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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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Dreamworks Animation Pt 2: The Fall

"I loved this article. It reads like vintage EW, back when they relished the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the studios." -John T

"Dreamworks should not have oversaturated the animation market. Home is Dreamworks 31st animated film. Do you know what is Walt Disney Animation's 31st film? Aladdin. It took Disney over 5 decades to get there." -Chinoiserie

Part 1 here if you missed it

 

 

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Thursday
Mar262015

Women's Pictures - Ida Lupino's The Trouble With Angels

“The sex of a director doesn’t mean a hoot. The one all-important thing is talent. Somehow it has evolved that directing is a man’s profession. A woman has a tough, almost impossible time breaking down this case barrier. Miss Arzner managed it. Ida is doing it now.”

When Rosalind Russell said this to reporters on the set of The Trouble With Angels, neither she nor Ida Lupino could have predicted that this would actually be Ida’s last film. So how exactly did a writer/director who’d made her name on small budget social message pictures end up directing a Hayley Mills comedy co-starring Rosalind Russell as a mother superior? And who could have predicted that a noir director could do comedy?

When Ida Lupino’s production company The Filmmakers shuttered its windows in the mid-1950s, Lupino moved to the burgeoning world of television to continue directing. Then (as now), TV was a much more open to female creators, and so Lupino flourished. She directed in a variety of genres, from comedy (Gilligan’s Island) to thriller (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) to Westerns (Have Gun - Will Travel). In many ways, Lupino was already the ideal television director. TV shows were shot quickly, on a budget, and often on location - just like Lupino’s early pictures. What Lupino got from TV - besides creative control and consistent work - was a chance to expand and diversify her previously narrow (but successful) body of work. And all that new experience helped when her friend William Frye handed her the script to a Catholic schoolgirl comedy in early 1965.

Hijinks and nunsense after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar262015

Rebel Assignments: Film Directors + Madonna

David Fincher winning an MTV Movie Award for Se7en (1995) he was already an MTV darling at the Music Video AwardsA reader by the name of David recently asked which direct we wished would do a video from Madonna's "Rebel Heart". Given that David Fincher, now a reknowned auteur, came to fame via some of Madonna's best, it's a great question. More movie directors really ought to moonlight with music videos intead of just graduating from them. It's a unique form, basically both a musical and a short, that gives directors the chance to work faster and looser and play with ideas that they maybe couldn't risk in a feature without a test run.

Successful directors ought to donate their services at least once to either an upcoming band they want every to haer or a legendary artist whose work has meant a lot to them. So we're assigning a director to each Madonna song on her terrific new record "Rebel Heart" in order to pretend we've been gifted a video album specifically for Madonna fans and cinephiles alike.

It's a Venn Diagram niche, sure, but go with it.

Since the first track and first single "Living for Love" already got a fine toreador and minotaur themed music video -- and it's good if minimalist --  we should leave it be.

No no no. Scratch that.

"LIVING FOR LOVE"
Recreated by Gus Van Sant
We're completists. So we gotta try for the whole album. Gus Van Sant likes a good experiment and he can't just do a traditional "remake" so how about a shot-for-shot reinterpretation with a few inserts as he is prone to do. Madonna likes a good rolling cloud as much as the next Guy Gus (see Frozen/Ray of Light)

"DEVIL PRAY"
Assigned to Lee Daniels
This song sounds conservative but its lyrics are straight up messy mixing drowning metaphors, spiritual yearning, religiosity, the devil and a list of hallucinogenic drugs. So I think the only proper guide is the current king of absolutely fascinating messes, Lee Daniels. Look at the performances he got from Mo'Nique, Kidman, Oprah, and Taraji. Please get your hands on Madonna, you crazy beautiful man, and shake her up!

more assignments follow...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar262015

TCM Classic Film Festival Starts Today!

Greetings and salutations, cinephiles! Anne Marie here, reporting from sunny (and hot) Hollywood, CA as the 6th annual TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off. For the next four days, I'll be reporting what's new (and old) at Hollywood's largest festival devoted entirely to celebrating the classics. 

This year, the theme of the festival is "History According To Hollywood". Films range in period and subject from the French Revolution (Reign of Terror), to the American West (My Darling Clementine), to the Civil Rights Movement (Malcom X), and the Apollo missions (Apollo 13), with historians and even an astronaut onhand to lend perspective. Of course, it wouldn't be TCM if they didn't roll out the red carpet for icons of a bygone era of the silver screen: Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, and Ann Margaret will discuss their films before special screenings. And tonight, the entire festival kicks off with the 50th Anniversary of The Sound Of Music, with Dame Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in attendance.

However, the TCM Film Festival has courted some controversy this year for exactly the wide range of films that they are celebrating.

After the festival schedule was announced, TCM fans took to social media to denounce it as "too new" and "lacking true classic film." Adding to the controversy was the decision to screen many films digitally, instead of on film. Sides were taken, articles were written (the best explanation is courtesy of The Black Maria), and all of it seems to boil down to one question:

How do you define a classic?

 

Is a Classic film defined by age? Quality? Time and place of origin? By expanding this definition to include films that are only 20 years old, are we adding diversity or devaluing already great work? Film is, comparatively speaking, a very new artform; only a little over 100 years old. It's been regarded as "legitimate" art for less than half of that. Considering that movies are still new and ever-changing, maybe we should focus less on labels and more on celebrating what's been accomplished in a century.

Today, dear TFE readers, you get to choose what you think is a classic. Below are five films being shown at TCMFF. On top of the daily updates, I will go to whichever of these five you choose, and report back on it during the Monday wrap up. So, I'll ask again: how do you define a classic?

