Currently browsing the "Christoph Waltz" tag.

Review: Downsizing

Downsizing starts with a fun premise: What if you could make humans really small so our impact on the earth is also really small? It’s a great jumping off point for a silly comedy, but what makes Alexander Payne’s (Nebraska, Sideways) new film Downsizing work is that it winds up being more than that. Matt Damon stars as everyman Paul Safranek who’s convinced that he and his wife (Kristen Wiig) can have a better life as tiny people. More money, a bigger house, more leisure, (and yeah, save the planet.) But after he’s already downsized, she backs out and he’s left all alone in tiny town. Fortunately for the audience, he soon meets two new friends: the irrepressible Dusan (Christop Waltz, Inglourious Basterds), his upstairs neighbor and man of multiple schemes, and Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau Treme, Inherent Vice), a former Vietnamese dissident and now Dusan’s one-legged housekeeper who drags Paul into a more interesting life. Not that Matt Damon isn’t good, it’s just that these two steal the show.

Spectre

Spectre is classic Bond. It’s got all the stuff you’ve come to expect from a 007 movie: the babes, the bad guys, the gadgets, the cool cars, the exotic locales, the fist fights, the gun fights and things that go boom, and of course, the martinis – shaken, not stirred. There’s a certain comfort in the familiarity, but also a bit of boredom in what’s come to be a ‘standard’ two-and-a-half-hour running time.

Django Unchained

I am not a huge Tarantino fan. I was when he started out with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but then he went through a phase that I can only call his “look at me, ma! I’m a Hollywood director” period, where he got funding to make whatever was in his adolescent head. Then came the critically acclaimed Inglourious Basterds, and I swore I’d never go to another of his films, ever! But, something inexplicably drew me to see his latest, Django Unchained, and I can only say, I forgive you Quentin. It turns out to be a very entertaining mix of Mel Brooks, Sergio Leone, and Gordon Parks, with a lot of gore (and the controversially prodigious use of “the N word.”)

Inglourious Basterds

Where to start with this one? Quentin Tarantino has basically taken every spaghetti western cliché he can think of mixed it into a Nazi war movie and patched it together with a movie soundtrack that takes you back to all those big epic movies. Too bad he forgot to make any characters you actually care about. If he was paying homage or just being derivative of spaghetti westerns or war epics, he must have missed the part where they (the inglorourious basterds of the title) are the good guys, where they have a code that puts them above the bad guys (Nazis) and where the characters, though flawed, have distinct personalities.