December 23, 2012 |
Here is the particular brilliance of Quentin Tarantino: He can rip a horrific page out of history - for his latest, "Django Unchained," slavery in the antebellum South - put it through his favorite grindhouse mill, kick in biting comedy whose sheer audacity and searing irony demands laughter, and yet ... and yet ... never for a moment diminish or let us forget the brutal reality. What the writer-director did so caustically to Nazis in 2009's "Inglourious Basterds" - scalping (literally)
December 15, 2012 |
In "Lincoln," director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner have pulled off the improbable: They have built this season's prestige hit around congressional proceedings that might seem more appropriate for C-SPAN than the big screen. Any movie that can interest a mainstream audience in the legislative wheeling and dealing that allowed Abraham Lincoln to acquire the necessary congressional votes to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery is deserving of a presidential medal.
December 14, 2012 |
"Lincoln" set a record Thursday with seven Golden Globe nominations , including those for best picture, best director ( Steven Spielberg ) and best actor ( Daniel Day-Lewis ). Since the film opened last month, the 16th president and his personal and political struggle to end slavery has been on many people's minds, including mine. I had an interesting "Lincoln moment" a few days ago in New York City when I was just steps from the High Line, the elevated freight train track turned urban garden in the Meatpacking District.
December 5, 2012 |
Two new movies, “Lincoln” and “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” are intimate portraits of the two most consequential presidents of the United States. They are timely reminders that politics has never been pretty and our leaders have never been perfect human beings, but that, without Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our country might have been lost to the disintegrating influence of lesser men. “Lincoln” is such a stunningly good movie that I have already seen it twice.
October 16, 2012 |
The “Django Unchained” trailer that hit the Web last week highlights a number of the movie's unusual aspects, not least of which is the blending of Tarantino-esque revenge western with one of the most shameful chapters of American history. But star Jamie Foxx said the shamefulness will come through loud and clear. “This is the truest depiction of slavery [on screen], in terms of how tough and brutal it was,” the actor told 24 Frames. “When you see the movie you'll automatically go back to the time and the way slaves were treated.” PHOTOS: Hollywood backlot moments He added, “It's really going to make people look at the time in a different way.” Foxx plays the titular Django, a fugitive slave who joins up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz)
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October 15, 2012 |
Eugene D. Genovese became one of the most notorious radical intellectuals in the country in 1965 when he addressed an all-night teach-in at Rutgers University on the Vietnam War. "I do not fear or regret the impending Viet Cong victory. I welcome it," the self-described Marxist historian declared, setting off a furor that had politicians such as Richard Nixon demanding his dismissal. An academic witch hunt ensued, but the onetime Communist Party member held to his political beliefs for decades.
August 21, 2012 |
Are hip-hop artists such as Flavor Flav and Lil Wayne the new generation of black minstrels -- the African American jesters who used to entertain audiences with cartoonish, racially stereotypical shtick before the collapse of the Jim Crow South? According to a just-published book, "Darkest America: Black Minstrelsy From Slavery to Hip-Hop," the answer may well be yes. And that's not necessarily an entirely bad thing, according to authors Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen, both Chicago journalists.
June 20, 2012 |
The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, has approved an alternative name that will allow churches to distance themselves from the organization's past ties to slavery and racism. Great Commission Baptists, the alternative name, was endorsed by 53% of the 4,800 ballots cast at the convention's annual meeting in New Orleans, officials said. The change marks another step in the predominantly white denomination's efforts to become more inclusive.
June 18, 2012 |
Barraged by expressions of outrage, Adidas announced Monday evening that it's pulling a shoe design that critics say evokes slavery. The design, by eccentric Beverly Hills designer Jeremy Scott, features a plastic set of shackles. Initially it was met with disbelief, then fury, especially in online arenas. On Twitter, the shoes were labeled "Adidas slave shackle kicks. " Talk of a boycott arose. Early Monday, Adidas defended the shoes as the handiwork of a whimsical designer.
June 7, 2012 |
ACAILANDIA, Brazil - After months of chopping down trees in the forest without pay and living on rice, beans and dirty water, Gil Dasio Meirelles decided he had to escape from the remote clearing in the middle of the vast Brazilian Amazon. But he would have to make his way alone through dense foliage, a place where a man can lose his bearings and find himself lost amid a constant, menacing buzz of jungle creatures. "Three other workers helped me come up with the plan," he said.