REVIEW: GANGSTER SQUAD

CAST

Sean Penn (Mystic River)
Josh Borlin (Men In Black 3)
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-man 1 & 2)
Holt McCallany (The Losers)
Wade Williams (The Dark Knight Rises)
Lucy Davenport (Alice In Wonderland)
Nick Nolte (Cape fear)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Giovanni Ribisi (Some Girl)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America 2)

John Aylward (Armageddon)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Mireille Enos (Hanna TV)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Josh Pence (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jon Polito (The Crow)
Lance Barber (Young Sheldon)
Michael Bacall (Death Proof)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Frank Grillo (Mother’s Day)
Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of An Empire)

In 1949 Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen wants to control all organized crime and argues with local mobster Jack Dragna that they should not allow the East coast mafia to run the town. Meanwhile, LAPD Detective Sergeant John “Sarge” O’Mara raids a Cohen-owned brothel to save a woman from being raped, gaining the attention of Police Chief Bill Parker. Parker believes that more drastic measures need to be taken against men like Cohen, and tasks O’Mara to begin waging a guerrilla campaign against the mobsters. He tells O’Mara (a former OSS commando during World War II) to use his special operations training, learned at Camp X during World War II, and to select a small team that will work without badges or official support from the police.
gosling_a_0
O’Mara’s pregnant wife Connie suggests choosing unorthodox veterans like himself, as young high-performers would likely already be on Cohen’s payroll. With Connie’s help, O’Mara selects a small squad of cops: black street officer Coleman Harris, wiretap expert Conwell Keeler, gunslinger and sharpshooter Max Kennard, and Kennard’s Hispanic partner Navidad “Christmas” Ramirez. O’Mara also attempts to recruit his partner Sergeant Jerry Wooters, but Wooters has become lazy and complacent in his job and refuses. Wooters keeps in touch with childhood friend Jack Whalen, who provides him with information on Cohen. Wooters also meets and begins a secret relationship with Cohen’s etiquette tutor Grace Faraday.
gangster-squad
The squad’s first mission is to bust up an illegal Cohen casino in Burbank, California, but things quickly go bad as O’Mara and Harris are captured by corrupt Burbank police who were guarding the casino. Wooters has a change of heart after witnessing the death of a young boy he had been helping out and attempts to shoot Cohen. Whalen stops him and tells him that O’Mara is going to be turned over to Cohen, prompting Wooters to rescue the men from the Burbank jail. Deciding that they need more information on Cohen’s operations, Wooters and Keeler break into Cohen’s house and place an illegal wiretap inside his TV. The men are seen sneaking out by Grace, who agrees to keep their secret. Using the information from the wiretap, the group conducts several successful raids on Cohen operations. After a particularly violent raid on a Cohen drug shipment, Keeler begins to question what they are doing but is re-assured by O’Mara. The media begins referring to the men as “The Gangster Squad”, and Cohen pushes his men to find out who they are. Keeler deduces that Cohen is building a large wire gambling business somewhere in town, and warns O’Mara that if they don’t take it out before it becomes operational Cohen will become too big for even them to stop. Keeler uses wire transmissions to locate the building, and the squad wipes it out. An enraged Cohen realizes that the Gangster Squad must be honest cops when he discovers that none of his money was stolen.
Sean Penn, Holt McCallany, Jon Polito, and Emma Stone in Gangster Squad (2013)
Cohen suspects that his house is bugged and begins searching for the tap. Grace overhears Cohen and fears that he knows about her relationship with Wooters. With the help of a maid, Grace escapes Cohen’s house and meets Wooters, who takes her to Whalen and tasks him with getting her out of town. Cohen finds the bug and begins feeding false information to Keeler. Cohen lures the Gangster Squad into a trap in Chinatown, but Wooters arrives in time to alert the men to the trap. While the men are distracted in Chinatown, Cohen hits several targets himself. Cohen’s bodyguard Karl Lockwood finds Keeler’s listening post and kills him while Cohen goes to Whalen’s looking for Grace. Cohen murders Whalen in front of Grace, who hides from him. O’Mara’s house is hit by a drive-by shooting, the stress of which causes Connie to give birth to their son in their bathtub.
Grace agrees to testify against Cohen for the murder of Whalen, and O’Mara uses her testimony to get a warrant for Cohen’s arrest. The squad arrives at Cohen’s hotel to arrest him and an intense firefight breaks out. Wooters and Kennard are wounded, while Cohen and Lockwood escape. O’Mara pursues them down the block, assisted by a mortally wounded Kennard and his sharpshooting skill. Kennard, with Ramirez’ help, shoots Lockwood just before he dies and O’Mara and Cohen engage in a brutal fistfight that ends with O’Mara eventually beating Cohen to his knees. As a crowd gathers, a bloodied O’Mara walks away and Cohen is arrested for Whalen’s murder.
Sean Penn and Josh Brolin in Gangster Squad (2013)
As Chief Parker had told them, the Gangster Squad is never credited in taking down Cohen. Grace’s testimony ensures Cohen is sentenced to 25 to life at Alcatraz, where he is welcomed violently by Whalen’s friends. Grace and Wooters stay together and he stays on the force, while Ramirez and Harris become partners on the beat. Ramirez is shown patrolling with Kennard’s signature Colt Single Action Army on his hip. O’Mara quits to live a quiet life in Los Angeles with Connie and their son.
Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Josh Pence in Gangster Squad (2013)
This is great fun, it isn’t the greatest film ever made, the most original or anything like that but it doesn’t waste a second and that’s the way I like it.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – MASQUES

