‘Les Miserables’ vs. ‘Django Unchained’: Box Office Battle (POLL)

It’s Oscar slummin’ time at the movies as Hollywood rolls out its primo slate of films, but despite a handful of new titles across the marquee, it’s all about the French Revolution and the Civil War South this weekend. The big-budget adaptation of Broadway’s favorite child, Les Miserables, is pitting its cannons and bayonets against Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti-western six-shooter, Django Unchained.

Which film will sing a victorious ballad and which will lay buried in a shallow desert grave?

Directed by Tom Hooper, the filmmaker behind The King’s Speech, the latest theatrical rendition of Les Mis combines a star-studded cast with high-cost Hollywood production value. The end result is a wonderfully performed rendition of the classic story with critically acclaimed turns by Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman.

Watch Celebuzz’ interview with Jackman about the challenges of bringing the musical to the screen:

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Hooper’s direction, however, makes the film feel a bit like a well-funded stageplay with the camera filming from the point-of-view of the audience. With a series of close-ups and wide, sweeping shots, the production never truly figures out a way to present these songs in a uniquely cinematic fashion. The film looks and sounds spectacular without necessarily taking full advantage of its medium.

Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, makes full use of his cinematic toolbox to bring the story of a former slave and a German bounty-hunter to life in Django Unchained. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio, Django tells a tale of pre-Civil War revenge in purely Tarantino fashion. It’s likely one of his finest – and certainly funniest – films that strikes a smart balance between the near-comic absurdity and inhuman brutality of American slavery.

Check out Celebuzz’ interview with Django actor Sammi Rotibi:

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Showcasing action, comedy and drama with a smart soundtrack and a striking series of cinematic visuals, Django Unchained is the absolute pick-of-the-week for lovers of old-school Westerns or Tarantino in general.

Let Celebuzz know what you’re planning on seeing this weekend with your vote above, and talk about why you want to see these box office brawlers in the comments below!

‘Django Unchained’ Co-Star Sammi Rotibi Says Quentin Tarantino’s Latest Handles Slavery in a ‘Tasteful, Funny Way’ (VIDEO)

Throughout his career, Quentin Tarantino has often courted controversy – violence, language, and even the very subjects of his films have attracted criticism and debate. In Django Unchained, Tarantino tackles no less than America’s history of slavery with his first “Southern,” which one of the film’s co-stars, Sammi Rotibi, says addresses it in a remarkable, unique way.

“When I read the script, it was funny,” Rotibi told Celebuzz. “Honestly, I’ve never read a script where they used so many n-words, but it was written in a really tasteful way, a funny way.”

Although the film is set in the antebellum South, and focuses on a slave (Jamie Foxx) who is offered his freedom in exchange for helping a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) track down three fugitive siblings, Rotibi said that it has a decidedly sweeter focus than its premise suggests.

“It’s really a love story between Django and Broomhilda, it just so happens to be back in the slave trade,” he said.

“Obviously I feel offended at certain things that happened back then,” he said when asked if he had any concerns about playing a slave, even in a film written and directed by Tarantino. “But I really enjoyed the script and I just felt fortunate to be a part of this. I think it kind of also reminds you of what happened, but it does it in a light way.”

Django Unchained opens nationwide December 25. Watch the film’s theatrical trailer below.

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‘Django Unchained’ Co-Star Sammi Rotibi Says Quentin Tarantino’s Latest Handles Slavery in a ‘Tasteful, Funny Way’ (VIDEO)

Throughout his career, Quentin Tarantino has often courted controversy – violence, language, and even the very subjects of his films have attracted criticism and debate. In Django Unchained, Tarantino tackles no less than America’s history of slavery with his first “Southern,” which one of the film’s co-stars, Sammi Rotibi, says addresses it in a remarkable, unique way.

“When I read the script, it was funny,” Rotibi told Celebuzz. “Honestly, I’ve never read a script where they used so many n-words, but it was written in a really tasteful way, a funny way.”

Although the film is set in the antebellum South, and focuses on a slave (Jamie Foxx) who is offered his freedom in exchange for helping a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) track down three fugitive siblings, Rotibi said that it has a decidedly sweeter focus than its premise suggests.

“It’s really a love story between Django and Broomhilda, it just so happens to be back in the slave trade,” he said.

“Obviously I feel offended at certain things that happened back then,” he said when asked if he had any concerns about playing a slave, even in a film written and directed by Tarantino. “But I really enjoyed the script and I just felt fortunate to be a part of this. I think it kind of also reminds you of what happened, but it does it in a light way.”

Django Unchained opens nationwide December 25. Watch the film’s theatrical trailer below.

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‘Django Unchained’: What Do The Critics Think About Tarantino’s New Film?

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino follows up his Oscar-nominated Inglourious Basterds with another must-see movie angling for awards attention: Django Unchained.

Equal parts bloody and brilliant, Tarantino’s tenth film follows the titular slave (Jamie Foxx) as he teams up with dentist-cum-bounty hunter Christoph Waltz on a journey to free Django’s wife from villainous plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Tarantino veteran Samuel L. Jackson leads an ecclectic supporting cast that includes Don Johnson, Jonah Hill and Justified’s Walton Goggins.

Tarantino’s brand of violence and quotable dialogue, coupled with a scary good performance from DiCaprio, have the critics saying that Django is one of the year’s best. But is it Tarantino’s masterpiece?

Devin Faraci, BadassDigest

“Fist-pumpingly exciting and blood-boilingly provocative, Django Unchained is very much a spiritual sequel to Inglorious Basterds. If there’s a single complaint to lodge against the film it’s that at nearly three hours Django Unchained is too short… How many three hour long movies feel like not enough? Only the very best ones.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“The film’s greatest problem is that, especially in the second half, the Django character gets a bit lost in the shuffle… Foxx doesn’t project the sort of charisma that the lucky few have to rivet audience attention even when they’re doing nothing, so when he’s not the center of attention, he seems withdrawn and not that interesting.”

James Rocci, BoxOffice.com

“Django Unchained is a sharp shock of a film in an Awards season very full of movies so noble they become immobile. It’s wildly unlikely to get much love from the Academy, and that’s fine – bluntly, it’s too good for them. Django isn’t just a movie only America could make – it’s also a movie only America needs to.”

Alison Willmore, Movieline

There’s a good movie inside Django Unchained, maybe even a great one, but it hasn’t been carved out of the lopsided excess. There’s no pressure on or expectation for Tarantino to please anyone other than himself…”

Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Accept Django Unchained on its own gonzo terms and it’s a marvelously enjoyable piece of subversive entertainment — for a little while… This one overstays its welcome, but not before the filmmaker reminds us why we love him.”

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‘Django Unchained’: What Do The Critics Think About Tarantino’s New Film?

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino follows up his Oscar-nominated Inglourious Basterds with another must-see movie angling for awards attention: Django Unchained.

Equal parts bloody and brilliant, Tarantino’s tenth film follows the titular slave (Jamie Foxx) as he teams up with dentist-cum-bounty hunter Christoph Waltz on a journey to free Django’s wife from villainous plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Tarantino veteran Samuel L. Jackson leads an ecclectic supporting cast that includes Don Johnson, Jonah Hill and Justified’s Walton Goggins.

Tarantino’s brand of violence and quotable dialogue, coupled with a scary good performance from DiCaprio, have the critics saying that Django is one of the year’s best. But is it Tarantino’s masterpiece?

Devin Faraci, BadassDigest

“Fist-pumpingly exciting and blood-boilingly provocative, Django Unchained is very much a spiritual sequel to Inglorious Basterds. If there’s a single complaint to lodge against the film it’s that at nearly three hours Django Unchained is too short… How many three hour long movies feel like not enough? Only the very best ones.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“The film’s greatest problem is that, especially in the second half, the Django character gets a bit lost in the shuffle… Foxx doesn’t project the sort of charisma that the lucky few have to rivet audience attention even when they’re doing nothing, so when he’s not the center of attention, he seems withdrawn and not that interesting.”

