The House


Steven Spielberg

1. "Steven Spielberg's speech to Holocaust survivors in Krakow." The Schindler's List director addressed dozens of Auschwitz survivors on eve of 70th anniversary of camp's liberation.

"It means preserving places like Auschwitz so people can always see for themselves how hateful ideologies can become tangible acts of murder. It means sharing and sustaining the testimonies of witnesses so that they can endure for teachers and students around the world their testimonies give to each survivor everlasting life and give to all of us everlasting value. Which brings us to where we are now, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and despite the obstacles we face today I feel reassured by our shared efforts to combat hatred. And my hope for tomorrow's commemoration is that the survivors with us and those survivors from all round the world feel confident that we are renewing their call to remember, that we will not only make known their own identities but in the process help form a meaningful collective conscience for generations to come."

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TAGS: aleksei german, american sniper, auschwitz, barbara boxer, chris wisniewski, dope, hard to be a god, holocaust, kirby dick, laurie winer, lena dunham, reverse shot, steven spielberg, tangerine, the end of the tour, the hunting ground, wesley morris


Hard to Be a God

1. "A Small Batch from Life's Work." J. Hoberman on Aleksei German.

"Befitting a movie its maker strove to realize his entire professional life, Hard to Be a God evokes an imagined past. Its setting is the kingdom of Arkanar on an Earthlike planet where society has evolved only as far as the Middle Ages or, perhaps, skipping the Renaissance, gone directly from feudal barbarism to barbaric fascism. Literacy is a capital crime. Russians are dispatched in a team from their achieved Utopia. Discreetly employing advanced technology, they live among the Arkanarians, observing their primitive ways, including coups and executions, while doing their ineffectual best to nurture positive human developments."

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TAGS: aleksei german, american sniper, charles p. pierce, deadline, eden, empire, hard to be a god, harvey weinstein, j. hoberman, lee daniels, mia hansen-løve, mike fleming jr., nick pinkerton, quentin tarantino, selma, the grand budapest hotel, the hateful eight, the imitation game, timbaland


King Abdullah

1. "King Abdullah, a Shrewd Force Who Reshaped Saudi Arabia, Dies at 90." Throngs of mourners gathered in Mecca early Friday just hours after Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died. He was 90.

"King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who came to the throne in old age and earned a reputation as a cautious reformer even as the Arab Spring revolts toppled heads of state and Islamic State militants threatened the Muslim establishment that he represented, died on Friday, according to a statement on state television. He was 90. The Royal Court said in a statement broadcast across the kingdom that the king had died early Friday. The royal court did not disclose the exact cause of death. An announcement quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency said the king had a lung infection when he was admitted on Dec. 31 to a Riyadh hospital. The king's death adds yet another element of uncertainty in a region already overwhelmed by crises and as Saudi Arabia is itself in a struggle with Iran for regional dominance. The royal family moved quickly to assure a smooth transition of power in a nation that is a close ally of the United States, the world's largest exporter of oil and the religious center of the Islamic faith. In a televised statement, Abdullah's brother, Crown Prince Salman, announced that the king had died and that he had assumed the throne."

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TAGS: american sniper, andrew o'hehir, blondie, Brian Turner, chris stein, clint eastwood, debbie harry, hannibal, king abdullah, michael koresky, rapture, reverse shot, saudi arabia, the duke of burgundy, vulture


Björk

1. "The Invisible Woman." Pitchfork's Jessica Hopper converses with Björk.

"I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I'm not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn't even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I'm saying to you now helps women, I'm up for saying it. For example, I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn't do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos'] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don't even listen to him. It really is strange."

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TAGS: american sniper, björk, film comment, flavorwire, gett: the trial of viviane amsalem, greenpeace, hollywood, jason bailey, jessica hopper, jia zhang-ke, manohla dargis, mother jones, nicolas rapold, pitchfork, prison, shlomi elkabetz, smog journeys, vulnicura


Barack Obama

1. "President Obama Delivers the State of the Union." In State of the Union speech, the president defiantly sets an ambitious agenda.

"The tax plan would raise the top capital gains tax rate to 28 percent, from 23.8 percent. It would also remove what amounts to a tax break for wealthy people who can afford to hold on to their investments until death. Mr. Obama also said he wanted to assess a new fee on the largest financial institutions—those with assets of $50 billion or more—based on the amount of risk they took on. Those proposals would pay for the community college initiative, which would cost $60 billion over a decade, as well as an array of new tax credits intended for the middle class. They include a new $500 credit for families with two working spouses; a subsidy of up to $2,500 annually to pay for college; and the tripling, up to $3,000, of an existing tax break to pay for college. 'It's time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women's issue,' Mr. Obama said, 'and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.'"

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TAGS: amos vogel, barack obama, blackhat, broad city, fandor, it follows, laura miller, michael mann, michael sicinski, mubi, richard brody, ryland walker knight, salon, state of the union


Joel and Ethan Coen

1. "Joel and Ethan Coen to preside over the Jury of the 68th Festival de Cannes." The director-writers of Inside Llewyn Davis, Fargo, True Grit and others will head up the festival that has rewarded them multiple times in the past.

"'We look forward to returning to Cannes this year', Joel and Ethan Coen said from the Hail Caesar! film shoot with George Clooney, Christophe Lambert, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin and Channing Tatum. 'We welcome as always the opportunity to watch movies there from all over the world. Cannes is a festival that has been important to us since the very beginning of our career. Presiding over the Jury is a special honour, since we have never heretofore been president of anything. We will issue further proclamations at the appropriate time.'"

