Django Unchained: The Cast Talks DiCaprio

Hear from director Quentin Tarantino and the Django Unchained cast about Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in this new featurette:

Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a slave freed by the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, in order to help him seek a band of criminals that only he has seen. As the two develop a friendship, their focus shifts to freeing Django’s wife from the evil plantation owner Calvin Candie, played by DiCaprio.

Kerry Washington, Walton Goggins, Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers), Don Johnson, James Russo, Bruce Dern, and Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street) also star.

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is in theaters now. So watch the film, then deck out your desktop with a Django Unchained wallpaper.

Presenting The Top 10 Animated Movies of 2012

Animation had a stellar year in 2012 and the method to the artistic madness took many forms: From stop-motion, computer generated and hand-drawn, artists had a field day with the releases of the last 12 months. The genre also pushed the boundaries of storylines with the format showing that it is for audiences of all ages with its complex emotional landscapes and powerful, well-drawn out characters.

So, who is number one?

10. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith and David Schwimmer returned to their parts as escaped zoo animals struggling to find their way home. For the third installment in the series, the gang gets out of Africa and heads to Europe in search of those pesky penguins that they believe, hold the key to their triumphant return to the Central Park Zoo.

Chris Rock in Madagascar 3
The film was even funnier and zany — if that’s possible — than the previous two incarnations and has us looking forward to a fourth. And the fact that Rock did his Afro Circus dance in this Madagascar 3 clip only further enhanced our love of the flick.

9. Ice Age: Continental Drift
It’s hard to believe that the Ice Age gang have made four films, but with Continental Drift those prehistoric characters keep finding ways to entertain us. The cast, Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary, all are finding things changing. The world is starting to split apart (thus the title) and during one emotional scene, families are violently separated by a seismic shift. Our Ice Age Continental Drift review states that the film series is more for kids than adults, unlike many on this list, and that is exactly who filmmakers direct their storylines and humor.

8. The Secret World of Arrietty
Japanese anime finds its way to the Top 10 Animated Movies list for the first time. Disney took the Asian film and dubbed American actors over the action, including the iconic Carol Burnett. As shown off in The Secret World of Arrietty trailer, the animation is of the most beautiful we’ve seen all year.

7. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The U.K. animation studio behind Wallace and Gromit do it again with a quite English-based humor fest that takes on the ripe for the spoofing world of pirates. Not above spoofing other movies as well, check out the purely U.K. humor that is shown in this The Pirates! Band of Misfits Titanic trailer. Hugh Grant voicing the inept pirate at the center of the film has us wanting more from this sassy seaman.

6. Rise of the Guardians
DreamWorks animation scores their second film on our countdown with Rise of the Guardians. The studio wisely centered their first teaser for audiences on their lead character, shown off in the Rise of the Guardians Jack Frost trailer. Chris Pine’s role is the audience’s view into the world where Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Sandman all work together to ensure the fantasy world of children remains unaltered. Spectacularly drawn and wildly original, DreamWorks hopes that the film will be part of a series.

Rise of the Guardians Cast
5. Hotel Transylvania
What an original idea! Selena Gomez voices Dracula’s daughter and as her character is turning 118, she seeks to have her father (a stellar Adam Sandler, yeah, we know!) fulfill his promise of letting her go venture into the world. The only problem is the world hates monsters. That is why Dracula built his titular establishment as a place where monsters can get away and forget the world who seeks their destruction. As evidenced by these hysterical Hotel Transylvania quotes, it as fun for adults as it is children.

4. Frankenweenie
Tim Burton’s latest film is a full length feature based on one of his first. Frankenweenie tells the story of a boy and his dog and what lengths the child will go to bring his beloved canine back to life when he unexpectedly dies. Burton’s cast of characters are as pitch perfect as ever and the director has scored his best work in years. Check out our Frankenweenie exclusive wallpapers for more inside the film.

3. Wreck-It Ralph
Disney animation had us with the very first Wreck-It Ralph trailer. We were enthralled by the idea of staying with the video game world, long after the arcade closed at the end of the day. Ralph is the bad guy in a video game called Fix-It Felix and after 30 years, he’s a little tired of being bad. What’s a guy to do? Why not jump out of his game and try his hand at being a hero in others. Impeccable visuals, a scene-stealing turn by Sarah Silverman and it all added up to one of Disney’s finest works in years.

2. Brave
Pixar headed to Scotland and came back with the story of a Scottish princess who cares more about riding her horse Angus and shooting her bow and arrow than thinking about marriage. Unfortunately for her, at Merida’s age, it is time to think about nuptuals and the carrying on of the royal legacy. Brave surprises by becoming not exactly the princess story you’d expect and the message here is pure Disney: Love your family, warts and all.

1. ParaNorman
The creative team behind Coraline return to stop motion and further push the boundaries. A story of the ages, for all ages, follows a young boy (Norman) who can see and hear the supernatural as they live (and die) around us. As the ParaNorman trailer teased, this is an artistic world with human and monsters created from a quite different palette. It gets points for originality, artistry and a story that compels right up to the final credits.

Promised Land Review: Fracking Brilliant

Matt Damon has a new writing partner in John Krasinski for Promised Land, but still it’s easy to tell that the voice he used crafting Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck has only intensified in the years since. Damon and Krasinski have penned a tale that could not be timelier, as we see in the Promised Land trailer.

Matt Damon Rosemarie DeWitt Promised Land
As President Obama mentioned on the campaign trail, when it comes to American energy independence, scientists have reported that there is enough natural gas below the ground in this country to power us for over a century. In Promised Land, Damon is Steve Butler, a big time natural gas company employee whose job is to persuade locals (mostly in rural areas) to lease their land for fracking.

