4 Shots From 4 Spike Lee Films: Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Oldboy, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is Spike Lee’s 63rd birthday and you know what the means.  It’s time that we honor one of American cinema’s greatest provocateurs with….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Summer of Sam (1999, dir by Spike Lee)

25th Hour (2002, dir by Spike Lee)

Oldboy (2013, dir by Spike Lee)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014, dir by Spike Lee)

Music Video Of The Day: White Lines by Melle Mel (1983, directed by Spike Lee)


This song, one of the first hit rap songs about drugs, is often mistakenly described as being a collaboration between Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel.  Grandmaster Flash actually had nothing to do with the song.  He had already left Sugar Hill Records before the song was even recorded.  When the single was first released, it was credited to “Grandmaster and Melle Mel,” in order to create the impression that Flash was involved.  In his autobiography, Flash wrote that he once heard the song was while he was on the way to buy crack and, at that moment, he felt that Melle Mel was specifically speaking to him.

This song was recorded at a time when much of America — specifically, white America — was either unaware of or unconcerned with the drug epidemic that was ravaging America’s poorest neighborhoods.  White Lines attacks both cocaine and a legal system that punishes poor black kids more harshly than rich, white businessmen.  “The businessman who is caught with 24 kilos” is a reference to car manufacturer John DeLorean, who was arrested after trying to buy 24 kilos from an undercover FBI agent.  DeLorean was later acquitted after he made the case that the FBI agent had entrapped him.

(DeLorean today is best remembered for designing the car made famous by Back to the Future.  Between 1981 and 1983, 9,000 Deloreans were manufactured and 6,500 of them are reported to still be in working condition.  I once came across a classified ad from someone who was looking to sell his DeLorean.  I called and offered him a thousand dollars.  He laughed and hung up.)

This video was shot by Spike Lee, who was a film student at NYU at the time and yes, that is Laurence Fishburne.  Fishburne appeared in this video shortly after playing Cutter in Death Wish II and he has the same look in the video as he did in the movie.

Enjoy!

 

 

Here’s The Trailer For See You Yesterday!


The trailer for See You Yesterday dropped earlier on Monday.  Originally, there was some confusion on twitter because someone said that this was Spike Lee’s newest movie, which led to others assuming that Lee had directed the film.  Actually, Lee served as the film’s producer while Stefon Bristol is making his feature directing debut.  (According to the imdb, Bristol previously directed a handful of short films.  In fact, See You Yesterday appears to be an expansion on a short film that Bristol wrote and directed in 2017.)

Judging from the trailer, See You Yesterday appears to combine science fiction with social commentary.  Two African-American teens discover the secret of time travel and attempt to save the life of their brother, who was previously gunned down by a member of the NYPD.  However, it appears that changing the past is just as difficult as changing the present.  It also appears that there’s only a limited number of times that they can travel through time.  I’m intrigued by the concept.  If Bristol manages to strike the right balance between entertainment and commentary, this has the potential to be a powerful film.

See You Yesterday will be released on May 17th.  Here’s the trailer:

Here are the DGA Nominations!


The Director’s Guild announced their nominations for 2018 earlier today.

Typically, getting a DGA nomination tends to translate into a film also getting a Best Picture nomination from the Academy.  There’s been some exceptions, of course.  David Fincher somehow received a DGA nom for his work on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but the Academy was not quite as enamored.  Personally, I’m hoping that, this year, Adam McKay will get the David Fincher treatment.  McKay may have picked up a DGA nom for Vice but that doesn’t mean that the film’s actually any good.  In fact, I’d say that Vice is one of smuggest, most self-congratulatory films that I’ve ever seen but I’ll save all that for my review.

Anyway, here are the DGA nominations!  For Best Director of a Feature Film:

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Spike Lee, BlackKklansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Can you believe that, until today, Spike Lee has never received a nomination for the DGA?  Interestingly, BlackKklansman is one of his weaker films but it’s also definitely more of a mainstream crowd pleaser than some of his previous work, which I imagine is why he received a nomination for it and not Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

This is also the first nomination for both Cooper and Peter Farrelly.  With Cooper, that makes sense because this is the first film that he’s ever directed.  But how did the Guild fail to nominate Peter Farrelly for that movie where Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are conjoined twins?

This was Cuaron’s second nomination.  It was also McKay’s second nomination, despite the fact Adam McKay hasn’t made a good film since The Other Guys.

Here are the nominations for Best First Time Director:

Bo Burhnam, Eighth Grade

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Carlos Lopez Estrada, Blindspotting

Matthew Heineman, A Private War

Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

For everyone who is hoping to see Black Panther become the first comic book movie to receive a best picture nomination, it’s hard not to be disappointed by the snubbing of Ryan Coogler.  A DGA nomination would have really Black Panther with the members of the Academy who might still be hesitant about the idea of honoring a Marvel film.

Personally, I would have replaced Adam McKay with Ryan Coogler.  For that matter, I would have replaced Adam McKay with just about anyone else who had a film released last year.  Lynne Ramsay.  Debra Granik.  Yorgos Lanthimos.  The Russo Brothers.  Peyton Reed.  Who directed The Equalizer 2?  I’m not sure but I’d nominate him before I nominated Adam McKay.  Hell, I’d even build a time machine and bring Ed Wood and Phil Tucker into the present and have them collaborate on a movie about a haunted laundromat before I gave that fifth slot to Adam McKay.

Anyway, should I try to make a prediction?  Okay: Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director for Roma while Bradley Cooper is named Best First-Time Director for A Star is Born.

The St. Louis Film Critics Association Names A Star Is Born The Best Of 2018


On Sunday, the St. Louis Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2018!  While A Star is Born hasn’t quite dominated the precursor season in the way that many expected that it would, it still managed to win over St. Louis.

For a full list of nominees, click here.  And check out the winners below:

BEST FILM
A Star Is Born
Runner-up: BlacKkKlansman

BEST DIRECTOR
Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
Runner-up: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

BEST ACTOR
Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
Runner-up: Christian Bale – Vice

BEST ACTRESS
Toni Collette – Hereditary
Runner-up: Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Runner-up: Mahershala Ali – Green Book

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Runner-up: Emma Stone – The Favourite

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Vice – Adam McKay
Runner-up: The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee (Screenplay); Ron Stallworth (Book)
Runner-up: Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Screenplay); Lee Israel (Book)

BEST EDITING
Vice – Hank Corwin
Runner-up: First Man – Tom Cross

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roma – Alfonso Cuarón
Runner-up: If Beale Street Could Talk – James Laxton

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Black Panther – Hannah Beachler
Runner-up: The Favourite – Fiona Crombie

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Avengers: Infinity War
Runner-up: Black Panther

BEST SCORE
BlacKkKlansman – Terence Blanchard
Runner-up: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Carter Burwell

BEST SOUNDTRACK
Bohemian Rhapsody
Runner-up: BlacKkKlansman

BEST ACTION FILM
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Runner-up: Avengers: Infinity War

BEST COMEDY
The Favourite
Runner-up: Paddington 2

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
Runner-up: Isle of Dogs

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Won’t You Be Me Neighbor?
Runner-up: Three Identical Strangers

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE
Roma
Runner-up (tie): Capernaum, The Captain, The Guilty

BEST SCENE
Roma – Beach rescue
Runner-up: Bohemian Rhapsody – Live Aid

 

The Phoenix Critics Circles Rises From The Ashes To Announce Their Nominations For The Best of 2018


Earlier today, the Phoenix Critics Circle rose from the ashes of this year and announced their nominations for the best of 2018.  They really liked The Favourite.  They also liked First Reformed and Eighth Grade, both of which could use the help after being snubbed by those SAG bastards yesterday.

BEST PICTURE
The Favourite
First Reformed
Roma
A Star is Born
Vice

BEST COMEDY FILM
Eighth Grade
The Favourite
Game Night
Sorry to Bother You
Vice

BEST SCIENCE FICTION FILM
Annihilation
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Sorry to Bother You
Upgrade

BEST HORROR FILM
Halloween
Hereditary
Mandy
Quiet Place
Suspiria (oh, fuck you, Phoenix)

BEST ANIMATED FILM
The Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Miral
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Burning
Cold War
Dogman
Roma
Shoplifters

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
RBG
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

BEST MOVIE BASED ON A COMIC BOOK OR GRAPHIC NOVEL
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Deadpool 2
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

BEST ACTRESS
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michael B Jordan, Black Panther
Sam Rockwell, Vice

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Paul Schrader, First Reformed

BEST SCREENPLAY
Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Spike Lee, David Robinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice
Paul Schrader, First Reformed

BEST SCORE
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther
Justin Hurwitz, First Man
Thom Yorke, Suspiria

Black Panther Dominates The Black Reel Nominations


The Black Reel Nominations were announced today, with Black Panther picking up a record 17 nominations!  Coming in second was If Beale Street Could Talk, which received 14 nominations while Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman received 11 nominations.

