Maggie (2015)

maggieStarring Abigail Breslin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette, Denise Williamson, Raeden Greer, J.D. Evermore, Aiden Flowers, Taylor Murphy

Directed by Henry Hobson

Expectations: Moderate.


Maggie was billed as a different kind of zombie movie, and in some ways that is true, but the things you know of zombies still hold true. The infection only spreads through a bite, although everyone in this movie is also scared of it being highly contagious (even though there’s no evidence of that from what we’re shown). The movie never goes into this, but for me this point speaks more to our dependence and willingness to believe whatever the media or someone in power is telling is, true or not. Anyway, the big difference here is that Maggie is not an apocalypse film, and that does inherently change the notion of what we know a zombie movie to be.

Without the apocalypse threat, there is no survival aspect to Maggie. Survival has always been one of the major hallmarks of any kind of zombie story, so it is interesting and novel to consider what a zombie uprising would be like if it was more like other outbreaks. It might seem like zombies and the apocalypse would go hand in hand, but if we believe that the government could get it together enough to create the quarantine zones every one in Maggie is always talking about, and that they’re going a great job containing everything, then it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Maggie could happen.

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Django Unchained (2012)

django-unchained-movie-poster-teaserStarring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, Don Johnson, Laura Cayouette

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Expectations: Very high. Tarantino is a big western fan, so there’s no way this can’t be great, right?


In a single word, Django Unchained is excessive. Excessive in every possible way. Some movies that trade in excess get by because the excess is fun, or in some way in service of the story, but in Django it’s neither (not that an unflinching slavery movie should be fun). Instead it feels more like Tarantino is simply throwing everything he has at the audience when he should be carefully crafting a tale worth telling. I’ve always had something of a love/hate relationship with Tarantino and his films, but coming off of the expertly crafted Inglourious Basterds I thought for sure he would deliver something truly memorable. And Django is memorable… for all the wrong reasons. Where the script for Basterds was honed over something like 10 years, Django Unchained was written in a few months and thrown into production soon after. This may be a three-hour “epic,” but it definitely feels a lot closer to Death Proof than I would have liked, at least in terms of the quality of the writing.

As the film opens, a couple of slave traders transport a small group of slaves across the rocky hills and the frozen fields “somewhere in Texas.” They are stopped by a jovial man named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who is specifically looking for a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) in hopes that he can help him find a trio of wanted men. Thus begins the tale of Django, a freed slave on his way to becoming a fearsome bounty hunter. Or really, that should read: Thus begins the tale of King Schultz and how he frees Django, but not really.

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