NOW PLAYING

in theaters



new on DVD/BluRay


review index

HOT TOPICS



Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

Powered by Squarespace
Beauty vs. Beast

 

Can Shelley Duvall keep it together long enough to win THE SHINING poll ? Have you voted yet?

 

Comment Fun

COMMENT DU JOUR
Birdman's Secret Advantage
Oscar Loves Theater Stage Movies

 

"My favorite movie about the theater is ALL ABOUT EVE, but then again that movie is my favorite movie about everything about movies and love and lust and life itself." - Jay

"TOPSY-TURVY perfectly captures the feeling of imminent failure that you get when you're in rehearsals." - Peggy

 

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe
Friday
Oct242014

Posterized: Best Documentary Winners of the Past 30 Years

THE TIME OF HARVEY MILK (1984), a true classic. Have you seen it?
If there's anything that makes me feel unsophisticated when it comes to the cinema it's my general relationship to documentaries. Like your average movie consumer (non cinephile division) I only see them if the subject matter interests me. If there were a narrative equation wouldn't that be "i'll only see this or that genre"? And ewww, that's not the way to be. Variety is always best when consuming art. Man cannot live by multi-quandrant blockbusters OR art films alone. 

Over the years as The Film Experience has expanded we've given more space to documentaries largely because Glenn & Amir are obsessed with them. So for today's Posterized, a special edition surveying the last 30 years of the Best Documentary Feature category. I went back that far because The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) is basically one of my favorite things that I've ever seen in my life and I wanted to know if YOU have seen it. I enjoyed Milk (2008) a lot when it came out but it was very deja vu since so much of it was in this great film.

Anyway, I'm taking an informal survey to gauge your interest in this type of movie (and it's adjacent Oscar category) in the comments so do tell. How many of these Oscar winners have you seen?  There's actually 31 of them in the past 30 years since there was one tie. I have only seen 10 which I am embarrassed to admit as an Oscar pundit but there it is. I am not a total completist each year. Most of these films are available on DVD still though sadly not many are streaming.

HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct242014

The Wide Open Spaces of Best Supporting Actor

With only six presumed major contenders yet to be screened by these eyes (Unbroken, Big Eyes, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Selma, American Sniper) it's awfully late in the year for there to be so little in the way of clues as to what the full Supporting Actor lineup might look like. In a more competitive year Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), and Edward Norton (Birdman) probably wouldn't seem like cast iron locks in October. But they do. 

Kingsley (Exodus), Waltz (Big Eyes), Caine (Interstellar), Duvall (The Judge). 19% of the nominees in this category in the past 20 years have been previous winners.

In the fantasy world inside my head, the Academy board of governors throws up their hands and admits defeat, making a special ruling that from this day forward there will be 7 Supporting Actress nominees each year and only 3 Supporting Actors because everyone knows that's the way it should be given the disparity gap in quality between the two categories. But the world doesn't operate by my actressexual logic, as tragic as that may be. 

Given the Academy's lack of imagination for this particular category -- it's by a significant ratio the least quality-oriented among Oscar's long history with acting honors -- we'll most likely see some scenario where very traditional Oscar Bait or Category Frauders or Respected Men who they like regardless of the role / picture show up. Maybe a twofer from this previously nominated bunch: Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes), Robert Duvall (The Judge) Michael Caine (Interstellar), Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice -- I love this performance by the way. Not trying to paint it with an underserving brush), or maybe even a double whammy like Tim Roth/Tom Wilkinson (Selma) though the Supporting Actor category hasn't had a double since Bugsy way back in 1991 with Ben Kingsley and Harvey Keitel. (Back then I pretended Keitel was nominated for Thelma & Louise instead  - it made infinitely more sense)

My point is this: two spots are wide open for which truly no one can legitimately claim to have any solid traction for (yet). Frankly any actor with a good size role this year who is either a) respected or b) in an Oscar friendly movie, would be insane not to be shaking hands and kissing babies and doing a bajillion interviews. And as I've long maintained, campaigning as a long shot is NOT bad for your career. It helps you with momentum, even if you don't make it, the next time you're great in a picture. Pardon the pun, but it's a golden opportunity.

Here, for your hopeful amusement and ponderings, some contenders that aren't being discussed...

LONGSHOT CONTENDERS OFF BEATEN PATH
... FOR YOUR 'WHAT IF' PONDERINGS...

TYLER PERRY, Gone Girl
Elvis has arrived... at the Dolby Theater? I was the first pundit to suggest this and honestly I don't see why it's so far-fetched. He's a known commodity seen in a new context (often an attention-grabbing combo) in a crowd-pleading part in a blockbuster hit. Plus Supporting Actor, of all the acting categories, is arguably the one that's least concerned with actual performances and roles and more with the men in question. This is the category where they regularly shove people they just want to congratulate, people they just generally like regardless of the part, and careers that are there to be honored. (Plus its where they shove leading men who aren't strong enough to make it in the Lead Actor category but let's not get into Category Fraud today!) The real question here is whether AMPAS members love Gone Girl and I'm getting conflicting info on that.