Here’s a full list of the nominees:

Outstanding Motion Picture
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Widows

Outstanding Actor
Chadwick Boseman | Black Panther
Stephan James | If Beale Street Could Talk
Michael B. Jordan | Creed II
LaKeith Stanfield | ​Sorry to Bother You
John David Washington | BlacKkKlansman

Outstanding Actress
Viola Davis | Widows
Regina Hall | Support the Girls
Kiki Layne | If Beale Street Could Talk
Zoe Renee | Jinn
Amandla Stenberg | ​The Hate U Give

Outstanding Director
Ryan Coogler | Black Panther
Barry Jenkins | If Beale Street Could Talk
Spike Lee | BlacKkKlansman
Steve McQueen | Widows
Boots Riley | ​Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali | Green Book
Brian Tyree Henry | If Beale Street Could Talk
Russell Hornsby | The Hate U Give
Michael B. Jordan | Black Panther
Daniel Kaluuya | Widows

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Danai Gurira | Black Panther
Regina King | If Beale Street Could Talk
Simone Missick | Jinn
Lupita Nyong’o | Black Panther
Letitia Wright | Black Panther

Outstanding Screenplay
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
If Beale Street Could Talk
​Sorry to Bother You
Widows

Outstanding Ensemble
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
If Beale Street Could Talk
​Sorry to Bother You
Widows

Outstanding Documentary
Amazing Grace
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Minding the Gap
Quincy
Whitney

Outstanding Foreign Language/ World Cinema Motion Picture
Green Days by the River (Trinidad & Tobago)
Lionheart (Nigeria)
Rafiki (Kenya)
Vaya (South Africa)
Where Hands Touch (UK)

Outstanding Voice Performance
Mahershala Ali | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Taraji P. Henson | Ralph Breaks the Internet
Brian Tyree Henry | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Samuel L. Jackson | Incredibles 2
Shamiek Moore | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Outstanding Score
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Creed II
The Hate U Give
If Beale Street Could Talk

Outstanding Original Song
“All the Stars” (Black Panther) | Kendrick Lamar & SZA
“I’ll Fight” (RBG) | Jennifer Hudson
“Love Lies” (Love, Simon) | Khalid & Normani
“Pray For Me” (Black Panther) | The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar
“We Won’t Move” (The Hate U Give) | Arlissa

Outstanding Independent Feature
A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.
Jinn
Monsters and Men
Roxanne Roxanne
Yardie

Outstanding Independent Documentary
Basquiat: Rage to Riches
Lorainne Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/ Feeling
Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

Outstanding Short
Funk Force | Desmond Levi Jackson
Hair Wolf | Mariama Diallo
Jump | Kofi Siriboe, director
The Tale of Four | Gabourey Sidibe, director
WTFIMH: What the F*ck Is Mental Health | Kofi Siriboe, director

Outstanding Emerging Director
Idris Elba | Yardie
Reinald Marcus Green | Monsters and Men
Rashida Jones | Quincy
Nijla Mu’min | Jinn
Boots Riley | ​Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male
Daveed Diggs | Blindspotting
Winston Duke | Black Panther
Donald Glover | Solo: A Star Wars Story
Brian Tyree Henry | If Beale Street Could Talk
John David Washington | BlacKkKlansman

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female
Cynthia Erivo | Bad Times at the El Royale
Laura Harrier | BlacKkKlansman
Kiki Layne | If Beale Street Could Talk
Zoe Renee | Jinn
Letitia Wright | Black Panther

Outstanding First Screenplay
Blindspotting
Jinn
Monsters and Men
Roxanne Roxanne
Sorry to Bother You

Outstanding Cinematography
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
If Beale Street Could Talk
Widows
A Wrinkle In Time

Outstanding Costume Design
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
If Beale Street Could Talk
Sorry to Bother You
A Wrinkle In Time

Outstanding Production Design
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Wrinkle In Time