Leonardo DiCaprio

The Purge

Plenty of entertainment news happened over the weekend while you were girding your loins for a very special season finale of Game of Thrones (or going outside like a normal person, perhaps). We’ve rounded a bunch of it up into a neat little news package we call our afternoon Biz Break. 

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The Great Gatsby

Five years since Baz Luhrmann‘s first certifiable flop, Australia, the flamboyant director returns for unarguably his most ambitious and anticipated effort yet, a pulse-pounding take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s esteemed novel, The Great Gatsby (most famously adapted previously with Robert Redford in the starring role). Though this attempt boasts all of the coveted Luhrmann hallmarks, it misses the mark precisely because it indulges those very flourishes in the most sickly, overblown fashion possible. When we first meet Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), he’s a crestfallen alcoholic, clearly shaken by events he’s experienced. To recount his story, Carraway takes us back to his first encounters with enigmatic neighbor Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), who throws luxurious parties while mystique continues to grow surrounding both his identity and his sizable wealth. Meanwhile, Carraway’s decision to re-introduce Gatsby to a former flame, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) foreshadows dangerous consequences for all involved.

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“It’s like an amusement park!” a starry-eyed Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) announces without a trace of irony upon taking in the staggering excess of his first Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio, turning in yet another stellar performance) party, a dizzying and defiant spectacle set in the sprawling mansion that just so happens to be right next door to Carraway’s own rented shack. For a time, Carraway is correct – Baz Luhrmann’s take on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel is very much like an amusement park, colorful and loud and fake and relentlessly entertaining. But as the madness (chemical and otherwise) of the story burns out, so too does Luhrmann’s trademark style, and the result is a most unexpected one, as the over-the-top pageantry of The Great Gatsby crumbles into an uninspired, flaccid adaptation that manages to deflate an enduring love story of even the most basic of human emotions. Distilled down, the love story of The Great Gatsby is about a (mostly charming) criminal, liar, and fraud who is obsessed with gathering wealth and notoriety to win back the affection of a former lover who is apparently only interested in wealth and notoriety. It’s really not the sort of love story that can be deemed “satisfying” or “relatable,” but Luhrmann and his cast attempt mightily to get audiences to care about the secretive Jay Gatsby and the duplicitous Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan’s dreamy Daisy, while effective at first, is ultimately too sweet for the part). Along the way, Maguire goes […]

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Drinking Games

At the end of 2012, maverick director Quentin Tarantino brought his latest ultra-violent and over-the-top exploitation film to cinemas, raking in more than $400m in worldwide box office. Now, Django Unchained is available on DVD and Blu-ray. While King Schultz and Django Freeman travel through the American South, collecting bounties, you can relax and enjoy their ride with an ice cold beverage of your choice. Let the offensive language slide and get into the tribute to spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation cinema. Just don’t take that language with you when you shut the movie off, regardless of how many drinks you’ve had.

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The Great Gatsby may tell a story that was set in the Roaring Twenties, but it’s also a Baz Luhrmann film, so there should never have been any doubt that it was going to be packed to the brim with music from some of today’s most famous artists. Want to get a taste of what it has in store, sonically? Well, you’re in luck, because this new trailer for the film shows some of the music off. It features a track that teams up Beyoncé and Andre 3000, new stuff from Lana Del Rey, and a contribution from Florence and the Machine, all packed into a little over two and a half minutes. The music that Luhrmann hired producer Jay Z to put together for the film isn’t the only thing this new trailer shows off either. The ads we’ve seen up to this point have hinted at what F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary story is all about, but mostly they’ve focused on showing off the visual style of Luhrmann. This new trailer digs much deeper into the Gatsby’s pursuit of married woman Daisy Buchanan, and it does a great job of selling how passionate their indiscretions are, and how dangerous the consequences their infidelities are likely to become.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

Once upon a time, Leonardo DiCaprio was going to star in a movie about poor people and violent crime. The film was going to be called Out of the Furnace, and it was going to be directed by Ridley Scott. That deal never quite came together though, so eventually the film went to Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper, who rewrote it and recast the lead with Christian Bale. What could have been a missed opportunity is now a movie tentatively scheduled to be released later this year. The fates have conspired to give DiCaprio another chance at making a movie about poor people and violent crime though, and funnily enough this time it comes with Cooper attached as the director. Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to a still-unreleased Michael Armour novel called “The Road Home,” which they’ve got Cooper signed on to direct and are hoping to develop as a starring vehicle for DiCaprio, who already has a producer’s credit on the deal.

