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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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Cannes Winners

"Marion Cotillard has had a movie in contention for what, the last 4 years or so? She will eventually win the prize, or more likely be head of the jury one day." - Tom

"Looks like Cate and Rooney are now a package deal for Oscars, no?" - John

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Saturday
May232015

Potential Foreign Oscar Submissions from Cannes

While most of the world obsesses on Eurovision today, we'll stayed obsessed with France. The Cannes festival ends tomorrow with the awards ceremony and the biggies like the Palme D'Or (the overall winner) Best Actress (or 'The Anti-Marion' as it will surely soon be retitled since she's in the mix every single year but never wins) and the Camera D'Or (first film). But until tomorrow afternoon when we hear those honors, we've still got plenty to discuss including potential Oscar submissions (I must soon create those massive foreign submission charts) and the first wave of jury prizes.

UN CERTAIN REGARD
Isabella Rossellini's jury has handed out their prizes with this statement from Rossellini

We, the jury, would like to thank the Festival de Cannes for inviting us to be part of the Jury for Un Certain Regard. The experience of watching nineteen films from twenty-one countries was memorable. It was like taking a flight over our Planet and its inhabitants… Any anthropologist would be envious of us. We would like in particular to thank Thierry Frémaux and his team for their incredible kindness. I cannot refrain from expressing also my personal gratitude to the Festival for having chosen my mother Ingrid Bergman for the poster of the 68th edition of this festival. Mamma seems to hovered over all of us, filmmakers and film lovers, as a guardian angel. Thank you.

Here's a roundup of prizes including many potential Oscar submissions for Best Foreign Language Film...

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Saturday
May232015

Review: Pitch Perfect 2

The standard formula for sequel-making is easy to remember: do it again, only bigger. Elizabeth Banks has taken this to heart while working both sides of the camera. Pitch Perfect 2 marks her feature directorial debut but she's still fully visible as one half of the insult-comic pundits that barrage the acapella groups with shade as we watch them perform. The absurd notion of live commentary during vocal performances continues to be a pretty good unspoken joke unto itself so naturally Gail (Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins), have larger roles this time. They're like the Waldorf & Statler to the Bardem Bella's Muppets only hornier and way more intrusive. The comparison may be fusty but so is the jokey tone - vaudeville sized in its caricature driven gags and completely shameless at wringing laughs from crude, repetitive and stereotype-loving jokes. In fact, it's so broadly cartoonish that it's easy to imagine virtually any of the cast members as muppets, especially Fat Amy (née Fat Patricia). 

Who among you didn't visualize Rebel Wilson as a Muppet just now; the resemblance is uncanny!

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Saturday
May232015

Cannes Red Carpet Lineup: Auteur Couture and Formal Turbans

More Cannes fashion madness...

MARGARET: We're back on the red carpet. bringing you the latest in movie star couture though we're a solid ten hours behind the proceedings. (And more since Nathaniel randomly selects gowns from multiple premieres)


ANNE MARIE
: So glad I could sweep in at the last moment. I've been enjoying the Red Carpet you, Nathaniel, & Jose have been having over the past few weeks! And the best part of doing a Red Carpet Round up is that nobody throws you out for wearing the wrong shoes!

MARGARET: Cannes in particular always brings in a satisfying range of stylist-curated glam to nonchalant idiosyncracy. Which brings us to Agnes Varda, looking very much herself in... what would you call that ensemble?

ANNE MARIE: Varda chic? Auteur Couture? The advantage of being a living legend presented with awards from one of the most internationally acclaimed film festivals is that you can dress however the hell you want. This is pretty similar to what she wore when I saw her at AFI fest two years ago.

MARGARET: Watch that two-tone hairstyle get picked up by some trendsetting model and suddenly be all the rage among the young & hip.

ANNE MARIE: I have a theory that her hair looks like that because she was dipped in the river Seine like a French Achilles, and the only part of her that wasn't submerged was the top of her head. (This would also be a good time to announce that Agnes Varda will be the focus of next month's Women's Pictures, because we love her almost as much as Cannes does.)

MARGARET:  Now let's look at this collection of ladies bringing the color: Mindy, Sienna, Andie, and Jane. If I squint at the miniature, I can imagine each of their gowns as a fun piece of accent jewelry.

 

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Saturday
May232015

Stage Door: "Little Wars" 

If I were a blurb whore I might start this article with:

"If you liked... 

Julia (1977), The Children's Hour (1961), The Little Foxes (1941), Corey Stoll & Kathy Bates as Ernest Hemingway & Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris (2011), and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dorothy Parker in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle

...than you'll love Little Wars"

But I am not a blurb whore. At least not most of the time. But I do think you'll love Little Wars

Here's a beautiful problem with theater (and smallish movies, too): there's more good stuff than anyone can possibly see. And also, sometimes, depending on promotional budgets and media pedigree or lack thereof in both cases, more good stuff that we sometimes ever hear about. I refuse to be a part of that problem so I blog from the missionary zeal of great entertainments. One of the reasons The Film Experience takes detours to theater and TV and books is that all of the storytelling playgrounds inform and cross-pollinate.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas are the focus of "Little Wars"Which brings us to "Little Wars," one of five works by a very promising young playwright Steven Carl McCasland who I hadn't even heard of until last week. (The five plays run in repertory through May 31st so there's only 4 more chances to see this one). I bring it to your attention because it's entirely affordable ($18 a ticket) and it's an actressexual's delight.

