What a difference an Oscar-nominated picture can make. Last July, in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie-theater shootings, Harvey Weinstein generated headlines, and some snickering in the film industry, when, in an interview with the Huffington Post, he called for a filmmaker summit on movie violence. But now that he's got Quentin Tarantino's bloody, gunplay riddled Django Unchained movie vying for a Best Picture Oscar, his perspective has changed. In a recent interview with Deadline, Weinstein, who's never been content to ride in the back seat, said he has to be "a follower, not a leader" on the issue. more »
Quentin Tarantino probably had a vastly different idea of how the months leading up to the 85th Academy Awards would transpire for him. As he began to promote Django Unchained, he no doubt expected to spend the majority of Awards Season talking about America's legacy of slavery, about his decision to portray it as unambiguously horrific, and how the peculiar institution has historically been treated in film.
Quentin Tarantino and David O. Russell were edged out of the pack in today's Directors Guild Award nominations announcement, giving way to a rather conservative quintet of Oscar hopefuls. So let the DGA backlash begin: Between Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), which nominee should have gotten the shaft to make the DGA race even remotely interesting?
The lessons of Quentin Tarantino's interview with Terry Gross on NPR? He has a high tolerance for "viscera" and a low tolerance for questions that attempt to connect Sandy Hook and other incidents of actual violence to the kind found in movies. The Django Unchained director became audibly peeved when Gross asked him the question that every reporter feels compelled to ask filmmakers in the wake of the Connecticut shootings. more »
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, the national conversation has included no lack of conjecture that the media we consume is to blame for the violence. Most famously, NRA second-in-command Wayne Lapierre's Dec. 21 speech in Washington, D.C. featured a lengthy segment in which he pointed the finger at video games and movies and singled out a number of decades-old films as particularly culpable. Lapierre was roundly mocked for his tone-deaf diatribe, but he was hardly unique. Numerous public figures on the right and left have gone out of their way to make certain we spend more time talking about Quentin Tarantino and Natural Born Killers than about access to assault weapons. more »
Even as he anticipated the sunset of his filmmaking career recently, Quentin Tarantino is looking ahead to who he'd like to work with, and Johnny Depp tops the list. The Django Unchained director said he'd like Depp to star in a future pic, but will only cement plans once he's written the perfect part for the Pirates of the Caribbean actor.
So, right before 2012 ended, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua piped up from Capri, Italy to assert that Spike Lee should not have publicly criticized Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained for the movie's spaghetti-western-style depiction of slavery. And to that I can only say, "Huh?" If ever there's a movie made to be publicly, loudly — and heatedly — debated, it's QT's anti-slavery epic. more »
You might have heard the shocking news that Django Unchained features copious use of the word 'nigger'. I know! I can't understand why a film set in the antebellum South, featuring numerous unrepentant slaveowners, during a time when black people were considered barely human as a matter of course, would have so many n-bombs. Sure, the word is almost exclusively spoken by villains or by black people to refer to themselves, and sure, it is one of the few aspects of the film that is 100% historically accurate, but come on. How rude of Quentin Tarantino to include it and make the harsh depiction of the slavery era even more uncomfortable.
Django Unchained will not be making filmmaker Spike Lee's year-end top 10 list nor any other list for that matter because he says he won't see it. The outspoken Red Hook Summer director said the slavery-centered feature by Quentin Tarantino may deal with the topic in a manner that is less than respectful.
John Ford may be one of American cinema's great directors, but Quentin Tarantino has some choice words for the maker of such film classics as The Searchers, Stagecoach, and The Grapes of Wrath: "To say the least, I hate him," Tarantino told The Root in a recent conversation about Django Unchained. What's more, he says Ford inspired him to write a scene in Django Unchained in which comically inept proto-Klansmen get their just desserts.
Quentin Tarantino says slavery continues in the United States. The outspoken filmmaker — whose spaghetti southern Django Unchained unflinchingly depicts the brutality of slavery — stoked the debate on race Tuesday night when he appeared on the Canadian television talk show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight to suggest that the United States' "war on drugs" and its "mass incarcerations" of black men is "just slavery through and through." more »
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino defended the heavy dosage of violence in Django Unchained, his latest film starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. As with many of his past offerings, Tarantino's Oscar hopeful includes a graphic depictions of blood and gunshot victims. Tarantino was asked about the violence over the weekend in New York in the wake of the tragedy in a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead, most of them children.
Samuel L. Jackson has created, as he put it, "the most reprehensible negro in cinema history," with his portrayal of Stephen, the slave who runs Calvin Candie's (Leonardo DiCaprio) Candyland plantation in Django Unchained. But, the actor told Movieline that he's even more despicable in scenes that were cut from the final print of Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti southern. more »
REVIEW: Bloody Hilarious & Hilariously Bloody 'Django Unchained' Is Tarantino's First Real Love Story
The "D" is silent, though the name of Django Unchained's eponymous gunslinger sounds like a retaliatory whip across the face of white slaveholders, offering an immensely satisfying taste of antebellum empowerment packaged as spaghetti-Western homage. more »
Django Unchained had its New York City premiere last night, and like me you probably weren't there. Sorry on all our behalves, everyone! Luckily we can console ourselves with the ongoing reveals of tracks from Django's soundtrack. The latest is Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable), a mashup of James Brown's The Payback and Tupac's Untouchable. Ready for a listen?
You guys, I really want to love this. But despite the fact that James Brown and Tupac are both insanely dope, the track sounds like exactly half of awesome. Blame for that goes to Swizz Beats, who produced Untouchable for the 2006 album Pac's Life, AKA the moment when the dead horse that is Tupac's posthumous career was finally flogged into its component atoms.
Tupac was a genius, but that doesn't mean he's a cipher that can be fitted into whatever era wants him. His flow was built on bomb-squad influenced beats and g-funk. Warping his rap style around the bob-free beats that popped up in the aughts is like releasing a disco remix of Paul Whiteman's version of You're The Tops. Frankly, Untouchable is in strong contention for the absolute worst of Tupac songs.
Particularly hilarious is the fact that Swizz looped Pac to make him fit the track, so we get Tupac shouting "Y'all know me Y'a-Y'all know me" like a Shep Pettibone remix from 1988. Meanwhile, James Brown's music was tailor made for a remix like the one used to make Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable), and the combination only makes the molestation of Pac sound even worse.
I wish they'd just requested access to Pac's original vocals instead mashing up a superior song with an inferior song. Luckily, the beats and the remix of "The Payback" are great, and once you get used to how Tupac is criminally misused, you can enjoy the other more solid moments unfettered. No doubt it's going to sound even better when it plays over scenes of blood-spattered cotton fields, so I'm in.
The original Tupac track: 10 out of 100 black coffins for making one of the greatest MCs in the game sound wack.
This mashup: 80 out of 100 black coffins for proving once again that James Brown's music can always be used to make everything sound cool, despite the wackness.
The original version of "Untouchable":
[Source: A.V. Club]
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Ross Lincoln is a LA-based freelance writer from Oklahoma with an unhealthy obsession with comics, movies, video games, ancient history, Gore Vidal, and wine. Follow him on twitter (@rossalincoln).
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