Quentin Tarantino

Man with the Iron Fists

RZA punches someone’s eyeball out of its socket. That should be all you need to know to skip all this drivel and watch the red band trailer for the rapper’s directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists. Presented by Quentin Tarantino and co-writer Eli Roth, this kung fu flick looks bloody, ridiculous, and wonderful. It stars Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, Jamie Chung, Rick Yune, Daniel Wu and a host of others in a plot that seems more like an excuse for constant on-screen melees and an empty weapons rack. Seven warring clans…a shipment of gold…yeah, yeah, yeah. Just keep kicking metric tons of ass and turning your body into bronze. Check it out for yourself (and click to change the setting to HD while you’re at it):

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As many of you might have guessed, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is what one might call a craze-induced summer blockbuster. The United States’ 16th President hunting vampires is actually the least of the film’s bizarro nature; this is a film with a vampire throwing a horse and the weaponization of forks against confederate vampire soldiers. Making all of this a world audiences can buy into isn’t a simple task for an actor, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead and the rest of the cast  go about it as seriously as they can. Timur Bekmambetov made a very specific film, yet Winstead is acting in one of her own since, when 99% of the lunacy is happening onscreen, Mary Todd Lincoln usually isn’t around. When she is onscreen, Winstead faces another kind of challenge with her extensive makeup. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter marks another entry in Winstead’s career with a world-building director at the helm, and, speaking with us at the press day, that seems like the main appeal for projects such as these. Here is what Mary Elizabeth Winstead had to say about Timur Bekmambetov’s “idea machine” method of directing, the specificity in physical & dialog-driven action, and the strong life of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:

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No one would blame you if you were under the impression that Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained had finished casting, especially since we’ve seen no less than two trailers and rumors swirled that the film could have unfurled some footage at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, but apparently the film isn’t quite done lining up talent. Deadline Burlingame reports that Jonah Hill is now set for an unspecified role in the upcoming film. While we don’t know who Hill will play, we know who he won’t – Scotty Harmony, a part he was originally being looked at for when the production was initially starting casting. Harmony is “the kid who loses Django’s slave wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) to Calvin Candie, a charming but utterly evil plantation owner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, which sets up a showdown with Django, the former slave turned bounty hunter played by Jamie Foxx.” Even if we don’t know what Hill’s role will be, it signals the Oscar-nominated star’s continued wing-stretching when it comes to his works.

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Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds was one of the best films of 2009, if not the best, and it was also his first foray into history. He’s returning to theaters this Christmas with a movie that goes even further back in time to tackle our nation’s sordid past and present love of violent comeuppance and cameos. Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as a slave named Django who enters into a deal with a fastidious dentist (Christoph Waltz) for his freedom. If Django helps the good doctor find and identify some wanted men he’ll be granted his freedom as well as the chance at rescuing his wife (Kerry Washington) from a sadistic land baron (Leonardo DiCaprio). The film promises bloody violence and action, sharp dialogue and a dark sense of humor which is exactly the kind of movie you want to watch on Christmas. Check out the new international trailer below.

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Yesterday’s brief first look at Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained in motion was interesting and compelling enough to warrant a full post on it, despite the video being unfortunately over-laden with all sorts of Entertainment Tonight branding. That was certainly good news for fans of the auteur, but thirty or so seconds of minced-together bits from one of the year’s most anticipated films is just that – thirty or so seconds of minced-together bits. While we’ll have to wait until the end of the year to see the full film, Django‘s first full trailer has finally arrived, and – well, it’s certainly a Tarantino trailer. Surprisingly enough, this first look puts quite a bit of emphasis on Christoph Waltz‘s bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz, with Jamie Foxx‘s escaped slave Django playing a quiet second fiddle until things get really going towards the end. Of course, Leonardo DiCaprio pops up again as the evil plantation owner Calvin Candie, but he’s limited to much of what we already saw yesterday. Style, pop, flash, head nods, dead bodies, and a revisionist take on history, yes, this is a fine first look indeed. Watch it after the break.

