Tag Archives: martin

Ryan Coogler’s ‘Black Panther’ Is A Cultural Phenomenon Because We Made It So

A week after its release in theaters across America, director Ryan Coogler’s new Marvel comic-adaptation, Black Panther, is still setting box office records. The film is the 5th highest domestic debut of all time, and the highest grossing February release in history, with a staggering $202,003,951. It earned more in just 3-days in theaters than any other film featuring a black director and predominantly black cast with an impressive worldwide opening weekend gross of $350 million. The success of the film has not only shattered age-old myths surrounding the “unpopularity” of all-black ensemble movies in Hollywood. It is also changing the way Hollywood, and America at large, view films that deal primarily with black and African American culture. But why is Black Panther such a big deal for America and not simply just another superhero movie with a hero who happens to be black? Continue reading

Has The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Changed In The Years Since #OscarsSoWhite

2018 oscars

The nominations for the 90th Annual Academy Awards were released last week and met with mixed reactions. Some were ecstatic, others were disappointed, but how many were surprised? The Academy has been attempting to present itself in a new light in the years since a slew of all-white nominees was presented in the Best Actor category at the 2015 ceremony. Despite the #OscarsSoWhite movement that followed, the same thing happened the next year, sending organizers into a furor that found them completely revamping the membership list in the hopes of getting more diversified nominations. Although the 89th ceremony saw some changes in terms of the voting body, it seemed more like a desperate attempt to show change rather than a legitimate attempt to actually change. Now, in the age of #MeToo, this year’s nominees also fell shy of expectations. Continue reading

Golden Globes Celebrate #MeToo Movement and 2017’s Achievements in Film

golden globes 2018

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards didn’t see any misread Best Picture announcements. Instead, host Seth Meyers was booed for his Harvey Weinstein jokes and Oprah Winfrey gave a stirring speech while wearing black in order to support the #MeToo Movement that has shaken Hollywood, hopefully for the better. Celebrities male and female alike took to the red carpet in (mostly) all black attire to show support and solidarity in the cleansing of the industry after moguls like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Jeffrey Tambor were accused of sexual misconduct by a multitude of women. The purging of Hollywood, however, did not take the spotlight away from the achievements we saw in film in 2017. Continue reading

Oscar Contender ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Is Now Playing In Theaters

Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s latest dramatic dark-comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri drew mass acclaim on the film festival circuit this season, winning awards at BIFA, and the Venice Film and Toronto International Film Festivals. McDonagh, along with lead cast members Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous) and Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men, Zombieland) are already expected to receive Oscar nominations for their telling of a mid-Western mother (Mildred Hayes) who abruptly calls out the local sheriffs department for failing to resolve their investigation into her daughter’s brutal murder. Supporting actor Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, Moon) is also being praised for his role as second-in-command Officer Dixon, in a film Woody Harrelson describes in the Hollywood Reporter as, “Super Troopers meets Seven Psychopaths,” (the latter another of McDonagh’s feature films).

Three Billboards was a huge hit at the British Independent Film Awards, winning for Best Music and Best Editing and receiving nominations for Best Director, Best Actress (McDormand), Best Supporting Actor (Harrelson and Rockwell), Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Additionally, Three Billboards won the Feature Film award at the Denver International Film Festival, as well as Best Screenplay (Venice Film Festival), Gala/Special Presentations for McDonagh (TIFF), Overall Winner (Leeds), and Supporting Actor of the Year for Rockwell (Hollywood Film Awards). The trailer is nothing short of mesmerizing, and all bets say this one will be one of the top contenders of the Holiday season, so be sure to see it on the big screen before all the theaters are teeming with Star Wars fanatics.

