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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Leonardo DiCaprio

'Django Unchained': Teaser trailer serves up revenge with style

June 6, 2012 |  5:14 pm

Django Unchained
The teaser trailer for "Django Unchained" has been released, offering a first glimpse of Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film about a freed slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) trying to save his wife from a vicious plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).

True to Tarantino's genre-bending tendencies, the film is styled as a sort of "spaghetti Southern," a revenge tale set in the Deep South but inspired by the westerns of Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci (the latter directed 1966's "Django"). From the looks of the teaser, the film promises heaps of violence, striking set pieces and snappy wordplay.

At one point Foxx, taking up the lead role Will Smith reportedly passed on, spouts a catchphrase that's sure to blow up on Twitter: "The D is silent." He's joined by "Inglourious Basterds" star Christoph Waltz, who plays the German doctor responsible for buying Django's freedom and mentoring him in his new line of work. ("How do you like the bounty-hunting business?" Django is asked at one point. "Kill white folks and they pay you for it? What's not to like?" he replies.)

As with "Basterds," "Django" demonstrates that Tarantino isn't afraid to play in the darker corners of history. Neither, it appears, is DiCaprio. His character, the villain Calvin Candie, is said to be a truly despicable one who gets a kick out of watching slaves fight to the death. Viewers who think of DiCaprio primarily as a heartthrob might be in for a surprise, but his talent could go a long way toward making a vile character compelling.

The film, which opens Christmas Day, also stars Kerry Washington, Don Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson.

See the teaser trailer below.

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Photo: Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in "Django Unchained." Credit: Andrew Cooper / The Weinstein Co.


'Great Gatsby' trailer: Jazz Age excess with a hip-hop flourish

May 23, 2012 | 10:31 am

The Great Gatsby
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The first trailer for Baz Luhrmann's star-studded adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" has been released, and it features many of the Australian filmmaker's hallmarks, including spectacular visuals (the film will be in 3-D), modern music in an anachronistic setting and a lead performance by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The trailer opens with a voice-over setting the scene ("New York, 1922") and a Jay-Z and Kanye West song setting the mood ("No Church in the Wild," from the duo's "Watch the Throne" album). The Roaring '20s are in full swing, with flappers in sparkling dresses and gents in sharp tuxedos spilling champagne and dancing under falling confetti.

A quick montage of people asking about DiCaprio's mysterious title character sets up one of the story's central questions: Who is Jay Gatsby? Among those who want to know are Tobey Maguire, playing Nick Carraway (the book's narrator); and Carey Mulligan, playing Gatsby's star-crossed love interest Daisy Buchanan.

Other actors glimpsed in the trailer include Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as the shady businessman Meyer Wolfsheim, Australian actor Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan (Daisy's husband) and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker (Nick's love interest).

Luhrmann's eye for visual flair seems well-suited to the gilded glamour of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, and fans of the book will recognize a few landmarks, including Gatsby's well-manicured lawn, a "valley of ashes" and an ophthalmologist's billboard.

View the full trailer below.

For the record, 10:30 p.m. May 23: A previous version of this post referred to Tom Buchanan as Daisy's wife instead of Daisy's husband, and described the voice over as being by DiCaprio. It is by Maguire.  

 

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— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton in "The Great Gatsby." Credit: Warner Bros.


CinemaCon: Footage of 'The Hobbit' draws mixed reaction

April 24, 2012 |  3:14 pm

Preview of "The Hobbit" shown at CinemaCon
Last year at the theater owners' CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, James Cameron put together a lengthy presentation touting the virtues of faster frame rates. This year, exhibitors were able actually to see the new technology put to the test in a feature film with 10 minutes of footage from Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Jackson has shot the new film, due out in December, at 48 frames per second. For roughly 80 years, the standard industry frame rate -- the frequency at which images are projected -- has been 24 frames per second (Hence the name of this blog). Cameron, incidentally, has vowed to shoot the sequel to "Avatar" at an even quicker rate of 60.

In a filmed video message from New Zealand shown to exhibitors Tuesday, Jackson implored theater owners to project his new film at 48 frames per second. The new speed, he said, gives the "illusion of real life, where movement feels smoother, and you're not dealing with strobing."

Indeed, the footage shown did seem hyper-realistic. An opening aerial shot of dramatic rocky mountains appeared clearer than the images in most nature documentaries. But the effect was different when applied to scenes with actors dressed in period costume, whose every move -- and pore -- was crystal clear. Such realism put off some trade show attendees, who complained the footage didn't feel enough like a traditional film.

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'Titanic 3D' will convert you too: Betsy Sharkey's film pick

April 19, 2012 |  8:00 am

"Titanic 3D"
It may drive his crews crazy, but the fact that James Cameron is an infamous perfectionist pays off nicely in the conversion of his Oscar-winning 1997 blockbuster “Titanic” into 3-D.

The filmmaker did more than test the technology-roiled waters with “Avatar” in 2009, when he rewrote the navigation chart with a rich dimensionality that was groundbreaking. But what happens when the director re-imagines the past with the aid of the new tools?

