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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

 

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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Thursday
Nov272014

Podcast Xtra: Best Actress. The Runners Up?

We just delivered a podcast on Interstellar and The Imitation Game yesterday. But because we love you here's a brief "extra" conversation on the Best Actress race for your Thanksgiving weekend.

While most pundits think Reese & Juli & Felicity are locked up, there's more disagreement about the fourth and fifth Best Actress slots. We chat Hilary, Amy, Marion, Gugu, Shailene, Scarlett et al.

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes soon. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Who gets the fifth slot?

Thursday
Nov272014

Interview: Is Laura Dern Still "Wild" At Heart?

Happy Thanksgiving! What better gift for you on this weekend of celebrating abundance than an interview with one of the most gifted actors in the world. Laura Dern has been shocking and stirring moviegoers with finely carved and often daringly dramatic or weirdly comic performances for the past thirty years.

Laura Dern as "Bobbi" in Wild

Born into showbiz (her parents are Oscar-nominees Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd) she grew up onscreen and around film sets. Her breakthrough came early at the age of eighteen. Her first hit as a blind girl in Mask was shortly followed by a revelatory performance as a young girl treading into dangerous sexual waters with an older stranger in Smooth Talk. The very next year she worked with David Lynch on Blue Velvet beginning a long collaborative and rather genius director/muse duet. Nearly thirty years later she's still delivering buzzy performances. On paper her new character Bobbi in Wild, an incongruously positive dying mother who we meet in wisps of memories as Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) attempts a soul searching hike on the PCT, seems far removed from the reckless spirits that made Dern such a fascinating screen presence. But that's not the way Dern sees it, describing this woman as "wild" and "a pioneer". 

When we sat down to talk in Los Angeles it had been the third time I'd seen her in the past year, since she was such a regular presence on the Oscar circuit last season for her father's nomination. "You were practically his campaign manager," I say, fondly remembering her indefatigable enthusiasm for his work as we settle in sharing memories of a Nebraska reception a year back.

"I mean... I'll always be." she says, beaming, ever the devoted daughter now promoting her own film that happens to be about a deep parent-child connection.  The back-to-back award campaigns seem like a good place to start...

NATHANIEL: Did all that time with your father last year make you hungry for an Oscar yourself?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov262014

Nathaniel's Thanks, Given.

The world is a tough place and the movies are our collective great escape. For your host here at TFE there's an awful lot to be thankful for. So as I prepare to stuff my face tomorrow with my best friends I will be especially thankful...

For the orange tabby in Gone Girl
For Julianne Moore getting her groove back on yoga mats and at beach houses
For Ava DuVernay and Jennifer Kent's vivid reminders that women can and do direct movies and we need those fresh voices.
For David Fincher's consistency at turning mainstream audiences on while never pandering

For Shia Labeouf because every film decade needs its defining crazy
For the blooming of Keira Knightley, from an always memorable but uneven actress, to a completely confident movie star, relaxed, nuanced and magnetic in two fine performances
For that shot of the paratroopers in Godzilla
For Finn Wittrock's arrival, sympathetic (Masters of Sex) then terrorizing (Freakshow) outcast beauty
For every single march scene in Selma
For "the world is round, people!

This scene, people. This scene. It's everything.

For Melanie Lynskey onscreen (Instant-watch Happy Christmas now - it's delightful!) and off
For memorable physicality: Chastain's scolding fingers, Krysten Ritter's Big (Side)Eyes, Luke Pasqualino's battering-ram run, Ralph Fiennes cartoon dashes, and Billy Magnussen's horseback riding (or, rather, his mounting and dismounting)
For the single best crop of LGBT films in one calendar year that we've had in ages and ages (Love is Strange, Pride, The Way He Looks, Stranger by the LakeThe Circle, and so on)
For everything that happens in the elevator in Captain America: Winter Soldier
For "Bob's Burgers"... particularly Tina Belcher. I'm late to the party but that show makes me laugh harder than any show since 30 Rock. 

For Jonathan Glazer's return to the movie camera after 10 long years away - his gaze still deliciously alien
For that pop-up Babadook book I just ordered (my advanced thanks)
For the singing voices of almost the full cast of Into the Woods - but especially Streep & Kendrick
For a film year so good I'm already struggling (before screenings are even complete) with too many options for the Film Bitch Awards rosters. I could go on and on... but...

Finally, I'm hugely thankful to my Film Experience team (who delight me so frequently) and to all of you, the readers. Especially if you donate monthly, visit frequently, share articles, and otherwise really engage with what we do here. You help keep the fires burning as we try year in and year out -- against bigger odds than you'd think -- to approach each film year and awards season from  lightly different angles than you'll see elsewhere and with more genuine all-eras all-genres movie love.

