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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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COMMENT DU JOUR
Love Affair (1994) - as "A Year With Kate" nears its conclusion

A YEAR WITH KATE... 2 episodes left

 "A really beautiful look into the careers of one of my favorite actors, but it's made me consider the careers of so many different actors and how the great ones adapt to eras while still staying true to themselves. This is a special, lovely series. I both cannot wait for and am so sad for the end next week.-John T

 

Beauty vs. Beast

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Saturday
Dec202014

Doubleplus Suave

src

Saturday
Dec202014

Posterized: Reese Witherspoon

Pink is also her signature colorWe haven't done a Reese episode of Posterized yet?

I OBJECT!

America's one time sweetheart (we go through them rapidly) is currently courting hearts again, albeit in much thornier and more adult settings. She's uptight and deskbound, if not quite straight-laced, as Deputy D.A. Penny Kimball in Inherent Vice and wandering and raggedy as the grieving Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail in Wild. The latter is expected to bring her Nomination #2 for Best Actress (more on that category tomorrow) and the former reunites her with Joaquin Phoenix, who helped her to Oscar win #1 in Walk the Line.

Since her Oscar win, Reese has been doing her own sort of wandering... away from the A list. Not really -- you can't really rub that off you when you're as charismatic as she! But a wandering away from something. The films weren't grabbing people and Reese didn't seem as dazzingly invested. Apparently she'll be discussing her career's most quiet period tomorrow night on 60 Minutes claiming that post-Phillipe-divorce (2008)...

I spent a few years just trying to feel better ... you can't really be creative when you feel like your brain is scrambled eggs, 

Hence this year's "Reeseurgence" which had a wee preamble with the indies  Mud and The Devil's Knot last year. Wild went wide this weekend adding over 900 screens (I love it and hope you'll go see it) and it seems like a great time to glance back as Reese makes such a memory-filled trek onscreen...

HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN? 
Reese's filmography in chronological poster form after the jump 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec202014

Critical Consensus: Boyhood or Birdman?

Birdman and Boyhood continue to split regional trophies. This round tips in Birdman's favor for a change though. I'm becoming more and more curious to see who SAG selects as "Outstanding Cast". Will they opt for the heartfelt dedication of 4 actors who spent a few weeks each year for over a decade making the same intimate masterpiece, or will they go with a very exciting movie that's about acting to a significant degree with the lively interactions of movie stars pretending to be theater stars who are actually acting together in frame in a way you rarely see in the movies but see all the time in theater where this is no camera and editing to distract you.

It's a tough predictive call though my vote goes to Birdman because there's far more acting with each other (and more consistency in the quality of each performance) something that is pure pleasure if you're a lover of the art of acting as interacting.

Results and commentary from Florida, Las Vegas, Utah and St Louis after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec192014

The Theory of Cocktails

Theory: I enjoy them. Will put it to the test tonight.

BEST ACTOR & BEST ACTRESS & ACTUALLY EVERY DAMN OSCAR CHART IS UPDATED ICYMI. 

please drink (and comment) responsibly this weekend 

Friday
Dec192014

Oscar's Foreign Language Finalists. Shocking As Per Usual...

And now, dear reader, we have our official OSCAR FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM FINALIST LIST direct from the Academy and it's full of tongue-twisting shockers, no matter your mother Mommy tongue. You mean no Xavier Dolan? No Marion Cotillard and the Dardenne Brothers? No rampaging dogs or winter sleeps that made people cheer at Cannes? Nope...The nine remaining films are (in alpha order)

Can IDA finally break Poland's losing streak in this category?

THE FINALIST LIST

  • ACCUSED (The Netherlands. 7 nominations | 3 wins)
    This film, known as Lucia De. B in The Netherlands, is a courtroom drama about a lawyer who later regrets convicting a nurse for murder. The director was previously Oscar nominated for Zus & Zo
  • CORN ISLAND (Georgia. 1 nomination | 0 wins)
    Capsule Review though we called the Oscar prospects for this farmer and his daughter outpost drama "nil" ...oopsie! 
  • FORCE MAJEURE (Sweden. 14 noms | 3 wins)
    Reviewed and then reviewed some more because this sharp comedy about masculinity and marriage (among other things) is so damn good. Currently in release and the only film on this finalist list that's occasionally nabbing Foreign Film critics prizes from Ida 
  • IDA (Poland. 9 nominations | 0 wins)
    Love this movie but then again, doesn't everyone? It's the third biggest subtitled hit of the year and the most unlikely since its a confrontational stark black and white drama about a Jewish nun.
  • LEVIATHAN (Russia. 13 noms | 4 wins)
    Reviewed but more on this one (which is difficult to summarize) coming soon... it's also very good. 
  • THE LIBERATOR (Venezuela. Never nominated)
    Reviewed though we called the Oscar chances "unlikely" Oopsie again. We did SO much coverage on this race this year that I guess we got a little cocky. And also... maybe I was a little irritated by it since I was so in love with the runner up for submission from Venezuela. 
  • TANGERINES (Estonia. Never nominated)
    I've been predicting this film, about a farmer who takes in a wounded soldier, for months now after hearing intense love for it from a festival programmer in LA. Have yet to lay my own eyes on it though.
  • TIMBUKTU (Mauritania. Their First Submission!)
    Reviewed but I haven't yet seen this searing drama about Sharia law and the havoc it creates on a tribal community. I hear only exciting things (though miserably depressing things).
  • WILD TALES (Argentina. 6 nominations | 2 wins) 
    Reviewed and lurved. It's really hilarious and somehow maintains its energy throughout despite being essentially a collection of shorts 

Wild Tales is the only film to plan an opening right around Oscar night that lucked out by doing so.

