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I'm a huge fan of Greek tragedy, and I remain a fan of Spike Lee, despite some recent missteps in a few films. His latest, Chi-Raq, will be released in the Us on December 4th, and it looks pretty awesome, reminiscent of Do the Right Thing and Mo Better Blues in combining politics with music, though perhaps on a grander scale (and with a bigger budget).An adaptation of the Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Chi-Raq is set in contemporary Chicago, where the murder of a child by a stray bullet serves as a rallying cry to the black women of the city. To battle the ongoing violence of the city's south side and make the men put down their guns, the women withhold sex. This...
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The film-maker is back at the top of his game with this incendiary look at life in a gang-ravaged Chicago, featuring a break-out performance from Teyonah Parris – and giving Amazon Studios a terrific debut
Don’t come to Chi-Raq looking for a carefully articulated, plot-driven exposé into America’s gang and gun cultures. Oh, a message gets out, but this a Spike Lee joint and, as his mid-career has shown, he’s shrugged off the cloak of the “prestige film-maker” and fully embraced the more risky title of Artist. Recent projects Red Hook Summer and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus have been near-misses; “stylish” and “interesting”. With Chi-Raq, his big, go-for-broke swing finally fully connects with the ball and knocks it out of the park. While formally quite different from his more universally-respected early work, »
- Jordan Hoffman
It may not take much to make Spike Lee angry, but there’s no denying he gives us his reasons and then some in “Chi-Raq,” a sprawling, blistering state-of-the-union address that presents Chicago’s South Side as a cesspool of black-on-black violence, gang warfare, gun worship and macho misogyny, ruled by unbreakable cycles of poverty and oppression. All that social outrage clearly demanded similarly outsized treatment, and Lee and co-writer Kevin Willmott (“Csa: The Confederate States of America”) have found a remarkably accommodating vessel in Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” whose tale of an ancient Greek heroine leading an anti-war sex strike has been updated here as an alternately soulful and scalding, playful and deadly serious 21st-century oratorio. Blunt, didactic and stronger on conceptual audacity than dramatic coherence, this is still the most vital, lived-in work in some time from a filmmaker who has never shied away from speaking his mind or irritating his ideological foes, »
- Justin Chang
It’s one thing that Spike Lee has been making feature films for over three decades, with no sign of slowing down, but his achievement is even more remarkable when you consider just how diverse his body of work truly is. Beyond features, he’s made documentaries, TV shows, music videos, and even made an impact in the advertising world (his run of Nike ads with Michael Jordan were game-changing). However, one honor has eluded him all these years: an Oscar. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay for “Do The Right Thing” and Best Documentary for “4 Little Girls,” Lee finally took home a gold statue with an Honorary Oscar, awarded over the weekend. Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, and Wesley Snipes feted Lee, who then gave an 18-minute speech recounting his career, films, and much more. Lee also addressed the issue of diversity in the industry, noting pointedly: "It's easier to »
- Kevin Jagernauth
At the Academy's annual Governors Awards in Hollywood on Saturday night, filmmaker Spike Lee, actress and philanthropist Debbie Reynolds and actress Gena Rowlands all received Honorary Oscars for their contributions to cinema.Lee has never won an Oscar despite previous nominations for Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing (1990) and Best Documentary Feature for 4 Little Girls (1998). Rowlands, who with her late husband John Cassavetes is widely credited with creating the model for American indie cinema, is a two-time Best Actress nominee for her and Cassevetes's monumental film A Woman Under the Influence (1974), and again for her turn in his film Gloria (1980). Reynolds, who was too ill attend the ceremony, was celebrated for decades of performances in such iconic films as Singing in the Rain (1952) and her Oscar-nominated turn in 1964’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown. The glitzy event — an annual kiss-the-ring campaign stop for Oscar-hopefuls — drew hoards of A-listers including Johnny Depp, »
- Stacey Wilson Hunt
Filmmakers, Actors and Actresses and Hollywood’s A-listers turned out for the first Oscar awards show of the season – the 7th annual Governors Awards.
The star-studded evening was held in Hollywood, CA, on Saturday. (Nov 14, 2015)
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.” The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs opened the 2015 Governors Awards with a tribute to the Paris tragedy and spoke about The Academy’s response »
- Michelle McCue
- Sasha Stone
“There she is. Cheryl Boone Isaacs.”
Spike Lee is wandering through a conference room at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Beverly Hills headquarters, admiring a set of framed photographs of the Academy’s presidents. Isaacs, the current prexy, at the top left corner, is the only African-American face to be found among the 35 photos.
When Lee was announced as an Honorary Oscar recipient, it was noteworthy for a few reasons. The first: Over the past quarter-century, Lee has been both participant and subject of some of the most heated debates over the Academy’s biases. The failure of the Academy to nominate his 1989 masterpiece “Do the Right Thing” for best picture or director — during the same year that “Driving Miss Daisy” took the top prize — seemed an almost too-perfect illustration of the organization’s blind spots.
But thanks to people like Isaacs, Lee is convinced a change is afoot. »
- Andrew Barker
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe. "I've been making a film almost every year since 1986," says Spike Lee, the 58-year-old director of Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, He Got Game and 17 others. He has been nominated twice for an Oscar (and won a Student Oscar in film school), but at the Governors Awards, he'll pick up a statuette for his lifetime contribution to cinema. One of independent film's most influential filmmakers, Lee will receive an
- Rebecca Ford
The Conversation is a feature at PopOptiq bringing together Drew Morton and Landon Palmer in a passionate debate about cinema new and old. For their eleventh piece, they discuss Mathieu Kassovitz’s gritty yet sleek portrait of life on the margins of Paris, La haine (1995).
There’s a moment within the first act of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La haine (1995) that finds the film’s central trio – Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert Koundé), and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), three young male descendants of immigrants living in the housing projects of outer Paris – confronted by a news crew. In the protests and riots following the brutalization of a friend, Abdel Ichaha (inspired by the real-life killing of Makome M’Bowole while in the custody of Parisian police in 1993), the news crew voyeuristically inquires into the opinions of those who very well may be the first group of “locals” their excursion encounters, »
- Landon Palmer
It may come as a surprise to some that Spike Lee, despite a 30-year-long career as a filmmaker, and over 20 feature films, has never won an Academy Award (unless you count the Student Academy Award he received in 1983 for his Nyu thesis film, "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads). Since then, he's been nominated twice: in 1990, for Best Screenplay, for "Do the Right Thing" (also Danny Aiello was nominated for Best Supporting Actor); and in 1998 for Best Documentary, for "4 Little Girls." That's it! And he didn't win either one, despite arguments that can be (and have been) made for a small handful of other films he wrote and directed that »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Amazon Studios' first original movie release, Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq," is officially hitting theaters December 4, via Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate. But the first trailer (see below), as Shadow and Act reports, drew criticism in some quarters from those who claim the director's adaptation of "Lysistrata" trivializes the violence that continues to plague Chicago. (Not knowing Aristophanes' anti-war play could surely lead to some misunderstandings.) Now, Lee is out with a second trailer, which he prefaces by saying, "'Chi-Raq' is not a comedy. 'Chi-Raq' is a satire... In no way, shape, or form are we not respectful of the situation that is happening in 'Chi-Raq.'" As with "Do the Right Thing" and "Bamboozled," Lee's latest is almost sure to be divisive, though this is, notably, also the vein in which the filmmaker has produced much of his most lasting and essential works. The film »
- Anne Thompson and Matt Brennan
Chi-Raq Movie Trailer. Spike Lee‘s Chi-Raq (2015) movie trailer stars Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Cannon and John Cusack. Chi-Raq‘s plot synopsis: “A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago.” Spike Lee has made some of the Great American Films. Think Do The Right Thing (1989), think Summer of Sam […] »
- Marco Margaritoff
Read More: Screen Talk: 'Beasts of No Nation' and 'Chiraq' Challenge Awards Movie Paradigms With a politically-charged message, energized aesthetics and some suave direct narration courtesy of Samuel L. Jackson, it looks like "Chi-Raq" has everything viewers have come to expect from the one and only Spike Lee. Co-written with Kevin Willmont, the new Spike Lee joint is a modern day adaptation of Aristophanes' ancient Greek play "Lysistrata." Teyonah Parris stars as the eponymous character, who reacts to the murder of a child by a stray bullet by organizing a group of women against the ongoing violence in Chicago’s Southside. Her efforts create a movement that challenges the ideas of race, sex and violence in America and around the world. The director is once again operating in the same blood-boiling current events that first gained him international recognition in "Do The Right Thing," and the new trailer for "Chi-Raq" is. »
- Zack Sharf
Spike Lee may always be remembered for the righteous classics he's made (including Do the Right Thing, which is still making waves), but the irrepressible New York icon continues to be one of the most vital and innovative filmmakers working today. Exhibit A: He's written and directed a feature-length film that's entirely comprised of video game cut-scenes.
