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Django Unchained

Quintessential Tarantino

Don’t ask how I got it, but I just finished reading the screenplay of Quentin Tarantino’s up coming movie “Django Unchained.” I’ve heard people almost hurt themselves trying to pronounce it, so just be aware that the “D” is silent and you’ll be fine. If you have ever day dreamed about going back in time and personally altering history you’ll completely understand where Tarantino is coming from in this story. Much along the lines of “Inglorious Bastards” he takes a dark issue from the past and writes a revenge tale where we get to enjoy watching the bad guy’s suffer humiliation and utter destruction. I’ve got to say from the start that I have mixed thoughts on Tarantino’s various projects, but in the end I do concede the fact that he has a way of writing and telling a story that I really admire. I think he probably needs therapy, but he defiantly has a talent for spinning yarns and doing it outside the proverbial box.

Tarantino-esque

Django is a story based in the Southern States during the height of slavery.  He tackles the heinous issues of the time in a way only Tarantino does… head on and as in your face as possible!  By doing so he has carte blanch to deal with the bad guys by any means his troubled mind can come up with, while we bask in the voyeuristic revenge and blood lust.  Jamie Foxx plays Django, who was separated from his wife Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington at a slave auction.  A bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz played by Christoph Waltz ends up purchasing Django to identify some wanted men he was searching for to collect a large bounty.  Repulsed by the idea of slavery, Dr. Schultz offers him a cut of the reward for helping in collecting the bounty and Django’s freedom.  Django shows that he has a propensity to hunt bad guys and you can guess the rest… they team up and Dr. King teaches Django the way of the force, how to use a light saber to kill slack-jawed crackers on his journey to finding and freeing his wife from the clutches of Calvin Candie played by non other than Leonardo DiCaprio… and then blow up the Death Star (I’m not kidding).  If you like Tarantino, Django Unchained is quintessential Tarantino and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The screenplay was a pretty engaging read and the images I’ve seen of it look pretty good (except for that fake official trailer on YouTube, please don’t fall for that one). If you like Tarantino’s style and story telling, you should be looking forward to this movie. As of the date of this article, principle photography isn’t finished yet but the movie is due out this December.

Written by Shane Kester

 

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The Kings Speech – Directed by Tom Hooper

The King’s Speech at BFI London Film Festival 2010

Colin Firth & Helena Bonham Carter

This year at the BFI London Film Festival, one of my favorite films was The King’s Speech. It’s the story of King George VI (Colin Firth) and his reluctant rise to become the King of England after his brother King Edward the VIII (Guy Pearce) abdicates the thrown to marry the twice divorced Wallis Simpson . It’s a great story of an unlikely and hesitant hero who suffers with a debilitating stammer.

Seeking the help of an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) endeavors to help the then Prince of York with his ever increasing responsibilities of delivering live speeches over the radio. Colin Firth delivers an extremely convincing performance with stammers and pregnant pauses during his public and radio speeches that come across as genuinely painful to watch. His loving and supportive wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) stands by his side with encouragement as the looming pressure of becoming King and the need to vocally address his people only exacerbate the stammering problem. The charming relationship of Lionel and Bertie (Lionel Longue and King George) is a fascinating development as Lionel insists upon a very familiar and equal relationship in order for his therapy to work.

The film poignantly points out the contrast of the overwhelming difficulty for the King of England to speak and the overpowering oration skills of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. In one scene the royal family is watching a news real of Hitler giving a very impassioned and dynamic speech as only Adolf Hitler could do, and the King’s daughter asks her father what he is saying. King George enviously replies, “I don’t know, but he seems to be saying it rather well.”

I’m sure his friend who took this picture of us was NOT his cinematographer. He would have made sure it was in focus.

Director Tom Hooper & Writer David Seidler

Director Tom Hooper was at the BFI London Film Festival to talk about the film and mentioned that King George VI was writer David Seidler’s hero and inspiration as a child because he used to listen to the King on the radio during WWII reassuring himself that if the King of England could cope with a stammer so could he. Eventually Seidler set out to write about King George VI and found that Lionel Logue’s son had his diary but would not hand it over without permission from the palace. To his delight the Queen Mother replied giving him permission but asked if he would not release anything in her life time because the memory was still so painful. David Seidler kept his word and in 2005 began writing a screen play that turned into a stage play and finally back into a screen play. This was a truly delightful film to watch, supported by a powerful cast and for many people this film will be like an enjoyable course in English History for Dummies as the history and drama of King George’s brother abdicating the thrown and Adolf Hitler threatening to plunge Europe into a Second World War unfold in a very personal story of struggle.

 

 

I shot some really interesting footage of Director Tom Hooper talking about how the story came about.YouTube Preview Image
Director Tom Hooper also talks about working with the actors.YouTube Preview Image 
Check out the movie trailer.YouTube Preview Image