Blu-ray Review “Django Unchained”

Actors: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Directors: Quentin Tarantino
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Run Time: 165 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Quentin Tarantino you know that you are getting not your typical Hollywood cookie cutter movie. “Django Unchained” is a real shocker from the moment it starts and doesn’t let up until its finale.  I have to admit, I am not a big fan of Jamie Foxx but as an actor you can’t not like him. He really plays the hell out of this role.  Christoph Waltz was absolutely stunning.  I literally hung on every word that he spoke. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor but he is in over 2 hours in a 2 hour and 45 minute movie. To me that is more than just supporting.  Leonardo DiCaprio easily delivers one of his best performances to date…again unrecognized with any awards. Samuel L. Jackson is good but I feel that he has lost his appeal a bit since he went joined up with “S.H.I.E.L.D” and all. Definitely not as powerful as he was back in the “Pulp Fiction” days.

The film is quite long but doesn’t drag. Quentin’s dialogue is mesmerizing and perfectly delivered by each the actors. The action is very powerful and intense that you find yourself yelling back at the screen. I love the force and explosion behind each bullet wound. Some of the battle scenes at Candyland reminded me a bit of the Crazy 88’s fight in “Kill Bill: Volume 1”. I have no idea how this film cost $100 million though.  It is quite epic don’t get me wrong, but there is no major special effects in here. I would have to rank this film third behind “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Bastards”. So it may not be Quentin’s best film, but it is still a blast to watch. If you are a fan of his style then don’t miss this for sure.

Official Premise: Set in the South two years before the Civil War,  “Django Unchained” stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.

Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival…

Starz/Anchor Bay did a very fine job with this release. The combo pack release includes a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy and an Ultraviolet digital streaming copy. The 1080p transfer looks stunning with its beautiful aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The film feels quite large and epic. This looks amazing on all the film’s wide shots and also the action scenes. When it comes to Quentin Tarantino, you have to expect good music and a great score. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track really sounds amazing. You find yourself dodging every single bullet amongst the action. The dialogue is perfectly balanced. The songs in the film represent the Spaghetti Western quite well.

The special features are a bit of a letdown though. I was hoping for some a nice look behind-the-scenes on the film and also some commentary tracks. Instead we get three featurettes, which are good but not at all what I was hoping for. “Remembering J. Michael Riva: The Production Design of Django Unchained” is a nice homage to the film’s production designer, who passes on during shooting. “Reimagining the Spaghetti Western: The Horses and Stunts of Django Unchained” has interviews with Tarantino and Jeff Dashnaw, the stunt coordinator, chatting about the production. “The Costume Designs of Sharen Davis” focuses on the wardrobes used in the film. Lastly there is a trailer for “Tarantino XX Blu-ray” and “Django Unchained Soundtrack”.

CD Review “Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained” – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

“Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained”
Various Artists
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Tracks: 23
Label: Universal Republic

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I have been a Quentin Tarantino fan film since day one.  His films also come with the most interesting music and his soundtracks never let down.  “Django Unchained” is definitely no different. It comes packed with a wide-variety of music and seven tracks of specific dialogue from the film.  I used to love the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack for that same reason.  I love how the music is so perfectly chosen that it also helps describe the type of film that this is.  Since this has the ole’ spaghetti western-style feel, we get some of that feel and then completely on the other side there are rap songs. So there is a little bit for everyone here. And if you know Quentin Tarantino then you will not be disappointed by this soundtrack.

The star of this soundtrack besides Ennio Morricone’s beautiful score tracks is the brand new mash-up of James Brown and 2Pac on the track “Unchained (The Payback / Untouchable)”.  This song is so exciting and gets you completely pumped up.  Honestly, I think this track is worth the purchase of the soundtrack alone.  It is also perfectly placed, of course, after Elisa Toffoli’s very quiet “Ancora Qui”.  This is a like an explosion and it does let up for almost 3 minutes.  I would have loved for it to run more like 6-7 minutes, thank God for loop. Did I also mention that Samuel L. Jackson has some nice dialogue tracks, which takes me pack to 1995 with “Pulp Fiction”…”English motherfucker! Do you SPEAK IT!”.  You will literally want to run out and see this film immediately after listening to this soundtrack or if you’ve seen it, it is a perfect companion to chill out to after watching this film.

Track Listing:
1. Winged – James Russo
2. Django – Luis Bacalov
3. The Braying Mule – Ennio Morricone
4. “In The Case Django, After You…” – Christoph Waltz
5. Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Is King) – Luis Bacalov
6. Freedom – Anthony Hamilton
7. Five-Thousand-Dollar Nigga’s And Gummy Mouth Bitches – Don Johnson
8. La Corsa (2nd Version) – Luis Bacalov
9. Sneaky Schultz And The Demise Of Sharp – Don Straud
10. I Got A Name – Jim Croce
11. I Giorni Dell’ira – Riziero Ortolani
12. 100 Black Coffins [Explicit] – Rick Ross
13. Nicaragua – Jerry Goldsmith
14. Hildi’s Hot Box – Samuel L. Jackson
15. Sister Sara’s Theme – Ennio Morricone
16. Ancora Qui – Elisa Toffoli
17. Unchained (The Payback / Untouchable)- James Brown
18. Who Did That to You? – John Legend
19. Too Old To Die Young – Brother Dege (AKA Dege Legg)
20. Stephen The Poker Player – Samuel L. Jackson
21. Un Monumento – Ennio Morricone
22. Six Shots Two Guns – Samuel L. Jackson
23. Trinity (Titoli) – Annibale E I Cantori Moderni