Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Django Unchained
Tarantino delivers another awesome genre exercise with Django Unchained, taking on both the blaxploitation and Spaghetti Western genres in one bloody, satisfying movie. Tarantino borrows a lot of his own schtick from Kill Bill here, as the story of a protagonist searching for their former love and exacting violent revenge along the way is familiar territory for the filmmaker, but Tarantino is clearly having so much fun with Django that it’s almost impervious to criticism. Tarantino just doesn’t care what you think, and he’s going to have his cake and eat it too, whether or not you agree with his choices (like his cameo in this movie – yeesh!). Christoph Waltz is terrific, and obviously needs to continue making Tarantino films as they keep on netting him Oscar nominations, Jamie Foxx delivers my favourite of his performances, bar none, and Leonardo Dicaprio presents us with the most devilish and sinister character he has ever played. It all adds up to a blood-splattered, James Brown-blasting, rip-roaring good time, and manages to be at once a mindless tale of guns and action and a sharp, witty commentary on race relations within the realms of both reality and fiction. As has consistently been the case with Tarantino, I left the theatre grinning wide and excited to see what the filmmaker creates next.
4.5 out of 5

Killer Joe
A dark and twisted tale about a family who hires a hit man in an attempt to pull a life insurance scam, Killer Joe is not for the faint of heart or…the vegetarian. This is a film that’s all about performances. Since it is based on a play, the real drive of the plot lies entirely in the dialogue, and the interactions between the characters are truly the movie’s strongest suit. Matthew McConaughey gives what is probably the best performance of his career as the titular Joe, and the family who hires him, played by Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gena Gershon and Juno Temple are all so disturbed and ignorant that you find yourself both invested in them and repulsed by them. Brimming with fierce, primal sexuality, bursts of violence, and a demented rogue’s gallery of characters, Killer Joe will stick with you, but I’d hesitate to ever say I enjoyed it.
3.5 out of 5

Similar to another Robert Zemeckis film – CastawayFlight is a bit front-loaded when it comes to suspense and tension. The film starts strong with a gripping plane crash sequence that’s probably one of the best ever put on film, but shortly thereafter things slow down significantly as the movie devolves into an analysis of the mind of an alcoholic. The plot, combined with Denzel Washington’s performance, keeps the film rolling along, but as a portrait of addiction, Flight doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The plane crash that is the inciting incident of the story takes a back seat to the somewhat preachy message of the movie. The bits that are good in Flight are very good, and prove that Zemeckis hasn’t lost his touch as a filmmaker, but I feel like there was about 45 minutes that I could have skipped without missing anything.
3.25 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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