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18 items from 2012

Django Unchained (2012)

23 December 2012 3:07 PM, PST | Planet Fury | See recent Planet Fury news »

Django Unchained is undoubtedly the most controversial film to come out of Hollywood this year. For starters, it features the “n-word” over 100 times.

It also presents a black avenger who kills white people for money as well as a black house slave whose allegiance to his white master is placed ahead of an allegiance to his race and ahead of a generally-accepted sense of morality. And, of course, the over-the-top violence of the film has not sat well with some audiences given the recent school shooting in Connecticut. But is any of this really a surprise?

At the press screening, the Hollywood crowd was more than amused. Although there were a few gasps when we were told that the film was two hours and forty-plus minutes long, the crowd cheered throughout the film. Clearly, this was an audience whose expectations had been satisfied. The fact that a crowd in Hollywood can be positively moved, »

- James Morgart

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The HeyUGuys Interview: Jason Becker

7 December 2012 7:00 AM, PST | | See recent HeyUGuys news »

Jason Becker inspires something akin to awe in his army of fans. So much so that one, producer/director Jesse Vile, aspired for fifteen years to make a film about him. And, when the time came, several hundred more came forward with the cash to make it happen.

Their devotion could be attributed to any one of a number of reasons. Perhaps they were fans of the virtuoso shred guitarist from his days touring with Cacophony – perhaps they saw Jason and a pre-Megadeth Marty Friedman jamming and fell under their spell. Maybe they read the cover stories that screamed from the metal mags when, in 1989, Jason was made lead guitarist of David Lee Roth’s new band. He was 19-years-old at the time.

Or are they fans of the haunting music he is composing and producing now – 22 years after Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Als) devastated his career, paralysed and sentenced him »

- Emily Breen

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Rejoice! Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots Sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

5 December 2012 11:51 AM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

To quote Ol' Dirty Bastard: "Me and Mariah / Go back like babies and pacifiers / Old Dirt Dog's no liar / Keep your fantasy hot like fire." And this, my dirt dogs, is a Mariah Carey fantasy perfect for the yuletide.

Behold: Backstage at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the always-grinning Jimmy, his house band The Roots, and the emancipated Mimi collaborated for the greatest version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" that we'll ever know. Clasping musical instruments that you'd find in an elementary school classroom like a melodica and a recorder, the Roots bop along to Mariah's still-fabulous voice. It is joy! It is my joy! It is better than reheated Burl Ives, and I hope we turn off the X-mas Muzak and jam to this instead until December 26. 

Important notes: I don't care what anyone says, Mariah Carey is fiiiiire. She's got the taste of a hip-hop Romanov, »

- virtel

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Patrick Stewart on 'Star Trek: Tng,' returning to 'X-Men,' and Wil Wheaton's beard

4 December 2012 6:30 AM, PST | EW - Inside TV | See recent - Inside TV news »

The Blu-ray edition of season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation — available starting today — includes an extended cut of one of the show’s earliest top tier episodes: “The Measure of a Man,” in which Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) defends Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), an android, and his rights as a sentient being.

The trial gave Stewart a chance to show off his Shakespearean chops with a series of stirring speeches about the nature of free will and self-awareness — Star Trek: The Next Generation at its most challenging and thought provoking. So we couldn’t resist the »

- Adam B. Vary

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Ben Vereen Files For Divorce From Nancy Bruner

19 September 2012 5:01 PM, PDT | TMZ | See recent TMZ news »

Ben Vereen has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years ... TMZ has learned. The Tony-Award winning Broadway legend -- who also starred as Chicken George in "Roots" -- just filed the papers in L.A. County Superior Court ... hoping to end his union with longtime wife Nancy Bruner. The two were married back in 1976 after meeting on the set of a play -- they have several children, but they are all adults ... so child support isn't an issue. »

- TMZ Staff

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Interview: Ed Asner Keeps Moving Forward in New Comedy ‘Let Go’

2 September 2012 8:13 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Chicago – Bring up the name Ed Asner, and immediately his legendary TV character Lou Grant comes to mind. Asner created the only TV character to successfully transition from a sitcom – “Mary Tyler Moore” – to the cutting-edge TV drama “Lou Grant.” But Asner has also been steadily working since those days, including his latest film “Let Go.”

Let Go” is a crazy quilt ensemble comedy, following the exploits of a parole officer (David Denman). One of his clients include Artie, portrayed by Ed Asner. The iconic TV and film actor gives a subtle late career performance as a small time robber who can’t understand why things change. There is a beautiful scene with Asner and actress Peggy McKay at the conclusion of the film, as Artie makes one last attempt at redemption. Ed Asner is no lion in winter, he is still roaring.

Released on DVD: Ed Asner as Artie »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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Disney sued for discrimination by former employee over Muslim hijab

14 August 2012 11:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Imane Boudlal files federal suit after supervisors at Disneyland theme park prohibited her from wearing headscarf to work

A Muslim woman filed a federal suit against the Walt Disney Company on Monday on the grounds of religious discrimination and harassment.