168c83a7a33dd70cc93b44e3c7f36eb9

MAIN CAST

Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)

GUEST CAST

Michael Bacall (Urban Legends 2)
John McMartin (As The World Turns)
Kimberly McCullough (General Hospital)

MASQUES

It does seem at times as though the stars were aligned against this show. Doing a big Halloween episode was going to be a tradition, but the 1988 writers’ strike scuttled the second season’s attempt, and Hamilton’s departure the third. Which is a pity, as “Masques” is a breath of fresh air against the sometimes stifling romanticism of the show’s interiors. And watching Vincent and Catherine wander around above ground and mostly content is a rare treat.

 “Masques” does have an awkwardly grafted-on subplot about The Troubles—which, amazingly, was insisted on by the producers, as credited co-writer George R.R. Martin was content to leave doom and gloom at home and just have an evening of the two wandering the city having various adventures. It’s not too much of a strain at least, with Caitlin O’Heaney making an appealing heroine as a Northern Irish peace activist who finds herself at the center of a would be assassination plot.
Vincent and Catherine come to her rescue and reunite her with her ailing father in the bargain. Taking to heart her words to make the the most of the time they have, Catherine and Vincent wander through a montage of NYC at night and greet the sunrise at a bench overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. We get our first “they’re about to start making out like teenagers, but…” moment when they are interrupted by a startled jogger and Vincent decides to make his goodbyes instead. Catherine watches him go with a wistful expression and we get one of thew few episodes that feels fully fleshed out in the terms of the richness of both the glittering city high life and the smoke and mystery Below.

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Renn Woods (Church)

Ron Perlman and Roy Dotrice in Beauty and the Beast (1987)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John McMartin (No Reservations)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty)
Edward Albert (Elliot Burch)
Richard Biggs (Babylon 5)
Mayim Balik (The Big Bang Theory)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Nancy Lenehan (Catch Me If You Can)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Paul Gleason (Die Hard)
Cliff De Young (The Craft)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Richard Herd (V)
Jason Bernard (Liar Liar)
John M. Jackson (Bones)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter)
James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Jeffrey Nordling (Flight 93)
Bruce Abbott (The Net)
Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
David Greenlee (Fame)
Mimi Craven (Vampire Clan)
batman-ninja

