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Tag Archive: Leonardo DiCaprio


Quentin Tarentino‘s next film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has so many reasons to give it your attention, where do we begin?  As heavily advertised, the “retired director” is back as writer and director on his ninth film, and every one of his films gains critical and popular acclaim–from Reservoir Dogs to The Hateful Eight, they’re all notable for Tarentino’s unique brash and violent style.  Emphasize that style element because he tends to hit the right mark when searching out throwback vibes for his fans, whether via Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson in the 1970s in Jackie Brown or reaching back through time with 1950s nostalgia with John Travolta and Uma Thurman in a retro diner in Pulp Fiction.  So where will Tarentino turn for a film set in 1969?  Something violent in an era of unique style.  So the “Manson family” murders, of course.

The biggest risk for Tarentino (beyond being seen as exploiting a murder still in the national consciousness 50 years later) is casting some major actors, and some not-so-major actors, as actors from the past.  The easier question to answer may be “Who isn’t in this movie?”  In the leading role is Leonardo DiCaprio as a fictional character based on Burt Reynolds.  Brad Pitt co-stars as a character based on Reynolds’ long-time stuntman, Hal Needham.  Margot Robbie plays actress and Manson family victim Sharon Tate, who was married to Roman Polanski and pregnant at the time of her murder.  Dakota Fanning plays Squeaky Fromme, Bruce Dern plays the rancher that allowed the Mansons to reside on his land where they are believed to have planned the murders, and Lena Dunham plays another Manson family member.  Al Pacino plays a Hollywood agent, and from the Tarentino acting troupe, look for bit appearances by regulars Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen.  As a sad footnote, this will be the last film appearance of Luke Perry, who portrays real-life TV Western star Wayne Maunder, who died just this past November.

But the real challenge is casting Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, Connie Stevens, and Mama Cass Elliot in the film–highly-recognizable icons.  Those roles go to Homeland and Life’s Damian Lewis as McQueen, Empire and Inhumans’ Mike Moh as Lee, Dreama Walker (Gran Torino) as Stevens, and Rachel Redleaf as Cass.  We only get a brief look at Redleaf and longer view of Moh as Lee (with a decent vocal impersonation) in the first trailer for the film–Lee had been working on a film with Sharon Tate.  Tarentino also invited in a league of children of well-known actors for his film, like Andie MacDowell’s daughter Margaret Qualley (IO), Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter Rumer Willis (Hawaii Five-O), Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke’s daughter Maya Hawke (Stranger Things), Kevin Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith (Supergirl), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Star Trek 2009) grandson of Western actor Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez, and one more relative, Tarentino’s wife, Daniella Pick (Pick Up, Exit).  

Along with real-world characters, Tarentino pulled in some familiar actors from the late 1960s and 1970s, including Nicholas Hammond, known for role as Peter Parker in TV’s The Amazing Spider-Man, a regular face from the 1970s and 1980s: Martin Kove (The Karate Kid), and Brenda Vaccaro (Airport ’77, Capricorn One).  And even frequent TV guest star Spencer Garrett is a ringer for any number of Disney film stars from the 1960s (and he’s the son of actress Kathleen Nolan (Magnum, p.i., The Incredible Hulk)).  There are many more familiar actors in this one, including James Marsden (X-Men), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Lorenza Izzo (The House With a Clock in Its Walls), Sydney Sweeney (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer favorite Danny Strong.  (With so many extras listed as Playboy Bunnies, it’s probably fair to expect a cameo from someone playing Hugh Hefner, too).

In case you missed it, here is the first trailer for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:

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Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look forward at what movies should be on your radar for 2019.  Are you going to see them all?  Heck no.  These are the genre films we think borg readers will want to know about to make their own checklists for the coming year–and they are only the films we know about so far.  We pulled 78 of the hundreds of films that have been finalized or are in varying stages of final production, slated for next year’s movie calendar.