Imane Boudlal, a naturalized Us citizen born in Morocco, says that while working at Disney's California theme park she endured harassment from supervisors and colleagues and faced discrimination for wearing a hijab before leaving the company in 2010.

Boudlal asked her supervisors for permission to wear her hijab when she worked at the Storyteller's Cafe. Her request was denied and she was told that wearing the hijab would "negatively affect patrons' experiences at the Storytellers Cafe."

The 28-year-old also claims coworkers and supervisors accosted her with anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs, calling her "terrorist", "camel" and "Kunta Kinte," in reference to the slave from Alex Haley's famous book Roots. Boudlal said »

- Amanda Holpuch

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Six to watch: Us miniseries

6 August 2012 7:02 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

From giant spaceships and alien overlords to slavery and war, here's our rundown of the best Us short TV series

Last month we discussed what we thought were six of the best British miniseries to grace our screens. From The Singing Detective to State Of Play our roundup was crammed with the type of shows British television does so well. But it's not as though the UK is alone in compacting top telly into short-run series – here is our pick of the six best Us miniseries; a collection of superb shows that come in small packages.

We've used the same criteria when selecting them: single stories told over a limited number of episodes. So have we hit the proverbial nail on the head or thwacked our thumbs by leaving out something obvious? Let us know your thoughts below.

V (1983)

A recent remake failed to do justice to Kenneth Johnson's gripping original two-parter, »

- Daniel Bettridge

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Celebrity High-Five: LeVar Burton's 5 Favorite TV Shows

3 August 2012 3:20 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

People tend to associate LeVar Burton with different things, depending on their age. Some know him as the high-tech, visor-wearing Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation (which ended in 1994). Other might recall first professional role, as Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries Roots. And for those who grew up in the '80s and '90s, the veteran actor is most known as the ever-affable host of the PBS educational series More >> »

- Anngie Dehoyos

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Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Revenge, Gossip Girl, Weeds, 90210, Bones, Castle and More!

3 July 2012 3:24 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Got a scoop request? An anonymous tip you’re dying to share? Just want to say hi? Send any/all of the above to

Question: Please bestow upon your loyal fans some serious scoop for Revenge, so that us lowly peons can stumble through the summer with the smallest of comforts. —Steven

Ausiello: It looks like Emily will have a new boy toy to play with next season. The show has quietly begun casting Conrad’s Mia son from his first marriage. And from the sounds of it, the smart and sexy heir apparent is going to »

- Michael Ausiello

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Stallone 3-Disc DVD & Blu-Ray of ‘Cop Land’, ‘Lock Up’ & ‘Rambo: First Blood’ out in August!

24 May 2012 8:22 AM, PDT | Destroy the Brain | See recent Destroy the Brain news »

Three of Stallone’s best films are about to be into one explosive package on DVD & Blu-Ray! James Mangold’s under-appreciated Cop Land, John Flynn’s Lock Up and the classic Rambo: First Blood will be in a 3-Pack DVD and Blu-Ray set from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in August! Read below for all the fine details!

From the Press Release:

The world’s favorite action superstar, Academy Award® nominee Sylvester Stallone (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Rocky, 1976), is back with the Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of the Stallone 3-Film Collector’s Set from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Just in time for the theatrical release of his highly anticipated action film, The Expendables 2, this collection features three of Stallone’s most memorable hit films Cop Land, Rambo: First Blood and Lock Up, together for the first time. A must-have for Stallone fans of all generations, the collection »

- Andy Triefenbach

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Blu-ray Release: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1

1 May 2012 10:58 AM, PDT | Disc Dish | See recent Disc Dish news »

Blu-ray Release Date: July 24, 2012

Price: Blu-ray: To be announced!

Studio: CBS/Paramount

Trekkies have reason to rejoice (as do the more serious-minded legions of Trekkers) with the arrival of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1 on Blu-ray. Not coincidentally, we’re thinking, the first season of the popular science fiction-adventure TV series celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is set decades after Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner, TV’s Celebrity Bowling) and company’s 5-year mission in the original Star Trek series from the 1960s. The new generation of Starfleet officers in a new Enterprise set off on their own 24th Century mission to go where no one has gone before. Among the Enterprise’s officers are Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart, TV’s I, Claudius), Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton, TV’s Roots), Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis, »

- Laurence

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The Roots’ Literacy PSA Will Be The Happiest 60 Seconds Of Your Day