Back during Beauty and the Beast’s brief three season run, there were numerous letter writing and phone call campaigns by rabid fans who tried desperately to keep the show from getting the axe. Never a top ratings winner, its fate on the network schedule was always at risk, and yet, the fans made it known how they felt, and they may have indeed saved the show on more than one occasion.batman-ninjaBeautiful corporate lawyer Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) chafes at the restrictions imposed on her life. She works for her father Charles (John McMartin), a highly successful New York City lawyer, but doesn’t feel what she does is necessary or that she’s achieving anything independent of his influence. In a relationship with ambitious, self-centered Tom (Ray Wise), Catherine balks at the insensitive demands of her boyfriend during a dinner party, and leaves to go home. Outside, a couple of thugs kidnap her in a van, and horribly disfigure her face; we later learn that she was a victim of mistaken identity, and that the criminals thought she was someone else. Left for dead in Central Park, Cathy is rescued by a mysterious, hulking figure who carries her below the streets of New York City to a fabulously appointed underground lair. Her eyes and face bandaged, she can’t see the person who is caring for her, but — rather rapidly and with almost no set-up — she comes to love her care giver, Vincent (Ron Perlman).26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177Vincent resides below the city for what he believes is a very good reason: he apparently is half-lion  and doesn’t want to be the object of pity and terror because of the way he looks. Hiding a beautiful, tortured soul behind his mutation, Vincent strides among the many other residents of the “Tunnel World” as their unofficial leader and protector. Naturally, Cathy is taken aback when she sees Vincent for the first time, but she longs to stay his friend. Vincent, tortured by his impossible love for Cathy, tells her that he has developed a psychic bond with her: her pain is his pain. Taking her back to the “real” world, he tells her he will always be there for her, if she needs him.26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177After perfect plastic surgery, Catherine decides that she must do something worthwhile with her life, and takes a job as an assistant D.A. with the city. Tracking down the thugs who assaulted her, she finds outs they’re part of a bigger corruption scandal involving prostitution, and decides to go after them. Catherine, hearing Vincent outside on her terrace, goes to him and shares one momentof impossible love with him. Cornered in a house with her attackers ready to kill her, Cathy’s psychic pain reaches Vincent, who immediately hops on top of a speeding subway car, and, bursting through the house’s door like either the Incredible Hulk or the Kool-Aid pitcher, literally rips apart her assailants with his razor-sharp claws, and saves her life.BEAUTYBEAST-0004It was a new take on the old classic. Hamilton is a compelling heroine. She has enough femininity to be romantic but also enough power to fight. Ron Perlam as the Beast was on his most famouse roles before Hellboy and he showed even back then just how good an actor he was. The show is a must see for fans of the 2012 series and fans of  Ron Perlman.

 

REVIEW: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)

CAST

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Melanie Laurent (Now You See Me)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Eli Roth (Terror Firmer)
Michael Fassbender (300)
Diane Kruger (The Host)
Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)
Til Schweiger (Driven)
Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Julie Dreyfus (Kill Bill)
Samm Levine (Veronica Mars)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Léa Seydoux (Spectre)
Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers Assemble)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Quentin Tarantino (Alias)
Bo Svenson (The Killing Machine)

Film Title: Inglourious Basterds

Chapter One: Once Upon a Time…In Nazi-Occupied France

In 1941, SS colonel Hans Landa, the “Jew Hunter”, interrogates French dairy farmer Perrier La Padite as to the whereabouts of the last unaccounted-for Jewish family in the area. In exchange for the Germans agreeing to leave his family alone for the rest of the war, La Padite reveals that the Dreyfus family is hidden under the floor. Landa orders SS soldiers to shoot through the floorboards. The whole family is killed except for Shosanna, a young woman who escapes when Landa decides not to shoot her as she flees.Film Title: Inglourious Basterds
Chapter Two: Inglourious Basterds

Three years later, Lieutenant Aldo “The Apache” Raine of the First Special Service Force recruits Jewish-American soldiers to the Basterds, who spread fear among the German soldiers by brutally killing and scalping them. The Basterds also recruit Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz, a German soldier who murdered thirteen Gestapo officers. Adolf Hitler interviews a German soldier, Private Butz, the only survivor of a Basterd attack on his squad. Raine carved the Nazi swastika into Butz’s forehead with a knife so he could never hide that he served in the German Heer.