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Django

Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Django Unchained (and all of Tarantino’s other films). With Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has taken a decisive shift in his approach to storytelling. Abandoning the non-linear, present-set depictions of an organized criminal underworld in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill films, Tarantino has not only transitioned to more conventional linear storytelling (with the exception of the requisite flashback), but chooses familiar historical contexts in which to tell these stories. With the WWII-set Inglourious Basterds and now with the pre-Civil War-era Western Django, Tarantino has made a habit of mixing the historical with the inventively anachronistic, and has turned recent modern histories of racial and ethnic oppression, dehumanization, and extermination into ostensibly cathartic fantasies of revenge against vast systemic structures of power.

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A Look Back at the Cinematic Facial Hair of 2012

The movies released in 2012 have been notable for many reasons, impacting or reflecting news events both positively and negatively. It’s also seen new innovations, the most notable being the first release of a film in 48 frames per second. However, cinematic historians will also look back on 2012 as being a banner year for facial hair. The entire crew of Film School Rejects relishes glorious facial hair (and yes, that also includes the ladies on staff). We all wish we could have half the style that characters in the movies this year displayed on their lips, chins and cheeks. Now, as the year draws to a close, we reminisce on the many styles we’ve seen on movie screens in 2012, and maybe give some tips on how to grow your own face so glorious.

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DJANGO UNCHAINED

Quentin Tarantino has very quickly, but not so quietly, found a new niche for his filmmaking talents as a teller of tall tales with a historical bent. He’s less interested in historical accuracy than he is historical tomfoolery, but that never lessens the sheer entertainment he finds in mankind’s relatively recent foibles and misdeeds. From Inglourious Basterds‘ band of World War II Nazi-killers to his latest film’s vengeful slave turned bounty hunter, Tarantino has shown a knack for fitting his charismatic and electric characters into unexpected historical contexts with entertaining as hell results. It’s 1858 in America, and Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a dentist on a mission. It’s light on tooth decay, heavy on bloodshed and utterly unrelated to the field of dentistry. He’s a bounty hunter whose latest targets, The Brittle Brothers, present a challenge in that he has no idea what they look like. Undeterred, Schultz acquires, apprentices and befriends a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who can identify the brothers. In exchange the ex-dentist will help the newly freed Django reunite with his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who currently belongs to a cruel but undeniably charming plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). What follows is a tale that would have made American History class a hell of a lot more memorable as Schultz and Django cut a bloody swath across the post-Civil War South through racists, enforcers and recognizable TV actors (Tom Wopat! Lee Horsley!) from decades past. The cinematic violence is paired with […]

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The Great Gatsby

If there’s one thing our culture never gets tired of, it’s tabloid news. Taking a promising young pretty person, anointing them with almost mythic stature, and then feasting on their misery like psychic vampires when they eventually succumb to scandal and fall from grace…that’s the name of the game! Seeing as the new trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby sticks pretty closely to this formula, and presents things with the flashy, kinetic visual style that the director has become famous for, chances are it’s going to do a good job of selling this story to a wider audience than was willing to read Fitzgerald’s novel in their high school English class. When it was first announced that Luhrmann was going to be tackling material as generally dry as Gatsby, and filming it in 3D no less, the entire notion seemed kind of absurd. But after watching this trailer, it starts to make a bit of sense. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is getting what he wants by entering and mastering a world of artifice. The main drama in the story is generally concerned with who’s sleeping with who. Plus, this is a period piece that affords its director the opportunity to stage several lavish parties. All of that isn’t too far off from what Luhrmann has already done with Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!

