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Tag: Steven Spielberg (11-20 of 52)

'Django Unchained' isn't the only film about American slavery, but it's close

Slavery remains American’s original sin, written into the original U.S. Constitution and responsible for the country’s ever-evolving, ever-complicated attitudes about race. So when a director like Quentin Tarantino decides to use slavery as the backdrop for his spaghetti Western revenge fantasia Django Unchained, it should not be exactly surprising that the film has come under a great deal of scrutiny.

What should be surprising — what should be at the center of any conversation about slavery and the movies — is how infrequently the words “slavery and the movies” are spoken in the same sentence.

Last month, Spike Lee declared he would not see Django Unchained, tweeting “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust” — a not so subtle implication that American slavery is too fraught to serve as a venue for Tarantino’s unique blend of genre-smashing, blood-splattering filmmaking. Training Day director Antoine Fuqua later admonished Lee for not airing his beef with Tarantino in private, declaring “I don’t think Quentin Tarantino has a racist bone in his body.” (When reached by EW, a rep for The Weinstein Company and Tarantino had no comment regarding either statement.) But Spike Lee is far from alone in expressing concerns about Tarantino’s tale of the titular freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a nefarious slaveholder (Leonardo DiCaprio). The public handwringing over the film has included its profligate use of the N-word (sparking a most fascinating exchange between Samuel L. Jackson and a white journalist over speaking the word aloud); its impact among African-American cultural tastemakers and audiences; and its appropriateness for teenage audiences (as penned by EW’s Abby West).

None of the controversies have exactly harmed the film’s box office; quite the opposite, it just zoomed past $100 million this weekend, en route to becoming Tarantino’s biggest hit to date. READ FULL STORY

Lincoln's politics: Who would it have hurt had it opened before the election?

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From the beginning, Steven Spielberg was determined to steer his Abraham Lincoln movie clear of contemporary politics. He specifically requested a post Election Day release date so as not to be engulfed in the push and pull of the heated presidential race. “Lincoln today is beyond partisan politics,” Spielberg said recently. Indeed, the 16th president was the first Republican president, yet he’s frequently claimed by modern Democrats, as well, who view Lincoln’s freeing the slaves and the passing of the 13th Amendment as an essential part of the ongoing struggle for human rights and an essential milestone in a march that can be traced through women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, and today’s debate over gay rights.

When Lincoln opens in select theaters on Friday (it opens nationally the following weekend), three days after American selects its next president, Spielberg hopes that it might contribute “some kind of soothing or even healing effect.” (“With malice towards none…” Lincoln famously said during his conciliatory second inaugural speech.) But Spielberg was wise to demand a post-election release, because the film will be inevitably interpreted through our modern political lens. READ FULL STORY

Steven Spielberg shares his daddy issues, talks 'Lincoln' on '60 Minutes' -- VIDEO

Steven Spielberg’s career can be roughly divided into two distinct periods: the Mad at Dad phase, and the Reconciliation phase. The director admitted as much in a probing 60 Minutes interview last night. See, Spielberg’s parents, Arnold and Leah, got divorced when he was 19 — and for the following 15 years or so, Spielberg was furious with his father. He thought workaholic Arnold, an engineer, had instigated the split after years of ignoring his family in favor of his job.

What Steven didn’t know was that his beloved mother had actually fallen for another man — one of Arnold’s friends. As adorable 95-year-old Arnold explained to Lesley Stahl last night, he didn’t tell his son the truth for years because he was still in love with Leah… and Spielberg responded by littering movies like E.T. and Hook with absentee fathers or the void they left behind. Eventually, Steven’s wife, Kate Capshaw, prodded him to make peace with Dad — ultimately leading to films like War of the Worlds and Lincoln.

Not interested in Spielberg’s psychology? Press “play” on the first video and skip ahead 10 minutes. You’ll miss Spielberg discussing his daddy issues and his brushes with antisemitism — but you’ll get inside scoop on Lincoln, the director’s latest perfectly engineered Oscar-bait project. You could also just watch the second clip, which takes a more in-depth look behind the scenes of Lincoln — complete with a brief appearance by the famously taciturn Daniel Day-Lewis. It also features John Williams playing the theme from Jaws. Have at it, Spielbergians: READ FULL STORY

Oprah tops Forbes list of highest-paid celebs, Michael Bay trails close behind

Image credit: Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

Oprah Winfrey is the highest paid celebrity in the world. Again. Despite a seismic $125 million earnings loss, the media mogul topped Forbes’ annual list of the 20 highest-earning celebs for the fourth year in a row. Winfrey ended her 25-year reign as talk-show queen last year and her network OWN has been struggling financially, but she still made an estimated $165 million.

Her Harpo productions shows, which include Dr. PhilRachael Ray, and The Dr. Oz Show, her magazine, and satellite radio station helped her nab the top spot, but Forbes won’t count syndication money next year, potentially allowing runner-up director Michael Bay, who trailed behind by a mere $5 million, to garner the coveted spot. Bay’s last film, The Transformers: Dark of the Moon, grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide.

A sizable number of the celebs on the list are producers and directors, including Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, Dr. Dre, and Tyler Perry, who rounded out the top six. Dre made a surprise appearance on this year’s list, due to the incredible success of his line of headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre.

Tom Cruise (No. 13) was the only movie star in the ranking. Britney Spears solidified her comeback by tying for the last slot, while Ryan Seacrest, at No. 19, proved that he’s a fixture on every power list.

