Posts Tagged ‘Franco Nero’


Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies,  “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE LOST CITY OF Z: 2 ½ STARS. “imagine James Mason and Gregory Peck in the leads.”

“The Lost City of Z” is an epic true-to-life tale of adventure and intrigue. Based on the book of the same name by David Grann it stars Charlie Hunnam as a determined explorer who obsession with the Amazon led to his mysterious disappearance.

Hunnam, who will soon be seen playing another legendary character in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” is Colonel Percy Fawcett, a man convinced of the existence of a lost city deep in the Amazon. When he discovers pottery, evidence of an advanced civilization in the region, he is ridiculed by the scientific establishment who hang on to old-fashioned ideas about indigenous populations. “Your exploits have opened every door for you,” he’s told, “but keep your ideas to yourself. It is one thing to celebrate the people it’s another to elevate them.” At a boisterous Royal Geographical Society meeting he says, “If we can find a city where one was for not to be able to exist we could rewrite history,” only to be drowned out by dismissive chants of, “Pots and pans! Pots and pans!” from his peers.

Determined to prove his theory he returns, aide-de-camp Corporal Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) and crew at his side only to be side-tracked by James Murray (Angus Macfadyen), a fellow explorer unfit for the journey.

Fawcett doesn’t give up despite Murray’s lawsuits, family trouble, his resignation from the Royal Geographical Society and World War I.

His search for the Lost City of Z provides the subtext for the movie. As much as this is an adventure tale, it’s also the story of a man desperate to not only prove himself personally and professionally. Personally he was, as the mucky mucks say, “unwise in his choice of ancestors.” Professionally he needs to prove to his British countrymen that the forgotten South American civilization were not “savages,” but people who have tamed the jungle and created empires.

His third and final try is a stripped down affair with son Jack (Tom Holland) in tow.

Traditionally made, “The Lost City of Z” feels old fashioned, as though you could almost imagine James Mason and Gregory Peck in the leads. It takes us back to a slower time, a moment in history before there were Starbucks on evefy corner and movies had to have gotcha moments woven throughout. It throws the modern adventure movie playbook out the window. There is no timetable for the action, no crash-and-burn scene every 10 minutes, just a story of survival and class warfare.

For much of the running time that’s OK. Director James Gray takes his time laying out Fawcett’s obsession, allowing us to get under the skin of a man with much to prove. It begins to feel overlong at the hour-and-a-half mark during a scene, wedged between the second and third explorations were a psychic goes on at length about the importance of Fawcett’s work and we still have WWI and the third expedition to go! It is the movie’s “dropout moment,” the scene that loses the audience and the film never recovers.

It’s a shame because “The Lost City of Z” is a handsome movie, ripe with subtext and solid performances. It’s also self indulgent, in need of one of Fawcett’s jungle machetes to chop it down to size.


Django-Unchained-wallpapers-1920x1200-2In a movie ripe with film homages, one stands head and shoulders above the rest as the film’s best meta-moment. In Quentin Tarantino’s unhinged Spaghetti western “Django Unchained” Jamie Foxx plays the title character, a slave-turned-bounty-hunter on a search for his wife.

On his journey he encounters a slave trader played by Italian star Franco Nero. Over a drink, Nero’s character asks Django his name. “Django,” comes the reply. “D-J-A-N-G-O… the D is silent.”

“I know,” says Nero.

The sound you are hearing is the squeal of film nerds. It’s a high-pitched grunt mixed with a sudden intake of air, the gasp of a movie fanatic whose mind has just been blown.

You see Nero (whose credits reads: “With the friendly participation of Franco Nero”) originated a gun slinging character named Django in a legendary 1966 eponymously titled movie.

“Django Unchained” is heavy with references, both visual—lots of zooming cameras a la Sergio Leone—location wise—he borrowed the snow setting from The Great Silence—and even just a little bit silly—Kerry Washington’s character’s last name is Von Shaft in tribute to Richard Roundtree’s most famous character—but only King of the Film Geeks, QT, would think to have two worlds collide by presenting dueling Djangos.

Tarantino brings his unique sensibility to every frame of “Django Unchained.” It’s an uncompromising film, violent, grimly funny, and one in which the “n” word is as prevalent as any other noun. Like him or not, there is no denying that he is as true to his singular vision as any of the great filmmakers he pays homage to.

Set two years before the Civil War, the film begins with Django (Foxx) in chains, being transported deep inside the Deep South by vicious slave traders the Speck brothers (James Remar and James Russo). On a remote country road they meet Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a courtly German bounty hunter—so courtly he even has a horse named Fritz who bows— who has been tracking Django. There’s no reward for the slave; what he has is more interesting to Schultz—information.

The bounty hunter is looking to hunt down and kill a ruthless band of killers called the Brittle Brothers. Trouble is, he doesn’t know what they look like, but Django, who was beaten by them and whose wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), was taken by them, does. They forge a deal. In return for his help Django will earn his freedom and Shultz will help find and rescue Broomhilda.

Django agrees to go into business with Shultz—“Kill white folks and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”—which leads them to Candie-Land, the plantation of the charming but vicious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Despite the name, there’s nothing sweet about him or the place.

Tarantino is one of the handful of over-the-title directors who name is as big a draw as the story or actors. Even though there are big stars here like DiCaprio and Foxx, “Django Unchained” is first and foremost a Tarantino movie, with all that implies.

His trademarked anachronistic soundtrack—mixing 60s pop with religious music and rap—butts heads with violent but beautiful flourishes—like blood splattered cotton blossoms—in a movie that blends Spaghetti westerns with German fairy tales, revenge flicks and Hollywood history.

It a high wire act, tackling issues of the US’s relationship with slavery, racism and the exploitation of women with equal parts earnestness, style, violence and humor.

As satire a scene involving hooded white supremacists arguing over the placement of the eyeholes on their homemade cowls–“I can’t see **** out of this thing!”—is a pure Tarantino moment—acerbic, ridiculous and fearless.

The flamboyant filmmaking seems to have freed the actors.

Waltz and DiCaprio have the showiest roles. Waltz is a bounty hunter with a conscience—he doesn’t want to take advantage of Django’s status as a slave, but “for the time being I’m going to make this slavery malarkey work for me,” he says. “Still, I feel bad.”—a former dentist who “kills people and sells their corpses for cash,” which is in direct opposition to the slave traders—who buys and sell live people—he hunts and kills.

DiCaprio’s rotten tooth grin belies how much fun he’s having playing a Southern gentleman who is anything but.

Foxx is more stoic, a coiled spring eager for revenge on the people who have done him and his wife wrong. The role isn’t without humor, however. Just check out the suit Django chooses when he is allowed to pick out his clothes for the firs time ever in his life.

“Django Unchained” is bloodier than you’ll expect—with a shootout as violently gratuitous as any gun battle ever filmed—and funnier than you think it is going to be. It’s a message movie and a pulpy crowd pleaser. In other words, it’s a Tarantino film.