Tag Archive: slavery


12 Years a Slave Trailer

UK Release Date: 24th January 2014

Stars: Steve McQueen (director), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender, Scoot McNairy

Plot: In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Films about slavery seem to be becoming the new Western. Every year there are now high profile stories of slavery being told on the big screen and 2014 will be no different with Steve McQueen gunning for Oscar glory. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about this trailer is in fact Brad Pitt’s beard, just for the sheer ridiculousness of how it looks… but that might just be me.

However, if you can look past Pitt’s beard what you’ll find is this really touching, almost unbelievable true story about one man’s descent into slavery and his fight against it. Chiwetel Ejiodor is not a name that everyone will be familiar with but he has starred in a huge number of films over the years and finally takes centre stage in a star studded cast.

Established stars Pitt and Fassbender, who looks like he’s playing an incredibly nasty piece of work and doing it so well, join rising star Paul Dano and the incredible Scoot McNairy who I am a big fan of!

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Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest adventure into history following the success of Inglourious Basterds. ‘Unchained‘ delves deeper into America’s past and examines, in a way that only Tarantino could do, the ugly side of American history that is often brushed over in the mainstream.

Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave freed by bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Schultz employs Django to help him bring three overseers of slave farms to their demise and the two grow a mutual respect between one another as they journey. Upon learning of Django’s wife being a slave at Candieland, owned by Calvin Candie, King Schultz decides to train and help Django embark on a revenge mission to free his wife.

It’s a fantastic story of revenge and as you would expect Django Unchained is wonderfully written. Tarantino is famous for his dialogue and while he seems to reign that in here there are still a few scenes where you get the back and forth, quick moving dialogue which is fun to see and listen to. One thing Tarantino doesn’t reign in, however, is his love of violence and gore; the blood flies everywhere at such ridiculous angles and guts come flying out of dead bodies in a way that is hilarious, but that is what makes Tarantino so enjoyable. As a person in interviews he is so over the top and you expect that from his films, it’s brilliant.

Jamie Foxx’s lead performance helps to make Django one of the coolest characters ever committed to film in my opinion. Django is just a complete character, he is so likeable and has so many different colours to his personality which makes him very interesting to watch, so credit to Tarantino for his creation but also Foxx for bringing him to life. There is one scene in particular that springs to mind involving Django and two of the Brittle brothers where Foxx really lets loose all of Django’s pent up anger and this makes this particular scene difficult to watch but so enjoyable at the same time because you’re on his side; there’s a wildness in his eyes.

The rest of the cast is almost flawless too. Christoph Waltz is nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Dr. King Schultz and rightly so, he’s such a likeable character and Waltz’s performance is the root of a lot of laughs due to his mannerisms. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favourite actors and it is great to see him playing a villain for the first time in his career and this gives him a chance to really let go of himself and bring a very intense and uncomfortable feel about his character; it’s so different to what he has done before but it is up there with his best performances. For me, there were only two let downs: I thought we would get to see a different side of Samuel L. Jackson after the early hype about him but he was just the same as always and largely disappointing for me; and all the way through I was hoping for a Tarantino cameo but when it finally came it was just underwhelming and restrained.

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the running time and how Django Unchained sort of falls short because of this but I didn’t feel this to be the case. I did feel like it could have ended at earlier points and been drawn to a close quicker but then what followed those points I really enjoyed and was glad that they carried it on. On the whole, Django Unchained is just a really cool and incredibly stylish film. The beginning is good, the middle is better, and the end is fantastic. Not a realistic choice at the Oscars for Best Picture in my eyes but Tarantino could easily pick up Best Original Screenplay.

All in all, not Tarantino’s best, but far from his worst!

My Rating: 8/10.

UK Release Date: 25th January 2013.

Stars: Steven Spielberg (director), Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Sally Field, Michael Stuhlbarg.

Plot: As the Civil War nears its end, President Abraham Lincoln clashes with members of his cabinet over the issue of abolishing slavery.

I have found a few trailers recently that have revived my hope in the comedy genre, which is one that I have considered very much a graveyard for the last couple of years, but here is something on the very opposite end of the scale; a hard hitting political drama based on former American president Abraham Lincoln.

I don’t think that there is a more exciting movie for the Oscar judges and Lincoln was clearly made for them. It is a biographical film about an American legend, a story about a pivotal moment in American history, directed by Steven Spielberg featuring an all star cast, of which a few have been nominated and won Oscars before and the make-up and costumes look great; Daniel Day-Lewis looks a dead ringer for Lincoln. Personally, depending on his screen time I’m hoping Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets an Oscar nod for his performance.

Like I said, Lincoln is very much a film for the Oscars and I’m not sure how it will do with the general audience but I have no doubts it will receive critical praise all over the world, especially in America and the United Kingdom. I’m looking forward to it; it has the potential to be the best ensemble acting performance ever.