PopWatch Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch Blog

Tag: 12 Years A Slave (1-7 of 7)

Oscars 2014 review: Who were the real heroes of an endless night?

Despite a terrifically loose Ellen DeGeneres, the first half of the Oscars was the type of slog that makes you wonder if your friends who don’t watch TV are onto something.

Last night got off to a dreadfully slow start – Ellen’s great monologue aside, which included that surprising and just-this-side-of-cruel dig on Liza Minnelli. From the beginning the show was almost fatally crippled by the thick-with-self-regard theme of “Heroes in Hollywood.” That meant puffy, poorly edited montages of  animated heroes, action heroes, and those ordinary among us who commit quiet acts of heroism (you know, average Joes like Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali). Amy Adams spoke for all of us suffering quietly at home when she got caught checking her phone during Harrison Ford’s snoozy line reading of some Best Picture nominees.

The choice to have Bette Midler sing her old weepy “Wind Beneath My Wings” after the In Memoriam montage felt cheap and manipulative. (The segment producers could take notes from the elegance of Bill Murray, whose introduction of Harold Ramis as a 6th Best Cinematographer nominee was as poignant as it was understated.) And I think I speak for parents everywhere who cursed the whole production for holding Idina Menzel’s performance of “Let It Go” until the end after we promised our young children they could stay up and watch. (#John Travolta, you’re a mess.)

READ FULL STORY

Oscar Season: The Musical! What would this year's Best Picture nominees be like on Broadway? -- VIDEO

Oscar-Season-The-Musical.jpg

Though Frozen was nominated for two Oscars this year, including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, the crop of nine Best Picture nominees doesn’t include a musical.

But what would happen if you took the nine very different films and made them into a musical? You would get some hilarious high-kicking results. From The Wolf of Wall Street cursing on beat to an American Hustle bathroom showdown reminiscent of Rent, it’s clear some of these musical ideas work better than others. Like most Oscar-related parodies that have been happening lately, 12 Years a Slave is respectfully not given a full production number. But if you ever wanted to see Dallas Buyers Club‘s Ron Woodroof do a kick-line next to Philomena, you are in luck! Watch below: READ FULL STORY

The violence of '12 Years a Slave': Why 'Schindler's List' got a pass

Moments after 12 Years a Slave was prematurely anointed as a lock for Best Picture in September, whispers began that Steve McQueen’s harrowing true tale of a free black man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) trafficked into pre-Civil War Southern slavery was too raw, too unflinching, and too grisly to go the distance. Some Academy voters confided that the early reviews — which highlighted the film’s searing violence and haunting imagery — had scared them off, and even though they recognized that 12 Years was an important film about an important and long-neglected subject, actually watching it wasn’t their idea of a good time for a Friday night. Since opening in October, 12 Years has grossed $49 million and heads into Oscar weekend a co-favorite, along with Gravity, to win Best Picture, but doubts remain whether enough voters actually saw it — and appreciated it — to push it over the top.

Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List was greeted similarly by the critics upon its release in 1993. That World War II epic about the Nazi profiteer Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved hundreds of Polish Jews from the gas chambers by putting them on his factory payroll, was praised to the heavens for bringing audiences face to face with the evils of the Holocaust. EW critic Owen Gleiberman’s review of that film begins by noting its “visions of profound shock and terror … the recurring image of people getting shot in the head,” and closes with “Spielberg has done something that can’t quite be said of any other film about the Holocaust. He has allowed us — for the first time — to see it.”

But rather than repel or alienate viewers, the naked brutality of the Holocaust in Spielberg’s film compelled people to see it in theaters. For some, it became almost a moral obligation to witness Schindler’s List, to confront pure evil — Ralph Fiennes’ sadistic Nazi, Amon Goeth — and share in a worldwide cathartic chorus of “Never again!” That required-viewing duty even became a joke on Seinfeld. Schindler’s List went on to gross $96.1 million ($186.9 million in 2013 dollars) and breezed to seven Oscars, including Best Picture.

12 Years a Slave and Schindler’s List are, of course, different films, and Spielberg and McQueen are different filmmakers, but the audiences’ conflicting reactions to the movies’ dedication to authenticity — no matter how ugly — raises interesting questions. READ FULL STORY

Inside the Best Picture Nominees: A deep dive into '12 Years a Slave'

Name: 12 Years a Slave

Release date: Oct. 18, 2003 (limited); Nov. 8, 2013 (wide)

DVD release date: March 4, 2014

Run time: 134 minutes

Box office: Opening weekend, wide release: $6.675 million; domestic total: $49.133 million; international total: $78.9 million (as of Monday, Feb. 24)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96 percent READ FULL STORY

David O. Russell compares 'Hunger Games' to '12 years of slavery' for Jennifer Lawrence

Hoo boy. American Hustle director David O. Russell, it seems, does not approve of the modern Hollywood franchise machine — and he’s not afraid to express his opinions on the matter, even to gossip reporters.

At an awards ceremony last Friday, Russell told the New York Daily News that he believes Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games commitment — a “hamster wheel” of filming and endless promotion — is running the star ragged.

READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: Our Top 10 movies, TV shows, albums, singles, and books of 2013

1289-CVR-EW-TOP-TEN.jpg

It’s time for Entertainment Weekly‘s annual top 10 lists of the best movies, TV shows, albums, singles, and books. You know, all the things that ruled, shocked, and rocked this year.

Inside this week’s issue find our top 10 lists of…

The Best Movies: Critics Owen Gleiberman and Chris Nashawaty agree: Gravity’s got pull and 12 Years a Slave is brutally brilliant. Find out who fell equally hard for period pieces, high-tech epics, and some surprising thrillers, and who was won over by wrenching romances and harrowing journeys (but still loves himself a little horror).

The Best TV Shows: Critics Jeff Jensen and Melissa Maerz both felt the Netflix effect this year, though they have divergent takes on the final season of Breaking Bad: One critic says a certain franchise’s epic insanity reigned supreme, while the other declares Walter White took down all comers.
READ FULL STORY

Brad Pitt would 'absolutely' show '12 Years a Slave' to his kids -- VIDEO

Though he appears for barely eight minutes in ’12 Years a Slave,’ the story of a born-free black man sold into slavery affected Brad Pitt so strongly that he calls the film his reason for acting and would even show the film, which has attracted attention for its harrowing scenes, to adopted son Maddox.

“It’s why I got into film in the first place,” said Pitt, who plays abolitionist Samuel Bass in the Steve McQueen-directed film, to NBC‘s Ann Curry.

“It’s one of those few films that cuts to the base of our humanity,” he continued. “And it was not ’til I saw Solomon Northup’s story that I fully, fully grasped the utter horror of losing your freedom, or denying another one their freedom, taking their freedom, splitting their family apart. It’s abhorrent.” READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos

Advertisement

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP