Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) star-full1.jpgstar-full1.jpgstar-no1.jpgstar-no1.jpgstar-no1.jpg

For some reason or another, we’ve had a recent infatuation with taking children’s fairy tales and giving them more of an adult spin. There have been two movies about Snow White, there are TV shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time, and now we have this interpretation of what happened to Hansel and Gretel after they escaped from the delicious candy house of a wicked witch: they become witch hunters.

The concept certainly holds some supernatural promise, as we love hunting vampires, werewolves, zombies and now witches. It helps that there is a certain air of familiarity with the story, since most of us know about Hansel and Gretel. We get a little dose of Steampunk-like weaponry and the variety of witches our brave duo encounter can be pretty fun (shown above is apparently a pair of conjoined twin witches), but the execution ultimately falls flat. What are meant to be shocking plot twists are really quite predictable, since they offer more than a few clues along the way of what will be revealed later on. The fight scenes have some enjoyment, but the gore ends up being funnier than it is gut-wretchingly gruesome. And I’m pretty sure they don’t mean it to be funny.

This movie sadly lacks intrigue, it lacks wit, and it lacks any sort of serious development that would allow me to take it seriously. Hawkeye and Jean Grey are better utilized elsewhere, as Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters just ends up being a bloody mess.

Django Unchained (2012)

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If you’re looking for a movie that is politically correct, you’d be best advised to steer clear away from Django Unchained. If you’re a fan of previous Quentin Tarantino outings, however, you’ll feel right at home here, set a couple years before the American Civil War, surrounded by slavery, cowboys, and bounty hunters.

Jamie Foxx plays the titular Django, a slave who is purchased by German-born bounty hunter Dr. Schultz, played brilliantly by Christoph Waltz. You might remember him from Inglorious Basterds, also playing a German. Django is “recruited” to help Schultz with a particular bounty, but they become friends and set off on a mission to save Django’s wife from Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. You get the kind of brutal violence and uncensored dialogue that you’ve come to expect from Tarantino and it’s all done in an over-the-top and self-indulgent manner. But that’s why we like his movies.

The movie does run longer than it probably should, there are certain plot elements that don’t make much sense, but I found Django to be a thoroughly enjoyable romp through a brutal yet somehow hilarious period in American history. Even though the focus is on Jamie Foxx, I found that Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson (the latter of whom plays an unfiltered, white-loyal slave to Candie) stole the show. There are some great one-liners from Jackson’s character, but they’re far from appropriate for this blog.