What looks to top the list for most fanboys and fangirls?  The last of the nine films in the Star Wars saga.  Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Shazam! is DC’s contribution.  Quentin Tarentino returns to movies to direct Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Martin Scorcese is back with an all-star cast in The Irishman (on Netflix).  M. Night Shyamalan finishes his dark superhero trilogy with GlassArnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton return in TerminatorJordan Peele is back with another horror film with Us.

Do you like sequels?  This is your year.  Another Men in Black, X-Men, Shaft, Happy Death Day, Lego Movie, Hellboy, John Wick, Kingsman, Jumanji, The Secret Life of Pets, How to Train Your Dragon, Fast and the Furious, Zombieland, Addams Family, Charlie’s Angels, Godzilla, Shaun the Sheep, Annabelle,and Stephen King’s It and Pet SemataryDisney is trying to get you to move into your local theater with another Toy Story, Aladdin, Dumbo, Frozen, and Lion King–all in one year.  Yep, lots and lots of sequels are coming.

Some films don’t have locked-in release dates yet.  Amazon Prime and Netflix haven’t revealed dates for these 2019 releases:

  • Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman, a film about Jimmy Hoffa starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Bobby Cannavale (Netflix)
  • The Kid, a Western biopic with Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, and Vincent D’Onofrio (Netflix)
  • The Man Who Killed Hitler Then Bigfoot, starring Sam Elliott (Netflix)
  • 6 Underground, a Michael Bay film starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco, and Mélanie Laurent (Netflix)
  • The Last Thing He Wanted, Dee Rees directs Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, and Toby Jones; journalist quits newspaper job to become an arms dealer for a covert government agency (Netflix)
  • The Laundromat, Steven Soderbergh directs Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, James Cromwell, about the Pentagon Papers (Netflix)
  • Radioactive, Rosamund Pike plays Marie Curie, with Anya Taylor-Joy (Amazon)

Some of these films will have revised release dates, or get pushed to 2020.

So grab your calendar and start making your plans–here are the movies you’ll want to see in 2019 (and many you might not):

January

Glass – Superhero, M. Night Shyamalan trilogy part 3, stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy; continues where Unbreakable and Split left off – January 18.

Serenity – Mystery/Thriller, stars Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Diane Lane; sorry, no relation to Firefly – January 25.

King of Thieves – Heist Comedy, stars Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon, and Ray Winstone – January 25.

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Star Wars Episode VII photo

We’ve just wound down another year of big movies–from Captain America: The Winter Soldier to X-Men: Days of Future Past to Guardians of the Galaxy to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. So what’s on the radar at borg.com for 2015? We think you’ll want to see several of these big sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, and action flicks coming to a screen near you next year.

Vice movie poster Bruce Willis

Vice – Jan. 16 – The next in a long line of Bruce Willis action flicks.  This time it’s a sci-fi story about a future resort where humans freely pursue their vices–with artificial humans.

Wild Card movie poster

Wild Card – Jan. 30 – A story based on a novel by Academy Award winning writer William Goldman, starring Jason Statham as a gambler.

Kingsman movie poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service – Feb. 13 – This Colin Firth as spy action flick will tell us once and for all whether Firth would be a good choice to play James Bond.  With an all-star cast including Mark Hamill, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Chappie movie poster A

Chappie – March 6 – Neill Blomkamp’s latest science fiction entry.  A Pinocchio story where a robot learns to live among humans.

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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 Tarentino’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 Tarentino 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 Tarentino 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 Tarentino.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

The last big production of The Great Gatsby was in 1974 and starred Robert Redford as the awkward but admired aristocrat Jay Gatsby and Mia Farrow as the shallow Daisy Buchanan (Mira Sorvino and Paul Rudd starred in a smaller production of the story).  The actual star of the book and narrator of the original F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, the character Nick Carroway, was played by a youthful and energetic Sam Waterston in the 1974 film.

This Christmas, Leonardo DiCaprio will play Gatsby and genre favorite Carey Mulligan will play against type as a somewhat ethereal Daisy.  Ex-Spider-man actor Tobey Maguire will play Nick.