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How awkward that the first piece of marketing for Baz Luhrmann‘s still-ludicrously-3D take on F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s most famous work to strike any sort of literary chord is this brand new batch of character posters for The Great Gatsby.Featuring the film’s six principle stars (that’s Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson, and Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker), each crisply-designed poster features a quote from the novel about their respective characters. What an idea! Using text to illuminate a new adaptation of a text. Drop the 3D, Baz, this stuff is what looks good. After the break, brush up on your high school lit, and meet Daisy, Nick, Jordan, Tom, and Myrtle.

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If you want to go into Django Unchained unspoiled, then watching the second trailer isn’t the brightest idea. While the first teaser was all about attitude, this one is much more story heavy. It has the set up, the conflict, and some rather spectacular money shots. A few of those shots may be best to experience on the big screen first, so if you want to go in fresh, stick with the first trailer. However, if you want to see more of a slave owning Leonardo DiCaprio, then check it out:

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Titanic

“I’ll never let go, Jack, I promise,” Kate Winslet tearfully promises Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameron‘s 1997 blockbuster classic, Titanic. She clutches his hand as they both prepare to meet their maker in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, she huddled up on a giant goddamn wooden door, he clinging to both his beloved and, again, a giant goddamn wooden door. She makes vows, vows to never let go, and then BOOM, she lets go. What the hell, Rose DeWitt Bukater? Since Cameron’s darling-slaying of young DiCaprio, moviegoers have raged and wondered over why Rose and Jack didn’t try just a smidge harder to get both their bodies on that giant goddamn wooden door so that they could have had the happily ever after we all wanted for them. Why?!? It seemed to possible! So touchable! Cameron has recently sounded off on the issue, finally opening up and telling fans that “it’s not a question of room; it’s a question of buoyancy. Jack puts Rose on the raft, then he gets on the raft — He’s not an idiot; he doesn’t want to die — and then the raft sinks. So it’s clear that there’s really only enough buoyancy available for one person. So, he makes a decision to let her be that person.” Whatever. And that whatever was recently echoed by the team over at the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, who decided to find out for themselves whether or not Cameron’s buoyancy theory was actually correct. Heads up – […]

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Over Under - Large

Since its original release in 1972, Ronald Neame’s The Poseidon Adventure has gained the reputation of being a modern classic. And, certainly, it’s widely considered as being one of the preeminent disaster movies of all time. Set on a retiring ocean liner making its last voyage, The Poseidon Adventure tells the story of a New Year’s Eve celebration that gets interrupted by the sinking of a ship. It’s got a pretty impressive upside down ballroom set, it prominently features the legendary Gene Hackman, and it tells a high stakes story of survival. So it’s not hard to see why people like it. But it’s also largely just a movie where a group of confused people stumble around in dirty access panels and anonymous hallways for much of its run time. Is it really so great that watching it should be a New Year’s Eve tradition like many have made it out to be? Especially when there are indisputable classics like The Apartment out there that also feature New Year’s Eve party scenes? James Cameron’s Titanic is a sappy, on-the-nose romance set against the maiden voyage (and sinking) of the infamous RMS Titanic. Upon its release in 1997, Titanic won basically every award that was given out, brought in every bit of spare cash that was sitting in anyone’s pocketbooks, and captured the attention of the media machine to the point that, by the time 1998 rolled around, the backlash for the film had almost reached the same levels of fervor […]

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Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire are primarily known for being three of the most famous actors in the world, but did you also know that they’re all animal lovers? Well, they are. Or, at least, they’re looking to market a new movie to animal lovers. THR is reporting that the trio has teamed up to produce a new (still untitled) feature for Warner Bros. that will detail the horrific world of animal trafficking. Reportedly the film will look at the grizzly business from all the different angles, from the poaching of the animal out of the wild, to the way it gets chopped up and turned into boots or whatever (See my loafers? Former gophers). It’s going to be kind of like how Steven Soderbergh took an extensive look at drug trafficking in Traffic, or how The Wire looked at how Baltimore street crime affected every aspect of the city, only more horrific because of the inclusion of cuddly things that get mistreated. Why are these three guys the ones who are involved? Well, apparently the idea for the film comes from Hardy, who has friends who are former Special Forces operatives turned anti-poaching mercenaries in South Africa. And Maguire and DiCaprio? They’re just best buds who have done a lot of animal rights stuff in the past. Combine all three and you don’t quite get Captain Planet, but it’s close.

