Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Movie Night: Life of Pi and Django Unchained

Our movie nights are not at the cinema but at home and involve the whole family and usually 5 or 6 films (these are movie marathons and often continue the next day). Of course that means we don't get to see newly released films but have to wait until they come out on DVD and are often the last people to see recent releases but we can live with that. We don't go to the movies very often (the last one was The Hobbit) for several reasons -

1, cost - for all 5 of us to go to the movies and get popcorn and drinks we have to spend around $100, that just doesn't add up for a couple of hours entertainment.

2, we are big fans of films and food, preferably together and the theatre managers aren't too keen on patrons bringing their dinner in with them.

3, along with films and food we also like plenty of fizzy drinks and the cinemas don't pause the film for toilet breaks.

4, while we all tend to go for similar film genres (horror, gore, action, comedy) as a family we make sure there is something for everyone in our selections, finding one film at the pictures that suits all ages and tastes is rare.

5, we make a family event out of visiting the DVD store, deciding the viewing order, organising the snacks, arranging cushions and blankets and the seating plan (dad always gets his favourite spot) thereby providing hours of family fun, especially useful during long winter weekends.

6, we don't have to put up with the noise and mess of strangers - quite frankly we make quite enough on our own and don't need any more of either.

7, when the going rough, tough and inappropriate we have the option to stop the movie and put the offenders to bed.

8, when the more mature audience can't keep awake any longer we can head for bed and pick up where we left off the next day.

9, just the hint of a movie night works magic by increasing the obedience in children for several hours preceding the festivities.

10, you can stretch out on the couch and cuddle the cat while watching.

Our most recent movie night involved only four of us as the youngest was away for the night which was the perfect opportunity to watch a couple of movies that we had been itching to see but were too long and unsuitable for the little one (we don't mean inappropriate with regards content as pretty much anything goes in our house but inappropriate meaning the little one would get bored and start annoying everyone else then have to be put to bed early making it not much fun for anyone). There were only two movies as they were both longer than most films and it wasn't an official family movie night. If you have seen The Life of Pi and/or Django Unchained feel free to skip the opinions below but if you haven't then the following should let you know if you are keen to give them a go. I promise no spoilers and no detailed plot synopsis - I hate it when you read a review and feel like you have already seen the film so I won't do it to you.


The Life of Pi

Remember when this film was released at the cinemas? The hype was huge which always feels like setting yourself up for disappointment when you finally get to see it. I had no real idea what the film was about prior to watching it (I had been told but had to ditch the memory to make room for more pressing bits of information such as shopping lists and school events) so I had no preconceived notions before watching the film and was prepared to be either blown away by it's brilliance or bewildered that the film had generated so much hype - it could have gone either way.

The very brief plotline is an Indian family are travelling by ship with the remaining animals from their zoo when the ship goes down with a handful of survivors and results in an unusual tale of a fight for survival across the Pacific Ocean.

We all really enjoyed this film told in flashback style with a very small number of characters which is a bonus for some of our family members who get a little lost with a large cast. The film was long (120 minutes) but not unnecessarily so as the length was needed to tell the story and no one got restless.

If you haven't yet seen the film and want something different from the usual sex and violence (why that would be I can't think but sometimes a change is good for the soul) then this is a goodie, highly recommended.

Django Unchained

Praise be to the God of film making Quentin Tarantino - he has yet again created a cinematic masterpiece. An even longer film (180 minutes) about a challenging subject - slavery in America but the story goes far beyond that. At the heart of this film is a love story ( I'm not a fan of love stories, the cynic in me finds them on the whole completely unbelievable and trite, sad but true) which somehow manages to portray the deep love and commitment of a marriage with the two romantic leads in only a few scenes together which is an amazing feat. There is a lot more going on of course but I promised no spoilers and I will leave the plot description there so as to leave it for you to uncover the whole story if you decide to watch it.

What I can't leave out however is the awesome acting. Leonardo DiCaprio is as usual immaculate and still unbelievably attractive whilst playing a hideous character (when is this man not fantastic?). Jamie Foxx was new to me but I am now a lifelong fan, love him, love him, love him! Not everyone can pull off one of his costumes and still look ubercool. Likewise Christoph Waltz who I haven't seen before, sublime performance, hopefully we will see more of him but I can't imagine how he will top playing this dream role which won him an Oscar. Samuel L Jackson has long been a favourite of mine (isn't he everyone's?) and in Django he is alternately screamingly funny (literally we screamed with laughter) and intensely vile, amazing work yet again.

Django was a delight to watch although there were some scenes which were hard to take but that is the nature of the subject matter. I have never laughed so hard at the KKK, if you are going to take the piss out of a group of people then at least make it entirely guilt free and laugh away - it is a glorious episode of the film and well worth watching for that alone.

I could go on and on about the gems in Django but really you need to see it for yourself if you haven't already. This one is in my top 10 films of all time, just thinking about it makes me want to see it again. If you do decide to give it a whirl don't get all uptight about historical detail, as they say in the special features 'never let authenticity get in the way of a good story' - amen to that! 

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