Spike Lee

Dear White People: Go See ‘Dear White People’

Justin Simien’s Dear White People is a dagger-sharp satire, a film filled end-to-end with tiny sticks of dynamite, each lit carefully with a gleeful smirk. If such violent metaphors contradict the generally tongue-in-cheek tone, it speaks mostly to the combustible quality of the topics here; like Network or Putney Swope, it feels dangerous, sparked by the charge of secrets told above a whisper. It marks the arrival of Simien (making his feature debut after a handful of shorts) as a major voice; it’s a joyfully confident picture, sophisticated, sexy, and wicked smart. … Read More

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The Fascinating 100-Year Journey of Black Cinema Through Its Film Posters

Reel Art Press’ Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art by John Kisch and Tony Nourmand is a centennial celebration of black film poster art. Part history lesson, part art book, the hefty volume features a foreword by scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and afterword by filmmaker Spike Lee. “The wealth of imagery on these pages is taken from The Separate Cinema Archive, maintained by archive director John Kisch,” the publisher shares. “The most extensive private holdings of African-American film memorabilia in the world, it contains over 35,000 authentic movie posters and photographs from over 30 countries.” The posters span the early race films (created for an all-black audience, featuring all-black cast members) to contemporary African-American historical dramas like Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. See a preview of this essential title in our gallery, with thanks to Juxtapoz, and then visit the publisher for more information. … Read More

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10 Great Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

The Labor Day weekend doesn’t begin until end of day tomorrow, but c’mon, who’re we kidding — you’ve already checked out for the week, and it’s time to start making plans. And while we know some of you (shudder) sociable types will be heading out to lakes and barbeques and such destinations to enjoy the end of another summer, we’re catering (as usual) to the shut-ins, who’re taking the three day holiday weekend to catch up on some long-delayed nothing-doing. So here are a few of the recent(ish) additions to Netflix and Amazon Prime to add to your holiday weekend viewing lists; just click the title link to watch them right now. … Read More

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10 Great Directors and the Composers They Couldn’t Live Without

The Criterion Collection’s must-have box set of the month is The Essential Jacques Demy, but that title may not be entirely accurate — it’s also, in many ways, the Essential Michel Legrand, since all but one of the set’s six films (the weakest one, natch) were made by the French filmmaker in partnership with musical legend Legrand. And Demy and Legrand’s frequent collaborations are far from unusual; throughout Hollywood’s history, distinctive filmmakers have paired with composers who were well matched to their style, and been loathe to work without them. Here are a few of cinema’s most memorable director/composer partnerships: … Read More

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The 25 Best Coming-of-Age Movies Ever Made

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood continues its seemingly inevitable move towards world domination, expanding to more theaters over the weekend and capturing the imaginations and hearts of even the most jaded moviegoers. Meanwhile, Naomi Foner’s evocative Very Good Girls also opened last weekend, with a welcome female take on that whole “becoming a grown-up” thing. In other words, it’s a very good time for the coming-of-age movie, where maturity is gained and lessons are learned and lifelong memories are made, so with that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few of our all-time… Read More

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‘Do the Right Thing’s’ 25th Anniversary: What the Hell Happened to Spike Lee?

Over consecutive Sundays, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, New York filmgoers had the opportunity to contemplate two very different Spike Lees. Last night, the filmmaker (and several members of his cast and crew) gathered at the closing night of BAMcinemaFest for a 25th anniversary screening (co-presented by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) of his masterpiece Do the Right Thing, a film that maintains its power, humor, and thoughtfulness after all these years. The previous Sunday, Lee appeared at the closing night of the American Black Film Festival to present his new, crowd-funded film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, a picture so bafflingly bad that it hardly seems the work of the same filmmaker. It seems as good a time as any to ask: what the hell happened to Spike Lee? … Read More

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