Spike Lee

goodbye-to-language-cannes-2014

Cinema’s Talking Animal Ids, Ranked

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“There are elements of Goodbye to Language you might find in any Hollywood movie — people arguing, a shootout — and even a dog, the director’s own. (Roxy wanders the countryside [“conversing”] with the lake and the river that want to tell him what humans never hear.)” writes NPR of Jean-Luc Godard’s new film. The director’s “meditation on love and history, nature and meaning” will be playing at New York’s IFC Center until November 4.

“One of the reasons the dog Roxy is very prominent in the film … is that he’s trying to get people to look at the world in a kind of an unspoiled way,” critic David Bordwell stated of Godard’s animal companion. ”There are hints throughout the film that animal consciousness is kind of closer to the world than we are, that language sets up a barrier or filter or screen between us and what’s really there. And although the film is full of language, talk, printed text and so on, nevertheless I think there’s a sense he wants the viewer to scrape away a lot of the ordinary conceptions we have about how we communicate and look at the world afresh.”

Animal-centric films tend to fall into the absurd or terrible categories, especially those where the beasts talk or act as a foil for a human character’s inner world. But Godard’s latest demonstrates one way directors can make the concept of the animal id work. Here are eight others, ranked for your convenience.
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Sandra Bullock and Kiefer Sutherland in "The Vanishing"

10 Terrible American Remakes of Great Foreign Films

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This week, the Criterion Collection unveiled a new Blu-ray edition of The Vanishing, George Sluizer’s critically acclaimed and bluntly effective 1988 Dutch thriller. But it’s also a film with a tainted legacy, as most American moviegoers are far more familiar with the inferior and ill-conceived 1993 remake, starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, and Sandra Bullock. Yes, it was another case of the disastrous American remake, and rest assured, for every Departed or Birdcage, there are three or four stinkers like these.
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Still from "Dear White People"

Dear White People: Go See ‘Dear White People’

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

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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.
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Still image from "Nymphomaniac"

10 Great Movies to Stream This Holiday Weekend

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

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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:
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Still image from "Boyhood"

The 25 Best Coming-of-Age Movies Ever Made

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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