Today Marks 50th Anniversary of Beatle’s ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

sgt peppers lonely hearts club band

Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading

Grateful Dead Documentary ‘Long Strange Trip’ Premiering at Sundance Before Amazon Prime Release

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Martin Scorsese agreed to serve as producer for an official Grateful Dead documentary back in October 2014. The Dead’s 50th anniversary was coming up the following year, and filmmakers wanted to have the project ready for the celebration. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and the landmark event was ultimately celebrated with a massive 3-day concert over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago’s Soldier Field. Original members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh reunited on-stage for the event, which proved a huge success, despite the absence of Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995. Now, however, the 6-part documentary, appropriately titled Long Strange Trip from director Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, Happy Valley), is set to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before being released on Amazon Prime this May. Continue reading

The Legacy of James Baldwin Lives in New Documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

James Baldwin‘s (1924-1987) life and legacy can now speak to modern audiences in a new documentary called I Am Not Your Negro. The film is finally getting a long overdue theatrical release from Magnolia Pictures this February 3rd after wowing audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I Am Not Your Negro is a film from Haitian director Raoul Peck that envisions Baldwin’s final, albeit incomplete novel Remember This House as an uncompromising and complete narrative of race in America. The unfinished memoir focuses on the authors personal memories and relationships with three enduring Civil Rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Peck was allowed access to the entire Baldwin archives and composed the film over a period of 10 years, drawing from the incomplete manuscript and Baldwin’s own personal notes. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and, like Baldwin himself, is sure to stand as a vital testament to race in America today. Continue reading

Scorsese Says ‘Devil in the White City’ Is Now Underway

devil in the white city

Having just completed his latest project, Silence, Martin Scorsese is getting back to work on his next, highly anticipated project that will reunite him with Leonardo DiCaprio. The Oscar-winner purchased the rights to Erik Larson’s book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America back in 2010. Due to scheduling issues between the two film veterans, however, production has been delayed. Now that Silence is finished, Scorsese is ready to get production on this new film underway. As of now, a script is still in the works, but may require more extensive work and research. Continue reading

This Week In Movie History…

On December 1, 1983, director Brian de Palma (The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way) released his modernized version of Ben Hecht and Howard Hawks’ 1930s gangster drama, Scarface. While the original followed a charismatic Chicago mobster in the Prohibition era, de Palma’s version took the character to violent world of the 1980s drug trade in Miami, Florida. Fueled by Al Pacino‘s riveting performance and backed by an outstanding supporting cast that included Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath, Batman Returns), Steven Bauer (Raising Cain, Primal Fear), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss, The Perfect Storm) and Robert Loggia (Big, Independence Day), Scarface ushered in a new era of gangster movies far darker than Francis Coppola’s The Godfather series just a decade before. One of the primary reasons is because of de Palma’s direction. Continue reading

This Week In Movie History…

August 15th is a very significant date in the history of film…for two reasons. We’ll cover them here in order by date, but both are, no doubt, some of the most memorable advances in movies and storytelling.

On August 15, 1934, director Christy Cabanne (The Mummy’s Hand, Scared to Death) released the first audio-visual film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte‘s famous novel Jane Eyre. Excluding the popularity of the novel, the film was part of a series of classic-literary adaptations produced by Monogram Pictures between 1933-1934. Four classic 19th-century novels were all made into big-screen adaptations that featured sound, a new technology for the era. The novels were Oliver Twist, Black Beauty, Jane Eyre, and The Moonstone. Cabanne was well-known at the time as a silent film director, but was also beginning to indulge in sound-projects. For the movie, which only runs a total of 62 minutes, the studio recruited actors Colin Clive, best known for the role of Dr. Frankenstein in the original 1931 James Whales’ classic, and newcomer Virginia Bruce (Born to Dance, The Invisible Woman) to star as Jane Eyre. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Adele Comandini (Beyond Tomorrow, Three Smart Girls) to adapt Bronte’s novel for the film (which admittedly must have been a challenge considering Jane Eyre runs for a total of 38 chapters with 400+ pages in most publications).

Also on August 15th, but in 1979, Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, The Conversation) released his world-renowned masterpiece, Apocalypse Now. The film is famous not only for its cinematic brilliance, but also for its whirlwind of a production Continue reading