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As is becoming scarily prevalent, Entertainment Tonight has nabbed a very cool first look at a film that most of their viewership probably don’t give a flying you-know-what about, but thems the breaks. This time around, it’s a first look at Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, and while this video spot is overlaid with bad voiceover, flying logos, and that zingy old ET jingle, buried underneath that is some great, great stuff. In less than thirty seconds, you’ll catch a first listen at Leonardo DiCaprio going Southern, a first look at some dazzling facial hair on DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Christoph Waltz, along with lots of shooting, winking, and nodding. You know, like any good Tarantino film. The spot doesn’t let you forget that tomorrow! tomorrow! TOMORROW! we’ll be getting a more sizable look at the film’s first scenes, but this is good enough for a watch right now.

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Based on very positive buzz from Cannes, thanks to some special footage airing, Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained is already picking up quite a bit of steam, so it’s no surprise that more marketing materials are surfacing. We’ll get our first look at the film’s teaser trailer when it plays in front of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus in a few short weeks, but for now, we’re just going to have to make do with some new stills from the film and just imagine all that snappy dialogue and shocking violence that Tarantino surely has in store for us. This new batch features glimpses of Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and a ton of guns and smoking. If that doesn’t scream “spaghetti Western!” to you, well, maybe you’re a traditionalist, but everything we’ve seen from Tarantino’s latest so far has been quite encouraging, and these stills are no exception. Check out a few more Django Unchained pictures after the break!

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Right from its very beginning, Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming spaghetti Western wannabe Django Unchained was a project whose casting rumors involved far more actors than could have actually been included in its cast. In addition to names being thrown around that just turned out to be wishful thinking, actors like Jonah Hill and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were said to be close to taking roles in the film, but ultimately never signed up due to scheduling conflicts. Even Kevin Costner, who had signed on to play the role of Ace Woody, eventually had to be replaced by Kurt Russell because of scheduling issues. What’s the deal with all of these scheduling issues? What does Tarantino have going on out there in the desert? There may be no hard and fast answers to that question coming, but what is clear is that, even though shooting on the film has commenced, two more names have now dropped out of the cast. The Film Stage brought to our attention that, during an appearance on Howard Stern, Sacha Baron Cohen announced that he wouldn’t be able to make his planned appearance in the film due to promotional commitments for The Dictator. Soon after, Variety’s Jeff Sneider broke the news on Twitter that Kurt Russell had also left the cast.

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Inglourious Basterds was one of 2009’s best films, and depending on who you ask (re: me) it’s also writer/director Quentin Tarantino‘s finest film to date. His first real foray into a period piece mixed World War II action and intrigue with memorable characters and performances, sharp wit and a smart script. The Academy Award-nominated result was also his highest grossing film worldwide. And now he’s back hoping to recreate that success with Django Unchained. Once again he’s pairing high profile actors and a historical setting, but this time his genre mash-up combines the spaghetti western with 70’s era blaxploitation. The film stars Jamie Foxx as a slave freed by a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) in exchange for help in catching and killing a pair of wanted men. Django’s ultimate goal however is to find his wife (Kerry Washington) who’s fallen into the hands of a dastardly fellow named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) whose plantation, Candie Land, is home to gladiator-like battles between slaves forced to fight for their survival. EW.com has just posted the first two pics from the film showing DiCaprio, Waltz and Foxx in character. Christmas Day can’t come soon enough.

