The Conversation: What Are People Saying About the 'Django Unchained, 'The Master' and 'The Silver Lining Playbook' Footage?

The Conversation: What Are People Saying About the 'Django Unchained, 'The Master' and 'The Silver Lining Playbook' Footage?

May 22, 2012

Yesterday a select group of critics at Cannes were treated to a special presentation of footage by The Weinstein Co. Three of their most anticipated titles were previewed, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master and David O. Russell's The Silver Linings Playbook. While reception of the last of those films was spotty, it seems the problem of it being underwhelming was merely the fault of its being placed next to more obviously excitable presentations. As for the PTA film, much of the buzz out of France is less important given that we all got a tiny taste of The Master via teaser trailer earlier in the day.

You can find full, spoiler-ish descriptions of the scenes shown by Harvey Weinstein, who introduced the slate as "some of the best films we have ever been associated with, if not the best," by clicking on almost any of the links below. But you're welcome to wait. The consensus is that if you're a fan of the directors' best works, you'll probably like their latest offerings as well. I'm in the boat with all three so I'm looking forward to a great end of 2012. 


Who are people saying about the Weinstein's fall 2012 slate based on preview footage? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:

Django Unchained

The big surprise? How funny this potentially controversial Western has turned out to be. In particular, Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be having the time of his life dropping N-bombs and smiling rotted teeth as plantation owner Calvin Candie - Kyle Buchanan, Vulture

This thing just looks like a ton of fun and while I was already excited for the movie I’m now officially giddy. All the location work makes the film look huge, Foxx is at the top of his game it appears, Waltz is loveable, funny and dangerous all at once and it just feels like everybody is having a blast. - Eric Vespe, Ain't It Cool News

It was so confident, so alive, and so very, very funny in execution that I have to believe Quentin's on his way to another monster hit here.  The cinematography by Robert Richardson looks great.  The production design is lush and period-accurate.  The soundtrack choices were great.  And Christoph Waltz appears to be well on his way to his second major awards season in LA next year. - Drew McWeeny, Hit Fix

Looks so badass [...] Funny, but brilliant. - Alex Billington, First Showing

It’s bloody, it’s hilarious, and possibly destined to become a definitive entry to the Spaghetti Western genre. What more could you ask for? - Jake Howell, Movie City News

The film looks absolutely stunning and exactly what you would expect a spaghetti western would feel like under the direction of Tarantino. His trademark razor-sharp witty dialogue and precise visual gags left the somewhat conservative crowd of critics laughing out loud. Gorgeous vista landscapes contrast a gritty Roots-style aesthetic that will undoubtedly please fans of the firecracker director. - Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

What the footage reveals is that for the moment, while Tarantino has described the film as a "southern," Weinstein Co. is selling this as a bang-up western, packed with physical comedy and bloody action and hell-bent revenge. And yes, it looks like a classic widescreen Sergio Leone western, even if the setting is New Orleans and Mississippi two years before the Civil War. - Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood

Essentially just what you'd expect from Tarantino in terms of visuals, dialogue and production design. To me it looked like Tarantino was making a western in the same way he made Kill Bill a samurai film [...] it's hard to get people in to see Westerns, but with Tarantino's approach to the material, which is to more-or-less rip-off and modernize everything he loves about classic films, I think this is going to bring the people into the theater in droves and it won't be without its share of controversy. - Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

An audience film in spades. Can't miss. Big money in all markets, thumbs-up reviews, the whole shot. - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

The footage looks good – of course it would – but it's impossible to tell what the movie is going to be like. It could be brilliant, like Kill Bill, or underwhelming like Inglourious Basterds. - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

The sneak peek played out like a blaxploitation Inglourious Basterds: violent, swaggering and massively entertaining. - Nick de Semlyen, Empire

An Inglourious Basterds kind of thing only with a former black slave fighting back against racist scumbags instead of Nazi hunters killing Nazis but it’s the same kind of violence porn that makes you feel some satisfaction for evil being done to people who deserve it. [...] As usual, Tarantino cuts through the fog of textbook history and presents a truth of his own making, utilizing the style of spaghetti westerns. - Sasha Stone, Awards Daily

If it feels a bit like “Inglourious Basterds” set in the prewar South – who cares? There’s something unnaturally thrilling about watching a slave-driver get blown away by a freed slave, his ankles still raw from his chains. - Sharon Waxman, The Wrap

For better or worse, it's pure Tarantino through and through. Longtime fans of the director are going to be thrilled, and for anyone hoping he's changed his visual approach, or swapped out his longstanding influences for something different, they might be advised to skip this one entirely, even though it will be their loss. [...] Waltz once again looks be having a ball chewing on Tarantino's oversized character, even if its slightly too similar in feel to his turn in "Inglourious Basterds." Meanwhile, Foxx plays the badass card and comes back a winner -- anyone doubting he could pull this off will be in for a pleasant surprise. - Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

The Master

The performances look excellent. If this film is as good as this trailer leads me to believe it will be, we may be talking about three Oscar nominations for acting alone. - Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

If you’re looking for your possible acting nods, you have three potential candidates right there. I like it that it flies in the face of recent Academy tradition of safe, sappy fare. It throws down gasoline and lights it on fire. Phoenix completely out of his mind jerking off on the beach with people nearby. And there will be blood, sex, sweat and tears. Anderson is a ferocious, creative mind at work — this is a deepening for him, not a detour. - Sasha Stone, Awards Daily

The whole vibe of the footage made a bit anxious. Between Jonny Greenwood’s ticking-clock score, the shot compositions (lots of close ups), the length of the camera moves, the slightly disconnected look in Phoenix’s eye and the juxtaposition of image the footage both impressed me and put me on edge, which I’m sure is exactly what Anderson hoped to do. In other words, very impressive… and again… very Kubrickian. Maybe it was the period and armed forces setting or the long dolly shots, but it really did feel a bit like Full Metal Jacket in terms of the filmmaking angle. - Eric Vespe, Ain't It Cool News

It’s safe to say the mood Anderson is going for is something like nostalgic cinema flavored with frenetic, character-driven performances from the all-star cast. - Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

It looks ambitious and exciting, though no frogs appear to fall. -Sharon Waxman, The Wrap

Looks actually very good - a 2012 film with a 90s film aesthetic (watch American Beauty and you will understand) - Jake Howell, @Jake_Howell

The sound was too loud. I couldn't hear half the things that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was saying. - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere


The Silver Linings Playbook

Proof positive that [Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence] bring good things out of each other: The actors, who are so charmingly self-deprecating as themselves on talk shows, come at each other with a spiky, loopy heat. - Kyle Buchanan, Vulture

They both look like they're going to rip it up.  I like seeing Cooper in this kind of a role, and Jennifer Lawrence couldn't be any more appealing if she tried. - Drew McWeeny, Hit Fix

Lawrence stole the trailer but there were some good lines delivered all around. - Ryland Aldrich, Twitch

It looks like Cooper’s most challenging screen role to date. - Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood


I wasn't moved to any great degree, though it looks very well made. I have a feeling it will be a good movie, but when it's sandwiched in-between a pair of rather unique features it seems little been-there-done-that. - Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

The trailer evoked the feel of Russell's "Flirting With Disaster," with a similar quirky-family vibe [...] In short, it was decent, but not distinct. - Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

The film seems to be a return to his I Heart Huckabees quirkiness. - Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

From the looks of it, it will also be pretty goddamned great — more Flirting with Disaster than The Fighter. - Sasha Stone, Awards Daily

It feels edgy and crackling and push-pushy and what-the-f*cky. - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere




Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.


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