18 April 2012 7:40 AM, PDT | BestWeekEver | See recent BestWeekEver news »

Here’s a PSA for childhood literacy produced by The Roots, featuring the voice talents of Jack Black, Chris Martin, John Legend, Regina Spektor, Jim James, Nate Ruess, Jason Schwartzman, Melanie Fiona, Carrie Brownstein, Consequence, and Levar Burton (Burton is a frickin’ literacy-curiosity-inspiring powerhouse.) It’s just a fun, happy one-minute video about literary characters hanging out, and it seems like something kids would really like (do kids still like things these days, or only that damn Nintendo?) You could say they’re really attacking the…Roots…of the problem? Boom! And The Roots Themselves Can Play The Rimshot! It’s all gonna work out fine, people: (via CriticalMob) »

- Dan Hopper

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Warner Bros. Exhibit Opens At Paley Center

13 April 2012 8:30 PM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Warner Bros. has become the first major TV studio to launch a comprehensive, studio-branded exhibit at the Paley Center for Media. The presentation, which will run for the next three years at the center’s Beverly Hills location, features props, costumes, original animation art and more from over 60 Warner Bros.-produced series during the studio’s almost 60-year history. That includes a replica of the Central Perk set from Friends, a Monk’s Diner booth from Seinfeld (Warner Bros. owns Seinfeld producer Castle Rock), Daisy Duke’s actual daisy dukes, the President’s podium from The West Wing, the badges of the doctors from ER, a Roots script with handwritten suggestions from author Alex Haley to producer Stan Margulies and Tony Soprano’s robe from The Sopranos (HBO is a Warner Bros. corporate sibling). Talent and producers from former and current Warner Bros. series as well as former and current top Warner Bros. »


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Daily Briefing. Nicole Brenez and "Film Criticism Today"

4 April 2012 9:03 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Nice cover for the new issue of Cahiers du Cinéma, which features a collection of articles (all of them offline) on Francis Ford Coppola's Twixt. There's a new Brooklyn Rail out as well, and we've already noted Monica Westin's interview with Geoff Dyer in today's roundup on Andrei Tarkovsky and Paul Felten's review of Damsels in Distress in another roundup on Whit Stillman. In terms of strictly film-related pieces (and let's hope you don't confine yourself to those!), that leaves Troy Swain's graphic celebration of the upcoming series at Anthology Film Archives, The Films of Carmelo Bene, running April 26 through 29, and Donal Foreman's interview with Nicole Brenez.

The occasion for the interview was the series Brenez curated for Anthology last month, Internationalist Cinema for Today (there was a roundup at the time) and Foreman writes a terrific introduction:

In an essay on Adorno's relationship with cinema, Nicole Brenez »

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R.I.P. Neil Travis

3 April 2012 6:30 PM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Neil Travis, who won an Oscar for Best Editing for Dances With Wolves, died March 28 of natural causes at his home in Arroyo Grande, Calif. He was 75. With a career that spanned more than four decades, the native Angeleno began his entertainment business career as an assistant editor at Paramount Studios while he was in his early 20s. Travis subsequently worked as a second editor for a Fox television series and shortly was offered a position to help edit The Traveling Executioner. His TV work continued and in 1977, Travis won an Emmy for his work on the groundbreaking miniseries Roots. Travis eventually edited more than 25 blockbuster features including No Way Out, Patriot Games, Deceived, Clear And Present Danger and Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. In 2010 he received the American Cinema Editors Career Achievement Award. Travis is survived by his wife, Ruth and two children, Michael and Michelle. Services will »


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Special Features - A History of Black Film

14 February 2012 2:44 PM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Sean Guard celebrates Black History Month with a selection of acclaimed African American films...

In the light and celebration of Black History Month, I’ve put together a small collection from the vast library of highly-acclaimed African American films. From Cicely Tyson to Denzel Washington to Spike Lee, I’ve included some of the classic films and miniseries that have come to contribute to my generation and others’ education of the struggles and contributions of Blacks in the past and present. Now, seeing as how there are tons of film to go over that fit rather easily into this category, this assemblage of titles are only a tip of the Black iceberg.

Native Son (1951)

Based on the novel by Richard Wright, this film focuses on a young black poverty stricken man living in 1930s Chicago. He takes a job as a chauffeur to a white family, which takes a turn »

- flickeringmyth

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Reading Rainbow: LeVar Burton Gets Help on Twitter

2 February 2012 4:34 PM, PST | | See recent TVSeriesFinale news »

We've previously reported about LeVar Burton's efforts to keep the Reading Rainbow name alive, even though the TV show was cancelled back in 2006. Burton, who most notably starred in the Roots mini-series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, was the host of Reading Rainbow on PBS for 21 seasons and 155 episodes.

In September, he launched a new company called RRKidz and is currently working on a Reading Rainbow iPad app.

Burton has been a very active Twiter user and recently tried to register the @readingrainbow handle. He found that the name had already been taken but hadn't been used in three years. Burton tried to contact the person but couldn't get a response.

Burton tweeted "Dear @twitter I'm trying to contact the individual who's sitting on @ReadingRainbow but he hasn't Tweeted in #3Years Can you help? Thanks!" »


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