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2 items from 2010

'The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector': If you love pop music, you must see this movie

10 July 2010 12:38 PM, PDT | - The Movie Critics | See recent - The Movie Critics news »

When John Waters, in a classic aphorism, said that “everyone looks better under arrest,” he was talking about the scurrilous ’70s — the age of Charles Manson and Patty Hearst and Jim Jones — but the words apply perfectly to our era (think Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Martha Stewart, Mel Gibson), and I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen as riveting an example of the principle as what’s on display in The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector. For much of this electrifying, one-of-a-kind, crime-meets-beauty-meets-tragedy documentary (it was made for the BBC, and directed by Vikram Jayanti), we watch as Phil Spector, »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Full Film Online: Sita Sings The Blues

3 January 2010 5:00 AM, PST | Underground Film Journal | See recent Underground Film Journal news »

Animator Nina Paley has placed her entire feature film Sita Sings the Blues online for viewing. That’s it embedded above in really good quality on YouTube, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not. It’s extremely crisp looking so that the incredibly eye-catching animation really grabs you.

Paley’s situation with her film has been a big story in 2009, particularly in the past month or so. Here’s the deal: Paley crafted the film — which combines her own personal story of her painful divorce with the ancient Indian story of Sita and Rama, two gods who try to exist as human beings — around songs sung by Annette Hanshaw, a jazz singer who was popular in the ’20s.

However, in trying to clear the copyrights to the composition of those songs, Paley ran into a big problem: Namely that the copyright holders wanted Paley to pay $50,000 to include them in the film. »

- Mike Everleth

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