James Rocci, BoxOffice.com

“Django Unchained is a sharp shock of a film in an Awards season very full of movies so noble they become immobile. It’s wildly unlikely to get much love from the Academy, and that’s fine – bluntly, it’s too good for them. Django isn’t just a movie only America could make – it’s also a movie only America needs to.”

Alison Willmore, Movieline

There’s a good movie inside Django Unchained, maybe even a great one, but it hasn’t been carved out of the lopsided excess. There’s no pressure on or expectation for Tarantino to please anyone other than himself…”

Eric Kohn, IndieWire

“Accept Django Unchained on its own gonzo terms and it’s a marvelously enjoyable piece of subversive entertainment — for a little while… This one overstays its welcome, but not before the filmmaker reminds us why we love him.”

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Jamie Foxx Credits Former ‘Django Unchained’ Star Will Smith for His Acting Career: ‘He Told Michael Mann, I’ve Got to Have That Guy’

Jamie Foxx returns to the big screen this Christmas in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, in which he stars as the title character, a freed slave set on rescuing his wife from a bloodthirsty plantation owner (played by Leonardo DiCaprio).

Django is a plum role which Foxx is hoping will return him to Oscar glory after winning a statuette for Ray back in 2004. It’s also a role Foxx nearly lost to Will Smith.

“I didn’t find out about it until it was actually on the internet and it said, ‘Will Smith to be slated to do Django‘,” Foxx told journalists.

When Smith dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, the role went to Foxx — who promptly called the Men In Black actor, thanking him for the opportunity.

Foxx credits Smith for giving him a break in the industry back in 2001, when Smith pushed director Michael Mann to hire Foxx for the role of Muhammad Ali’s trainer, Bundini Brown, in Ali.

“He told Michael Mann, ‘I’ve got to have that guy,” Foxx recalled. “Michael Mann was like, ‘I don’t know who that guy is.’ So this is another way of him giving me an opportunity.”

In Django Unchained, Foxx’s Django partners with bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Their journey leads them to Candyland, a sprawling plantation owned by Calvin Candie, (Leonardo DiCaprio) whose favorite past time is pitting one slave against another in bloody fights to the death.

In his first meeting with Tarantino, Foxx talked about his upbringing in racially charged Terrell, Texas. “Me playing the piano, all the Christmas parties in the big white neighborhood,” Foxx reminisced. “And I was furniture, meaning that the people there were doing jokes about blacks.”

Foxx had high praise for costars Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio, who wowed his sister when she visited the set.

“Here’s the good looking guy that sometimes you see in the tabloids,” said Foxx. “But this guy comes to work, he knows everything – and even when he is off camera, still giving the performance.”

While most movies about slavery involve a white guy rescuing African-Americans, there’s often a moment where a slave is poised to exact bloody revenge but instead surrenders to his better nature.

“I should kill you but I won’t, and God wouldn’t like that,” is how Foxx explained the usual scenario. “This one is like, ‘I’m going to kill you in front of everybody.”

Can such an iconoclastic take on this dark chapter of American history garner Foxx his second Oscar? If so, he would be the first African-American to be twice honored for Best Actor.

“Well someone has to open that door,” smiled Foxx. “I call it ‘eating pizza.’ When you eat a pizza, do you say, ‘Wow, this is from Italy?’ Or do you just eat the pizza? So I wanted it to be where you were just eating a pizza, where if a black person is nominated, or an Hispanic person is nominated, or whatever it is, it’s just eating pizza. And hopefully someone doesn’t make something out of the pizza. If we could get to that, we are good.”

Watch the theatrical trailer for Django Unchained, and let us know what you think of the movie in the comments below!

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Movie Buzz: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Update, Christoph Waltz In Talks for ‘Muppets 2,’ Imogen Poots Feels ‘Need For Speed’

With Hollywood still recovering from Disney buying Lucasfilm, Wednesday proved to be a slower than usual newsday.

But a few notable items managed to get our attention.

Read on for updates on Star Wars: Episode VII, a film adaptation of Stephen King‘s Cell and The Muppets sequel.

1. Luke Skywalker Knew About Episode VII Before We Did

Actor Mark Hamill met with George Lucas over the summer to discuss early plans for a new Star Wars trilogy, Hamill told Entertainment Weekly on Wednesday.

Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, told the magazine that he had lunch with Lucas and Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, where Lucas broke the news.

As to whether or not Hamill has any insight as to the plot of the upcoming films, the actor is as in the dark as we are.  ”[Lucas] was just talking about writers and the fact that he wouldn’t be directing,” Hamill revealed to EW. “I guess he wanted us to know before everybody else knew. He said, ‘Now you can’t tell anybody!’ [laughs] Even now I’m nervous about saying anything. I just don’t know!”

2. Christoph Waltz In Talks For The Muppets Sequel

Christoph Waltz, best known for his Oscar-winning performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, is in talks to star in the sequel to 2010′s The Muppets.

Waltz will play an Interpol inspector in the Europe-set sequel, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Wednesday. THR also reported that The Muppets director James Bobin will also return to helm the sequel.

3. Imogen Poots Feels Need For Speed

Fright Night actress Imogen Poots has landed the female lead in Dreamworks’ Need For SpeedThe Hollywood Reporter announced Wednesday.

Poots will star opposite Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul in the adaptation of the popular video game series. Speed will be directed by Act of Valor helmer Scott Waugh.

4. Zero Dark Thirty Release Date Pushed

Sony has bumped the release date of Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s much-anticipated thriller about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

The film will now open wide on Janurary 11, Entertainment Weekly reported on Wednesday. Thirty will open in New York and Los Angeles on December 19, as part of an Oscar-qualifying run.

5. John Cusack to Headline Stephen King’s Cell

The next big-screen adaptation of a Stephen King novel just scored its leading man.

ScreenDaily.com reported Wednesday that John Cusack will star in Cell, which centers on a cell phone call that turns average citizens into very violent, blood-thirsty people.

King will co-write the screenplay with Last House on the Left screenwriter Adam Alleca. The film is currently searching for directors.

Do you want to see Mark Hamill turn up in the new Star Wars movies? Excited for Waltz joining the Muppets? Sound off in the comments below! Also, before you see Waltz with the Muppets, check him out in the trailer for Django Unchained below.

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‘Django Unchained’: Jamie Foxx Gets Medieval on Slaveowners in Quentin Tarantino’s Revenge Thriller (VIDEO)

The second official trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained suggests a staid, corseted period drama that will offer a nuanced, sober-minded, historically accurate depiction of the thorny complexities of slavery in the antebellum South… Nah, just kidding, it looks like a badass, ultraviolent, revenge-minded, revisionist-history spaghetti Western that should do for the pre-Civil War era what Inglourious Basterds did for World War II: blow it up real good.

Unlike the first trailer, released in June, with its deliberately anachronistic’70s-funk soundtrack that made the movie look like a typical Tarantino guns-and-guts joint that happened to be set in the 19th century, the new trailer is backed by mournful horns and distorted guitars that make the footage look more like the spaghetti Western Tarantino’s been promising, something along the lines of a Sergio Leone epic like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The new trailer also offers some new surprises that help flesh out the plot.

From the first trailer, we knew that Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave acquired by bounty hunter King Schultz (Basterds Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz), who offers Django his freedom in return for his help in hunting down the elusive Brittle brothers. Along the way, the pair determine that Django’s long-missing wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) now belongs to sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and that freeing her from his clutches will be their most dangerous mission.

In the new clip, we learn more about the wicked Candie, including the fact that he stages gladiatorial fights between his slaves. We learn that his house slave Stephen (Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson) is quick to suspect newcomers Django and King. And, in a bit of comic relief, we meet Jonah Hill as a member of a proto-Ku Klux Klan posse who has forgotten his hood and wonders if anyone else brought an extra one.

Most of the rest of the trailer is gunfire, explosions, and bloodletting, but staged with the kinetic excitement and inventiveness that Tarantino fans have come to expect. Through it all, Foxx stays unnervingly quiet, as if he’s busy mentally adding up the likely psychic and emotional toll of unleashing his justifiable fury.

What do you think? Does the clip make you excited to see Django Unchained when it opens on Dec. 25? Let us know below.

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