Abundance to you all! xoxo,

Nathaniel

P.S. What are you thankful for this holiday weekend? Onscreen and off. 

 

Wednesday
Nov262014

'And for all these reasons, I have decided to scalp you...

...and burn your village to the ground.'

(Great Moments in Screen Bitchery #906: Christina Ricci in Addams Family Values)

Wednesday
Nov262014

A Year with Kate: Laura Lansing Slept Here (1988)

Episode 48 of 52: In which Katharine Hepburn makes a truly awful houseguest.

Stars! They’re just like us! Except that they aren’t. An entire media industry has been built around bringing our cultural idols closer to us--Twitter alone delivers the illusion of intimacy 140 characters at a time--but at the end of the day, would you actually want to live with one? When George S. Kaufman had to host Radio Personality and Famous Critic Alexander Woollcott for a week, the experience was so aggravating that the playwright and his partner Moss Hart wrote a scathingly funny satire about Woollcott called The Man Who Came To Dinner. I bring this up for two reasons: 1) It’s a great Christmas comedy starring Bette Davis so go watch it right now if you haven’t and 2) This seems to have been more or less James Prideaux’s motivation when he wrote Laura Lansing Slept Here. If Prideaux is to be believed, Katharine Hepburn was witty, charming, and a gigantic pain in the ass.

Kate has played a lot of characters inspired by or based on her in some way, but Laura Lansing may be the most bluntly biographical since Tracy Lord. Laura is no actress, but a different kind of star: a celebrated author with a decades-long career. As Laura’s agent explains in a convenient bit of exposition:

“You were a sensation in your 20s, a household name in your 40s, an institution in your 60s, and now…"

Sound like anyone we know? Now Laura’s publisher is dropping her because she’s too out of touch, living in her NYC penthouse and only emerging for interviews. Laura’s agent begs her to retire, but she brushes off his suggestion with the typical Hepburn handwave. Instead, Laura makes a wager with him, the point of which can only be to move the plot forward: She will stay with an “average” family in Long Island for a week. If she flees back to the city, she must give up writing. Laura appears on the doorstep of an overworked accountant and his stay-at-home wife and immediately starts making demands. The results--to nobody’s surprise but Laura’s--are a disaster.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov262014

Podcast: An Interstellar Imitation Game

Travel with us into the black hole that is odd hit-and-miss reactions to the ambitious emotional Interstellar. We also discuss The Imitation Game and the controversy over its presentation of its gay protagonist. Starring: Nick Davis, Joe Reid, Katey Rich, and your host Nathaniel R.

33 minutes
00:01 Chris Nolan's Interstellar with asides to Inception and 2001: A Space Odyssey and Contact and the ways in which it does or doesn't stretch Nolan's 
20:30 How does The Imitation Game machine work? Does its trifurcated structure work? And what of its collective performances?

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes soon. The Imitation Game opens this weekend. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Interstellar / Imitation Game

Wednesday
Nov262014

And in Other Actressexual News...

Manuel here to share some news about TFE’s favorite ladies.

Did you catch Nicole Kidman at the premiere of Paddington this past week? She looks so excited! Maybe it’s because she knew they’d be releasing news about her upcoming David E. Kelley limited TV series adaptation of Liane Moriarty's book Big Little Lies alongside sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated Reese Witherspoon? [Side-note, if you feel like you’re experiencing deja-vu, it’s because we had just been discussing other casting news about that property here at TFE a couple of months ago!]

I can’t be the only one who’s already picturing the red carpet and party pictures that’ll bring together Nicole and Michelle Pfeiffer (otherwise known as Mrs E. Kelley) and while I’d love to be able to share some Pfeifferrific news, the next best thing: share some news on Annette Bening and thus manage a TFE actressexual trifecta post.

La Bening’s newest film, The Face of Love will be in cinemas and available digitally from December 12 (though it'd apparently already come out back in March? Has anyone caught it?) The film follows Nikki, a recent widow who embarks on a relationship with a man (Ed Harris) who bears more than a passing resemblance to her husband. The film also features one of Robin Williams’ last performances. I also wanted to take this opportunity to share this Elle magazine cover, because, c'mon, she looks great:

Catch the trailer for the film below:

Will you pay your respects to La Bening? Are you excited about this Reese-Nicole collaboration? Julianne Moore and Amy Adams over at THR roundtable were just discussing the very rare opportunities actresses have to work with one another, so are there any actresses you could see working together?