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Entries in Spike Lee (16)


Throwback Thursday FYC: Do The Right Thing (1989)

Could you imagine if this had actually happened in multiple categories including Best Picture, instead of Oscar embracing Driving Miss Daisy's retrograde race relations?

Imagine the 1989 Oscars with 'Spike Lee Joint' fever instead of a just two nominations (Supporting Actor and Screenplay) because they had to give it up somewhere for the critical darling. 

Imagine Rosie Perez dancing furiously to all the Best Original Song nominees !!! Fight the power, Rosie.

Think of the after-effects with Hollywood's most coveted prize going to a black film twenty-four years before 12 Years a Slave (2013).

See Malcolm X ride high in 1992 due to Spike Lee momentum and Denzel Washington clearing Oscar #2 long before Training Day and blocking Al Pacino's "hoo-ah"! (Pfeiffer would also have an Oscar, come to think of it)

Kim Basinger wouldn't have had any snub to get all righteously indignant about as she introduced one of the Best Picture nominees. Or would she have bitched about something else being all feisty that year.

The whole arc of history might have been changed*

*While I am not wholly serious, it's not like these things don't have after effects and during effects. Each Oscar decision affects future Oscar decisions and also the way people think of the movies in the long arc of cinema history.


Link a Prayer

Hello Cinema our friend Amir started a podcast on Iranian cinema. It's an interesting listen even if you know nothing about the topic, particular the first section on how Amir and Tina came to love cinema
Coming Soon Ellen Page will star in Queen and Country based on a comic book about a British intelligence operative
Comic Alliance on the petititon to cast an Asian American as Iron Fist in the upcoming Netflix series. This is SUCH a good idea, because that character was obviously envisioned as white for very problematic reasons given that he's totally tied to Asian culture.

Shadow and Act there's a Spike Lee box set coming this June which will include the first ever Blu-Ray of Summer of Sam so that's great news.
/Film an infographic on Hollywood disasters. They love destroying New York City but it's not the only city they ruin
Vanity Fair rejected movie poster designs for Gravity
House Next Door a look back at Madonna's most beloved song "Like a Prayer" which just turned 25 years old!
Kevin Maguire the X-Men do the Oscar selfie 
Playbill a history of Les Misérables which is reopening on Broadway. It just keeps coming back. 

Release Date News
Everest, that mountain climbing adventure with Jake Gyllenhaal and Zero Dark Thirty's Jason Clarke (among others in a fairly stellar cast) will hit IMAX and 3D screens on September 18th. In case you didn't hear James Gray's long delayed The Immigrant will open (finally) on May 2nd, nearly a year after its Cannes debut - nothing like striking when the iron is hot! And because they're just never going to stop and neither is Hugh Jackman despite his vague protestations, the X-Men have dates scheduled through 2018

And Today's Watch(es)
Kevin Bacon goes a little Footloose on The Tonight Show (looking pretty good for 55) and it turns out Jennifer Lawrence recorded not one but two lipsynch numbers for American Hustle. The deleted one is to Santana's "Evil Woman" - I'm not embedding it here because it starts playing without asking it to. That is NOT okay in embeddable videos.




MTV News hilarious bit w/ Julia Roberts and Josh Horowitz talking Jennifer Lawrence
Juan Luis Garcia writes an open letter to Spike Lee about Oldboy poster designs that are being used without the designer's permission. Horrifying story of freelancer abuse
Gawker collected the key floats and Roker silliness for Thanksgiving Day Parade ICYMI 
Variety Evan Rachel Wood vs the MPAA over a recent sex scene 

List Mania
Gurus of Gold we list nominations we'd be thankful for and update our charts
THR Feinberg's Forecast. It's exhausting to read all the stuff that happened this week. Once campaigning starts it's just impossible to keep up, right?
The Playlist on the Breakout directors of 2013 from Destin Cretton (Short Term 12) to Sebastian Lelio (Gloria)
Variety also reviewed the week from Jean Claude Van Damme's epic split stunt to Frozen on your phone
Vulture all the times Peeta messes up in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. LOL. Get it together, Josh Hutcherson! 


Review: Oldboy (2013)

Greetings, Dear Readers. Michael C. here. Since Nathaniel is on record as being emphatically NOT a fan of Chan-wook Park's original Cannes prize winner, I thought it fitting I, an enthusiastic Oldboy lover, would step in to review Spike Lee's hotly anticipated English language remake.

One of the smallest changes to Spike Lee’s American remake of Oldboy is the most revealing. A subplot involving hypnosis has been excised from the film. No doubt the filmmakers decided mass audiences wouldn’t accept such an outlandish plot device, but therein lies the fatal error. An Oldboy that comes anywhere near plausible reality is no Oldboy at all. 

Park Chan-wook’s original version pulsed with bonkers confidence, dancing on the edges of sanity, and, when need be, careening right over the cliff. In dragging the remake closer to the director’s realism comfort zone, this version has drained the story of the operatic pitch it requires.