Fracking is the process of excreting the natural gas from the soil. It involves tearing up the land to get the drill where it needs to go, hundreds of feet below the surface. Damon’s character comes armed with money and promises of profit percentages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is an enormous debate in this country currently between the companies who want to drill for the gas and environmental groups who say fracking lays the land barren for any future use and worse, makes it toxic.

Butler, along with his partner Sue Thompson (the always amazing Frances McDormand), believes that this particular small town that serves as our story’s locale is theirs for the taking. That is until Krasinski shows up. His Dustin Noble is aptly named as he seeks to educate the community as to the risks of leasing land to this corporation.

The town opposition arrives in the form of Hal Holbrook’s Frank Yates. It’s nice to see after decades the legendary actor still gives performances as biting as he does in Promised Land. He’s a science teacher who knows all too well about the process of getting natural gas and the harm it can produce. And Rosemarie DeWitt charms as a local school teacher who has an personal interest in both Damon and Krasinski.

Director Gus Van Sant knows how to effectively shoot Damon’s words, as the star told us in our Matt Damon interview. He was the helmer on Good Will Hunting and two have done it again on Promised Land. These people and their issues are painstakingly real while still solidly entertaining.

John Krasinski Promised Land
Van Sant spotlights the difficult decisions these citizens are facing, mirroring what is going on right now across our land. The economy has hit them hard and the promise of easy money is too alluring to resist. Yet, knowing that their land may be forever ruined has many asking questions and in the hands of Van Sant, it is a right versus wrong story where which side is what is still being determined by science and commerce.

The motion picture is a solid first effort on behalf of two young writers in Damon and Krasinski. Like Damon did with Affleck before — as evidenced by brilliant Good Will Hunting quotes — he and his co-screenwriter paint a picture that is about as pure as it comes.

That is saying something for a movie that centers on an issue that is so enormously grey at the moment.

The Avengers: Go Behind the Scenes of an Epic Shot

A new video has dropped showing us how the visual effects team on the Avengers put together the massive where all the heroes fight as a team across New York City. Take a look:

Visual Effects Supervisor Jason Smith talks about the incredibly complicated process of combining still images, film, and CGI to make one smooth shot. The process involved shooting Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Chris Evans as Captain America all on separate green-screen sets.

The Avengers earned over $1.5 billion in theaters worldwide, breaking numerous box office records in the process. The sequel is already in the works, with Joss Whedon returning to direct, and a release date set for May 1, 2015.

In the meantime, individual films from the Marvel Universe will be hitting theaters. Iron Man 3 opens May 3, Thor: The Dark World opens November 8, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for April 4, 2014.

Weekend Movie Preview: December 28, 2012

There may be only one new film opening this weekend, Matt Damon’s Promised Land, but since seven new films arrived in the last week, to paraphrase what one TV network used to say, “It’s mostly new to you!” Movie Fanatic takes a look at all of the films that burst onto audiences’ radar in the last week that are at the heart of our last Weekend Movie Preview of 2012.

Promised Land: Matt Damon and John Krasinski co-wrote this timely film about natural gas drilling in the U.S. and the ongoing debate that has galvanized rural areas across the land. As we explore further in our Promised Land review, Krasinski and Damon have penned a powerful piece of film that was made that much better by the expert hand of director Gus Van Sant.

Released in the last week:

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino storms back into theaters with a guns-blazing movie with a touch of social consciousness, well not that much social consciousness. The story of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) and the bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who bought and freed him is a classic within the Tarantino filmography. For more on the film, check out the Movie Fanatic Django Unchained review.

Les Miserables: One of the, if not the, most popular musicals of all time gets the big screen jump it so sorely deserves. Anne Hathaway will break your heart and Hugh Jackman leaves his action hero persona behind and shows the world the movie musical force of nature that he is. The Les Miserables review is proud to report that fans of the iconic stage production will be thrilled.

The Guilt Trip: Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen hit the road and although they may hilariously bicker, there is a huge heart at the soul of this film. Our The Guilt Trip review also states that going in one would think that the film would put you in the mood to put some distance between you and mom, but in fact it is the opposite. You’ll leave the theater and want to call her ASAP.

Jack Reacher: Tom Cruise hopes for another franchise and the verdict is out whether Jack Reacher is it. The film based on the wildly popular books took a chance in the casting of Cruise, as he looks nothing like the titular hero. The film itself has solid action, but misses a few notes and has a supporting cast that is not even remotely fully developed. Check out our Jack Reacher review for more.

The Impossible: Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts portray real life parents of three kids who arrive for their dream vacation on the very beach where the 2004 Thailand tsunami would hit hours after they land. It is a harrowing true story that is expertly crafted and delivered in such a manner that it does not exploit the horror. Instead, as stated in our The Impossible review, the film is a love letter to the human spirit and the bond of family.

Parental Guidance: Billy Crystal got this project going and his fingerprints are all over it. He stars with Bette Midler as a pair of grandparents to a trio of kids they hardly know. Seems their daughter (Marisa Tomei) doesn’t think they have an ounce of responsibility. When she and her husband have to go away for a weekend and are left with no other options, they call in the grandparents and hilarity ensues. Well mostly… as revealed in our Parental Guidance review.

This is 40: Judd Apatow crafts a sequel to Knocked Up, but instead of focusing on the current affairs of Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen, he instead focuses his camera on the “happily” married couple from that film played by Paul Rudd and his real-life wife Leslie Mann. The This is 40 review finds lots to like about Apatow’s latest endeavor, not the least of which is the performance of his daughter, Maude Apatow.