"The Rise of the Black British Actor in America": BuzzFeed's Kelley L. Carter argues that actors such as "Selma" star David Oyelowo are finding meatier roles in America. Related: Indiewire's Tambay A. Obenson explains why he finds the BuzzFeed piece maddening.
“It’s familiar to that of many black British actors, and in some ways, his role — and his story — is part of a larger trend playing out in Hollywood right now. There’s a black British Actor Renaissance of sorts occurring, largely because black Brits aren’t finding the type of work in the United Kingdom that allows them to explore the depth they’re seeking from their roles. But stateside, these British expatriates are giving life to classic American stories, many gritty and all of them deeply layered and complex. Part of that may be luck or timing or opportunity. But it’s the odyssey of Oyelowo — who as King is playing one of the most recognizable and iconic Americans of all time — that feels as if it were being orchestrated from on high. ‘I played a soldier confronting President Lincoln in the film ‘Lincoln,’ and I say to him, in the winter of 1865, ‘When are we going to get the vote?’ and then there I am, 100 years later, depicting Dr. King, alongside the very same actor, Colman Domingo — we confronted President Lincoln together — we are now in a jail cell, asking for the vote again, in 1965,’ Oyelowo said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. ‘I’ve played a preacher in ‘The Help,’ I played a fighter pilot in ‘Red Tails,’ I played someone who was in a sit in, was a Freedom Rider, was a Black Panther, then goes on to be a senator in ‘The Butler.’ They’re all characters that took me on this journey through what it has been to be a black person for the last 150 years.’”
"The Eye in Team: The Gaze of 'Foxcatcher'": Kyle Turner of The Movie Scene explores the gay subtext in Bennett Miller's acclaimed drama. Related: City Paper's Brandon Soderberg writes an excellent review of "Foxcatcher," hailing it as "a rigidly surreal masterpiece of sustained dread."
“‘Foxcatcher’ either doesn’t care or doesn’t want to establish exactly from whose perspective the film is, which is, in a way, a double edged sword. So much of the film takes pleasure in lacing every frame and action with ambiguity that it does, understandably, get frustrating. It at once wants to become intimate with its characters – Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), two Olympic gold medalists in wrestling, and John du Pont (Steve Carell), the “rich old guy” that recruits both of them to help his Team Foxcatcher to become best in the world – and get inside their heads, but these characters seem to push back against that very idea. So far as understanding them, we get nothing, which is a good thing. There’s a lurking desire, something sinister and unsavory throughout. Through Miller’s camera and Greg Fraser’s (‘Bright Star,’ ‘Let Me In,’ ‘Killing Them Softly’) cinematography, we inhabit various gazes. Gazes that want and yearn and need. But it’s hard to tell whose they are.”
"The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?": The Guardian's Lindy West responds to the right wingers calling for the "rape or death of anyone ungrateful enough to criticize" Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the subject of Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper," for his actions.
“Only a few weeks into its release, the film has been flattened into a symbol to serve the interests of an ideology that, arguably, runs counter to the ethos of the film itself. How much, if at all, should Eastwood concern himself with fans who misunderstand and misuse his work? If he, intentionally or not, makes a hero out of Kyle – who, bare minimum, was a racist who took pleasure in dehumanising and killing brown people – is he responsible for validating racism, murder, and dehumanisation? Is he a propagandist if people use his work as propaganda? That question came to the fore last week on Twitter when several liberal journalists drew attention to Kyle’s less Oscar-worthy statements. ‘Chris Kyle boasted of looting the apartments of Iraqi families in Fallujah,’ wrote author and former Dailey Beast writer Max Blumenthal. ‘Kill every male you see,’ Rania Khalek quoted, calling Kyle an ‘American psycho.’ Retaliation from the rightwing twittersphere was swift and violent, as Khalek documented in an exhaustive (and exhausting) post at Alternet. ‘Move your America hating a— to Iraq, let ISIS rape you then cut your c—t head off, f—king media whore muslim,’ wrote a rather unassuming-looking mom named Donna. ‘Rania, maybe we to take you a— overthere and give it to ISIS … Dumb b—ch,’ offered a bearded man named Ronald, who enjoys either bass fishing or playing the bass (we may never know). ‘Waterboarding is far from torture,’ explained an army pilot named Benjamin, all helpfulness. ‘I wouldn’t mind giving you two a demonstration.’”
"Sophia Takal ('Green') Talks Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's 'The Lego Movie'": The wonderful actress/filmmaker reviews one of the year's most beloved animated films for The Talkhouse.
“‘The Lego Movie’ is the best commercial I’ve ever seen. I watched it two nights before Christmas and by the end of it I was hoping and praying that Santa would leave a ton of Legos under the Christmas tree and ‘The Lego Movie’ soundtrack (which I assume is strictly comprised of versions of ‘Everything is Awesome’ by Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lorde, Idina Menzel, Beyoncé and Jay-Z) in my stocking. And isn’t that what a movie should be? Something that makes you want to buy a lot of stuff? I think so. Which is why I want to take this time to pitch everyone my latest film. Well, films really, because this first one is bound to be a hit and will inevitably spawn countless sequels and spin-offs. It’s called ‘The Best Adventure Movie Ever’ (sequels will be named as follows: ‘An Even Better Adventure Movie;’ ‘We Were Wrong, This One’s A Greater Adventure;’ ‘We Didn’t Think Adventures Could Get Any Better, But They Did’). The film will be really HIGH OCTANE — a lot of explosions and some trippy sequences that are fun for kids and adults alike. I am talking A MASSIVE ADVENTURE MOVIE with A BOY AND A GIRL AND A SIDEKICK AND A BAD GUY! The sidekick will have his own spin-off and maybe, depending on if Girls are still in, we’ll let the girl have her own spin-off too.”
"TCA Journal No. 3: We Don't Clap": The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman recounts the awkward moments when celebrities fail to receive applause from the Television Critics Association.
“When the cast for HBO's ‘Togetherness’ was taking the stage, star and co-creator Mark Duplass joked about the one clap he heard, ‘It's too much - it's too much.’ And that's when Casey Bloys, executive vice president of programming, said: ‘You can clap.’ No, Casey, we can't. We don't. It's not in our code of conduct, but it's rigorously discouraged that any member of the Television Critics Association clap at these sessions. Sometimes non-members clap. And they get the death stare. Sometimes members clap and they are usually given a talking to so it doesn't happen again. This has been the deal for years and years. Even before Comic-Con. But yes, part of the reason we don't clap is we're not Comic-Con, but the deeper point there is that we're all working journalists, not fanboys or fangirls. Now, let's be honest - do some accredited members display those tendencies? Sure, we're a big group. Not everybody in the family is the model child. We have all kinds of rules about not embarrassing the group by being slobbery. The agreed-upon professional conduct that the vast majority of the group upholds with aplomb through hundreds of sessions is not clapping. Often this unnerves comedians the most, not surprisingly. When Jack Black came onstage -- also at HBO (not to pick on the channel; its moment on the tour is the freshest) -- he laughed at the silence, made a comment and then heard some applause. ‘A smattering!’ he said. That smattering was coming from the assembled employees of HBO.”
Incredible political cartoon by Australia's David Pope that deservedly went viral.
Master video essayist Kevin B. Lee polled almost 300 film critics and movie buffs, resulting in the creation of his latest must-see compilation, The Best Films of the Decade So Far.