Friday, October 28, 2011

The Movie Blog: John's DVD pick of the week (October 25th 2011)

The Movie Blog: John's DVD pick of the week (October 25th 2011): Sorry for the delay. This week I chose a superhero flick its... Captain America: The First Avenger That's right the superhero flick (which...

John's DVD pick of the week (October 25th 2011)

Sorry for the delay. This week I chose a superhero flick its...

Captain America: The First Avenger
That's right the superhero flick (which ironically is the last of the Avengers to get his movie) is my pick this week. The other two picks out this week are Winnie The Pooh and A Serbian Film, I have not seen either film but will see them both at some time.

My vintage pick is... in honor of today's release of In Time, I'm recommending a movie that had four of the stars of this film appeared in before, it's called Alpha Dog. It's a very underrated gem and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amazing Race recap (10/23/11)

Sunday the 19th season of The Emmy winning series The Amazing Race continued airing
Road Block # 1 find a fish near a man and break it
The Speed Bump Liz and Marie had to do was having to wash an elephant
after that teams had to disassemble a spirit house
Road Block # 2 Reassemble the spirit house that was disassembled (the person who sat out the first road block had to do this one)
after that teams were given bread to feed to fish
Pit Stop was at the M.R. Kukrit Heritage House
Final Placings in this leg were
1st - Amani and Marcus (Won Trip to Bali)
2nd - Bill and Cathi
3rd - Ernie and Cindy
4th - Justin and Jennifer
5th - Andy and Tommy
6th - Laurence and  Zac
7th - Jeremy and Sandy
LAST - Liz and Marie (ELIMINATED)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amazing Race recap (10/16/11)

Last week I did not have time for a recap but Kaylani & Lisa went home.

Teams traveled to Phuket, Thailand.
The detour choice is
Coral construction - Teams had to build a nursery out of coral pipes, when they were done teams took a kayak and set it on the ocean floor
Beach Preparation - Teams had to set up 20 beach chairs and 10 umbrellas with a symbol
The road block was to climb a sheer rock wall to a bird's nest to get the next clue
The pit stop was at Koh Panyi floating soccer field
Team rankings were
1st - Andy and Tommy (won $5,000 cash each.)
2nd - Justin and Jennifer
3rd - Jeremy and Sandy
4th - Laurence and Zac
5th - Ernie and Cindy
6th - Amani and Marcus
7th - Bill and Cathi
8th - Liz and Marie (SAVED, Must do speed bump next leg)

John's DVD pick of the week (October 18th 2011)

Hey guys it's Tuesday therefore it's my DVD pick of the week. This week I chose a movie that was awesome IT'S

Red State
Thats right the Kevin Smith Horror flick is my pick of the week. Other films out are the blockbuster sequel Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Comedy Bad Teacher and the chick flick Monte Carlo.

My vintage pick is, in honor of this weeks release of Martha Marcy May Marlene, I'm recommending a film that came out last year with a similar tone, it's Winter's Bone, it's a decent film worth seeing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: What's Your Number (**)

I saw the promos for this pic when I saw "Crazy Stupid Love" and "Our Idiot Brother". It seemed kind of funny, so I took a chance on it tonight.

I'm not a big fan of the bubbly blonde genre, nor do I frown upon it, but the film seemed to have lots of sexual references, almost too many for a character like Anna Faris's "Ally Darling". In this regard the film is a bit of a disappointment as it dove immediately to uninhibited descriptors of sex, as opposed to building up to those moments where Anna's character has to blurt out the obvious. But hey, it's a chick flick rom-com, so you can't really fault it too much, because it does mean well.

I can't say I laughed too much at this film, but laugh I did, and I truly wanted to laugh more, but the humor bounced from raunch to intellectual, with some shades of gray in-between. So it was that I found myself hard pressed to absorb and laugh at all of the sexually oriented humor, but nor was I a prude in that department, as I could very much appreciate some of the finer points of sex-gags.

Some of the alleged romantic moments seemed way over the top. So much that one wonders why they were put in there to begin with. And casting Colin Shea as the hunky yet uninteresting neighbor who might be a sleaze, seemed a bit of a stretch. Particularly when Ally's past suitors physiques pail in comparison to her sleuth-neighbor.

