy looks to continue his winning streak of distinct, interesting characters (after Inglourious Basterds, The Tree of Life, and his Oscar-nominated turn as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane in Moneyball), and he deservedly earns top billing.  Pitt’s not the main reason I’m eager to see this, though.  Richard Jenkins is.

Jenkins is a wonderful character actor whose profile has risen the last few years, to the point where he’s nearly reached the Gene Hackman/Robert Duvall level.  The first time I noticed him was as the lovesick buffoon in the Coen brothers’ Burn After Reading, and I haven’t stopped paying attention to him since.  From his tragically doomed Father in Let Me In (a movie that probably had no right to be good, yet still pulled it off), to being the best part of The Rum Diary as Johnny Depp’s cranky newspaperman boss, to his place as the secret weapon (with Bradley Whitford) of 2012’s best film to date, The Cabin in the Woods, Jenkins has earned every ounce of respect heaped on him.  I’m excited to see what he can do in the criminals-bullshitting-each-other milieu.

Oh, and how can you not be excited for that single-take working over of Ray Liotta?  It’s the best form of low-budget filmmaking.

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