Click to read more ...


Little movies we're looking forward to

Hi, it's Tim. Such a great time to be a cinephile, the end of summer. Venice is in full bloom, Toronto is so close you can almost taste it, and we can finally start talking about awards hopefuls in categories other than Visual Effects and Sound Editing.

But not right now. We all know the upcoming films that we’re supposed to be excited about for their artistry (Her), their awards prospects (August: Osage County) or both (Gravity). And we all know the movies that we’re probably going to end up seeing even though there’s no reason to be excited at all (The Hobbit: Get Your Smaug On). What I’d like to talk about for the moment is all the little stuff that nobody cares about, or at least not very loudly: films that aren’t going to make much of a ripple at the awards shows, on the critics’ lists, or at the box-office, but that I, personally, am looking forward to anyway. For the filmgoer cannot live on prestige alone.

September 13: The Family
To be fair, readers of The Film Experience have better reason to be aware of this movie than the population at large, since it stars Michelle Pfeiffer as the wife of a Robert De Niro’s ex-mobster in witness protection. Even so, the film is stuck with such a lousy release date that openly begs for us to overlook it in favor of TV coming back, TIFF wrapping up on the very same weekend. It’s an uncaring date for a movie that looks like it has to deserve more than that: Pfeiffer, De Niro, and Tommy Lee Jones are all three actors worth getting excited about, and the trailers have a broad sense of humor that nevertheless seems playful more than just dumb and hammy. To be fair, nothing in Luc Besson’s career suggests that he’s a good fit for the style of comedy that the film would appear to possess, but as a palate-cleansing lark before awards season starts in earnest, his unsubtle instincts could be just about right.


October 11: Machete Kills
Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, spun out of a one-off joke in Grindhouse, was junk. Absolutely tawdry, tacky junk, with pointless violence and naked Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Alba body doubles and all. It’s also totally hilarious in its over-the-top absurdity, and while there’s certainly not one blessed thing that’s respectable about looking forward to see more of the same cartoon slapstick violence and politically nuts plotting, I am looking forward to it anyway. Few filmmakers can reliably do the “deliberately stupid to be energetic and funny” thing, and Rodriguez has proven through the years to be one of the very best at it, and whatever else is true, his mindless action-comedy should be a nice change of pace surrounded by such deeply serious films as Captain Phillips, All Is Lost, and 12 Years a Slave.


November 15: Faust
A mere two years after winning the Golden Lion at Venice, Aleksandr Sokurov’s take on the famous German legend of a scientist making a deal with the devil finally shows up in North American theaters, though I don’t imagine that anyone living outside of the biggest cities will have any chance in hell of actually seeing it that way. A pity; a most grievous pity. Sokurov (whose best-known film, Russian Ark, is also his least typical) is an unsparingly severe art house kind of filmmaker, but everything he makes is the best kind of ordeal, pushing us right up close to human beings in the grips of intense emotion. Coming off of three stories about real-life men destroyed by their grasp for power, the tetralogy-capping Faust is exactly the kind of unique take on a deliberately clear-cut plot that has made all of the director’s work some of the most brilliant and challenging in current world cinema.

November 27: Oldboy
My initial hope was to pick one movie from each remaining month of the year, but there’s not anything in there that we can plausibly call “little”, unless I want to try and sell you on the idea that I’m some kind of savvy insider for looking forward to Inside Llewyn Davis. Instead, let’s go with the Thanksgiving release of a most peculiar mix of director and subject – so peculiar that it must be worth looking forward to, whether the final results are any good or not. Spike Lee remaking a notoriously dark South Korean action movie? And with Josh Brolin? It’s hard not to have your curiosity at least slightly piqued by that, and for all that he’s prone to getting into self-serving spats that don’t do anybody good, Lee is too gifted a filmmaker to ever write him off in advance. Frankly, if we had to have an American Oldboy, I’m deeply grateful that it was made by somebody with the visual instincts and ambition of Lee, rather than just a talented fanboy who’d undoubtedly make a flavorless carbon copy?

Now it’s your turn. What unheralded fall/winter releases are you looking forward to?


"The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint" Begins Filming

I've bitched about millionaires crowdfunding their projects already but I do want to say that of the three most egregious recent examples on Kickstarter, I'm most interested in Spike Lee's. I like that he's taken to social media with such enthusiasm, which negates some of the ickiness of crowdfunding by focusing on the its first syllable.

The film already has a promotional poster...

...and is about human addicted to blood because the vampire genre is so woefully underrepresented in current cinema.

Anyway, Lee reached his $1.25 million fundraising goal two days ago (a few days early) and by the time people were blogging about its success, the director had already started shooting and that kind of enthusiasm and commitment is as infectious as bloodlust in the movies!