The other stretch is the notion that perky cute blonde living on her own in Boston would have a hard time finding mister right. But, it's a movie, so we take the premise for what it is, and either go with it, or shrug and begrudgingly accept what is put forth.

Technical marks all hit their cues. There're some interesting shots here and there, and one wonders how they got some of those. Otherwise this film isn't about great cinematography nor sound, just about a quirky little girl in a highly explicit verbal-sex film. Now, having said that, I think the delivery and editing of some of the lines (not to mention some of the lines themselves) could have been better executed, for the film does feel a bit flat in act I, and doesn't really pick up until a third of the way into act II.

Still, it is what it is. Not a film I'd go see again, something I might rent in the future just to see what went into making this film.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

John's DVD pick of the week (October 11th 2011)

Hey guys it's that time of the week again. This week I chose this year's winner of the Palme D'or at Cannes It's
The Tree Of Life

That's right the Terrance Malick directed Brad Pitt/Sean Penn starrer is my pick this week. Other big releases include the comedy Horrible Bosses, The family comedies Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer and Zookeeper, and the mediocre Superhero flick Green Lantern.

My vintage pick is: in honor of this weeks releases of Footloose and The Thing, I'm recommending a handful of 80's remakes and reboots, they are The A-Team, Clash Of The Titans, The Karate Kid, and My Bloody Valentine, They may not be masterpieces but they are worth watching.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: The Ides Of March (***)

Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is a razor-sharp, rising star political media consultant. Presently, he is working on Pennsylvania Governor Mike Morris' (George Clooney) campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Steve-o has only one man above him, overall campaign manager Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The two consult each other daily. The governor has a single chief competitor, an Arkansas senator with his own astute adviser, Tom (Paul Giamatti). At the moment, the Ohio primary is looming and the staff is working out of Cincinnati. One of the governor's lower-level workers is beautiful Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), the daughter of the present head of the National Democratic Party. Only 20, she is just learning the ropes. One day, she makes a pass at Stephen and he responds positively. But, he makes it clear to her that politics is his passion and, especially, Mike Morris, his idol. Indeed, Morris is handsome, smart, and appears to speak sincerely and clearly to potential voters. Yet, very soon after their first encounter, Molly drops a bombshell on Stephen. It is a stunning piece of news, one that could knock the earth off its axis. Also, amazingly, Tom has been courting Stephen to "switch sides" while a respected, determined journalist, Ida (Marisa Tomei) is eager for any and all campaign stories. A cauldron of conflicting genuine and perceived realities is brewing. What will be the result? This is a fine film, based on a stage play, and directed by Mr. Clooney. While the story is more predictable in nature, the script has some great lines and Clooney's direction is quite, quite admirable. This is particularly true of the performances he draws from the cast, with Gosling, Hoffman, Giamatti, Tomei, Clooney himself, and especially Wood giving great turns. All the film's amenities, from sets, costumes, and camera work, are also nice. If you are a discriminating film buff, who loves quality flicks with ample discussion points, then I'd suggest you see Ides at your earliest convenience.

Review: 50/50 (***1/2)

Adam (Gordon-Levitt) is a rule-following, mild-mannered twentysomething who lives in Seattle with his girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas-Howard), and works at Seattle Public Radio. His life takes a sudden and dramatic turn when he is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has taken over his spine. A laidback kind of guy, Adam handles each hurdle with surprising ease and levity while engaging in somewhat helpful counseling from Katie (Anna Kendrick), a young psychologist the hospital assigns him. Before long, though, his complex relationships with Rachael, his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), and his needy mother (Angelica Huston) become even more convoluted with the introduction of chemotherapy and medicinal marijuana into his life. As the severity of his condition increases, Adam begins to reassess his life, his relationships, and the nonplussed façade he uses to get himself through.