Film Title: Inglourious Basterds
Chapter Three: German Night in Paris

Meanwhile, Shosanna is operating a cinema in Paris under an assumed name. She meets Fredrick Zoller, a German sniper who killed 250 soldiers in a single battle; Zoller is to star in a Nazi propaganda film, Stolz der Nation (Nation’s Pride). Infatuated with Shosanna, Zoller convinces Joseph Goebbels to hold the premiere of the film at her cinema. Shosanna plots with her projectionist and lover, Marcel, to kill the Nazi leaders attending the premiere by setting the cinema ablaze.

MV5BNDE0MDExNTkxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQxMzU3NTM@._CR336,106,1375,774_UX1248_UY702._SY351_SX624_AL_
Chapter Four: Operation Kino

Unknown to Shosanna, British Army Lieutenant Archie Hicox is working with the Basterds to plan an attack on the same premiere. Hicox goes to a tavern with Hugo Stiglitz and Basterd Wilhelm Wicki to meet with an undercover agent, the German film star Bridget von Hammersmark. A German soldier named Wilhelm engages them in friendly conversation, but Gestapo Major Dieter Hellstrom overhears them and becomes suspicious of Hicox’s German accent. Hicox convinces him that he is from the Swiss mountains, but then gives himself away by ordering three drinks and gesturing “three” with his hand (with thumb and pinky finger down); Hellstrom knows that Germans gesture “three” with the thumb and first two fingers extended. They are discovered, and the Basterds open fire, killing everyone in the tavern except Wilhelm and a wounded Hammersmark. Raine arrives and negotiates with Wilhelm for Hammersmark to be released, but the actress kills Wilhelm when he lowers his guard. Raine learns from Hammersmark that Hitler himself will be attending the film premiere and decides to continue the mission. Later, Landa investigates the aftermath at the tavern and finds one of Hammersmark’s shoes and a napkin with her signature, clues that will lead him to her.

MV5BMTg3MTQ2MjQ0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ1NDI1Mg@@._V1_
Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face

At the premiere, two of the Basterds, Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz and Omar Ulmer, join Raine in posing as Italians, hoping to fool the Germans unfamiliar with the language. However, Landa, who speaks fluent Italian, converses briefly with the Basterds before sending Donowitz and Ulmer to their seats. He takes Hammersmark to a private room, verifies that the shoe from the tavern fits her foot, then strangles her to death. Raine and another of his men, Smithson “The Little Man” Utivich, are taken prisoner, but Landa has Raine contact his superior with the OSS and cuts a deal: He will allow the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity and rewards.
Film Title: Inglourious BasterdsDuring the screening, Zoller slips away to the projection room to see Shosanna. After she rejects his advances, he becomes aggressive. She pretends to acquiesce, then pulls a pistol from her bag and shoots him. Zoller, mortally wounded, raises his pistol and shoots her before they both die. As the film reaches its climax, spliced-in footage of Shosanna tells the audience that they are about to be killed by a Jew. Marcel, having locked the doors of the cinema, ignites a pile of flammable nitrate film behind the screen as Shosanna’s image laughs. Ulmer and Donowitz break into the box containing Hitler and Goebbels, killing them, then fire their submachine guns into the crowd until the bombs go off, killing everyone in the theater.
Film Title: Inglourious BasterdsLanda and his radio operator drive Raine and Utivich into Allied territory, where they surrender. Raine shoots the radio operator, carves a swastika into Landa’s forehead, and tells Utivich with a grin, “This just might be my masterpiece.”Film Title: Inglourious BasterdsThe film is audacious and hilarious. It’s  a roller coaster and one not to be missed! It’s not for everyone, certainly if you’re not a fan of Tarantino’s style, this may be a little hard to swallow, but never-the-less, it is a film which simply has to be seen. No self respecting film fan should miss this.

