Well, you wouldn't exactly have expected Spike Lee to be leading the cheers for "Django Unchained." The firebrand filmmaker has previously taken Quentin Tarantino to task over his use of the n-word, and while it's liberally used in QT's new slavery-era Southern western, that's far from the only thing that has Lee riled up -- even though he admits he has no intention of seeing it. "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors, to see that film," he told VIBETV. "I can't disrespect my ancestors. I can't do it. Now, that's me, I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody but myself." He later hit Twitter to add: "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them." Of course, Lee is hardly the only opponent of a film that looks set to generate continued discussion and debate. [The Playlist]
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The moment the guitar on Dick Dale's "Misirlou" struck on the soundtrack of "Pulp Fiction" and those giant titles slowly, methodically crawl up the screen, we knew we were in the hands of a master. And indeed, Quentin Tarantino had already established a unique ear for the songscape of his work two years prior in "Reservoir Dogs."
How about the fact that no one will ever use The Meters' "Cissy Strut" better than he did in "Jackie Brown?" Or how effectively the march of Ennio Morricone's "Rabbia E Tarantella" closes out "Inglourious Basterds?" What about Elle Driver's eerie whistling of Bernard Herrmann's "Twisted Nerve" theme in "Kill Bill" Vol. 2?"
The director's latest, "Django Unchained," takes a whole other step forward, adding four original songs to the usual mix of source music. Elayna Boynton and Anthony Hamilton's "Freedom" gets us going early on while the Morricone-penned "Ancora Qui" slows us down later.
And yet, none of these made our list of the director's "Greatest Hits" to date, showing just how expansive his work infusing music to image has been.
This year, like so many years before it, was overflowing with reality TV. But, amidst the usual screaming Housewives and singing competitions, a new niche really took hold in a substantive way. Yes, 2012 was the year of redneck reality, and just as you might expect, it's something you either love or hate. I'll admit that I veer into the love end of the spectrum pretty often (and a few of these shows even made my top ten). Some of these shows do tend toward exploitation, but more often they capture something sorely lacking in so-called reality TV these days; people who don't appear to be acting. It turns out a little reality in our reality TV can be compelling. Go figure.
The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle has also chimed in for "Argo" today, giving the film Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay honors. The group was in lock-step with the rest of the season throughout: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jessica Chastain, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anne Hathaway, etc. Check out the full list below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.
The Nevada Film Critics Society has added one more notch to "Argo"'s tally of Best Picture wins. The group tied Ben Affleck with "Zero Dark Thirty" helmer Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director and went in a relatively unique direction with its Best Actor call, opting for John Hawkes in "The Sessions." Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.
I've been saying for some time now that the Academy's cull of the foreign-language field from 71 to nine contenders would be a heartbreaker, and so it was.
Among the standout films eliminated from the competition after yesterday's announcement are: Australia's vivid, perspective-bending WWII tale "Lore," Belgium's wrenching domestic drama "Our Children," Hungary's brutal Berlin Silver Bear winner "Just the Wind," Mexico's disquieting conversation piece (and Cannes Un Certain Regard champ) "After Lucia" and Germany's acclaimed, elegant Stasi-era character study "Barbara." We salute them, and many others: here's hoping they find the international audiences (and, in some cases, distributors) they deserve in spite of this setback.
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has announced its list of nominees this year, with its own fair share of unique categories. The Best Film nominees were "Argo," "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty" (each also cited for Best Director). Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be announced next month. And, as always, keep track of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.
The Women Film Critics Circle has announced its annual…unique…slate of award winners. "Zero Dark Thirty" won three awards while "Lincoln" won two. And they have a bone to pick with "Killer Joe" and "Think Like a Man." Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.
I've been on board "The Impossible" since way back in August and still believe it to be part and parcel of a great year for movies. It's been getting a lot of buzz lately as it barreled toward release and now, it's out there for you to chew on. When you get a chance to do so, come on back here and tell us what you thought. And again, feel free to rate the film above.
I've been a little dismayed at the critical reaction to Judd Apatow's "This is 40" (one of Drew McWeeny's top 10 films of the year.) It feels like some had the knives out. I'm not a worshiper of the man's work or anything but his latest is, to me, his richest film to date. Perhaps it's about relating to it or not, I don't know. In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts, so cut loose with your take in the comments section below when/if you get around to seeing the film. And feel free to rate it above.
Taylor Swift’s “Red” will go into the Christmas holiday with a sure lead for the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week.
The album returned to the No. 1 spot last week for the first time since its October release and stayed there this week, despite a charge by Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox.”
However, it looks like there’s no doubt that Swift will remain at No. 1 next week, as “Red” is tracking to sell up to 295,000 copies. That tally gives it more than a 100,000-edge over its nearest competitors. As of Friday, One Direction’s “Take Me Home,” Mars’ “Jukebox” and “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head,” the new album from T.I., are all too close to call for the No. 2-4 spots. They are all projected to sell between 150,000 and 175,000 copies.
The picture is a little clearer when we get to No. 5, which looks like it will be Michael Buble’s “Christmas” album, with holiday sales of up to 160,000 copies. That album is closely followed by Rod Stewart’s holiday smash, “Merry Christmas Baby,” which will sell up to 135,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.
A compilation of tunes from “12/12/12: The Concert For Sandy Relief” will bow at No. 7, with up to 110,000 copies. The iTunes-only set features performances from such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and The Who. Not included on the tribute? Kanye West. Billboard tried to get to the bottom of why he is not on the tribute, but everyone they talked to declined comment. A source speculated that it was West’s decision not to be on the collection, although the magazine also posits that the fact that his contribution was 13-minute medley that couldn’t be broken up may have also contributed to the decision.
Rounding out the Top 10 are likely to be Phillip Phillips’ “World From The SIde Of the Moon” at No. 8, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 9 and Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” at No. 10.
One thing that’s arisen in this final season of “Fringe” as a topic of debate is just how much needs to actually unfold onscreen to engage audiences on either a practical or emotional level. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here, like anything else in a creative sphere. Through both conscious choice and external limitations, the show has skipped over large chunks of its overall storyline in order to get to its finish line. And the closer we get, the more than those gaps seem to be accentuated. “Anomaly XB-6783746” was an episode that nearly ground the season’s momentum to a halt only to kick things into major overdrive in the final moments. (I may need to adjust my neck from the whiplash, and not because it allows more sound waves to enter my ears.) To those still buying what the show is selling, filling in those gaps tonight might have been thrilling. To those less engaged with the show, filling them in might have been frustrating.