The inevitable comparisons between "50/50" and 2009's "Funny People" are unfortunate. While I stuck up for "Funny People" more than most of my colleagues, even I will admit it is an incredibly flawed film that misses the mark on many levels. "50/50", then, plays out a bit like what "Funny People" should have been, right down to the performance of Seth Rogen. It is, first and foremost, a very funny movie and that is where "Funny People" first went awry. You can't make a comedy about cancer, or any other serious illness for that matter, and fail to produce a genuinely funny script. Laughs come often and organically. I also quite liked that writer Will Reiser (who based his script on the events of his own battle with cancer) makes it clear early on that he intends to laugh at cancer and if you're not up for that, you're in the wrong theater. That is not to say that the disease itself or the havoc it wreaks on Adam's life is disrespected or ignored; in fact, "50/50" gives a fairly realistic view of the hell that is aggressive cancer and the sometimes even more aggressive treatment. "50/50" is bold but soft, a combination that works well.

The dialogue between the characters in "50/50" flows with tremendous ease, especially in the scenes involving Adam and Kyle. This dynamic between JGL and Rogen is the meat of the film and the two play it out brilliantly. They have a chemistry that Anne Hathaway only wishes she could develop with…well, anyone. (That was an unnecessary shot at Miss Hathaway. My apologies.) They reminded me of the type of friendship I might have with any one of my closer pals if we cursed more and occasionally smoked pot. Adam's other relationships are a bit awkward but whether this was done on purpose or not, it serves the narrative well. In my mind he would have a tense partnership with Rachael because they're clearly not suited for each other and any furtherance of his friendship with Katie beyond doctor-patient would be a bit odd.

All of the supporting actors hold their own. As spot-on as I might have been with JGL all those years ago, I would have never guessed, after reluctantly watching "Twilight", that Kendrick would be an actress whose performances I truly look forward to. This isn't quite to the level of her work in "Up in the Air" but it is good and believable nonetheless. Huston's character seems a bit over-the-top in the early going but the depth of her character comes to light in the late stages and Huston pulls it together splendidly. And Rogen gives what might be his best performance to date. To be fair, I'm not much of a Rogen fan so I'm far from an expert on his value as an actor. But whereas he was completely outclassed in "Funny People" and pretty much plays the same character in almost every film, he shows a little more strength in "50/50" than he ever has before (with the possible exception of "Knocked Up"). I actually liked him and I haven't felt that way toward him very often.

But of course, the weight of "50/50" rests almost entirely on the shoulders of JGL and he holds up to the challenge. One of the best compliments I can give an actor is to say that he and his character become one and the same. That's what JGL does here and that's why "50/50" succeeds. He envelopes himself into the Adam character and makes his portrayal incredibly believable. It is almost like watching a documentary on a young cancer patient. Adam handles his disease with class and dignity but not without emotion. His outbursts are few but powerful and through them JGL sells the story beautifully. Simply put, this guy is a star and "50/50" serves as the announcement of such to those of you who didn't already know this to be fact.

"50/50" is honest and at times tough to watch but never purposefully harsh or depressing. In fact, it is generally positive but in a way that isn't all sunshine and unicorns. It is smart, hilarious, and even touching while all the time remaining respectful of the audience's ability to relate to difficult circumstances without artificial emotional fishing. It is an excellent film marked by one outstanding performance that deserves the attention received come Award Season.

Review: Drive (***1/2)

It seems to be the case nowadays that film audiences, particularly at this time of year as the summer winds down, are left with a choice of seeing the latest broad appeal movies filling the multiplexes, or venturing to the local independent cinema in search of more intellectual fare. Very rarely will a film transcend these boundaries and offer a mix of Hollywood-style action and art-house flair, which is what makes Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive so unique and something to be celebrated.

Drive tells the story of an unnamed stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) moonlighting as a getaway driver for a crime syndicate run by Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks). Seemingly a loner, the driver becomes involved in the life of his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son Benicio (Kaden Leos). After agreeing to drive for Irene's newly paroled husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), and finding himself on the wrong side of assassination contract, the driver embarks on a mission to protect Irene from the vicious gangsters who would seek to harm her to get at him. It's a well-worn plot line which in the hands of someone less adept than Refn would likely be nothing more than a forgettable thriller, yet the massively talented director, who picked up the Best Director prize at Cannes this year for Drive, crafts an engaging and thrilling throwback film elevated by masterful performances across the board.

