Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Silver Unchained

I've been sneaking off to the movies on Tuesdays, because it's $5 all day at my local theater. With the Oscar noms out, I've put those films at the top of my watch list. Last week, I saw Silver Linings Playbook and yesterday, Django Unchained.

I don't have to tell you they're very different movies. Silver is a very dark romantic comedy, while Django, well, it's pure Tarantino.

In Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper plays a bipolar man whose mother, played by Jacki Weaver, gets him released early from the mental facility the court sent him to after he attacked his wife's lover. He has to live with his parents, but his obsession about getting back with his estranged wife has him seeking out contact with her in every way possible. When he agrees to have dinner with an old friend whose wife is still in contact with her, Cooper ends up meeting Jennifer Lawrence, the wife's black sheep younger sister.

There's the romance.

The humor is dark, but the characters scream normal. Real. Both leads are broken individuals, though Lawrence has my favorite line in the whole movie: "There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself." She's unapologetically screwed up, and she pretty much dares Cooper to take it or leave it. Their romance isn't about fixing each other. It's about accepting each other for all their flaws.

All four principals were nominated for Oscars. Cooper doesn't stand a chance. Daniel Day-Lewis has Best Actor sewn up this year. Jacki Weaver isn't bad, but she just got caught up in the rush that surrounded the movie's nominations. Jennifer Lawrence is very good, and considering how she's cleaning up on most of the pre-Oscar awards, she could very well win (if she doesn't, it'll go to Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty). Robert DeNiro is very good, and if he won, I wouldn't mind, but..., do I want Christoph Waltz to win for Django Unchained.

He plays a German ex-dentist now bounty hunter who buys Jamie Foxx's freedom because Foxx will recognize a trio of brothers who have heavy bounties on their heads. They team up, and when Django (Foxx) shows an affinity for the trade, Waltz offers him a partnership. All Django wants is to find his wife who was sold off after they were caught running away. The two strike up a deal and the movie charges forth in typical Tarantino fashion.

Waltz's character is genteel, erudite, and clever, but what I love--man, do I love it--is how beneath this seemingly temperate exterior breathes a man ready to explode. It's a mesmerizing performance, both over the top as Tarantino characters are and still utterly believable.

Most performances are much the same, and as violent and too-long as the movie is, I preferred it to Silver. I don't think either will win Best Picture, but it would be nice to see an acting award go to each. And if they both managed to pick up a writing award (Silver for Adapted, Django for Original), well, I wouldn't complain.


Elf2060 said...

I am not one of those who appreciates Tarantino's movies, just too much violence for me. I tend not to go to the movies much...not just because of the sticker shock but because I get grumpy when people start talking and/or kicking my seat. We like to wait until things come out on DVD and check them out of the library or rent them...that way we can put the subtitles on and not spend half the time wondering what somebody just said, lol.