Lee has dipped a toe into the gaming world before, but his latest project takes things to another level. An extension of the "MyCareer" mode from NBA2K16, the feature-length Livin' Da Dream »
Spike Lee‘s Kickstarter film, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, came out earlier this year. The director behind Do the Right Thing and The 25th Hour caused some controversy — not the first time in his career — when he started the campaign for his “vampire” movie, and the actual film itself was just as divisive. But it’s not the only movie […]
- Jack Giroux
Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do The Right Thing remaibs one of the filmmaker’s most well-regarded features, the relevance of its social message seemingly becoming only more prescient with time. However, over the years, the Brooklyn neighbourhood in which the film is set has changed, populated now by a new demographic.
It is this shift that is at the root of a new parody trailer released by Jimmy Kimmel Live. The trailer imagines a sequel to Lee’s film with Brooklyn’s current population, and how it would play out, with a starring list that includes Rami Malek, Andrew Rannells, Alex Karpovsky, and Zooey Deschanel. The trailer for the parody film, titled Do The Right Thing 2: Do The White Thing, can be seen below.
- Deepayan Sengupta
Twenty-six years ago, Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing" tossed a can of garbage through the window of cinema, with a portrait of Brooklyn as a hothouse of racial discord. Two decades later, the borough has changed, and Jimmy Kimmel has offered up his parody of what life is currently like in Bed-Stuy with "Do The Right Thing 2: Do The White Thing." Read More: The Hottest Day Of Summer: Spike Lee's Landmark 'Do The Right Thing' On Its 25th Anniversary Once again reaching out to almost every celebrity he can — Billy Crudup, Zooey Deschanel, Rami Malek, Alex Karpovsky, Andrew Rannells, Jay Duplass, and even Rosie Perez — the parody sequel takes audiences into a world where the issues of the day are locally sourced ingredients, eco-consciousness, thrift store wears, and there are plenty of beards to be found as well. Check it out below. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Read More: Watch: Justice-Seeking Jimmy Kimmel Tackles a California Water Abuser in 'Law & Order' Spoof More than 20 years after the release of the original, and after more than 20 years of hardcore gentrification, we now have the sequel to Spike Lee's 1989 classic "Do the Right Thing" that we never knew we wanted. In a hilarious clip from "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," we see "Do the Right Thing 2: Do the White Thing." In the new, gentrified Brooklyn, there are portable record players instead of boomboxes, white converse instead of Nikes, artisan ice cubes, tweed sweaters and all day marathons of "This American Life." A far cry from the racially charged conflict of Lee's film, the bit pokes fun at the deeply gentrified, mostly white climate of Brooklyn and how things have changed since the 80s. Brooklynites now do the "white thing" and riot over water conservation, unsorted garbage, a lack of thrift shop finds and a. »
- Ryan Anielski
It’s been 26 years since Spike Lee‘s provocative Do the Right Thing debuted, and since Hollywood has been digging deep into the past for sequels, reboots and remakes, it only makes sense that they would revive the racially charged drama. However, in case you haven’t noticed, Brooklyn has changed a lot since 1989. As Jimmy […]
- Ethan Anderton
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