“Django Unchained”: Jamie Foxx plays a slave turned bounty hunter who works to rescue his wife from the clutches of a vicious plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). “Django” was my favorite movie of last year and 2012 was a year that saw new excellent works from Kathryn Bigelow, Leos Carax, and Michael Haneke. Now that irritating marketing barrage of Oscar season is over, it’s the perfect time to give Quentin Tarantino’s latest another look. Yes, it’s incredibly violent. Yes, it unapologetically uses the antebellum South as set dressing for a ripping pulp yarn. Yes, on paper the Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz) role is more fleshed out but it was written specifically for Waltz whereas Django wasn’t written for anyone in particular and it’s the lead so by definition it has to have less texture than the supporting characters. On a technical level alone, it’s a master filmmaker’s best film to date. Also starring Kerry Washington, Walton Goggins and Samuel L. Jackson.
Special feature: A digital copy of the film, three featurettes and ads for the soundtrack album and the Tarantino Blu-ray collection.
“The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia”: Less a sequel more a spin-off of the financial successful “Haunting in Connecticut” film where in a family is menaced by a ghost after moving into a new home that was once the setting for a regional tragedy. Why the series isn’t just called “A Haunting Ellipsis Location,” I have no idea. I just know that the first film in the series was mighty bad and that it’s geographically relocated franchise expansion probably won’t be any good either. How funny is it that the two films that dealing with the specter of American slavery released last year would come out on home video on the same day? Starring Katee Sackoff, Abigail Spencer and Chad Michael Murray.
Special features: A digital copy of the film, deleted scenes, outtakes, one featurettes and commentary with director/editor Tom Elkins, writer David Coggeshall, and co-producer Brad Kessell.
“Save the Date”: Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie star as two young women who try to navigate their tumultuous romantic lives. While that premise has become increasingly groan worthy with the rise and calcification of Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham, this film written by graphic novelist Jeffrey Brown and directed Michael Mohan is pleasingly lacking in narcissism and privileged insularity. If you’ve ever been with someone who’s more into you then you are into them or vice versa, then you should give this a watch. Afterwards, you get a free soaking in all of your regrets. It’s not healthy but it is natural. Also starring Martin Starr, Mark Webber and Geoffrey Arend.
Special features: Making of, mini-comic and trailer.
Mario McKellop has written about film on Examiner for the last three years and can be reached directly at email@example.com