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TAGS: american sniper, cannes film festival, ethan coen, film comment, graham fuller, inherent vice, j. hoberman, joel coen, kevin lincoln, marion cotillard, paul thomas anderson, peter strickland, the duke of burgundy, thomas pynchon, two days one night, vulture


GamerGate

1. "Why Stopping #GamerGate and 8chan Is Important for Everyone—Including GamerGate." A primer on the toxic culture and terrorism that has destroyed people's lives and threatens to destroy the free internet.

"Despite all that, five months on, #GamerGate is somehow still with us, an infection that just keeps bouncing back. But it's different now. The useful idiots—those well-meaning gamers who bought the 'ethics in game journalism' party line and got unwittingly swept up into a harassment campaign—have mostly departed. What's left is the rotten core; the hate movement. Per capita, #GamerGate has worsened, its seedy underbelly revealed as the foot soldiers have sidled away embarrassed. It's not about ethics in game journalism anymore (if it ever was (it wasn't)). It's not even about games at all. The 'Gaters left over are those that represent what #GamerGate was always about. These 'Gaters are the ones feverishly devoted to rooting out the 'Social Justice Warriors' and 'feminazis' who are supposedly ruining the world for antisocial straight white guys. #GamerGate has always been about ideology, and the stripping-back that has taken place over the past month or two has made that even clearer."

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TAGS: 8chan, a new wave, andrew todd, badass digest, brian darr, eddie haung, fandor, gamergate, gene seymour, late show with david letterman, matt zoller seitz, noir city festival, penelope green, selma, Sleater-Kinney, the new york times, the wes anderson collection, wes anderson


Birdman

1. "Oscar Nominations 2015: The Complete List" The nominations will be revealed at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Thursday.

"The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were revealed on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 a.m. For the first time, the entire list of nominees were announced live in a two-part announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Directors J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron announced the first group of nominees for the award show's 24 categories and then Into the Woods actor Chris Pine and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs took the stage to announce the remaining nominees. Eight films were nominated for best picture. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel topped the nomination with nine each while The Imitation Game followed with eight noms."

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TAGS: academy awards, angela watercutter, armando iannucci, blackhat, charlie hebdo, fka twigs, gillo pontecorvo, jill soloway, michael mann, pendulum, rupert murdoch, sony, the battle of algiers, the hollywood reporter, transparent, veep, wired


Barack Obama

1. "53 Historians Weigh In on Barack Obama's Legacy." Below is the response from Thomas Powers, authors of The Killing of Crazy Horse.

"One theme dominates American history from its origins to this morning's news—the consequences, and how to deal with them, of the importation into the United States of Africans as slaves. President Barack Obama is not a descendant of slaves, but he is black, and that fact has unloosed or perhaps only illuminated a renewed white political resistance to racial equality that future historians will record as the third phase of the struggle by white Americans to retain political and social control. The first phase, centering on the question of slavery, extended from the counting of black slaves as three-fifths of a man in the Constitution of 1787 through ratification of the 13th Amendment banning slavery in 1865. The second phase, triggered by white shock at the social revolution implicit in the end of slavery, centered on white use of vigilante terror and control of the courts to deny political and civil rights for black Americans. Soon after the civil-rights acts of the 1960s ended the second phase, a third emerged, triggered by white shock at the fact of black legal and political equality. The first line of white defense in each phase has been denial—denial in the first phase that slavery was cruel, exploitive, and wrong, and denial in the second phase that lynching, Jim Crow laws, and whites-only primaries were intended to control African-Americans. In the third phase, it is denied that implacable Republican hostility to Obama has anything to do with race; that the all-Republican South, like the all-Democratic South which preceded it, is primarily an instrument of white control; that voter-ID laws are aimed at blocking votes by blacks and Hispanics, and that the predominance of white men voting Republican (64 percent in the midterm elections) is explained by race. History suggests that it takes roughly 50 years for denial to run its course; after that, everybody will know what the struggle is about, and no historian will blame it on Obama."

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TAGS: academy awards, alfred hitchcock, artforum, barack obama, cake, coronus the terminator, David Hall, flying lotus, glenn kenny, golden globes, holocaust, Jennifer Aniston, julianne moore, leo goldsmith, new york, night will fall, richard brody, sidney bernstein, still alice, the killing of crazy horse, thomas powers


Selma

1. "The Dream Act." Wesley Morris on Selma.

"There's a strategy in that sequence of shots. We watch Selma aware that King's assassination is looming. So, in the movie, is he. That shadow is what intensifies the film's heaviness, the responsibility King feels for the people walking with him. That's what turns him back on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, his heeding of the awareness that the limits of nonviolence are defined by the violent. Nonviolence can't stop man's uglier nature, his fear of change or whatever it is that makes him shoot and whip and beat unarmed activists. In fact, if nonviolence is effective, it will provoke such ugly retaliation. In that moment, God seemed to speak to King and say, Turn back. That red carpet in the church afterward is so striking because it's an acknowledgment of all the deaths for this cause, and of the dying left to do. The bloodshed of his followers—of every race—is a source of his sadness and guilt. He can't save them from pain. He can only lead them into it, into slaughter. But all there is to do about that is keep marching."

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TAGS: ava duvernay, charlie hebdo, craig brown, duck soup, fernando f. croce, house of cards, michael mann, movie mezzanine, robert crumb, selma, steven zeitchick, wesley morris







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