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Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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Culture Warrior

A week and a half ago, Anthony Hemingway’s Red Tails was released. On the surface, the film breathes Hollywood oxygen through-and-through. It’s a WWII era action film that uses its setting for broad family-friendly cheese-banter and CGI-heavy eye candy rather than an opportunity for a sober interrogation of history. Red Tails looks and feels like any Hollywood film geared toward as mass an audience as possible. But the studio that’s distributing it – 20th Century Fox – didn’t pay a dime to produce it. The reported $58 million cost to make Red Tails came solely out of the pocket of producer George Lucas, who had been attempting to get a film about the Tuskegee Airmen made since the early 1990s. He was continually met with resistance from a studio system that saw anything less than the biggest guaranteed appeal to the largest possible audience as a “risk,” including a heroic true story about African-American airmen. The ideology that closed the doors on George Lucas of all people reflects the same business mentality that inspired Jeffrey Katzenberg’s lengthy warning to other studios in a memo written during the same years that Lucas was first trying to get Red Tails financed.  In the memo, Katzenberg warned studios regarding their practice of exponentially centralizing all their resources in a few very expensive projects, resulting in high risk, little room for experimentation, and an increasing reliance on that coveted monolith known as the “mass audience” (which, to make things even more complicated, now includes […]

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Quentin Tarantio

While looking through most critics’ best of 2011 write-ups, I mostly kept wondering when we were going to get Quentin Tarantino‘s list. His best of 2010 rankings had some odd picks, by most standards. And, to no real surprise, his 2011 list has some… unconventional picks as well. For example, Tarantino counts The Three Musketeers and Red State amongst the best, while Oren Moverman‘s fantastic Rampart made his worst section. You gotta give the man credit, he’s unquestionably got an acquired taste and stands out.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

I break Quentin Tarantino’s career up into two stages. The first stage consists of his first three films, which are all crime movies, are all set in L.A., and which all just feel very much like “Quentin Tarantino movies” (a genre unto itself back in the 90s, if you lump in all the pretenders). After those first three films, he took a pretty lengthy six year break, and then he came back and started exploring other genres, making movies that were largely homages to the B-cinema he enjoyed in his youth. While there’s a soft spot in my heart for most of Inglorious Basterds, in general I prefer that first stage of Tarantino’s career to what came after. And as far as that first trilogy of crime films goes, I think most people are in agreement that Pulp Fiction is the masterpiece. It was the one that broke down the doors of the movie industry and ushered indie filmmaking into the mainstream, and it’s the one most often referenced when people talk about his career; so I’m not going to focus on that one here. I’m going to focus instead on Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs, which was the film that first got heads turned in his direction, and which still gets mentioned right alongside Pulp Fiction as badass things from the 90s. And also I’m going to focus on Jackie Brown, which is kind of the forgotten Tarantino film. This is one that doesn’t get brought up much these […]

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It’s one thing when we’re talking about Alfred Hitchcock having a walk-through in every single one of his films, including one that exclusively takes place on a lifeboat (he appears in a newspaper ad for that one). Sure it’s eccentric but it’s not surprising because, well, they’re his films and he can appear in them as he pleases. What does strike me as weird is when a director shows up totally unexpected in someone else’s film. Usually there is a good reason – either they are producing the film or friends with the cast. However despite the later explanation, it’s still a bit jarring to see, say… the director of Kill Bill in an Adam Sandler comedy…

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Culture Warrior

The self-reflexive practices of the meta-film take various forms. On the one hand, there’s the legacy of cinephilic directors from Brian De Palma to P. T. Anderson to Robert Rodriguez who shout out to specific films through their in-crowd referencing, or even go so far as to structure entire narratives through tributes to cinema’s past. Then there’s “the wink,” those film’s, like this weekend’s The Muppets, who exercise cheeky humor by breaking the fourth wall and by constant reference to the fact that they are in a heavily constructed film reality. The third category is less common, but perhaps the most interesting. There has been a recent influx of films that don’t use past films to construct present narratives or engage in Brecht-light humor, but have as their central narrative concern the broad developmental history of the medium itself, from practices of filmgoing to particularities of projection, and anything in between. Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is a good example of this mode of meta-filmmaking, but more high-profile films have begin to make this turn, specifically by directors who formerly operated in the first (and perhaps most common) category, like Tarantino with Inglourious Basterds two years ago. Now Martin Scorsese has followed suit with the 3D love letter to early cinema and film preservation that is Hugo.

