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>> THE POPULAR BROADWAY MUSICAL MAKES A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO FILM page 2
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 Don't worry, sweetheart. One day, you too will have a mighty shock of bird-nest hairdo.
Universal Pictures
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Date published: 1/3/2013

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The problem, even in other recent films like "Inglourious Basterds," is that the filmmaker gets hung up on one character or a contentious scene while the thread of the narrative completely unravels.

The story here is certainly a unique one: A German bounty hunter seeks out, buys and then partners with Django, a slave who can help him identify several men he's hunting for a bounty.

Waltz is briefly interesting as the bounty hunter, and Jamie Foxx is interesting as Django, who pretty quickly warms up to the idea of getting money for killing white men who have tortured slaves.

Things move fairly smoothly and interestingly through this part of the film.

It's only after the pair head to Mississippi to find and buy Django's wife that the film turns both brutally violent and aimlessly dull.

Some may find footage of dogs eating a slave alive entertaining, but not this reviewer.

Likewise, scenes where the two bounty hunters use a bait-and-switch tactic to buy the enslaved wife are talky and static to the point of distraction.

Leonardo DiCaprio is part of the problem, acting more silly than serious in the role of the plantation owner who also trades in slaves for brutal fights to the death.

It's all for show and goes oh-so-slow for the last 45 minutes, or at least until heads, torsos and kneecaps begin to explode in spurts and splashes of blood in the foolishness that becomes the climactic action scenes.

Also off-putting: the number of times the filmmaker uses nasty names and sentiment towards the slaves.

Yes, we get it, this is so we all pull for Django's revenge at the end.

But it's so overdone and there's such an absurd amount of blood that many will just want to head for the exits, as any semblance of a serious or even campy film are completely abandoned.

Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity. 141 min. [RA, RF]

"PARENTAL GUIDANCE" (PG)

HH

BILLY CRYSTAL, BETTE MIDLER, MARISA TOMEI, TOM EVERETT SCOTT

Those who enjoy Billy Crystal humor, this reviewer included, will find chuckle-worthy moments sprinkled throughout this tale of grandparent confusion.

But this comedy about the generation gap is about as formulaic as it comes, with the clueless grandparents baffled by how to care for youngsters they seldom see.

Crystal and Bette Midler have some fun as the grandparents suddenly called into service as babysitters for an odd threesome of grandchildren.

But many will tire of the way the old-school grandparents have trouble understanding the negotiate-everything approach to child-raising.

Crystal is still as good as anyone at tossing off punch lines or the occasional impersonation.

But this is pretty slow going here, even though he eventually does find a way to connect.

A more creative script would have done wonders.

Rated PG for suggestive and sexual material, violence, thematic elements. 105 min. [PV, RA]


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HOW WE RATE 'EM

H Don't waste your time.

HH Nothing special

HHH You'll be sorry if you miss it.

HHHH A must-see