The biggest omissions in terms of how high profile they were are undoubtedly Canada's Mommy (which I suspected would be too youthful anarchic for them), and Belgium's Two Days One Night which were two of the best films of 2014 according to many (including myself). The latter film is currently hoping for a Best Actress nomination for Marion Cotillard (UPDATED CHART)  and this omission could actually help her. Past races have shown us that perceptions of unkind treatment in the foreign film category can boost your nomination chances. Consider the fates of City of God (subitted but not nominated for foreign one year but chased with a regular release the next), Talk to Her (not submitted by Spain), and Three Colors: Red (deemed ineligible) which went on to nominations in other categories. 

It's also worth noting that ALL of the LGBT entries (there were six) did not make the finalist list. 

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE SAVE
One of the more discussion-prompting elements of this Oscar game each year is their recently refined rules which involve two different sets of groups coming up with these nine finalists. The six top vote-getters from the ballots of the general committee volunteer AMPAS members who attend the screenings make the list but then 3 additional films are chosen as finalists by a special committee (presumably to prevent really embarrassing omissions like Oscar had when say 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, an instant masterpiece from Romania, didn't make the cut). The titles (aka which films are which) are never revealed so it's internet speculation only that says...

Oh, the Executive Committtee totally saved that one!" 

NO MOMMY
So what this means is that whichever films that special more powerful committee saved, they liked them more than Mommy and Two Days One Night and whatnot. I'm sad to see both go but you can make a VERY respectable shortlist of Oscar nominees from these nine. I've only seen 4 of the remaining 5 but all 4 are worthy. 

You should expect to see some shifting release dates around this news. It's a huge danger to plan your releases around Oscar campaigns, as Mommy did by waiting to open (presumably until the nomination came). Every year films succumb to this hope addiction when it's better to mount an honest "this film is great!" release and if Oscar comes, it comes. Other movies that did not make the finalists that were planning on opening very  soon are Germany's Beloved Sisters, Two Days One Night (both due on Christmas Eve in theaters) and France's Saint Laurent, like Mommy was probably waiting for Oscar to come up with a plan.

More coming on this category soon once we've fully digested the news.

Related Pages

Current Predictions
Submission Chart Pt 1 Afghanistan through Ethiopia 
Submission Chart Pt 2 Finland through Nepal 
Submission Chart Pt 3 Peru through Venezuela 

Everything You Wanted To Know About the Foreign Film Race... but were afraid to ask 
Part One: We explored trivia about the Oscar's most global category
Part Two: Nathaniel jumped to Towleroad, "a site with homosexual tendencies," for a discussion of the six LGBT films in the competitive long-list.

29 of 83 Foreign Submissions Reviewed or Otherwise Investigated  AfghanistanArgentinaAustraliaBelgiumBrazilCanadaCubaCzech RepublicFinlandFranceGeorgiaGermanyHungaryIcelandIsrael, Iran, ItalyLatviaMauritania, New ZealandNorwayPanamaPolandPortugal, SwedenSwitzerlandTurkeyUruguay, and Venezuela.
Complete Oscar Charts Here.

 

Friday
Dec192014

Blog it: The Beauty of the Five Armies

You know you're in trouble when you have to buy three movie tickets to get to anything dubbed "the defining chapter"No, no. Not The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Just Five Armies. Those Middle Earth movies have long since passed their expiration date for TFE's interest, though, if you're curious for a review Timothy wrote an excellent one (as is his enviable habit). Peter Jackson, once an exciting, rowdy, and passionate human filmmaker is now a factory mogul. Contrary to popular belief, we love television here at The Film Experience but each medium has its place. Serialized storytelling is TV's most beloved strength. The movies aren't very good at it. And that's what annual franchises are, one season of an expensive show per year that's only two or three episodes long in which something may or may not happen depending on how much material the show-runner and writers room have come up with and how much money the production company is hoping to wring out of you for the next few seasons. 

Since this is technically the final Middle Earth movie (naturally, Peter Jackson is already threatening to continue. Won't any of his close friends stage an intervention?) let's celebrate with five armies -- extremely randomly chosen --  that are exceedingly nice to look at for a special military edition of Beauty Break.

We'll start with one of Jackson's own to be as nice as we can muster at this point...

Aragorn and the Army of the Dead

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
OH VIGGO MY VIGGO. Few romantic heroes have ever read so romantic and heroic simultaneously as Aragorn, the only regular non-superpowered human in the fellowship. And of all the charges he led into battle, none ever provided such deliciously flattering backlighting as that ghost army he gathered for the final film.

FOUR MORE ARMIES AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...