There’s a lot of talk going on about Quentin Tarantino, his recently announced project The Hateful Eight, and his reaction to the leaking of his first draft script to someone outside the circle he trusted to keep it confidential. Some have called the Oscar-winning auteur a whining crybaby for complaining about the very web-based world he helped foster while some see this as the ultimate betrayal of an artist and his intentions. Those taking his side argue that in this technologically advanced age, some semblance of professionalism and integrity needs to be maintained. The entire episode recently ramped up when Tarantino decided to sue the website Gawker for posting a link to the leaked script. While the legal standing is somewhat specious, the intention is clear: mess with a powerful Hollywood heavyweight and feel the wrath of his/her immense power and their hurt feelings.
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“You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. Fuck you. Kiss my ass.”
That was how famed critic and contrarian Armond White chose to respond to Steve McQueen‘s acceptance of the New York Film Critic Circle Award for Best Director on 6 January. While the rest of the country was embroiled in the ongoing BCS/ACC/SEC soap opera playing out in Pasadena, Manhattan saw the man most famous for hating every movie you (and his peers) love take out his own personal agenda on the British artist behind one of 2013’s most astonishing movies—not that Mr. White would agree with such an assessment. When 12 Years a Slave was released back in October, he had this to say about it:
Of the three men who led an unprepared America into the Iraq quagmire, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had less of a say in the invasion than either Vice President Dick Cheney or President George W. Bush. But of the three, Rumsfeld is the one you would want to sit in the chair across from Errol Morris.
In The Unknown Known, Rumsfeld shows time and again why he’s a perfect subject for another of Morris’s documentary investigations into American military adventurism and hubris. For one, he’s the sharpest verbalist of the three. For another, he’s willing to tangle with other points of view; though not necessarily concede an inch of ground. If the film can’t compare in the end to 2003’s The Fog of War, that’s because Rumsfeld doesn’t appear to have had the come-to-Jesus moment about Iraq that Robert McNamara had about his role in the disaster that was the Vietnam War. Given the placidly combative figure presented here, that moment will probably never come.
Over the last few weeks, websites and critics have been offering up their often considered opinions on what was/is the Best Horror Film of All Time. Hey, it was October, and Halloween, after all. For many, it’s William Friedkin’s Satanic powerhouse, The Exorcist, while other have mentioned John Carpenter’s Halloween or any number of George Romero zombie films. And then there is the Kubrick contingent, a growing consensus that the masterful auteur’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining stands as the most terrifying film ever. Granted, there’s also an equally vocal ‘minority’ who believes that sentiment is hogwash (yours truly included), but for the vast majority of VCR raised fans, the story of Jack and Wendy Torrance, the gifted little boy Danny, and the haunted Overlook Hotel represents the pinnacle of onscreen scares.
Over the last few days, an interesting discussion has broken out over Steve McQueen’s masterful 12 Years a Slave. Aside from the blogsphere fact-checking and critical deniers (it’s impossible to believe that there are some people who actually hate this film), one of the most interesting arguments have come from people who believe that the movie is just… too violent. In fact, one of the most vocal opponents, AP writer Christy Lemire, recently said that, for her, the level of abuse and torture levied upon main character Solomon Northup and his indentured kind was nothing short of exploitation. While not venturing further with this analysis, it seems that she, along with several other members of the cinematic Fourth Estate, have been turned off by McQueen’s desire to emphasize the offensives committed in the name of “State Rights” in this warts-and-all overview of America pre-Civil War.