Refn, previously known for the fantastic Bronson, and the lesser known but equally excellent Pusher trilogy, is a man who has very clearly studied his Kubrick. Certainly most modern directors could do worse than imitate the style of one of history's greats like Stanley Kubrick, but rarely does one pull it off with the skill of Refn. In Bronson, the influence was a little more obvious, with the resulting film seeming like something of a spiritual successor to A Clockwork Orange. With Drive however, the traces are a little more subtle, visible in the impeccable technical touches, and the use of dissolves, pensive long takes, and slow zooms, a hallmark of Kubrick's catalogue. Drive is a flawlessly crafted film, filled with beautiful imagery of the Los Angeles underworld seen more often in the work of Michael Mann.

The technical achievements of Drive are more than matched by the acting of the entire cast, and Refn shrewdly selects a wide variety of performers to populate the story. Top notch support comes from Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, the ever dependable Ron Perlman, and particularly Brooks, who jettisons his familiar comedic persona in a truly frightening and villainous performance, which will surely be on the radar of voters come awards season. Mulligan shows characteristic heart in a largely overlooked role, yet the film unquestionably belongs to Gosling. Often heralded as one of the finest actors of his generation, in Drive Gosling delivers his best work yet as the driver; a quiet role that is all the more effective due to the subtlety of the performance. He displays an ability to ratchet up the tension using just the slightest widening of his eyes and tensing of his jawline, and when the character is pushed to act more forcefully, Gosling transitions from almost silent observer to brutal aggressor so swiftly that it leaves one breathless. It's work that he makes look easy, yet it's the most focused performance seen in an action film in quite some time.

There's something undeniably retro about Drive, with its neon opening titles and 80s infused soundtrack, but the film seems remarkably fresh. Smart action filmmaking is so hard to come by these days, so Drive delivers refreshing variety, beginning the time of year when the so-called prestige pictures are released with a bang.

Review: Moneyball (***)

I recently saw Moneyball and thought the movie was quite great. The storyline is intriguing to say the least and though a lot of people already know the plot the movie made it come to life. The cast was great and specifically Jonah Hill, who usually does a great job in comedies, should get nominated for best supporting actor in it. It is nice to see him make a switch to a non-comedic role and I am sure this will greatly help his acting career.

This is one of those rare movies that everyone should like, whether they are sports fans or not. The story is so interesting that it could not have been made up and the original author of the book was well represented in the screenplay. I read some commentary that this might not be as big as The Blind Side overseas because a lot of people aren't in love with baseball, but I think this appeals to all people even if they are not a fan.

Overall, I think Sorkin did a wonderful job with the movie and picked a perfect cast-he has definitely been on a roll lately. Although I saw a matinée, I would have even liked it had I paid full price for my tickets. So, enjoy... :-)

Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love (***)

I wasn't sure if I wanted to see this movie at the theater,but I am really glad I did. The characters are well played out, not very likable at first, but after you get to know the cast, you really feel for everyone. I thought Julianne Moore & Steve Carrell had great chemistry with their relationship. Super script, nice directing, great casting with Robbie, the son. This movie will surprise you at how good it is. I loved how you saw the characters at work, at home, at the bar & with their friends. This was very well played out & comes together in the end extremely well. Ryan Gosling is very hot even when he is sleazy. Great date night movie!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Contagion (***1/2)

So what comes to mind when you think of a disaster movie? Is it gigantic alien invaders? Is it volcanoes exploding and flooding the land with lava? Or is it the world ending in some fiery, cosmic, or overpowering natural force way? Regardless we've seen various movies that have tried to destroy the human population in flashy, explosion filled ways. However, one movie that released this weekend called Contagion has decided to approach the threat of human extinction in a different way. Was it worth it? Well read on to find out.

Okay let's face it, when I first saw the trailer I couldn't help but think that this movie was going to be nothing more than a boring and over-dramatic remake of the movie Outbreak. About thirty minutes into the film however, I was proved wrong as the tale unfolded into something much deeper. As the trailer pointed out, the plot of Contagion centers on a mysterious virus that suddenly appears in a few random cases, making the doctors think that it's nothing more than a common virus. The opinion soon changes however, when cases across the world come pouring in and many people begin experiencing the symptoms. Soon the experts begin working out a solution to the virus causing the disease, but the fear and paranoia filling the general public begin causing major problems, which could be even deadlier than the virus.

