Django Unchained

‘Django Unchained’ Plantation Transformed Into Major Slavery Museum With Strange Origin Story

“There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves,” Toni Morrison once said, explaining why she wrote Beloved, in an observation that inspired the Bench by the Road Project, which creates small memorials to African-American history. “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath, or wall, or park, or skyscraper lobby. There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road. There is not even a tree scored, an initial that I can visit or you can visit in Charleston or Savannah or New York or Providence or better still on the banks of the Mississippi. And because such a place doesn’t exist… the book had to.”

Decades after Morrison’s call and nine years after the founding of the Bench by the Road Project, a large museum commemorating the horrible realities of slavery has finally been built. Its origin story is fascinating and bizarre. … Read More

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Hacked Sony Email Confirms What Chris Rock Told Us About Racism in Hollywood

Let’s tread very lightly here. In a nutshell: Over the past several days, a group calling itself Guardians of Peace has released scores of files and documents attained via a massive hack of Sony Pictures, reportedly executed in protest of the company’s upcoming release of The Interview, a goofy comedy wherein Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent to assassinate Kim Jong-un. The initial leaks were harmless enough — high-quality downloads of Sony movies — but they quickly escalated to include salary spreadsheets, film budgets, unreleased scripts, medical records, passwords, contact information, and, most damningly, private email correspondences between Sony higher-ups. The whole thing is pretty awful. … Read More

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African-American Film Isn’t Having a Renaissance: Harvey Weinstein and the Myth of the “Obama Effect”

Earlier this week, while on record with the entertainment blog The Wrap, Hollywood producer and power-player Harvey Weinstein blithely declared, “It’s a great moment [for black films]… Hopefully it signals, with President Obama, a renaissance. He’s erasing racial lines. It is the Obama effect. It’s a better country. What a great thing.” … Read More

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Gorgeous Artwork Inspired by Your Favorite Modern-Classic Movies

Alice X. Zhang is a designer and illustrator with a love for movies, and that affection is clearly displayed in Moments, her upcoming solo show at the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn. Zhang’s gorgeous images masterfully capture the essence of such modern classics as Pulp Fiction, There Will Be Blood, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Moonrise Kingdom; here’s a few highlights from the show, which opens Friday and runs through the month. … Read More

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The 10 Most Painfully Awkward Moments of the 2013 MTV Movie Awards

At risk of putting too fine a point on it, complaining about the crassness and low entertainment value of the MTV Movie Awards is somewhat akin to complaining about the impersonal touch at your local whorehouse. While the show has yielded a few memorable moments over the years, it’s usually a vapid exercise in Twilight and Transformers recognition, wrapped up in the by now pro forma technical clumsiness and vaguely directionless air of any MTV live show. The 2013 MTV Movie Awards, which went out live (or not quite live, considering the number of Samuel L. Jackson’s “motherfuckers” that didn’t make it to air) last night, was about what we expected it to be: non-stop shilling for this summer’s big movies, back-patting for last summer’s big movies, awards for those who showed up (which is about the only way we can explain, as one example, Tyler Lautner beating Channing Tatum for Best Shirtless Performance), a few laughs and more than a few winces for host Rebel Wilson, and endless, endless vaguely patronizing thank-yous for “all the faaaaans” who voted for the winners. But beyond the expected yuckiness, there was awkwardness a-plenty, and our picks for the night’s most peculiar moments await you after the jump. … Read More

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A Beginner’s Guide to Spaghetti Westerns

Next week marks the DVD and Blu-ray debut of Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning tribute to his favorite of all cinematic subgenres, the Spaghetti Western. Ah yes, you might nod, unafraid to ask the follow-up question: And what, exactly, is a Spaghetti Western? The short answer — if you’re willing to allow the use of the term, which some of those who made these films take as a slam — is an Italian-made western made roughly between 1964-1973 (there were about 500 of them, give or take a few). But if you’d care to sound a little more informed than that at your next film-geek gathering (shut up, we occasionally gather), or if you’d like to use Django as a jumping-off point for a deeper exploration of these popular works, we offer another of our helpful Beginner’s Guides, this one giving you a brief overview of the practitioners and practices of the Spaghetti Western. … Read More

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Incredible Mondo Posters Celebrating the 2013 Academy Award-Nominated Films

We’re big fans of Mondo, the art division of the Alamo Drafthouse that creates limited edition posters honoring classic and contemporary films. They’ve also got a few vinyl movie soundtracks and VHS re-releases up their sleeves (and they sell tees). Mondo’s latest offering is a collection of posters tied to nominated movies in select Oscar categories. The Austin-based gallery was kind enough to give us a preview of some of the artworks, which we’ve featured in our gallery. Several regular Mondo contributors like Olly Moss, Tyler Stout, and Jay Ryan wooed us with their versions of Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom, Best Picture winner Argo, and more. Check out these beautiful posters, and then head to Mondo’s Twitter feed for purchase details. … Read More

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Sorry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Sometimes ‘B Movies’ Do Deserve Oscars

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is apparently America’s hottest new cultural commentator, so he’s followed up his out-of-nowhere Huffington Postreview of Girls with an Esquire post explaining why Django Unchained “shouldn’t be up for Best Picture.” Not because he disliked the movie, or was troubled by its racial politics or revisionist history — to the contrary, he “liked Django Unchained and has been recommending it to everyone.” He heartily applauds the acting nomination for Christoph Waltz, and finds Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washignton, and “Jamie Fox” equally commendable. No, the trouble with Django Unchained, writes Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, is that it’s not reputable and respectable enough for the refined Best Picture category. … Read More

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New Oscar Categories We’d Like to See — And Who We’d Nominate to Win Them

The Academy hasn’t added any new Oscar categories since Best Animated Film was established back in 2001; that was the first in 30 years. Every winter we discuss ways to spice up the ceremony, whether it’s new hosts or new production ideas or streamlining the handing out of the statues — but maybe it’s time to rethink the categories… Read More

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