Tag Archives: Jamie Foxx

Brian’s Review – “Django Unchained” (2012)

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“With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.”

Django Unchained

Rating –  8 out of 10

Tarantino has definitely brought credibility back to the “revenge” genre. His last three films were all based on that subject. “Kill Bill” was classic over the top samurai fun, Inglorious Basterds was the Jewish fantasy of being able to get back at the Nazis, and now “Django” again deals with the historical fictional revenge of what would happen if a slave was able to get back at his owners.

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A lot has been written about this film and little of it focused on its quality. Most of what I read was about its use of the N-word, its over the top violence, and its realistic depiction of torture towards slaves. All of what you’ve heard is true. It constantly uses the N-word, its violence is the most extreme yet for a Tarantino film, and its depiction of slave torture is gruesome and cruel. But, guess what? It’s also a hell of a film! Tarantino and Westerns were bound to cross paths at some point. All of his films have nods to spaghetti westerns, particularly Sergio Leone’s masterpieces. But, while he takes elements from the past, this is definitely an original piece of work with rock solid direction and a pitch perfect cast all the way around.

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Jamie Foxx hold down the lead just fine, Christoph Waltz is utterly brilliant, Leonardo DiCaprio will no doubt get an Oscar nod, and Samuel Jackson should win one. This is the best performance of Jackson’s entire career and you will develop a hatred for him unlike anyone in a film in some time. While DiCaprio’s slave owner is expected to be a cold and heartless piece of shit, Jackson’s turn as the Uncle Tom is really what will piss you off. The script is really terrific as well and I particularly like Tarantino’s use of time. There’s flashbacks and flash forwards several times to explain back story and they’re never confusing or superfluous. In fact, the first hour of the films is pretty damn near perfect.

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So, why not a 10? The middle section bogs it down a bit. There’s a very long stretch where we’re waiting to get to DiCaprio’s plantation that could have been tightened up significantly. There’s also a double ending(I’m trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers) that was fairly unnecessary. It is literally about 25 minutes of cut footage away from being damn near perfect because you really couldn’t ask for much better of a script and certainly not better performances. Highly recommended!

Our Oscar Season Preview

The leaves are changing a golden hue, little trick-or-treaters will soon be ringing our bells, and the quality of films suddenly takes a huge leap after the September lull that always follows a summer of blockbusters. Yes, Oscar season is here, and we can’t wait to see some of the enticing films coming to theaters very soon or are already here. We each picked three we can’t wait to see.

The Master
Currently in limited release but I have not seen it yet. Director Paul Thomas Anderson is currently, in my opinion, the finest American director working today. This has a chance at a second, wider release, like last year’s best picture winner “The Artist.”

Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty) steps in to direct the new James Bond film. How could you not get excited?

Ben Affleck directs another thriller, and if his last two films are any  indication, this will be fantastic.

Wreck It Ralph

It’s not too hard to predict that a Pixar film will be nominated for an Oscar, but this is the first one in a while I’ve been pumped for. It looks stocked full of video game nostalgia wrapped in a nice story.

Steven Spielberg has whiffed on a lot of movies over the last decade, but this ambitious period piece could just put him back on the map. Academy Award-winners Daniel Day Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Sally Field round out an excellent cast.

Django Unchained
Any time Quentin Terrantino makes a movie, the world sits up and pays attention. He has yet to win best film or director, but perhaps this is the one to do it. Academy Award-winners Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz star in Terrantino’s first western — a genre that feel made for him.

Top Five Football Movies of All Time

The NFL kicks off its football season this week, and we at The Movie Brothers are pumped! We’re huge football fans, and in honor all things great about football – from chili and beer, to chips and friends screaming and cheering on their favorite teams – we’ve brought you our Top Five Football Movies of All Time. And in case you were wondering what out favorite team is… LET’S GO BUFFALO BILLS!!!

5. Any Given Sunday
Oliver Stone can politicize anything, including football. But he did a very nice job with this film, shooting a fast-paced, sexy movie, combining it with a great cast headed by Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx. It looks at the money and madness that goes into football. Is it a tad overly dramatic? For sure. But it certainly is a great football movie. Oh, and Al Pacino’s awesome speech… fantastic.

4. Knute Rockne All American
This one has that iconic moment, where Ronald Regean, playing George Gipp, gives those famous words: “Win one for the Gipper.” This has classic football moments all over — Notre Dame, All-American Knute Rockne, and yes… old Ronny. And it definitely deserves a place on this list.

3. Jerry McGwire
Show me the money was a pretty awesome part of this flick, but the movie is so much more than the famous catch-phrase. It’s a movie that crossed over two genres with unbelievable success — romantic comedy and sports. But it works, big time. Even if your significant other isn’t a football lover, it’s a movie you’ll both enjoy. Great acting, humor, sharp writing and direction, and, of course, plenty of football.

2. Brian’s Song
Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, this is a fantastic movie that shows the bond established by two men competing for the same job. They broke boundaries as roommates, teammates, and inspired people by their strength of friendship when Piccolo discovers that he is dying. It’s a great movie, and definitely deserving to be called one of the greatest football movies every.

1. Rudy
You have to have a heart made of iron not to love this story. It’s the ultimate tale of the little guy who works harder than anyone and finally gets a shot at his dream. It’s a bitter-sweet moment when he does, but it’s a great movie, and a believable, earnest performance by Sean Astin, with strong support by Ned Beatty and Jon Favreau. This was the first movie that jumped out at us as the best football movie. If you’ve never seen, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Horrible Bosses

Disgruntled buddies Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) can’t leave their miserable jobs, so they cook up a creative strategy for eliminating each other’s micromanaging and maniacal employers (Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey) instead in this crackpot comedy. Peculiar advice from con artist Motherf**ker Jones (Jamie Foxx) gets the scheme in motion, but the pals can’t keep the wheels from flying off.