However this tale is really split into two different scenarios one involving Matt Damon and his family and the other on Lawrence Fishburne and his team dealing with the silent killer. Both of these tales were, too my surprise, actually pretty interesting with their pace and drama balanced to a healthy level. Perhaps what made this movie come to life was the great acting by Fishburne and Jude Law. The two actors played the head of the health team and the weasel journalistic respectively, fighting each other to the vary core. While one is trying to pool all his resources into combating chaos, the other continues to increase it with his articles. As the two combat one another, the rest of the supporting cast, most of who are on Fishburne's team, attempt to do their part in surviving in the panic filled world. I'll mention here that Kate Winslet and Jennifer Ehle fans will be happy with the roles played by these starlets, while fans of Damon and Paltrow will be disappointed as their roles are much more diluted and calmer than what we've seen in the past.

Now although the acting was good, the biggest factor that gave this movie character was how the crew made your imagination fill you with fear. The combination of the camera-work, layout of the scenes, and dialog all combined to create a believable scenario about a world caught up in an epidemic. Instead of the flashy explosions, scream filled close-up death scenes, and high speed outrun natural disaster scenes, the virus instead silently travels across the world and you don't know who it's going to strike next. As a result, I was caught up in suspense at hoping my favorite characters would not succumb to the virus or be taken out by someone plagued with fear. Regardless despite not being able to see the killer, the virus may in fact be one of the scariest killers I've seen in a long time.

The other factor that I thoroughly enjoyed were the realistic steps and actions portrayed in this film that were used to combat the epidemic. The science, governmental laws and regulations, propaganda, and many other factors I felt were pretty accurate, and I was able to follow and understand what they were doing. I'm not going to lie that my favorite parts to this movie were the scientific explanations about the virus, which I was able to understand, but lets face it I'm a geek. Regardless I'll warn you that people who don't like science or bureaucratic processes will not like these scenes.

Now lets get to the weaknesses of this movie that I wish to share with you. The first thing is that this movie is very sad at parts and people who don't like depression will want to avoid this movie. The movie is not afraid to show the dying victims up close and personal, which can either tug at your heartstrings or make you sick. Germophobes as well will want to stay away from this film, as their fears will only be amplified by some of the focused shots of the victims leaving the virus on various surfaces. I guess the only other weakness I can say is that for an action-thriller, which this movie is classified as, there is not a whole lot of action. Again there are no high-speed chases, suspense filled acrobatics and climbing expeditions, or giant CGI natural disaster attacks. Those looking for said characteristics should choose another movie.

Contagion is one of the better disaster movies I have seen in a long time. The good acting, well angled shots, and ability to use the audience's imagination to paint the fear kept me deep into the movie and kept me surprised through most of the movie. However I do have to say that the focused portrayal of death and the emotions that came with it were not my cup of tea. So until then I welcome constructive criticism and hope you have a fun time at the movies!

Shirley MacLaine to recieve AFI lifetime Achievement Award

Following in the footsteps of this year's honoree Morgan Freeman, Shirley MacLaine has been tapped by the American Film Institute as the 40th recipient of its Life Achievement award.
And it's an achievement that is well deserved.
Not only has MacLaine sustained a viable career in Hollywood for decades, but the 77-year-old thesp is also an Oscar winner (among many other things).

After making her film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry in 1955, the Valentine's Day actress later went on to win an Academy Award in 1984 as Best Actress for her performance in Terms of Endearment.
To date, MacLaine has nabbed six Academy Award nominations, six Emmys nominations
But that's just one entry on MacLaine's long list of awards.y noms and seven Golden Globe Awards, and she's even managed to squeeze in the time to become an established author, most recently penning the book I'm All Over That–And Other Confessions, which was published in April.
"Shirley MacLaine is a powerhouse of personality that has illuminated screens large and small across six decades," Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI's board of trustees, said in an announcement for her selection. "From ingénue to screen legend, Shirley has entertained a global audience through song, dance, laughter and tears, and her career as writer, director and producer is even further evidence of her passion for the art form and her seemingly boundless talents."

