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3 items from 2016

Indie Spirit Awards predictions: 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' will win Best First Feature

25 February 2016 2:37 AM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

The Spirit Award for Best First Feature has previously gone to noteworthy filmmakers like Paul Haggis ("Crash," 2005), Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich," 1999), David O. Russell ("Spanking the Monkey," 1994) and Spike Lee ("She's Gotta Have It," 1986), to name a few. This year Marielle Heller is the frontrunner to win for "Diary of a Teenage Girl" according to our combined predictions. She would be the first woman to win since Patty Jenkins for "Monster" in 2003. -Break- Subscribe to Gold Derby Breaking News Alerts & Experts’ Latest Oscar Predictions We've polled Expert film journalists, Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year's Spirit Award winners and more than 1,000 total Users who make up our largest and often savviest bloc of predictors. Twelve out of 13 experts predicting the Sp...' »

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One Thing I Love Today: Spike Lee's 'Chi-raq' should have made my top 10 list

23 February 2016 6:00 AM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

One Thing I Love Today is a daily column dedicated to putting a spotlight on some pop culture item worth your attention. After all, there's enough snark out there. Why not start every day with one quick shotgun blast of positivity? When people say "What movie is missing from the conversation if you think the Oscars were too white?" this year, the answer to that question, first and foremost, is Spike Lee's Chi-raq. And I am just as guilty of missing the boat as every member of the Academy. One of the saddest images in any film in recent memory is Jennifer Hudson scrubbing the blood of her dead 7-year-old out of the pavement of a Chicago sidewalk, and it is not, by any means, the best or most powerful moment in Spike Lee's latest remarkable film. Chi-raq is stylistically bold, and it uses a heightened theatrical reality »

- Drew McWeeny

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Watch: Spike Lee on His Blistering Film 'Chi-Raq,' Now Available on Amazon Prime

4 February 2016 10:38 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

For Amazon Studios' first original movie release, they agreed to finance Spike Lee's rhyming reworking of Aristophanes' classic Lysistrata, "Chi-Raq" (Lionsgate/Roadside, December 4), betting that the Brooklyn filmmaker was back in his agit-prop sweet spot from the days of "She's Gotta Have It," "Do the Right Thing" and "Bamboozled."  Indeed, "Chi-Raq" is ripped from the headlines of violence between young black males on Chicago's South Side. It's what you expect from Lee: vibrant, lively, idiosyncratic, engaging, musical, chaotic and bombastic. It's never dull. Dapper Samuel L. Jackson serves as the film's narrator/Mc/Greek chorus, as we follow wondrous beauty Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris of "Dear White People"), who loves her raucous sex with her gangsta man Chi-Raq ("Drumline" star Nick Cannon), but hates the gun violence his posse wrecks on the people of their neighborhood. Lee »

- Anne Thompson

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