REVIEW: URBAN LEGENDS 2: FINAL CUT

CAST

Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon A Time)
Matthew Davis (The Vampire DIaries)
Hart Bochner (Supergirl)
Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Anson Mount (Safe)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Jessica Cauffiel (Road Trip)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Michael Bacall (Manic)
Jacinda Barrett (Poseidon)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)

Image result for urban legends: final cut
Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) is unsure about her thesis. But after a conversation with security guard Reese Wilson (Loretta Devine), she decides to make a film about a serial killer murdering in the fashion of urban legends. Meanwhile, a student named Lisa (Jacinda Barrett) feels dazed and prepares to leave the bar, when someone abducts her. She wakes up in a bathtub filled with ice and discovers that her kidney was removed. Attacked by her abductor, she tries to flee through the window and is decapitated in the process. Lisa is not missed as she was about to go on a trip. The next day, Amy is preparing the shooting of her thesis film but is deserted by the assigned camera man, Toby Belcher (Anson Mount), who accuses Amy of stealing his thesis idea. Shooting begins with another camera man, Simon. When Sandra (Jessica Cauffiel), Amy’s actress friend who played a victim in a scene, returns to an empty studio after forgetting her keys, she is attacked and stabbed to death by the same killer who killed Lisa. Her friends witness her death when the material is smuggled into a sequence of takes of the scene, but discount it as another piece of acting, wondering who shot it. As there is no body and Sandra was about to go on a trip, her disappearance goes unnoticed.Image result for urban legends: final cutTravis (Matthew Davis) is found to have committed suicide at the campus tower. At the funeral, Amy is offered help by Graham (Joey Lawrence), a student from a prosperous Hollywood background. She refuses, wishing to make it on her own. This offends Graham, who thinks it hypocritical, as Amy grew up in Hollywood as the daughter of a famous documentary film maker before moving to Chicago. After she has detected the assault on Simon on the tapes, she is confronted by the killer. During the ensuing chase, she loses the tapes and cannot prove her claims to a skeptical Reese. Amy now believes the claims of Trevor and meets up with him but, he still refuses to inform the police, hinting at a criminal past.Amy runs into a costumed character - joker or psycho?The next scene to be shot involves the “Tunnel of Terror”, which is set up in an old carnival ride. Sophomores Stan (Anthony Anderson) and Dirk (Michael Bacall) are attacked and electrocuted by the killer while preparing the tunnel. Amy, who is taking a tour of the tunnel, discovers the corpses and is again confronted by the killer. She escapes again and informs the police, who attribute the deaths to accidental electrocution. Amy is comforted by Trevor. They begin having sex when Trevor suddenly stabs Amy. She wakes up and realizes that it was only a dream. Seeing a light on at the bell-tower, she decides to go there and finds her lesbian friend, Vanessa (Eva Mendes).Image result for urban legends: final cutThey suspect Toby, the only person working on the film left alive. They kidnap him and call in Professor Solomon (Hart Bochner) to present their suspicions. However, Toby reveals that Travis faked Toby’s sound credit to help him graduate admitting that he never went anywhere near Travis’ film. In the confusion, Trevor manages to disarm the professor. Solomon then threatens Trevor with a shovel while Amy gets a hold of the gun and threatens Solomon. Amy got a hold of Reese’s gun but hesitates to fire. Solomon attacks her again, but she shoots him unconscious. The scene then cuts to the Hitchcock awards, where an award is posthumously given to Travis. As Trevor is about to accept the award on his late brother’s behalf, a sniper appears in the rafters, only to be shot down by Reese. The altercation is then revealed to be a scene in Amy’s new film “Urban Legends”. It’s also revealed that Toby and Graham survived their attacks and are now busily working on her behalf. The final scene show Solomon in a mental institution where, after watching Amy’s film, the nurse asks him if he enjoyed the movie. He is wheeled out by Brenda Bates (Rebecca Gayheart), the killer from the previous film.Image result for urban legends: final cut rebecca gayheartA lot better than expected, with just a few mild flaws that don’t quite make this one as bad as it’s been perceived. Give it a chance if you enjoy slashers or the general state of the slashers from that time-period or even just curious and open-minded.