Today he instagrammed this photo with the caption: "Shooting Opening Credit Sequence For The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint."

anyone know who these guys are? None are Spike's regular DP Barry Alexander Brown

Spike Lee makes great opening credit sequences -- Do the Right Thing did the right thing. And that's the truth, Ruth -- but this shot cracks me up because of the years I've spent searching for First & Last images. That series taught me that the biggest filmmaking cliche for opening shots is non-descript images of the sky or sea. 

Still... we can probably trust Spike Lee & team to mix it up. He makes fine title sequences and that's the truth, Ruth. Remember Do The Right Thing

I (will always) ♥ Rosie Perez.



Pajiba the highest grossing modern movie stars who've never made a sequel - interesting that there are so many!
The Wrap Chris McQuarrie to direct Mission: Impossible V. It'll be tough to follow Ghost Protocol so good luck
Art of the Title looks at neon Spring Breakers
Gold Standard Harry Hamlin on his Emmy nomination for Mad Men
Towleroad Spike Lee speaks about charges that he's homophobic based on his movies
Twitch Harvey Scissorhands is back! He wants 20 minutes cut from Snowpiercer. Hey, as long as they aren't Tilda Swinton's scenes... 

Salon takes Jay-Z to task for disrespecting Harry Belafonte and asks that hip hop's political sensibilities grow up a little
My New Plaid Pants Dominic Cooper posing for his life
i09 'Break the glass, Sam Rockwell, Break the glass!' He may be joining the new Poltergeist movie
Film Dr 10 shallow pleasures of 2 Guns
Cinema Blend on the generic-looking boxy head poster for Don Jon... undoubtedly a tough movie to sell... though I'm not sure I follow the assertion that the midwest can't relate to porn addictions. LOL. Speaking of the internet (and thus the world's) porn addictions...
Boy Culture have you seen this Ryan Gosling strip scene from The Place Beyond the Pines that's making the rounds? Gosling's disgust at being asked to strip in the clip is his rebuke to the internet pervily watching it!


She's Gotta Link It

Deadline Happy news! Billy Magnussen, who is fabulously funny on Broadway in Vanya & Sonya & Masha & Spike (I reviewed it) will play Rapunzel's Prince in the film version of Into the Woods
Variety I started with happy news because ABC Family cancelled Bunheads which is just killing me right now. Another singular piece of entertainment shuttered too soon because networks don't have the guts to support shows that aren't entirely formulaic and interchangeable with other shows concurrently airing. They say "we took extra time to try and find ways to bring the series back for another season" but I see no evidence that they did that. 
Signs and Sirens a provocative think piece on Melissa McCarthy's aggressive rise to the top of film comedy

Los Angeles Times RIP Actor Dennis Farina (Get Shorty, Midnight Run, Law & Order)  
AV Club bless them for publishing this list of 22 Best Picture winners that were released in the first six months of their years. This topic is dear to my heart and I'm always trying to sell it to Hollywood and nobody seems to believe me. Maybe people will believe the AV Club? 
New York Times on Woody Allen's gift with vivid female characters 
Cinema Blend The Freddie Mercury biopic is falling apart because surviving Queen members want it to be PG clean? Oy. Best that this project falls apart!
Movie City News David Poland does some thinking aloud about Netflix. I love reading about this even though he loses me once he starts getting into a fast food analogy. But I wish someone would address the issue of accessibility. I really am having nightmares about this post-Netflix world when suddenly it's so complicated to find movies again. For a short while, the first few years of Netflix it seemed like ANY movie was available for watching and for only one monthly price. It was heaven. Now it's constricting again and you have to really search for movies and pay per view instead of subscription fees. I hate it! I do not want to have to look at Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix and godknows what else every time I want to seek out a piece of Oscar history. Each new technology change we lose pieces of the history of the movies. It happened with VHS to DVD and it's happening now with DVD to the splintering market of Streaming. It saddens me. 

Another day, sorta disingenuous Kickstarter plea to get a rich celebrity funding for a movie that they claim they couldn't make within the system even though they got a lot of shit made through the system in years past!  Spike Lee is the latest millionaire asking his fans for cash. Now, I respect Spike Lee as a filmmaker far more than the guy who popularized this trend - Lee has made several provocative ballsy movies outside of and within the system that only he could have made. Some of his joints are even incredible movies (Do the Right Thing, 25th Hour) and even his failures tend to be interesting!

This is a mothafuckin body of work right here 

I like Spike Lee and  I am not against asking for money as my sidebar reminds but asking for money is for people who don't have it ;) People who earn a substantial living doing what they do -- should they really be the same ones shaking tin cans on the street? It's a distortion of the point of crowdfunding. The people who can't get movies made within the system are the ones that Hollywood doesn't know exist, not the ones Hollywood already supports with paychecks. I wouldn't find this trend so distasteful if even one of these celebrities would just speak the truth which is this:

'I COULD get the movie I wanted to make made within the system and get paid for it but it might take a longer time than I'd like and I heard this is an easy way to do it and I don't want to part with my own money  -- remember when Francis Ford Coppola went bankrupt with 'One From the Heart'? So just give me some, okay?

You know?