Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson
Director: Quentin Tarantino (Cert 18, 165 minutes)
The plot: Quentin Tarantino has already offered his highly individual twist on the heist movie, martial-arts actioner and WW2 picture – now he brings his brand of ingenious mayhem to the Hollywood western. Bounty hunter Dr Schultz (Inglourious Basterds Oscar-winner Waltz) teams up with sharp-shooting slave Django (Foxx), taking on pointy-hooded racists on the eve of the American Civil War. But in their mission to free Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), they meet their match in ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), and especially the latter’s loyal house slave Stephen (Jackson). There will be blood…
What’s right with it? A verbally dextrous Waltz and hissable DiCaprio and Jackson entertainingly go off at the deep end, exploiting Tarantino’s audacious screenplay to make powerful points about the decadent evil that results when humans become treated as private property. It all builds up to an explosive finale that raises the bar for the western shootout.
What’s wrong with it? Despite a solid central performance from Foxx, and the dignified romantic quest that drives the narrative, the relationship with damsel-in-distress Broomhilda isn’t powerful enough to give the film the wholly human dimension that could have deepened emotions. More than 100 uses of the N-word has caused outrage in certain quarters.
Verdict: Two decades after Reservoir Dogs, who would have guessed that Quentin Tarantino would be placing his facility with blood and bullets at the service of such moral catharsis, exacting revenge first on German Nazis (Inglourious Basterds) and now American racists. History has surely never been so entert
Voices: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi
Director: Pete Docter (CERT U, 91 minutes)
The plot: Monsters come out of the closet in this 2001 animated favourite, but only so the screams they generate from terrified tots can keep the lights burning in their home world of Monstropolis. After one curious infant wanders into their domain, though, all hell breaks loose.
What’s right with it? Goodman’s furball ogre and Crystal’s eye with legs make a great comic partnership in a welcome reissue that can only whet your appetite for upcoming Pixar prequel Monsters University.
What’s wrong with it? The 3D adds scale and drama to the action sequences, but otherwise it’s rather unnecessary.
Verdict: Any excuse to reacquaint ourselves with Mike Wazowski and James “Sulley” Sullivan is fine with us. 4/5 NEIL SMITH
Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H Macy
Director: Ben Lewin(CERT 15, 93 minutes)
The plot: The true story of how Mark O’Brien (Hawkes), a journalist and poet with polio in his late thirties, employed a sex therapist (Hunt) to help him lose his virginity.
What’s right with it? It might sound grim and earnest, but the way this film dramatises the matter of disability and sex is entirely refreshing and honest, and frequently bracingly funny. Hawkes is massively likeable and engaging, while Hunt, rightly nominated for an Oscar, gets her best role since As Good As It Gets and boldly gets very naked.
What’s wrong with it? It sometimes feels a tad too insistent in its laudable attempt to be uplifting and positive.
Verdict: This US indie grapples with a difficult subject in a highly impressive manner. 4/5 @BoydHilton