Quentin Tarantino rode a blazing saddle into the hearts of critics all over the country early Wednesday morning, when the embargo lifted on reviews for his new film "Django Unchained." So far I've found just a couple truly negative critique — all of the rest basically call the movie more satisfying than a five dollar milkshake. That includes my own — which you'll find linked to below — and my 7/10 review is actually on the low end of the praise for "Django." Some critics call it the best film of the year. Others rank it near the top of Tarantino's filmography. When you're comparing a movie to "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs," it must be pretty good.
Here are the first fifteen or so reviews for "Django" — I'll do an update on this in the morning as well, since some of the usual suspects for this sort of piece haven't filed yet.
Early Reviews of 'Django Unchained' (LAST UPDATE: Wednesday PM)
"A thrilling return to form with inspired performances from Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L Jackson."
"It’s Quentin Tarantino’s greatest work since 'Pulp Fiction' and, undoubtedly, the best film of 2012."
"Where Tarantino succeeds is in digging some terrific performances out of his principal cast."
"An immensely satisfying taste of antebellum empowerment packaged as spaghetti-Western homage."
"Audacious but overlong, irreverent but gripping, writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s 'Django Unchained' is like nothing else — except, that is, the filmmaker’s earlier works."
"Tarantino relishes the opportunity to run wild with a symbol of black persecution until the idea loses momentum — and then, true to form, he just keeps going."
"A film involving this many sticks of dynamite should have been more powerful."
"It’s true that cowboy and genre characters needn’t be deep, but since the other characters get most of the good lines, Django could have used something they don’t have: an extra dimension."
"[Tarantino is] still one of the most exciting American filmmakers working today."
"Simply the latest entry in one of the most interesting filmographies today."
"The most fun you can have at the theaters this holiday season, assuming that you know you are going into a Tarantino film."
"As a tightly-maintained powder keg of cinema, 'Django Unchained' is also something worthy of celebration."
"Has almost zero subtext and is a largely soulless bloodbath, in which the history of pain and retribution, that's used as a backdrop, is coupled carelessly with a cool soundtrack and some quirky dialogue that might just entertain the shit out of the less discerning."
"The movie loses its slipperiest speechifiers a bit too soon — Foxx, more of a symbolic presence, is the weak link — but while the conversation rages, you can’t help but gasp at Tarantino’s emancipation proclamation."
"It's worth seeing for the performances alone."
"The result is, as far as I’m concerned, is simply fantastic!"
"Whatever ‘Django”s issues — and it has a couple — failing to deliver on its promises isn’t one of them."
"An insane mess in several ways, showing one of our great filmmakers unfocused and chaotic, attempting racial and political insight while also satiating his own cinephila."
"A weird, wild, and violent crowd-pleaser that serves as a raucous salute to the spaghetti western."
"Immediately stands as one of [the] most powerful, personal, brazen, and ballsy movies of [Tarantino]'s exceedingly colorful career."
"Comes across like a rough cut that was never looked at as a coherent whole."
Plus, here's a sample of some tweets out of the Austin, Texas "Django" press screening that let out right as the embargo was lifted, along with a few additional critics' tweets:
DJANGO UNCHAINED is the best film of 2012. Could watch another four hours of it.
— PeterSHall (@PeterSHall) December 12, 2012
I need to see the 4 1/2 hour cut of DJANGO UNCHAINED immediately.
— Devin Faraci (@devincf) December 12, 2012
Really enjoyed Django Unchained. Foxx & Waltz are a brilliant duo. Smart screenplay skewers racism while still providing bloody good fun.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) December 12, 2012
DJANGO UNCHAINED – a visual ode to John Ford, fantastic soundtrack, and quartet of absolutely wonderful performances. Will watch 10 times
— Alex Williams (@AlexWilliamsdt) December 12, 2012
DJANGO is unbridled fun. Waltz, Foxx, DiCaprio, Tarantino… Everyone bringing a-level stuff.
— Neil Miller (@rejects) December 12, 2012
Enjoyed Django but closer to Death Proof compared to Tarantino oeuvre. Never found myself hooked. Want to hear if the journey hooks you….
— Matt Patches (@misterpatches) December 12, 2012
I liked DJANGO UNCHAINED but it felt disjointed and unfinished. It could've been a half hour shorter or longer. It's 2 hours and 45 minutes.
— Rudie Obias (@Rudie_Obias) December 12, 2012
Christoph Waltz again steals the show, though Samuel L. Jackson is great too. It's not Top 10 worthy, but it's not too far from it either…
— Joey Magidson (@JoeyMagidson) December 12, 2012
Let's put it this way: Inglorious Basterds touched the sun, Django just reaches a nice cruising altitude
— Devindra Hardawar (@Devindra) December 12, 2012
DJANGO UNCHAINED may well be Tarantino's best film since PULP FICTION. My wife and I lost our fucking minds. So god damned good.
— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) December 12, 2012
Django Unchained is the ultimate foreplay. Two hours of excitement and teasing followed by a finale of pure enjoyment and release. Loved it.
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) December 12, 2012
"Django Unchained" opens in theaters on Christmas.