Oscar History
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Thursday
Oct082015

NYFF: In Jackson Heights

Manuel here visiting one of my favorite New York City neighborhoods with a great guide by my side, the great Frederick Wiseman in his new doc which screened as part of the New York Film Festival.

Last summer, the day before Colombia played its World Cup match against Brazil, I was set to meet some friends in Jackson Heights to grab some hot dogs (such good hot dogs!) and go out to some of the gay clubs around Roosevelt Avenue. Little did I know Frederick Wiseman was busy filming In Jackson Heights right around the same time: framed by the World Cup and ending with the July 4th fireworks, it seems totally plausible he was shooting that very same day!

I share this anecdote because more than anything else, Wiseman’s film feels like a truly immersive visit to this Queens neighborhood. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct082015

Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 2: Female Directors & Debut Filmmakers

Pt 1 - All 81 Movie Trailers
Pt 2 Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category...  *But Were Afraid to Ask

Mustang has a female director and female cast. Will this be a good year for women in Oscar's Foreign Film race?

The next time you see someone tweeting about the lack of female directors that get work in Hollywood, please point them to Oscar's Foreign Language Film category. This category reminds us, year after year, that Hollywood is not the entirety of Cinema. We'd do well to commit that to memory. And progressive thinking moviegoers would do well to seek out the alternate voices that already exist that they say they want... even if that requires reading subtitles.

You see, each year countries around the world are asked to submit one film to represent their entire country at the Oscars (it need no longer be in an indigenous language to that country, just not in English). Each year at least a handful of countries submit films directed by women. This year it's much more than that. Now, that might not be a direct correlative to "it's better for female directors in ____ than in the USA" but it's not nothing!

Consider the act in reverse. Can you imagine Hollywood, if they were forced to submit one film that represented them for a whole calendar year, choosing a female-directed film to speak for them? Given their lack of interest in films about women let alone films directed by them, this seems unthinkable. The sole exception is probably Kathryn Bigelow's military drama The Hurt Locker (2009). 

Where are the Women? Right Here!
This year the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film has 81 contenders. A total of 13 of those films are directed or co-directed by women. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct082015

Women's Pictures - Antonia Bird's Ravenous

What is the difference between a hero and a coward? Where is the moral line between surviving hunger and gratifying gluttony? What was the true nature of manifest destiny? When you think "cannibalism horror flick," you probably don't expect questions like these, but Antonia Bird's 1999 genre-bending Ravenous surprisingly pauses to ask these questions before launching into some spectacularly self-indulgent gore. The result is a veritable smorgasbord of horror tropes and outlandish ideas that make up an unusual horror movie which might not be to everyone's taste.

Guy Pierce, hot off L.A. Confidential, plays John Boyd, a cowardly captain in the American army during the Mexican-American War. He has been decorated for capturing an enemy command after hiding under a pile of dead bodies, though he did so out of fear, not heroism. His superiors send him to a remote outpost in the Sierra Nevadas, Ft. Spencer, which is run by a Colonel (Jeffrey Jones), a drunk (Stephen Spinella), an idiot (David Arquette), a religious nut (Jeremy Davies), a soldier (Neal McDonough), and the two genre-required Native Americans (Sheila Tousey and Joseph Runningfox). When a half-mad priest (Robert Carlyle) appears in the night, telling stories of snowbound starvation and cannibalism, the ragtag group sets out to investigate. What they find is a bloody disaster.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct082015

Dancing Emma Stone

Here’s Murtada with the latest dose of the Emma Stone Charm Offensive

Emma Stone is the latest movie star to appear in a music video. The video is question is for the song Anna by Will Butler, of Arcade Fire fame. Inspired perhaps by On the Town and Anchors Aweigh, the video is just Emma dancing on a boat with a bunch of sailors.

She’s goofy and funny but the dancing …. is not quite on point. Maybe she’s still playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Bowles of course is famously known for not being a good singer, and it seems Stone took that trait further and is playing a not good dancer in this video. And she's so method in the part!

But who cares when we can watch Emma being silly and funny for 4 minutes.

Enjoy!

Thursday
Oct082015

Best Actor 2000: Who Gets Your Vote!

RETRO REMATCH FUN!  Apropos of nothing, let's time travel back to [spinning wheel of randomness] 2000. Who gets your vote in... [spinning wheel of randomness again]... Best Actor? Make your case in the comments.

  • Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls
  • Russell Crowe, Gladiator
  • Tom Hanks, Cast Away
  • Ed Harris, Pollock
  • Geoffrey Rush, Quills

Bonus Q: If you could replace any of these men with these other key 2000 leads tell us who and why:

  • Michael Douglas, Wonder Boys (GG Nom)
  • Jamie Bell, Billy Elliott (SAG Nom)
  • George Clooney - O Brother Where Art Thou? (GG Win)
  • Christian Bale - American Psycho (zero nominations... except right here at The Film Experience where he medalled in our infant online year albeit at a different web address and a Boston non-profit indie film awards group called Chlotrudis then in their 6th year)

*Our actually serious Oscar competition investigation -- the "Smackdown" Series -- is not dead. There were just some speedbumps. News on the delayed 1963 Smackdown coming soon. 

Wednesday
Oct072015

Road to the Bridge of Perdition Spies