Spike Lee

10 Potentially Career-Wrecking Films by Great Directors

If your weirdo cinephile friend is all in a tizzy today, there’s a reason: Sorcerer, the much-maligned, long-neglected, yet freshly re-appreciated Wages of Fear remake from director William Friedkin, is making its Blu-ray debut today (and finally getting a proper anamorphic DVD release as well). When the film was originally released back in 1977, it was a highly anticipated, big-budget effort from Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of The Exorcist and The French Connection. Unfortunately, its arrival in the moviegoing marketplace was preceded, by about a month, by a little movie called Star Wars, and that picture pretty much lay waste to everything in its path. It’s not a new story — filmmaking careers are made of highs and lows, and even the finest directors have seen falls that were difficult, or even impossible, to bounce back from. … Read More

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Clever Movie Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

Biting the heads off chocolate bunnies and determining the flavor of questionably colored jellybeans is fun and all that, but cinephiles know the best way to celebrate Easter is by geeking out over movie easter eggs. Yes, we’re talking about those inside jokes, hidden messages, and clever visual puns that filmmakers sneak into their movies so that obsessive fans and eagle-eyed viewers can win bragging rights. We revisited 10 clever movie easter eggs that you might have missed. Feel free to add your favorites, below. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: Max Brooks on the Secret WWI History of ‘The Harlem Hellfighters’

The 369th Infantry Regiment should be a legend: known as the Harlem Hellfighters, they saw action in World War I and never lost a a trench, a man through capture, or a foot of ground to the enemy. An all-black regiment, the Hellfighters were extraordinary soldiers in a bigoted time — sent to train in South Carolina with broomsticks, relegated to menial labor overseas, embedded with the French Army because the US wouldn’t let them fight side by side with white soldiers. The Hellfighters didn’t give up, volunteered for the most dangerous assignments, and left an incredible record on the battlefield, only to return home to a still-racist America. … Read More

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Spike Lee’s Posturing About Gentrification Helps No One

It’s been a whole month since Spike Lee spoke out about gentrification in Brooklyn, but never fear, he’s back on his soapbox about his favorite topic — specifically, he’s taken issue with A.O. Scott’s recent piece in the New York Times, which addressed the matter of gentrification in Brooklyn. Lee has of course been vocal about this subject in the past, and he posted a lengthy response to Scott’s article on his Facebook. … Read More

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Spike Lee’s Speech and the Problem With How We Talk About Gentrification

You may well have read by now about Spike Lee’s lengthy response to a question about gentrification during a lecture he gave at Pratt in honor of African American History Month (if not, the entire text is here — and, yes, everyone is, unfortunately, calling it a “rant”). As one might expect from such a polemic, there’s been a pretty polarized response to Lee’s views; depending on who you read, either he’s dead right or he’s talking out of his ass. The thing is, though, the current discussion about gentrification in NYC isn’t helping anyone, and the sort of rhetoric that Lee is throwing around is a prime example of why. … Read More

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10 Criminally Overlooked Movies by Great Filmmakers

Run the title King of the Hill by most people, and you’ll get a big smile for Mike Judge’s long-running animated series. But it’s also the title of a lesser-known entry in the Steven Soderbergh filmography — his excellent 1993 adaptation of A.E. Hotchner’s memoir, a film so widely ignored that it never even saw a DVD release. Until now, that is; Criterion has released King in a fantastic new DVD/Blu-ray edition, with bonus features including a whole other Soderbergh movie that’s even less celebrated. Click through for some thoughts on that film, and a few more unjustly ignored movies by our favorite… Read More

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10 Movies to Stream Before They Disappear from Netflix Instant

It’s not quite Streamageddon, but as you may’ve heard, Netflix apparently had some contracts that end with 2013, and thus we have one of the streaming service’s occasional purges of valuable catalog titles. And it would’ve happened fairly quietly too, were it not for good ol’ Reddit, where someone painstakingly checked out the individual pages for God-knows-how-many titles and came up with a list of nearly 100 movies and TV shows scheduled to disappear from Netflix Instant on 1/1/2014. There’s some genuinely great stuff in here, proving yet again that this whole “phasing out of physical media for ephemeral streaming that comes and goes as it pleases” thing should give us all pause, but there’s no time for that—there’s barely twelve hours of 2013 left, and you’re about to lose some great movies. So if you’re planning on making New Year’s Eve a movie night, here’s a few soon-to-expire suggestions: … Read More

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How Does Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Remake Stack Up Against the Original?

Shortly before Gus Van Sant released his inexplicable shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, there was a weird rumor going around that the entire project had been a fake-out — that it was only a remake until the shower scene, after which it veered off in a completely different, unexpected, and unexplored direction. In retrospect, that would’ve been a lot more compelling than the Xerox that Van Sant cooked up, and I couldn’t help but think of that story while watching Spike Lee’s new remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 South Korean film Oldboy. It’s not that Lee’s film is a slavish imitation of Park’s. It’s that when you’ve got a property like Psycho or Oldboy where so much of the impact is predicated on surprises at its conclusion, the already dubious duty of creating a remake can feel like even more of a lost cause. … Read More

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Charming Watercolor Portraits of Pop Culture’s Greatest Showdowns

Artist Scott Campbell (aka “Scott C.”) has a unique stock-in-trade: he creates downright winsome, child-like watercolors dramatizing the “great showdowns” in pop culture. In his collection Great Showdowns: The Return (out next Tuesday, with a foreword by Edgar Wright), he presents an all-new assortment of movie confrontations, drawing on everything from Hot Fuzz and Pulp Fiction to Teen Wolf and Nosferatu. And he was kind enough to share a selection of them with us; check them out after the jump. … Read More

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