Here’s the full list: READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: 'Twilight' Exclusive -- Director Bill Condon on the scandal. Plus: Fall movie preview!

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It’s been — let’s just say —an eventful couple of weeks for Team Twilight. Bella and Edward may find eternal, immortal bliss in Breaking Dawn — Part 2 (out Nov. 16), but costars and (only recently confirmed) couple Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are having a much harder time since incriminating photographs of Stewart and her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, surfaced late last month. “The fact is, these are actors playing parts, and maybe it’s not such a bad thing that people be reminded of that,” Bill Condon tells EW. “Both of these actors gave heart and soul to the Twilight movies, not only during shooting, but also by navigating so graciously the whole life-in-a-fishbowl aspect of the phenomenon. Above all they have always shown great respect for the fans who made these movies such a success. Now it’s time that some of that respect be returned to them.”
READ FULL STORY

Your party is a wonderland: 'Vanity Fair' Paramount portrait is an A-list playground

Image credit: Art Streiber, exclusively for Vanity Fair

Well, I just lost my afternoon. In honor of Paramount’s 100th anniversary, Vanity Fair has “assembled 116 of the greatest talents ever to work at the studio.” That means Leo, Bob, and Marty, some icons of the studio’s golden age (hello, Eva Marie Saint, Jerry Lewis, and Michael York!), almost the entire casts of Transformers and Star Trek, and even that Canadian whippersnapper Justin Bieber, whom you might remember from a little indie film called Never Say Never. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (Titanic zing, hey-yo!).

Because Vanity Fair knows you want to see every one of those 116 faces up close and personal, they’ve installed a zoom function on their site. Fair warning, PopWatchers: This thing is addictive. Click through at your own risk. Below, we scope out a few of the famous faces and hand out our portrait honors. READ FULL STORY

Inside the Best Picture nominees: A deep dive into 'War Horse'

There are a whopping nine films nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. And between your work, family, and constant USA marathons of Law & Order: SVU (when will those ever stop being addictive?!), you simply do not have time to catch all nine in the theaters or on DVD. But never fear, dear PopWatchers — that’s why we’re here! Each day leading up to the Academy Awards Feb. 26, we’ll be providing you with a deep dive into one of the nine Best Picture nominees. Fear showing up to your Oscars party unprepared to discuss the year’s most notable films? We’ve got you covered. (Just beware:SPOILERS AHEAD!) And if you’ve already seen all nine films, even better — our inside look at each nominee will serve as a handy guide to remind you of the best and worst moments from every Best Picture candidate this year. In this installment we’ll break down all the statistics of War Horse. (And be sure click here for more deep dives into this year’s Best Picture nominees!)

Name: War Horse

Release date: December 25, 2011

DVD release date: April 3, 2012

Run time: 2 hours, 26 minutes READ FULL STORY

'Phantom Menace' will eclipse 'Dark Knight' grosses -- Is Top 10 quality going down like the 'Titanic'?

News broke today that Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace, thanks to its recent 3-D re-release, is on track to surpass 2008′s The Dark Knight in box office grosses. This infusion of money will make Phantom Menace the 10th highest-grossing film of all time. Many would argue that Christopher Nolan’s twisty Batman Begins sequel is far superior to George Lucas’ uncontrollable exercise in CGI, and it got us thinking: Are the newest crop of movies to join the top 10 (six since Avatar kick-started a box office frenzy in 2009) demonstrably worse than their chart-mates? Well… yes and no. See the new top 10 list below. READ FULL STORY

Oscars Myth Busting: Do presenters have a connection to the winner?

Put down those Pop Rocks and Diet Cokes. We’ve got some A-list myths to examine! Ahead of this Sunday’s Oscars, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most famous myths to rise out of the annual awards ceremony. Want to know if being nude will get you a Best Actress statue? Or if the Best Supporting Actress trophy is indeed a curse? You’re in luck -- we’ll be investigating one Oscars-related urban legend each day this week. Today, we’ll see if we can bust the presenter-winner nepotism myth: Over the past 25 years, has everyone been as connected as, say, 1994 presenter and winner Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg? Read on to find out. (And click here for more of EW’s Oscars Myth Busting.)

Oscar myth: Presenter-winner nepotism

What Is It?: In some quarters, there is a belief that Oscar presenters are handpicked to deliver the award to their A-list buddies or former costars. READ FULL STORY

Nominated for Nothing: Why J.J. Abrams' 'Super 8' deserves more recognition

Just about every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars. The Searchers, Groundhog Day, Persona, Breathless, Hoop Dreams, The Bourne Supremacy, King Kong, Casino Royale, Touch of Evil, Caddyshack, Mean Streets, The Big Lebowski — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, hard-boiled genre pics, artsy foreign films, and documentaries that aren’t about World War II. This year, we’ll be taking a closer look at films that were too small, too weird, or perhaps simply too awesome for the Academy Awards. These are the Non-Nominees.

The Film: Super 8, writer-director J.J. Abrams’ love letter to his childhood, and all that that entails: Making Super 8 movies in the 1970s with his newly pubescent friends (including longtime collaborators Bryan Burk, Matt Reeves, and Larry Fong, Super 8‘s director of photography); fantasizing about wild adventures involving dangerous extra-terrestrials and nefarious military conspiracies; and obsessing over the movies of Steven Spielberg, the man who essentially invented the childhoods of a generation of Gen Xers, and who eventually collaborated with Abrams on this film.

Why it Wasn’t Nominated:  READ FULL STORY

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