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Sacha Baron Cohen

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that would like to lend apologies to those who despise brevity. Tonight’s just not a quantity kind of night. It is, however, a quality kind of night. Quentin Tarantino is now officially on a casting binge for Django Unchained, reportedly signing up Sacha Baron Cohen to play a gambler who buys Kerry Washington as his companion, thus angering the titular slave played by Jamie Foxx. I love it when he plays the villain.

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All throughout the casting process of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained we’ve watched the director recruit big name actor after big name actor to fill out the male roles in his script. But there was one character who kept getting named, danced around, but never announced as being officially cast. We got news of the man who would be playing Django, the titular character and husband to Broomhilda. We got news of who would be playing Calvin Candie, the slave owner that kept Broomhilda under lock and key. Everything that happens in this movie seems to hinge on the character of Broomhilda, yet their hasn’t been much speculation as to who would be cast to bring her to life. Today that oversight ends, and most of the principle casting of Django Unchained seems to get wrapped up, with the casting of actress Kerry Washington in the Broomhilda role. Washington is a pretty face, who’s been known to do things like appear in L’Oréal ads, but she has a pretty lengthy film career behind her at this point as well. Perhaps most memorably she played the role of Kay Amin in The Last King of Scotland, and she’s even already had some experience playing Jamie Foxx’s significant other in Ray. Apparently the role took so long to fill because Tarantino was interested in casting an unknown for Broomhilda, but try as he might he just couldn’t find anyone to top Washington’s auditions. Despite the fact that Tarantino won’t be able to wow […]

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The casting news for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming foray into the Western genre, Django Unchained, just keeps getting better and better. Like a sports nerd amassing the perfect fantasy baseball team, Tarantino has been looking over the stats and picking out the most rock solid actors to fill key roles on his squad. Like a seasoned Dungeon Master, he has been amassing the Hollywood personalities with the most awesome points to accompany him on his quest. And Variety is reporting that the man is nearing yet another blockbuster acquisition. Now he’s in talks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt to join an already-excellent ensemble. Apparently Gordon-Levitt has every intention of working with Tarantino and joining this increasingly awesome-sounding movie, but there are some scheduling hiccups to work out. You see, JGL is a busy, busy man, and he’ll probably have to shift some stuff around in order to get his skinny little hinder on set when Tarantino needs him. If the two parties are able to work things out, it will see Gordon-Levitt joining a cast that already boasts names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, and Kurt Russell. That’s almost enough to make what Stallone is doing on The Expendables 2 look girly in comparison.

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“Hey Quentin, come sign this and we’ll give you some money.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s probably how it all went down. Upon inspection, it’s hard to miss the “Director Approved” sticker on the outside of the Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown Blu-ray releases. Signed, sealed and kissed with love by director Quentin Tarantino. It’s a slick piece of marketing by the folks at Miramax, who have released these through Lionsgate, to convince you that there’s something special about these releases. As if they were meticulously transferred to high definition in a dark room by the mad cinematic scientist who dreamed them up in the first place. I find that part hard to believe. In fact, it’s hard to believe that there’s much in these that wasn’t more than passed over by Tarantino. Does that make them a bad batch of Blu releases? Not exactly. There’s still plenty of love in owning Pulp and Jackie on a higher format, but that doesn’t exactly make them quite as special as that ‘Director Approved’ sticker suggests.

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It was recently reported that Kevin Costner was dropping out of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming revenge Western about slaves and slave owners, Django Unchained. Costner was supposed to play a mean old snake named Ace Woody who oversees a plantation and keeps the slaves in line using not so nice methods. It seemed like a great opportunity to give Costner a meatier, or at least more interesting role than he has had in a while, and I was pretty disappointed to hear that he wouldn’t be able to work with Tarantino. Sometimes I’m astounded at how fickle I can be.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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