REVIEW: DEATH PROOF

 

CAST
Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
Zoe Bell (Freshwater)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Vanessa Ferlito (Spider-Man 2)
Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Veronica Mars)
Tracie Thoms (Cold Case)
Rose McGowan (jawbreaker)
Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Final Destination 3)
Quentin Tarantino (Alias)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Michael Parks (Red State)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Three friends, Arlene, Shanna and radio DJ “Jungle” Julia Lucai, drive down Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas on their way to celebrate Julia’s birthday. In a bar, Julia reveals that she made a radio announcement offering a free lap dance from Arlene in return for addressing her as “Butterfly,” buying her a drink, and reciting a segment of the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Aging Hollywood stunt double “Stuntman” Mike trails the women to a bar and claims the lap dance. Arlene is suspicious, having seen Mike’s car earlier that day, but he puts her at ease.The three women prepare to depart with Lanna, another friend. Pam, an old classmate of Julia’s, accepts Mike’s offer of a ride home. Mike takes Pam to his Hollywood stunt car rigged with a roll cage and tells her the car is “death-proof,” but only for the driver. He speeds recklessly and slams on the brakes, smashing Pam’s skull on the dashboard, killing her. He catches up with the women’s car and drives into it at speed, killing them. Mike survives with no serious injury. Sheriff McGraw is suspicious, but because Mike was sober while the women were intoxicated, he cannot be charged.
Kurt Russell and Rosario Dawson in Death Proof (2007)
Fourteen months later, three young women, Abernathy Ross, Kim Mathis and Lee Montgomery, are driving through Lebanon, Tennessee. They stop at a convenience store where Mike watches them from his car. Unaware of Mike, the women pick up their friend, stuntwoman Zoë Bell, from the airport. Zoë tells them she wants to test-drive a 1970 Dodge Challenger, the same type of car from the 1971 film Vanishing Point, for sale nearby. The car’s owner lets them test-drive it alone after Abernathy lies to him that Lee is a porn star and will stay behind. Zoë tells Abernathy and Kim that she wants to play a game they call “Ship’s Mast”, whereby she rides the hood holding leather belts while Kim drives at speed. Kim is hesitant, but agrees. The three enjoy the stunt unaware that Mike is watching them. He rear-ends them in his car, causing Zoë to drop one of the belts. After several more collisions, he T-bones them, throwing Zoë from the car. Kim shoots him in the shoulder and he drives away. Abernathy and Kim cry over the loss of their friend, but discover that Zoë is uninjured. The three agree to catch Mike and beat him. Mike has stopped in a narrow road to treat his wound with whiskey. The women rear-end him at speed. Zoë gets out and beats him with a pipe; he speeds away, pleading with them, and they pursue. Mike crashes and the women beat him mercilessly.
Rose McGowan and Kurt Russell in Death Proof (2007)
Pure, unadulterated fun and excitement: that’s the key to appreciating Death Proof. Do not expect a smart, unusual take on an overused genre, like the director has done in the past: this time around, he sticks to the rules, delivering a loud, silly, sexy, violent piece of Entertainment with a capital “e”. It may not be the best film of 2007, but it sure as hell is one of the most purely enjoyable.

REVIEW: DJANGO UNCHAINED

CAST

Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls)
Christopher Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Critters 3)
Kerry Washington (Save The Last dance)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Walton Goggins (The Bourne Identity)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
James Remar (X-Men: First Class)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Tom Wopat (Jonah Hex)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Zoe Bell (Oblivion)
Michael Bowen (Jackie Brown)
Robert Carradine (Timecop 2)
James Parks (Death Proof)
Michael Parks (Red State)
Michael Bacall (Gangster Squad)
Evan Parke (Alias)
John Jarratt (Wolf Creek)
Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)
Rex Linn (The Postman)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
Gary Grubbs (Battleship)
Ato Essandoh (Prime)