Billy Magnusson at the Tony AwardsCHRIS PINE and BILLY MAGNUSSEN, Into the Woods
Look, I know how Oscar works. They're more likely to nominate Johnny Depp as The Wolf no matter what he looks like therein since they like the familiar faces. Still, in nearly every production of Into the Woods the Princes are awesome and funny. No one thinks "comedy!" when they hear the name Chris Pine unless they're obsessed with Just My Luck and if so they deserve our collective empathy but I assure all of you that the other prince, stage actor Billy Magnussen, is the real deal as comically gifted actors go. He's probably too young / too unknown by AMPAS types to win one of those "silly" nomination even if they end up loving Into the Woods but maybe that "Agony" duet will be a real showstopper?

ALEC BALDWIN, Still Alice
For symmetry's sake with Iris (2001), they could nominate the long-suffering husband of the Best Actress with Alzheimers.  If they do, everyone will be absolutely stunned to realize that Alec Baldwin is older now than Jim Broadbent was back then. True fact.

ANDY SERKIS, TOBY KEBELL, and JASON CLARKE, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
People seem to have forgotten about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which is a bit weird when you consider how obsessed people were for at least two weeks earlier this year. Serkis and Kebell are both doing motion capture performances that everyone was wild for as the film's star ape and his antagonist. Oscar might not be quite ready to go there yet, but Oscar pundits and think piece essayists most definitely are each time. Eventually something like that will happen but I'm guessing we're about 10 years away from that scenario. Still, you never know and if the movie has a late revival and they're too scared to nominate an Ape there's always rising star Jason Clark in the lead role to consider for supporting. Can this movie's campaign team remind everyone how respected this cast was over the summer for some Best Ensemble traction at least? We'll see.

MARTIN SHORT, Inherent Vice
Hear me out and try not to hate me. I am not a fan of Martin Short. I know this makes me an outlier but his screen persona / performance style is too broad to take seriously in non-slapstick situations. Yes, even in the rare circumstances when he's doing drama. Nevertheless I am not blind to the crazy love other people feel for him and at least at the screening I attended for Inherent Vice his extended over the top cameo as a lecherous drug-addled dentist with a much younger girlfriend was a huge hit with the crowd. The Academy isn't opposed to oddball nominations in the supporting category if it means they can honor a veteran. Maybe this isn't so far-fetched at all... IF and only if the critics rally for Inherent Vice which they might despite it being Paul Thomas Anderson's worst movie. 

ALBERT BROOKS, A Most Violent Year and... uh... Drive
Fantasy Scenario Inside My Demented Oscar Brain: Feeling frisky the Actors Branch refuses to comply by AMPAS rules and forces a double nomination for Albert Brooks. First for his supporting role in the late breaking A Most Violent Year and a special write-in for Drive (2011) the very first retroactive nomination for a past snub along with a full page apology in Variety. Sorry about it, man. You were such a good sport that year. Here's two nominations! 

FRESHLY UPDATED OSCAR CHARTS...
(more to come)
ACTRESS |  SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESSANIMATED FEATURES

Friday
Oct242014

Precious

Friday
Oct242014

Scandinavians in London: New Films From Those 'Royal Affair' Lovers

A couple more reports from London and Chicago festivals heading your way. Here's David on three new films starring either Alicia Vikander or Mads Mikkelsen, who formerly sizzled together in Denmark's recent Oscar nominee "A Royal Affair" - Editor

Alicia Vikander

That Testament of Youth was made the Centrepiece Gala at the festival seems, sight unseen, predictable: supported by the Mayor of London, the Gala slot is one of the few that really demonstrates the festival's support of homegrown cinema, and the story told here is as British as you can get. 2014 marks the centenary of World War I, and with it comes this adaptation of Vera Brittain's iconic memoir. James Kent's film keeps his focus to the period of the war itself, beginning at its end; Vera (Alicia Vikander) looks oddly distraught amidst the celebrating crowds packing London's streets. Testament of Youth is a compassionate reminder of the emotional and physical toll of war on a whole nation - which is what Brittain's memoir proved too, in 1933, not long before the second, more devastating war hit.

