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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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"I like thinking about the red dress"

The red dress trope is possibly my favorite and certainly the best clothing-related trope out there. When you want to announce to the audience from the rooftops that this character has: PASSION! PERSONALITY!! or is MAYBE DANGEROUS!!!...you put them in a fitted red dress.❞ -Mark the First

Beauty vs. Beast

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Wednesday
Jul232014

Yes No Maybe So: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game trailer was released a few days ago, I think, but I'm just now breaking its code. If your patience has expired waiting for me to Yes No Maybe So this, that makes you Charles Dance. Nobody wants to be Charles Dance! He will never understand the importance of Yes No Maybe So but you do.

So join me for indecipherable gadgets, Keira's clipped sass, and elaborate hand gestures after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul232014

TIFF Lineup 2014

There's been a snafu with my TIFF credentials so I'm currently in limbo. Therefore today's listing is not an 'OMG Look What Prezzies I Get in September' humble brag, merely today's listing. Which of these 46 films hitting Toronto (not a complete list) are you most excited for? If I do go to Toronto I may well use you readers as film-picking guide.

TIFF Lineup So Far 
100s more films to come
(If we've already covered the film somehow, it's linked up) 

I demand custody of... your Oscar!

Black and White (Mike Binder) - Kevin Costner reunites with his Upside of Anger helmer for a racial custody battle drama. Octavia Spencer co-stars
Breakup Buddies (Ning Hao) - a "raunchy romantic comedy" 
Cake (Daniel Branz) directs Jennifer Aniston and other stars in this drama about a depression support group 
Coming Home (Zhang Yimou) - Gong Li doesn't remember her husband, returned from mail, in this drama
Dearest (Peter Ho-sun Chan) 
The Dead Lands (Toa Frazer) a New Zealand action epic. You don't hear that every day.

40 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul222014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Under the Skin

Each week we pick a film and ask brave cinephiles to choose what they think of as its Best Shot. Next Tuesday is Ingmar Bergman's Oscar winner for Best Cinematography Cries & Whispers (1973) but before we get to that dying sister merriment, let's travel to Scotland where Scarlett Johansson is luring men to their doom. Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin is mysterious enough that it need multiple eyes to decipher it. And the film even repeatedly suggests you do the looking what with it's eyeball construction (?), predatory gaze, and actual dialogue.

Do you want to look at me?

We do, Scarlett, we do.

I normally show the choices in chronological order within the context of the film but given Under the Skin's brooding enigmatic events and telling repetitions, the articles are displayed in the order they were brought to my attention from the Best Shot club members. 

BEST SHOT(s)  UNDER THE SKIN
Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Cinematography by Daniel Landin.
19 shots / 23 participants. Click on the images for the corresponding article
MAJOR VISUAL SPOILERS FOLLOW - DO NOT CLICK IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul222014

Under the Skin and Into the Fog

Formless void and darkness. And then light, blinding light. Jonathan Glazer and his gifted cinematographer Daniel Landin present them in that Biblical order. They toy with them for the remainder of Under the Skin, separating them like they're playing god.

Honorable Mention

Perhaps they are since this haunting film begins, as far as I can tell, with Creation, or a creation of sorts. Is it our protagonist being formed (?) or, rather, assuming a new form complete with vocal exercizes to play the role. (The mystery woman is never named in Under the Skin, and none of the men she entices and lures into her formless void, ever think to ask her for it so we'll refer to her as "She" or "Her" since it's Scarlett Johansson we're talking about). What She needs language for is something of a mystery. She seems to communicate best telepathically in the eery repeated shots of her and her driver/accomplice staring at each other or staring into windows / mirrors. That's as good an explanation as any for how she understands the thick Scottish brogues around her when English is not her mother tongue.

Though the details of what exactly is occuring in any given sequence of this great picture are often indecipherable, the artistry of the film is not. It's alternating visual schemes of darkness and light, its elemental preoccupations (water, air, fire... and, well Earth, all play key roles) and its weird asides (the blinking mask, that golden shimmer interlude, the cake!) and Scarlett's fascinatingly alien comportment all prove more rewarding on second viewing. 

Runner Up

The most powerful recurring image and in some ways the most inexplicably frightening is watching the men slowly sink into blackness, like sailors willfully drowning for a siren's call. You may have your own ideas about what exactly She is harvesting their skin for but I assumed it was the creation of more faux humans like herself. And if so, how perverse that Creation is always doubling as Destruction. 

And speaking of perversity, Here's my choice for Best Shot, below. In a film full of startling imagery, it's something as mundane as a car on the road, and a woman in the fog, from the point of view of a car's dashboard. It's a visual choice as it continues the film's often ingenious play on stark blacks and bright whites while reversing the now familiar feeling of men swallowed up in blackness. It's a narrative choice, marking as it does the transition to the film's last act and reverses our usual view of looking out the car's window with her and for a moment, the same view looking at her. It's an emotional choice as I forgot to breath watching it. She has rejected her calling, an apostate suddenly wandering in a strange land without purpose.

Best Shot. Into the Fog

Glazer leaves us waiting for Her return a full 14 seconds before we join her in the fog. Her emotions are still totally alien to us as she rotates in place, staring into the liquid air. Looking for what? Everything that should be mundane, including this view from inside a car we've spent half the film in, is riddled with complexity and eery wonder. Glazer has the power to render the familiar alien and by the film's end, and rather movingly, the alien familiar.

I'm not otherwise a religious person but the cinema is my church and Jonathan Glazer is one of the new gods. I've watched Under the Skin twice now, both times with equal parts reverent awe and abject fear. I'm a true believer. 

See the whole roster of chosen shots from 22 other HMWYBS participants

 

Tuesday
Jul222014

Beauty Break: "I like thinking about the red dress..."

50 years ago today Marnie (1964) hit movie theaters and, as quite a divisive picture in the Hitchock filmography, ended one of the most beloved perfect runs that any filmmaker has accomplished in the history of ever  (1958-1962: North By Northwest, Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds).

So Marnie has a bad rep, posts about her don't get you riled up like other Hitchcock fests, and she's underseen today. Not to lovingly kick that crazy bitch while she's down but it occurred to me the other day when she popped into my head that Marnie's color phobia means she would never be able to see an Almodóvar picture. Her loss. And she would be absolutely terrified by Sara Goldfarb addictions in Requiem for a Dream. (I mean more terrified than the rest of us) 

I like thinking about the red dress. And the television and your father."

I dedicate this following gallery of beautifully cinematic red dresses to Marnie who fears them and to Ellen (currently battling Pazuzu) who likes thinking about them.

Click to read more ...