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The trailer for Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby was all kinds of flashy and promising, so when the news of the film’s Christmas release getting scrapped broke, it seemed as if the Oscar contender wasn’t exactly the awards picture everyone was making it out to be. Warner Bros. stated the release shift was only a matter of reaching the biggest audience possible, but if they really felt that confident in their 3D Luhrmann Fest, it’s doubtful the film would’ve had a difficult time reaching a broad audience come Christmas. Now, we’ve received news which raises questions over whether Warners was one hundred percent truthful with their reasoning. Luhrmann is currently seeking outside funds to “complete” the film, with Warner Bros. unwilling to sink any more cash into the $127m project. Luhrmann is attempting to privately raise funds for both additional reshoots and to polish the film’s substantial amount of effects.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

Despite a Black List and an apparently-attached big star, the J. Blakeson-directed and Graham Moore-penned The Imitation Game will not be getting made at Warner Bros. Variety reports that the film’s “progress-to-production option had expired, and Warners has decided to not move forward,” which is Hollywood legalese for “the film was supposed to have started by this time, did not, and whoopsie, that was a clause in our agreement.” Producers Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky will now take the script to other studios in hopes that someone else will pick up the tragic story of the “father of computer science.” Warner picked up the film’s script back in October (paying a reported seven-figure sum), mainly under the assumption that Leonardo DiCaprio would star in it and that they film could be fashioned as an awards season contender. THR reports that DiCaprio’s interest in the project has now waned, and that was another factor in Warner’s decision to not renew their agreement. However, Moore and DiCaprio are still in business with WB for another project – Moore was set to pen an adaptation of “The Devil in the White City” for DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warners back in December.

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Okay, so maybe screen legend is pushing it, but it’s kind of hard not to get excited about the career resurgence that Matthew McConaughey has experienced in the past year. Remember all those years he was doing lame romantic comedies and cashing checks? Well, forget them, because hopefully that’s all over. This year the man famous for his bongos, his abs, and his southern drawl has already shown up in worthwhile projects like Bernie, Magic Mike, and Killer Joe, and now Variety has word that he’s keeping that momentum going by being the latest to sign on for Martin Scorsese’s next, The Wolf of Wall Street. You remember what The Wolf of Wall Street is, right? We’ve only written up about a thousand casting announcements for it so far. It’s Scorsese’s look at the real life adventures of decadent day trader Jordan Belfort, and all of the drug and adrenaline fueled shenanigans he got himself into back in the ’80s (you know, before he got caught being involved in illegal trading and money laundering and had to go to jail).

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Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made. Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.

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While my interest in The Walking Dead dropped off about halfway into the AMC’s television series’ first season, I’ve remained abreast of many of the machinations of the Frank Darabont-concieved zombie drama, including the fate of one of its most asshole-y and ultimately most interesting characters – Jon Bernthal‘s Shane Black. Spoiler alert – Shane’s not around so much, but it looks like Bernthal will continue to wreck total goddamn havoc on people and their emotions in his next role. Deadline Queens reports that the actor is set to co-star in Martin Scorsese’s currently-casting The Wolf of Wall Street. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as real-life New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who saw his life crumble after bad business and personal decisions (only to write a book about it). And nothing says “bad decisions!” quite like drugs, so Bernthal’s role is a pretty essential one – he will play a drug dealer and a money launderer in the film. Wait, drugs and money laundering? Yup, looks like Belfort’s life must have really imploded and Bernthal’s character most likely plays a huge part in that.

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