“Django Unchained,” which recently won two Oscars — for best supporting actor (Christoph Waltz) and original screenplay (Quentin Tarantino) — comes out on DVD Tuesday. Star ratings are by Seattle Times movie reviewers, freelancers or wire services. For full reviews, search the movie title at seattletimes.com. Release dates are subject to change.
“Django Unchained” (R): Even as Quentin Tarantino liberally peppers the dialogue in his film with racial epithets, the director doesn’t shrink from the inhumane realities of life for enslaved people in 19th-century America: One of the film’s first shots captures the horrifically scarred backs of several men as they’re force-marched through the Texas countryside in chains. That’s where the title character (Jamie Foxx) meets an itinerant dentist named Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who turns out to be a bounty hunter on a job. Django assures Schultz that he can identify the three men Schultz is looking for and agrees to help him if Schultz will, in turn, help him find his wife, Broomhilda.
Fully kitted out in low-crowned hat, holster and menacing slouch, Django comes to resemble Nat Turner by way of Clint Eastwood, an archetypal vigilante radically redefined across the ages.
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For viewers who already share Tarantino’s love of genre, “Django Unchained” is enormously satisfying. But colorful characters and performances can mask thinly schematic underpinnings for only so long. Eventually Tarantino resorts to his usual fallback position, which is to bathe everything and everyone in sight in gunfire, gore and geysers of blood.
“Empire of Silver” (not rated; for mature audiences): Christine Yao’s multigenerational drama follows a banking family’s gradual loss of control in China.
“Summer Wars” (PG): Mamoru Hosoda’s anime feature tells the tale of a math-genius teenager and the runaway power of the Internet. No star rating provided.
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