And MacLaine's success appears to run in the family. Warren Beatty, MacLaine's brother, also received the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, making them the second family in the history of the award to 
have multiple honorees (Kirk Douglas and his son Michael were the first, honored in 1991 and 2009, respectively)

Review: Red State (***)

OK. So after reading the other reviews and deciding to watch this based on the positive reports, I feel compelled to offer a more realistic review.

First of all, this is not the masterpiece it's made out to be. A lot of Kevin Smith fanboys seem reluctant to give him a bad review.

So here we go, it's a bit of a mess really. It seems to be getting a lot of praise for switching genres but honestly, it just comes across as confused. Yes, the performances are pretty good and some of the camera work is exceptional (the escape/chase scene is noteworthy) but overall it's almost like three films in one. This might sound like a good thing but not the way it's presented here.

And as for everybody trying to get clever over the title, the meaning is pretty clear to me. It refers to both the political and the government angle that the authorities can lock any suspected terrorist up for an indefinite time. A la communist/red states.

Overall, some good performances, memorable dialogue and decent cinematography fail to save this confused mess.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

John's DVD pick of the week (October 4th 2011)

Well it's Tuesday, sorry for the delay but I picked a fun flick it's

Fast Five.

That's right the action packed flick is my pick this week. Other picks include The horror sequel Scream 4, the nature doctumentary African Cats, and the blu ray release of The Lion King.

My vintage pick is - in honor of this weeks release of The Ides Of March I'm recommending George Clooney's best directorial outing it's Good Night and Good Luck, check it out if you get a chance

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Apple issued the following statement today that Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56 due to complications from pancreatic cancer:

We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.

Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Amazing Race Recap (10/2/11)

Sunday was the second leg of the 19th cycle of The Amazing Race. This week the teams traveled to Indonesia, they had to fly and take an overnight train. When they got there they had to do a roadblock, the roadblock one person had to go in a cave and find a mask and a sword. The detour was a choice between money maker or ticket taker. In Money make teams had to put on a costume and dance and collect 30,000 rupees. In Ticket Taker teams had to valet park scooter bikes and collect 15,000 rupees. In both detours they had to donate the money made and all money they had in possession to an orphanage, teams were not allowed to check in usless they did that. The order before teams turned back, bold means team didn't have to turn back.

1st - Ernie and Cindy
2nd - Liz and Marie
3rd - Bill and Cathi
4th - Andy and Tommy
5th - Jeremy and Sandy
6th - Justin and Jennifer
7th - Amani and Marcus
8th - Laurence and Zac
9th - Ethan and Jenna
10th - Kaylani and Lisa
11th - Ron and Bill

After teams turned Back
1st - Andy and Tommy (won trip to Ireland)
2nd - Laurence and Zac
3rd - Kaylani and Lisa
4th - Ernie and Cindy
5th - Liz and Marie
6th - Jeremy and Sandy
7th - Bill and Cathi
8th - Justin and Jennifer
9th - Amani and Marcus
10th - Ethan and Jenna (ELIMINATED)
11th - Ron and Bill (ELIMINATED)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kurt Russell Replacing Kevin Costner in Django Un Chained

Quentin Tarantino is reuniting with two actors he's worked with before. Kurt Russell who starred in Tarantino's Death Proof, is in talks to replace Kevin Costner in the filmmaker's Django Unchained while Kill Bill Vol. 2 co-star Laura Cayouette is on board as well, says Heat Vision.

They will be joining Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz,Samuel L Jackson Gerald McRaney and Dennis Christopher in the film that's scheduled to start shooting in November for a December 25, 2012 release.

In the film, Django (Foxx) is a freed slave, who under the tutelage of a German bounty hunter (Waltz) becomes a badass bounty hunter himself. After assisting Waltz on taking down some bad guys for profit, he is in turn assisted by Waltz in tracking down his slave wife and liberating her from an evil plantation owner (DiCaprio).

Russell will be playing a character called Ace, a man who oversees the plantation in a ruthless manner and who relishes punishing slaves. Costner had to drop the role two weeks ago due to schedule conflicts.

Cayouette will play DiCaprio's widowed sister, a southern belle who co-owns the plantation.