Tag Archive: Jamie Foxx

Green Goblin armor creation by Weta Workshop

Although The Amazing Spider-man 2 has received mixed reviews, as with last year’s sci-fi flick Elysium, the Weta Workshop was one of the special effects companies that added another dimension to the look of the film.  Weta continues to establish itself as the creative team coming up with cutting edge costumes and props that often surpass the story being told.

Weta created the make-up and Green Goblin suit worn by actor Dane DeHaan, the Electro suspension rig worn by Jamie Foxx, and several other props for this latest Spidey flick.

printed props by Weta Workshop

This week Weta released this montage video of the creators and creations behind The Amazing Spider-man 2.  Check it out:

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Whiny teen bent on becoming a hero.  Check.

Supersuit that is true to the original.  Check.

Web-swinging across skyscrapers.  Check.

A good lead actress playing Spidey’s love interest.  Check.

New villains.  Check.

It’s the new trailer for next year’s The Amazing Spider-man 2, again starring Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker opposite Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy.  Relative newcomer Dan DeHaan as Harry Osborn seems an odd choice considering he’s taking on a role that was so well-played by the versatile James Franco, but he takes a lead position as villain in this second trailer for the movie.

Check it out for yourself:

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Django Unchained - Still A

By C.J. Bunce

How does a Western get nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award in 2013? As recently as two years ago the remake of True Grit was nominated for Best Picture and nine other nominations—but did not net a single win.  But would it have been nominated if it hadn’t been directed by the quirky directing duo of Joel and Ethan Coen?  Five years earlier Brokeback Mountain, a film with a Western—or at least a cowboy– theme was also nominated for Best Picture, winning three of eight nominations.  It took director Ang Lee and a completely non-Western plot for that to happen.  Then you have to go back to Unforgiven in 1992, which actually won Best Picture and four of nine of its nominations, to find the last major, critically acclaimed Western.

What made Unforgiven win?  Certainly by supplying one of the two most popular Western actors of all time as the film’s lead helped, even if it was one of his more bland performances, with Clint Eastwood also serving as director. (Yes, John Wayne still remains the #1 most popular Western actor ever).  But more importantly, like the few notable Westerns since, it had a very non-standard plot for a Western.  With its gunfighter-turns-farmer-turns-gunfighter-one-last-time story, it was basically a dark sequel to John Wayne’s Angel and the Badman.  You could keep going—back to Dances with Wolves in 1990, an example of the “epic Western” which seemed to reward the director and acting efforts of rising star Kevin Costner more than the movie as a Western genre masterpiece.  Or back to Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid in 1969, probably the last classic era Western to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, winning five awards, including a key win for the script by William Goldman.  Then go back to the also-quirky Cat Ballou in 1965 starring Jane Fonda—the rare Western notable for featuring a female lead.

Going back even further gets you into the classic era of Westerns, and throws you into the strange era of “epic Westerns” getting recognized by the Academy.  These were movies that in hindsight are really not as well done as many smaller pictures of the period, but their huge all-star casts and expensive sets made the films hard to ignore, such as How the West Was Won, The Alamo, and Giant.  Surprisingly you have to look back to the adaptation of Louis L’Amour’s Hondo starring John Wayne in 1953 to get back to the era of the “hero Western” as recipient of an Academy nod, a film up there with Shane and High Noon as successful and admired Westerns receiving acclaim by the Academy.

Schultz and Django

But if you put aside the classic Western and look at what has been selected by the Academy since the 1960s it makes a lot of sense that Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is not only a Best Picture nominee this year, but a real contender for the win.  Set in the South two years before the Civil War, the film follows a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) whose past owners lead him to meet up with German-born, dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).  Schultz’s next target is the wanted-dead-or-alive Brittle brothers, and only Django can help him literally recognize his bounty.  Schultz serves as mentor in survival and pursuit skills for Django who is squarely focused on rescuing long-lost wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).  The search ultimately leads to a more complicated than necessary scheme to buy Broomhilda from infamous plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), if only his loyal house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) will not stand in the way.

So what is the formula for a successful Western in the 21st century and why should Django Unchained make the cut?

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Has Quentin Tarantino won any big mainstream awards since he won the best screenplay Academy Award for Pulp Fiction?  So what’s going to be his next big winner?  He was nominated for best director for Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds.  I think Jackie Brown is one of the best and coolest retro films ever made.  His Kill Bill series and Grind House films I could probably take or leave.

What about Leonardo DiCaprio?  He has garnered Academy Award nominations for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator and Blood Diamond.  He won a Golden Globe Award for The Aviator.  But no Oscar yet?

Inglourious Basterds was an incredible, bloody violent Dirty Dozen meets Guns of Navarone World War II epic, bizarre, parallel history (?) action film (the one where Brad Pitt leads a group of American soldiers scalping Nazis).  The standout performance was Christoph Waltz as the most vile Nazi fiction character in movie history, maybe second only to Ralph Fiennes’ performance as a similar real-life villain in Schindler’s List.  But where Fiennes didn’t win the Oscar, Waltz walked away with one for Inglourious Basterds, and rightly so.  So it is awesome he will be co-star of the new film Django Unchained, along with Jamie Foxx, best actor Oscar winner for playing Ray Charles brilliantly in the movie Ray.

At Comic-Con this year, writer Jason McClain shared with me that the Django Unchained promotion booth offsite was informing people if you found one of the “Django girls” in red shirts throughout San Diego and you recited the key phrase “the D is silent” you’d get a coin that you could exchange for a free T-shirt.  We each ended up with two coins, thanks to Jason’s scanning of the crowds.  As Jason says, T-shirts are top-level swag.  For future reference, here are the shirts given away, and if you got one hold onto it, as I think Django Unchained may actually be a big Christmas release hit film this year.

I have a seen a few trailers for Django Unchained, but this is the first trailer that confirmed I will see this movie.  It clearly lays out what the film is about (rare for trailers these days):  A Civil War era bounty hunter (Waltz) frees a slave named Django (Foxx) who can help him track down his bounty in exchange for Django’s freedom and freeing Django’s wife, apparently sold to a rich Rhett Butler type, played by DiCaprio.  Starting with Johnny Cash singing over a slave driver… An unexpected highwayman confrontation…  Bounty hunters?  A western with 1970s soundtrack that sounds like the theme to Shaft?  Think Quentin Tarantino and it all makes sense.

Enjoy this really, really good trailer for Django Unchained

This one is certain to get Oscar nominations in the spring and maybe land a few wins for Foxx, DiCaprio and Tarantino.

C.J. Bunce

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