Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Jack Reacher

It’s winter break, which means I’ve been hitting the movie theaters to watch some recently-released films. Here’s my review of three of them.

Django Unchained

Django Unchained

Tarantino is one of my favorite directors, and I believe he’s one of few that consistently releases great movies and isn’t bound by typical Hollywood conventions. Django Unchained, which follows a freed slave who becomes a bounty hunter in search of his wife, is the epitome of a Tarantino film. It’s set two years before the Civil War and is a spaghetti western, revenge flick, and blaxploitation film, all rolled into one.

Even though the film runs nearly 3 hours long, the movie has enough witty dialogue, action, and humor to keep audiences entertained the entire time. The acting is impeccable. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson do an amazing job in their respective roles. Waltz’s bounty hunter character dominates the first half of the movie, with Foxx becoming quite a force in the second. Leo has a standout performance as the bad guy plantation owner (including a scene where he’s actually bleeding). Samuel L. Jackson is his usual self, and my only disappointment is that he’s the bad guy this time around.

And that’s why I love Tarantino films. You’re guaranteed a wild ride, unparalleled acting, snappy dialogue, and most important an interesting story. Looks like he’s still got it

Les Miserables

Les Miserables

There are a few things to keep in mind before you watch this movie. First, it’s a musical, so there will definitely be singing – lots of singing. Second, it’s based off the beloved musical of the same name (which was based off Victor Hugo’s classic 19th century novel). And last, you might need to bring some tissues.

This movie spans several decades as we watch ex-criminal Jean Valjean become a well-respected factory owner in the backdrop of post-revolution France, promising to care for a worker’s daughter while trying to avoid guard Javert because he broke parole. The actors and actresses were filmed singing in real-time, which added to the natural feel of the movie, and Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe could sing – surprisingly well!

Some people have complained about the extensive close-ups of characters during solo performances, and while I agree it’s a bit overdone, I actually liked it and thought it set the movie apart from the musical. I think if people approached the movie as they would a musical, they’d be able to fully enjoy the experience. Sure, it’s over-the-top, dramatic, and a bit long, but isn’t that what a musical is about? Add in some stellar performances and I’d say this is well worth the time to watch.

Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher

I wasn’t expecting too much out of this movie, because I knew pretty much nothing about the plot or context. At first glance, it seemed like a very typical action movie, with an A-list star and predictable storyline. I’m glad I was wrong – Jack Reacher was an enjoyable thriller with a solid story centered around a conspiracy.

A man is accused of murdering five people, and all evidence points to his guilt. Jack Reacher, a former Army Military Police Investigator, is called in by the defense attorney to investigate the case. Pretty soon, it’s apparent that things don’t add up, and Jack must get to the truth before he is eliminated as well.

Tom Cruise is a fellow ISTP (along with Clint Eastwood), and I know he must’ve had a kid-in-the-candy-shop kind of feeling while developing his character. Everything about Jack Reacher screams prototypical ISTP, from the lone-ranger vibe to the snappy one-liners to the affinity for action and getting things done. I could definitely see some parallels to Eastwood’s character in Dirty Harry, and all in all, I enjoyed the plot development and was impressed with the movie – great pacing, alluring story, and fun action scenes.

I’d definitely recommend all three movies for your viewing enjoyment!

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