All good things.

“Titanic” was gorgeous when it landed 15 years ago, but watching it set sail in 3-D is breathtaking. Just as satisfying as the brilliant new colors and a ship that seems at times suspended in the air is watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet falling in love again -- passion and heartbreak are better in 3-D too.

The technology, and the choices Cameron and his team make on when and where to employ it, allows certain moments to completely overtake the senses. The iconic shot of the windblown young lovers on the prow of the ship feels close enough to touch.

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-- Betsy Sharkey

Photo caption: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as ill-fated young lovers in "Titanic 3D." Credit: Paramount Pictures.


Ruby slippers find a new home at movie academy

February 22, 2012 |  4:40 pm

"Wizard of Oz" ruby slippers

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has purchased a pair of the famous ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” to display in the museum it is developing with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The shoes, one of four pairs known to exist from the classic 1939 film, are believed to be the ones used in the close-ups when Dorothy (Judy Garland) clicks her heels three times to start her trip home, the academy said Wednesday.

The price was not disclosed, but the academy said donations came from Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg and former Warner Bros. Chairman Terry Semel, among others.

"The ruby slippers occupy an extraordinary place in the hearts of movie audiences the world over," Bob Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. and chair of the fundraising campaign for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, said in a statement. "This is a transformative acquisition for our collection."

Another pair of the "Oz" ruby slippers belongs to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington. According to Profiles in History, the auction house that arranged the sale to the academy, a third pair is privately held, while the whereabouts of the fourth is unknown, having been stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn.

The academy said last October that it planned to create the motion picture museum in the former May Co. building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue that is adjacent to LACMA and now known as LACMA West. No opening date has been set.

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--Lee Margulies

Photo: The ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz." Credit: Smithsonian Institution 


Oscars 2012: 'Snubbed' Albert Brooks, Patton Oswalt tweet woes

January 24, 2012 | 10:55 am

Click here for more coverage of the Oscar nominations

"You don't like me, you really don't like me," Albert Brooks tweeted Tuesday, a few hours after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to recognize his performance as brutal gangster Bernie Rose in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" with an Oscar nomination. Those nine words were all that fellow rejected actor Patton Oswalt ("Young Adult") need to get him going on a Twitter rant that pretty much encompassed every overlooked actor in this year's Oscar race.

It began with Oswalt asking Brooks to join him for a drink at the Drawing Room. "Me and Serkis have been here since 6 am," he tweeted, referring to Andy Serkis and his failure to obtain an acting nod for his motion-capture work in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

FULL COVERAGE: The Oscar nominees

"See you later tonight," he continued. "Serkis has Pogues on the jukebox and Fassbender just showed up in a pirate hat." Michael Fassbender was also ignored, with academy voters not recognizing him for his role as a sex addict in the harrowing drama "Shame."

Oswalt was not content to settle with the actors. "We're definitely going to run out of booze. Charlize & Tilda just pulled up in a stolen police car." Neither Charlize Theron nor Tilda Swinton was rewarded for her work in such prickly films as "Young Adult" and "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

His absurdist scene continued, begging Brooks to meet him. "Dude, get down here. Gosling is doing keg stands and Olsen and Dunst literally just emerged from a shower of rose petals."

Ryan Gosling received no love for either of his compelling roles in "The Ides of March" and "Drive." Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") and Kirsten Dunst ("Melancholia") were unable to crack the competitive lead actress category.

Oswalt then invoked Dunst's controversial director Lars von Trier, who made waves in Cannes last year with some ill-considered remarks on Nazism: "Von Trier just pulled up in a pass van dressed as Goering. 'Let's go to Legoland! With a boozy hurrah, we're out."

Looks like Brooks missed his chance to accompany his fellow snubbies with Oswalt's final tweet. "Oh. My. God. Just pulled up to Legoland. DiCaprio's rented the park for the day. Dibs on the Duplo Gardens!"

It's a shame we won't get more commentary from Oswalt. His voice on the campaign scene was, to say the least, quite refreshing.

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 -- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Patton Oswalt during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 12 in Los Angeles. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

 


Golden Globes: A hunk of hot men for dramatic actor [poll]

December 15, 2011 |  8:45 am

Golden-Globes-drama-actor-n
The 81 voters in the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. may work for obscure publications and make any number of bizarre Golden Globe picks, but they seem united in their selections for best dramatic actor -- the hotter the better.

In a field that will have women and any number of gay men swooning along the red carpet, the HFPA's picks for the 69th annual awards were more than a little hunky-dory: George Clooney ("The Descendants"), Leonardo DiCaprio ("J. Edgar"), Michael Fassbender ("Shame"), Ryan Gosling ("The Ides of March") and Brad Pitt ("Moneyball").

Gosling also was nominated in the comedy or musical lead actor contest for "Crazy, Stupid, Love" in a category that isn't nearly as easy on the eyes (sorry, Brendan Gleeson, who was nominated for "The Guard") but does include Jean Dujardin from "The Artist."