Here’s the first trailer for the film:

The first thing that jumps out is the lack of the defining component of the roaring twenties–jazz.  So whereas we see a lot of nice art deco components in the trailer, it doesn’t immediately conjure up 1920s, Fitzgerald’s book, and prohibition.  Hopefully this is just the Hollywood standard of putting up a preview with unrelated music, trying to get us caught up in the craziness of the story and the time period.  We haven’t seen a big historical film based in the 1920s for a while–maybe Chicago?

The cars look good–hard to fake that, but the costumes seem a little bit modernized to our eyes.  It will be interesting to see what the costume designer is going for here.  Maybe an updated feel?

Either way, we hope it’s a good stepping stone to more roles for Mulligan.

Entertainment press across the British Empire to Latin America and from the Daily India to Latino Review to the Uk Daily News have reported on supposed discussions over the past few weeks on a new movie in the works based on Martin Caidin’s original 1972 Bionic Man novel Cyborg, the source for the Six Million Dollar Man TV series.

Running Man DiCaprio

The alleged discussions are over a script, that, depending on the source, may or may not be called The Six Billion Dollar Man, stress on the Billion.   Supposedly it’s the Weinsteins and Universal who are having those discussions and working on the project, with Bryan Singer pegged as the director being courted to helm the project.  And the man to play Steve Austin?  Leonardo diCaprio.  Leonardo DiCaprio?  At 37, I guess he could make it work in some effort to try to update the character for the 21st century.

DiCaprio flying over desert in stunt plane in The Aviator

Kevin Smith has previously said he had a script for a Bionic Man movie circulating for years, ultimately to end up as the currently running Bionic Man comic book series co-written by Phil Hester for Dynamite Comics, which as a series is pretty good both as an update to the 1970s TV series and respectful to Caidin’s original story.  But this is not the same project as the Weinstein/Singer film.

A comedy spoof has also been rumored, called the Forty Thousand Dollar Man, and supposedly discussions have occurred with Jim Carrey for a similar project.  Let’s hope this one is false.

Leonardo DiCaprio as jet pilot in Catch Me if You Can

Of, course, none of this is real until we hear something from Singer or DiCaprio.  So far, nothing, just the international media speculating.

If this is all true, Singer has a good feel for genre film.  He wrote X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class and Superman Returns, and directed great suspenseful flicks like The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie.  As director of a few episodes and executive producer of the series that is the best medical series ever on TV, House M.D., he may have a nice edge for the science and medicine of the Bionic Man mythos.  So he gets our thumbs up to lead up a big screen Bionic Man.

Genre director and Trek fan Bryan Singer had a cameo in Star Trek Nemesis

I’ll admit I’d like to see a twist on the story with an older actor like Scott Bakula as Steve Austin, or someone like Sam Shepard playing test pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, since we’re talking about a seasoned astronaut and test pilot.  Of course Shepard was 40 when he made The Right Stuff, and DiCaprio is 37.  I’d rather see someone whose general appearance is like Scott Glenn or Dennis Quaid vs DiCaprio, who, even with make-up, like playing Howard Hughes in The Aviator, looks perpetually young, and nicely cast as pretty boy Jay Gatsby in the soon to be released The Great Gatsby, he’s not as grisly looking as you’d  think of for the typical test pilot.  Still, DiCaprio has had enough diverse roles that he could probably easily give some kind of new twist on Steve Austin.  And we’ve already seen him crash a plane in The Aviator and pose as a pilot, and do a lot of running, in Catch Me if You Can.

A movie would ahve to have the slow motion running and old theme

What’s not a rumor is that Universal Pictures confirmed last year that Bryan Singer will direct another sci-fi reboot, a new Battlestar Galactica film that will not be based on the recent Sci Fi Channel TV series.  Very little detail has been released on that project, too.

With every new year that passes and with emerging new technologies, a real human cyborg might become more and more possible, so it is fun to think about updating Steve Austin.  We’ll obviously keep our ears perked for more news on this front.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com