Django Unchained (****1/2)
Christoph Waltz is boss*
Life before the Civil War
Explosions of gore
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I'm not a long-time Tarantino fan, but I've really enjoyed his past two movies. (This and Inglourious Basterds.) I think they're intelligent looks at some not so nice periods in human history. They can also be absolutely hilarious at times; the fact that everyone who dies in the films seems to have eight gallons of pressurized blood inside them makes me cackle. (I know, I'm weird when it comes to gore.)
Django Unchained was hard to watch at times because of the way Jamie Foxx's character is treated. (And the frequent use of the "N" word.) It hurt to see everyone completely baffled at Django riding a horse and the nicer clothes he wore. I know it wasn't abnormal for the south in the period before the Civil War, but it was still tough to see. (I suppose the shock was partly good; it served as a reminder that times are better now ... but that's a whole different conversation.)
And I have to give it to Tarantino—he has great taste in actors. Christoph Waltz is currently one of my favorite people to watch on screen, and Tarantino is the reason I know who he is. The roles Waltz play always exude confidence and charisma, be they antagonist or protagonist. (He seems like he'd be a really awesome person to hang out with in real life, too.) The character of Dr. King Schultz is yet another awesome Waltz role. Schultz has a strong black and white view of life and he sticks to it throughout the movie, even when the outcome isn't positive. Foxx does an awesome job at slave-turned-bounty hunter Django, and Leonard DiCaprio is great at the big bad love-to-hate Monseiur Calvin Candie.
The movie's not for the faint of heart (or stomach), but it's an entertaining ride for the rest of us.
*Both literally and figuratively.