Clooney was nominated three times -- for starring in "The Descendants," and directing and co-writing "The Ides of March." So expect the NBC cameras to be trained on the actor/filmmaker for much of the ceremony on Jan. 15.

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More coverage of the Golden Globes and SAG nominations

--John Horn

Photos: From left, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. Credits: From left, Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times; Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press; Dave Hogan/Getty Images;  Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times; Evan Agostini/Associated Press

 


SAG Awards: A wake-up call for 'J. Edgar' actor Armie Hammer

December 14, 2011 | 10:28 am

Armie Hammer J Edgar

Armie Hammer is the first to admit he didn't spend a lot of time tossing and turning over the possibility of receiving a SAG Award nomination Wednesday morning. The 25-year-old actor, who was recognized for his supporting role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," was fast asleep when the nominees were announced.

"My wife woke me up and said, 'Baby, baby! … You got nominated for a SAG Award!' And I went, 'Oh, that's so great!' And then I just rolled over and went back to sleep."

Hammer, who plays J. Edgar Hoover's close confidante Clyde Tolson, eventually came to again and gathered his thoughts. "I'm definitely more and more excited as I'm waking up and as the day is getting going," he said. "It's a huge honor."

He added, "We worked really hard on this, we all did: Leo, Clint. I'm so excited that Leo got nominated as well [for best actor]. He could not deserve it more. So to see it appreciated by our peers is very nice."

This is Hammer's second SAG nomination; he appeared in "The Social Network" last year, which was up for the ensemble award that eventually went to "The King's Speech."

Hammer will turn up next on the big screen as Prince Alcott in the Snow White film "Mirror Mirror," opening March 16. He will begin filming "The Lone Ranger," a film based on the Old West hero, in a few weeks.

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— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Armie Hammer and Leo DiCaprio in "J. Edgar." Credit: Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros.


Carey Mulligan: 'The Great Gatsby' gets me nervous too

November 23, 2011 |  5:16 pm

 

Mullig

Carey Mulligan has two buzzy, and monosyllabic, films this fall in “Drive” and “Shame.” But she’s currently taking on a project that has its own share of conversation, some of the polarizing sort for next holiday season: The British actress is shooting “The Great Gatsby” as imagined by Baz Luhrmann. 

Yes, that Baz Luhrmann, who modernized “Romeo and Juliet” and brought the flash to period Paris in “Moulin Rouge" -- and who will have all eyes on him as he brings his sensibility to the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic.

Mulligan, who plays the iconic Daisy Buchanan in the film, said she feels her own pressure to perform.   “It's very nerve-racking,” the actress told 24 Frames by phone from Australia, where she is shooting the movie. “I know how much the book means, especially in America. And everyone has their own view on what the book means, which makes it even more nerve-racking.”

The story of Eggs west and east is also getting a 3-D treatment, which Luhrmann and Leonardo DiCaprio (who plays Jay Gatsby) say will give the film the depth of a stage play. (Luhrmann is one of the new wave of auteurs to embrace the format; Martin Scorsese does it in this weekend’s “Hugo.”)

Fitzgerald’s “Gatsby,” which of course tells of Nick Carraway’s sojourn with the wealthy in 1920s Long Island, has plenty to say about class and American gilded eras. That gives it a lot of resonance in the post-Occupy Wall Street world.

Luhrmann has said he wants to tease out the modern parallels, and Mulligan verified he'll be doing just that. “Baz does really like,” she said, “to connect the past and the present.”

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--Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Carey Mulligan in "Shame." Credit: Fox Searchlight


'J. Edgar' captivates top critics, leaves others cold

November 9, 2011 |  2:44 pm

J Edgar
With its A-list duo of director Clint Eastwood and star Leonardo DiCaprio, a weighty subject in FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover, and a script by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"), the new biopic "J. Edgar" has been widely anticipated as a candidate for award-season gold. Critical reaction to the film, which opens Wednesday in limited release, has been curiously split: A number of top critics are lauding the film, but many mainstream critics are unimpressed.

The Times' Kenneth Turan writes that "'J. Edgar' is a somber, enigmatic, darkly fascinating tale, and how could it be otherwise?" Turan calls DiCaprio's performance "impressive" and says Eastwood's "impeccable professionalism" complements "the revisionist thrust of Dustin Lance Black's script." Turan finds the film to be dense with information, ambitious in its scope (comparing the time-hopping structure to "Citizen Kane") and nuanced in its portrayal of Hoover, a man who had good things about him but for whom absolute power corrupted absolutely.

 New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis says "J. Edgar" humanizes its outsize subject and that the film "is less the story of Hoover, the public institution, than of J. Edgar, the private man." Dargis is particularly struck by "the tenderness of the love story in 'J. Edgar'" — that is, the exceptionally close and much-talked-about relationship between Hoover and his deputy, Clyde Tolson, played by Armie Hammer. For Dargis, "it’s [Eastwood's] handling of Hoover and Tolson’s relationship that, as much as the late-act revelation of the pathological extent of Hoover’s dissembling, lifts the film from the usual biopic blahs."

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