Kit Harington and VikanderWhile the film is impeccably upholstered, with Consolata Boyle's costumes and Robert Hardy's photography particularly impeccable, it's the character work that makes Testament of Youth such an involving experience, especially through the veil of a 'period' film. Vikander is quite simply luminous, but the camera is drawn as much to the stubborn, robust manner she gives Brittain as much as it is the softer romanticism of the character's winsome independence. The film is decorated with familiar faces giving sturdy turns along the way: Miranda Richardson, Dominic West, Emily Watson and Hayley Atwell all have their striking moments.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

AHS: Freakshow "Edward Mordrake Pt. 1"

AHS rips its own plotlines off for this new episode (guest starring Wes Bentley)How do you make an episode in which almost nothing happens almost half-again as long as episodes where lots of things happen? I know not but Hollywood is getting very good at it lately what with all their supersized TV episodes and two part movie finales for quadrilogies where a trilogy (or less) would do.

In "honor" of the bloating, we're going svelte with a briefer rundown . 

Plot: A con artist and his protege arrive at the freakshow with nefarious plans. Bette and Dot still hate each other. Bearded Lady gets bad news. And, finally, ripping itself off completely Freakshow reboots Coven's Danny Huston plotline about a ghostly mass murderer from the past being unintentionally summoned to visit our makeshift family of weirdos.

Episode MVP: Kathy Bates. Ethel visits a doctor and learns she only has a year to live. Immediately gets hammered and then recalls her tragic story of exploitation. Special shout out to Kathy Dietch, the actress playing Ethel's younger self in flashbacks who's done a great if thankless job this season.


Musical Break: Jessica Lange sings after being conned by the newly arrived "spiritualist" Esmeralda (Emma Roberts) into believing there's still a chance for stardom. Lange has now sung twice in a season in which they've hired Patti Labelle and given her zip to do. Now, that's freaky.

Body Count
: Unknown. Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley), a man with two faces, massacres an entire circus freakshow in old timey flashback before hanging himself. And a group of birds are decapitated to piss me off on my couch. Enough with the decapitated birds Miss Julie Ryan Murphy!

Movie Reference
: A visual homage to a classic moment from John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) via Twisty the Clown.

Episode Grade
: D+

That's it for this week but for a NSFW bit after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

CIFF Foreign Film Oscar Report, Vol. 1: Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia & Uruguay

Tim here. Now that the Chicago Film Festival is all over, I can offer the rest of my thoughts on the official submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar that I was able to catch.

CZECH REPUBLIC: FAIR PLAY
A political drama about sports, or a sports drama about politics? Why not be both, says this film about a teenage track star in 1980s Czechoslovakia, who gets bullied into taking steroids by the government forces that want to show off a whole population of physically gorgeous super-athletes at the 1984 Olympics. The battle being waged over ownership of one’s body and health in a dictatorship is an interesting one, and well presented; lead actress Judit Bárdos is a bit shapeless and superficial in portraying the internal tensions of this conflict, but the film around her has been constructed with enough merciless geometry and clinical coolness that it’s surprisingly able to survive a flat central performance.

Oscar prospects: Eastern European reminiscences about the late Communist period feel like they’re some kind of Oscarbait, but not that many have actually shown up in this category. This is, to be sure, a solid example of the form, and the human interest hook is rock solid. By no means do I expect to see it on the nine-film shortlist, but it’s not going to be a “wait, how did THAT get there?” moment if it manages to do so.

Angry Finnish teens, Georgian corn farming, and Uruguayan Nazi hunters after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

Things Johnny Depp's 'Into the Woods' Costume Makes Him Look Like

Margaret here, examining the first image released of Johnny Depp as The Wolf in Into the Woods.

Take it in. There is a lot going on here. Allow me to guide you through it via the magic of list-making.

THINGS THIS COSTUME MAKES JOHNNY DEPP LOOK LIKE, FROM GREATEST RESEMBLANCE TO LEAST

1. A first-round cut from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy auditions
2. Zsa Zsa Gabor's mustachioed coat rack
3. The illegitimate lovechild of Carmen Sandiego and Templeton the Rat
4. A pile of 1970s car seat covers in dire need of a shampoo
5. The Mask when he watches Cameron Diaz sing for the first time 
6. The "after" in a poorly executed "Smokey Eye" makeup tutorial
7. Johnny Depp on a regular Thursday
8. Fanciest presenter at the WerePimp convention
9. A Zoobilee Zoo
10. A Halloween costume assembled from whatever was left at Party City at 8pm, Oct. 31
11. Villain of Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit live-action reboot
12. Zorro making a surprise cameo in the "What Does the Fox Say?" video
13. A magically animated bearskin rug
14. Cruella de Ville's less fashionable younger brother
15. A Very Manly Muppet or a Muppet of a Man
16. The pirating industry's most sought-after stylist
17. Fantastic Mr. Fox cosplayer
19. A molding vintage print ad for mustache wax
18. Huggy Bear
20. [Insert name of any widely ridiculed celebrity offspring here]
21. What Johnny Depp is supposed to look like when he finally works with someone other than Tim Burton
...
...
...
...
100. a wolf

Any suggestions for additions to the list?