Little Wars riffs on iconic people and though that device can sometimes prove gimmicky (consider that wobbly first season of Penny Dreadful or any number of tacky riffs on "public domain" characters), it's also responsible for great works of art (case in point: The Hours, fictional but inspired by Virginia Woolf's 'whole life in a single day' work on Mrs. Dalloway). McCasland's play happily falls much closer towards the latter pile of fictions. It imagines a 1940 evening inside the Parisian salon of Gertrude Stein (Polly McKie) & Alice B Toklas (Penny Lynn White), then "radical lesbians" -- radical because they were out -- who've invited "The Great Agatha Christie" (Kim Rogers) to dinner... liquid dinner nat'ch. Things don't go as planned since there's an unexpected visitor who goes by "Mary" (Kristen Gehling), a secretive housemaid (Samantha Hoefer) and Christie really disrupts the plans by bringing along Dorothy Parker (Dorothy Weems) and playwright Lillian Hellman (Kimberly Faye Greenberg). Initially just hearing these famous accomplished characters (who did know each other in real life though the play is fictional) verbally spar, boast, and drink like fish is entertaining enough but as the play progresses, organic drama emerges involving differences of opinion about art, the Nazi threat, marriages (gay and straight), and survival through wars large and small.

McKie and White anchor the play with fairly miraculous specificity as the odd (lifelong) couple at its center but most of the women are given at least one shining moment or two in McCasland's generous ensemble writing. I wanted a clearer picture of Dorothy Parker's famous wit, she mostly seems sad and drunk, but there was more than enough to compensate elsewhere. Familiarity with their collective works or previous biopics will undoubtedly aid your enjoyment -- especially if you've seen The Children's Hour (1961) and Oscar favorite Julia (1977) -- but the play is strong enough to stand on its own as a fascinating and unexpectedly moving collision of voices at a pivotal moment in history. 

Kim Rogers as Agatha Christie in "Little Wars" © Samantha Mercado Tudda

P.S. an 'it's a small-world' bonus for readers of The Film Experience. The actress playing Agatha Christie, Kim Rogers (no relation), is a longtime fan of The Film Experience -- we'd never previously met but we talked after the show.

Saturday
May232015

Palm Dog. The Tradition Continues. "Woof Woof"

We're working on collecting fashions and awardage for two final big Cannes posts before tomorrow's closing ceremony awards but this one deserved it own special bone post as appetizer. The most famous recipient of the Palm Dog prize at Cannes is still Uggie from The Artist (2011) but the tradition continues each year and the lucky dogs were honored at the UK Film Centre this year, which is apparently the 15th year of the award.

Palm Dog "Dixie" from Arabian Nights (Portugal). The Canine actor's name is "Lucky" who is a Maltese terrier and poodle mix. Apparently she steals the show in the second half of the six hour (gulp) movie. You can read more about this picture in our We Can't Wait 2015 preview

Grand Jury Prize: "Bob the Dog" from The Lobster (Greece). Bob is played by father and son canine team "Jaro" and "Ryac". It's fitting that two dogs played this role since apparently Bob is a reincarnation of a man's brother in the film!? That film sounds wackier and wackier the more we hear of it though I actually don't want to hear any more before seeing what is surely one of 2015's oddest film experience. This movie from the director of the Oscar-nominated Dogtooth was also featured in our We Can't Wait preview.

Je Suis En Soldat

Palm DogManitarian Award: This special prize went to France's Je Suis En Soldat, which stars Louise Bourgoin and Jean Hugues-Anglade, and is is about dog trafficking in Eastern Europe. The award was given to the film as a way 

...to celebrate the fostering of relations between the human race and men, women, and children's best friend."

THR was mixed on this Un Certain Regard entry 

Other dogs people were rooting for this year that came up empty-handed were the sheepdog from Iceland's Rams, the labrador from China's Mountains May Depart and the rottweiler from Green Room. Congratulations to all the doggies and their trainers.

Previous Cannes-related news

 

Friday
May222015

Don't Be Fooled by the Librarian Looks That She's Got...

For The Lusty Month of May, we're looking at sex scene each night. Here's Jose...


 

J.Lo never gets the credit she deserves. She might not be the greatest thespian in the world, but she's still one of the few actresses bringing "sex" to modern movie screens. You know, the kind of "sex" people like Mae West, Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot and Raquel Welch used to bring. But of course what has Hollywood done with this? They have repressed her sensuality by having her star in Victorian-minded rom-coms like The Wedding Planner and The Back-up Plan in which she plays virginal characters that need a man or a baby to find contentment. Never one to sit around and wait, the fierce multi-hyphenated overachiever had to take matters into her own hands. She produced a movie in which she showed once and for all, how what J.Lo wants, J.Lo gets!

more

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