Rating: 6 out of 10

This was an enjoyable comedy. It’s not particularly memorable. I didn’t laugh until my sides hurt, but it worked.

With any comedy, you have to go along with the plot — no matter how ridiculous — to enjoy it. It’s the same with this, as three dopey guys, stuck in awful work conditions with the worst of bosses, and try to kill them. Of course, everything that can go wrong goes wrong.

The cast is really nice in this movie. Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey all steal every scene as the horrible bosses. They make the movie click. Spacey always plays a jerk to perfection, and it was nice to see Farell stretch out in this comedy in which he’s barely recognizable. Aniston was also great. She hasn’t done a good movie since… well, it’s been a while. She has great comedic timing and energy in this movie. It’s a solid comedy.

Due Date

Days before his pregnant wife’s due date, Los Angeles architect Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) is about to fly home from Atlanta when a series of unfortunate incidents land him on the “no-fly” list, forcing him to hitch a ride across the country with slacker Ethan (Zach Galifianakis). As Peter desperately tries to get home, he must deal with Ethan’s laid-back attitude, numerous delays and several mishaps in this road trip comedy. Jamie Foxx co-stars.

Rating: 4 out of 10

I soooo wanted this to be good. A buddy comedy with RDJ, Zach Galifianakis, and that cute dog. It should be funny right? It’s not. Not enough at least.

The odd couple works but the story gets too serious and the mishaps are too out there. The two strangers get thrown off a plane together and are forced to travel together in a rental car from Atlanta to Los Angles. RDJ is in a rush because his wife is about to give birth (that’s where the due date comes in). Along the way they (mostly RDJ) are shot, drink the ashes of Galifinakis’ dead father, are in a way-too-serious car accident, and get detained at the Mexican border.

I usually hate movies that are made up of a bunch of misunderstandings, when each one is more ridiculous then the next. And, this is a perfect example of all of that. It’s a big mess and annoying to watch. It’s too bad but this story was better the first time when it was called “Planes Trains and Automobiles.” Hollywood needs to stop remaking the classics.

Law Abiding Citizen

Traumatized by the atrocious murders of his wife and daughter — and the flawed justice system that set the killers free — Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) gives in to his rage and sets out on a course of vengeance. He soon takes on not only the prosecutor involved in the case, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), but also the city of Philadelphia. F. Gary Gray (Italian Job) directs this crime thriller co-stars Viola Davis and Michael Gambon.

Rating: 2 out of 10

There are films that rely heavily on the audience to accept the unacceptable. Without that trait, how could we believe a man could fly in Superman, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex was chasing people down in Jurassic Park, or Michael J. Fox running away from Biff’s Grandson in Back to the Future 2 on a hover board. We accept the absurd because we want to believe in the film because it’s giving something back to us through good storytelling. But, when the storytelling is awful, we’ll poke holes in every ridiculous thing that happens onscreen. Law Abiding Citizen is part of the latter. It’s a horrendous, absurd, and terribly acted pile of shit that contains some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. Each supposed plot twist is an insult to audience’s intelligence.(SPOILER ALERT!) I mean, we’re actually supposed to believe that a guy (Butler) decided to (bear with me here. It makes no sense, I know. But, that’s the point):

1. Exact revenge on one of the perpetrators by switching out chemicals when he was executed to make it more painful when he died.

2. After killing the second man by slicing him into bits, sends a videotape of the act to Jamie Foxx’s family. For what purpose? It’s never explained.

3. Buys a warehouse near the prison and creates series of tunnels so that one day when he’s arrested can get himself put into solitary confinement and escape through a series of trap doors to put on disguises and commit more murders. Why? Well, it makes no sense to sneak out and kill when you’ve already confessed to a murder!!!! Why wouldn’t he just avoid being arrested and do what he was going to do anyway?

I just thought of 10 more instances of absurdity but I won’t waste your time anymore. There’s one last thing I’d like to point out. Jamie Foxx is a bad actor. Yes, I know he won the Oscar for Ray and I’ll admit it was a good performance. But, that film was tailor made for him. He does an impression of Ray Charles(isn’t that what he did on sketches of In Living Color?), he plays piano(He’s a Julliard student), and he fakes that he’s blind(On the film he wore contacts to make himself blind. How is it acting if you’re actually fucking blind?). Here, he takes the leading man role and doesn’t pull it off. He just doesn’t emote and every scene feels fake. So, just like the rest of the film, we can’t accept it because they haven’t given us a reason to believe.

The Soloist

In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. Then he discovers Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent for the cello and violin. Lopez starts writing acclaimed articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help L.A.’s homeless and Ayers. But Lopez’s finds it hard to have the strength to keep helping Ayers’ when his mental illness turns ugly. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice).

Rating: 6 out of 10

I was looking forward to seeing Downey and Foxx on the screen together, and I wasn’t disappointed. The two have excellent chemistry and deliver both dramatic and humorous performances that evoke sympathy and admiration.

What holds this movie up is the length of the story. We are given flashbacks of Ayers life before he became mentally ill, homeless, and living on the street playing music. We’re also given a side story between Lopez and his ex-wife Mary Weston (Catherine Keener) and we’re not sure if they’re patching it up or if they hate each other. Lopez’s story is focused around his work, writing the articles about Ayers and feeling as if he’s taking advantage of his situation. Lopez is also torn about whether his help is actually doing anything for Ayers. There’s just too much going on. We get too many flashbacks that we really don’t need. We get that Ayers hears voices. We don’t need a dozen flashbacks to prove it. And the not-so-love story with Weston feels forced and slows the pace of the film.

In the end, there are some touching moments, but the films drags on for far too long. Or at least for a 117 minute film, it sure feels like it.

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