In Texas in the year 1858, the Speck brothers, Ace and Dicky, drive a group of black slaves on foot. Among the shackled slaves is Django, sold off and separated from his wife, Broomhilda von Shaft. The Speck brothers are stopped by Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter from Düsseldorf, who asks to buy one of the slaves. When he questions Django about his knowledge of the Brittle brothers, a group of outlaws for whom Schultz is carrying a warrant, Ace becomes irritated and threateningly aims his shotgun at Schultz. Schultz, a superior gunslinger, immediately kills Ace in return and leaves an injured Dicky at the mercy of the newly freed slaves, who kill him and follow the North Star to freedom.doubletrouble_0As Django can identify the Brittle brothers, Schultz offers Django his freedom in exchange for help tracking them down. After hunting down the Brittles, the liberated Django (who adopted the surname “Freeman”) partners with Schultz through the winter and becomes his apprentice, and Schultz discovers that Django has a natural talent of being an incredible crack shot. Schultz explains that he feels responsible for Django since Django is the first person he has ever freed, and felt more obliged to help Django (whom he described as a “real-life Siegfried”) reunite with Broomhilda. Django, now fully trained, collects his first bounty, keeping the handbill for good luck.
MV5BZTE0MGU3ODItZmVlYi00YTk3LTk5MTAtY2FjMWI2MTVmNjhhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjYwNDA2MDE@._V1_
In 1859, Django and Schultz travel to Mississippi, where they learn the identity of Broomhilda’s owner: Calvin J. Candie, the charming but cruel owner of the Candyland plantation, where slaves are forced to fight to the death in brutal wrestling matches called “Mandingo fights”. Schultz, expecting Candie will not sell Broomhilda if they ask for her directly, feigns interest in purchasing one of Candie’s prized fighters for far more than the normal price. Schultz and Django meet Candie at his gentleman’s club in Greenville and submit their offer. Intrigued, Candie invites them to his ranch at Candyland. After secretly briefing Broomhilda, Schultz claims to be charmed by the German-speaking Broomhilda and offers to buy her.MV5BMTk4NzQwODM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjgzNTI3Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1486,1000_AL_During dinner, Candie’s staunchly loyal house slave, Stephen, becomes suspicious of Schultz and Django’s motives. Deducing that Django and Broomhilda know each other previously and that the sale of the Mandingo fighter is a ruse, Stephen alerts Candie and admonishes him for his greed. Candie is angered at being fooled and having his time wasted, but contains his anger long enough to theatrically display his knowledge of phrenology, which he uses to theorize why the slaves have failed to kill their oppressors, despite ample opportunity. Candie’s bodyguard, Butch Pooch, bursts into the room with his shotgun trained on the two bounty hunters, and Candie explodes in anger, threatening to kill Broomhilda. He offers an alteration of the original deal, with Broomhilda taking the Mandingo fighter’s place at the same price, and threatens her death should the deal be rejected. After business appears concluded, Candie insists that the deal be sealed through a handshake, which Schultz initially refuses but eventually appears to concede. However, Schultz snaps and kills Candie with a concealed derringer. Butch shoots Schultz dead and Django kills him in turn, and an extensive gunfight in the mansion between Django and Candie’s henchmen ensues. Django guns down a great number of his opponents, but surrenders when Broomhilda is taken hostage.

The next morning, Stephen tells Django that he will be sold to a mine and worked to death. En route to the mine, Django proves to his escorts that he is a bounty hunter by showing them the handbill from his first kill. He convinces them that there is a large bounty for criminals hiding at Candyland, and promises that they would receive the majority of the money. The escorts release him and give him a pistol, and he kills them before stealing a horse and returning to Candyland with a bag of dynamite.

Returning to the plantation, Django kills more of Candie’s henchmen, takes Broomhilda’s freedom papers from the dead Schultz’s pocket, bids goodbye to his late friend and frees Broomhilda from a nearby cabin. When Candie’s mourners return from his burial, Django kills the remaining henchmen and Candie’s sister Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, releases the two remaining house slaves, and kneecaps Stephen. Django then ignites the dynamite that he has planted throughout the mansion, and he and Broomhilda watch from a distance as the mansion explodes with the incapacitated Stephen inside, before riding off together.MV5BOTA2NjY5NzY3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzcyNjY4Nw@@._V1_A brilliant movie. Very entertaining and I loved it. We don’t get many westerns any more so this was a welcome addition to the genre. Tarantino is of course well known for the violence in his films, which renders them as not being for the squeamish, but on top of that they usually feature touches of levity to brighten up the more grisly proceedings. Above all he assembles highly accomplished actors and good stories with some great lines. The cinematography is superb and the music excellent. Oh, and there is some wonderful horsemanship. An excellent film which can be highly recommended.