What Should Anne Marie See at TCMFF?
THE CHILDREN'S HOUR (1961) w/ Shirley MacLaine0%
LENNY (1974) w/ Alec Baldwin, Dustin Hoffman0%
42ND STREET (1933) w/ Christine Ebersole0%
MALCOLM X (1992) w/ Spike Lee0%
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) w/ Keith Carradine, Peter Fonda0%

Wednesday
Mar252015

Yes No Maybe So? Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Someone needs to do a supercut of all the things Tom Cruise has hung from in his career like a daredevil, an action martyr or a human sacrifice: there've been helicopters, cliffs, glass skyscrapers, Scientology campaigns, cables, and now a big jet plane. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation has a lot to live up to now that the series improbably peaked as late as its fourth installment, Ghost Protocol

After the poster, let's breakdown the trailer with our trademark trifurcation...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar252015

Coming Soon to "Best Shot"

Important Announcement for "Best Shot" Participants: The series is moving back to Wednesday evenings. Tuesday nights have too many conflicts here in NYC. But the weekend before is still an ideal time to watch your movie and start thinking about your selection. You can plan a whole month ahead if you've always wanted to join us! Just 1) watch the movie, 2) take a screengrab of your favorite image and 3) post it somewhere online saying why you chose it. It's that easy! 

 Here's what's coming for April... 

Wed, April 1st MOMMIE DEAREST (1981)
PLEASE NOTE THE DATE - We're moving to Wednesdays. It's our second annual April Fools Day episode. We had so much fun last year with a 'Bad Movie We Love' and first Razzie Winner, Can't Stop the Music that we're trying to chase that high. Meet Joan Crawford, one of the great stars, by way of the very committed Faye Dunaway (another one of the great stars, whatever this movie did to her career). 
[Amazon Instant | iTunes | Netflix -- currently rental only but moves to Instant Watch on this very day if you're running late.]

Wed, April 8th -JOHNNY GUITAR (1954)
Joan wouldn't want Faye to have the last word. So as a blog sequel, let's watch Nicholas Ray's one-of-a-kind butch queen western which pits steely Joan Crawford against town firestarter Mercedes McCambridge in this technicolor "trucolor" gem beloved by the French New Wave. Sterling Hayden is the eponymous musician whose arrival in town sets off the libidos and the gunplay. 
[Amazon Instant | Netflix Disc | iTunes


Wed, April 15th TAXI DRIVER (1976)
It is with great horror that I realize we've never featured a Martin Scorsese movie in this series. As corrective, the best one. Or second best. Everyone has a different favorite Scorsese but this one is runner up if it's not #1 wouldnt' you say. With Robert DeNiro in "you talkin' to me" back-when-he-was-brilliant glory and Jodie Foster's first brush with Oscar as teen prostitute Iris. 
[Amazon Instant | Netflix Instant | iTunes]

Wed, April 22nd 9 TO 5 (1981)
With the new series Grace and Frankie premiering in May on Netflix, let's revisit the first comic pairing of the legendary Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, this time as an Unofficial Office Manager and Mousy New Secretary who have the world's worst sexist pig boss. Also starring Dolly Parton and one of the great movie theme songs. The one thing we've never really considered about this movie is how it looks. So let's look.
[Amazon Instant | Netflix Disc | iTunes

Wed, April 29th BRIGHT STAR (2009)
We're joining Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures" series for a Jane Campion (she's the topic for April). Drown in the beauty of this flowery poetic romance between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and fashionista Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). Cinematography by Greg Frasier one of the very *ahem* brightest stars of the field who Oscar has yet to notice. 
[Amazon Instant |  Netflix Disc | iTunes]

 

Wednesday
Mar252015

A Star is Born Again... With Bradley Cooper as Midwife. 

A Star is Born is like the undead of showbiz movies. Every so often it rises from the grave. The oft told tale of a young actress whose star rises as her alcoholic svengali husband's star falls has four film versions What Price Hollywood? (1932) A Star is Born (1937) A Star is Born (1954) and A Star is Born (1976), the latter shifting the story to the music world instead of the movies. Incredibly ALL of them were Oscar nominated for something or other for a total of 18 Oscar nominations, 3 wins and an Honorary plaque to boot! But we've actually gone without it for quite some time now. The last version, the Streisand (critically reviled but a major hit), was a full 39 years ago so it's unsurprising that there's been talk of a remake for quite a while now. Especially considering that each version has ranged from somewhat successful to blockbuster sized and statistically you'll receive about 4 nominations and an Oscar for your troubles should you make your own.

What was surprising, apart from Oscar security, about the proposed fifth version was that Clint Eastwood was the one that wanted to do it. With Beyoncé no less! So Streisand's music-word detour for the unofficial franchise stuck... at least with ol' Clint. Despite Eastwood's Barry Allen-like speed, that ability to take a project from glimmer in his eye to finished movie in theaters in 6 months, he somehow never got it made and has now passed the project on, supposedly to...

Bradley Cooper (?) his American Sniper star. Cooper wants Beyoncé back on the project who has vacated it since it entered development hell. 

So saith several outlets and noisy funny twitter. Bradley will also star in it. Why an actor at the heighth of their white hot career would want to try directing is a little puzzling -- don't get distracted, secure your possible place in the pantheon of movie stars! -- but Coop wouldn't be the first. Costner, Gibson, Eastwood, Foster, and Jolie all moved over while they were still bankable movie stars... some to stay in that chair and lose interest in acting altogether. 

Related / Recommended:
Mike's Movie Projector found an original review from 1954 of the Judy Garland version.
TFE and you can always revisit our Best Shot episode on that classic film Or...
Nick's Flick Picks incredible piece on Judy Garland's five-star performance 

Wednesday
Mar252015

The Links: Buffy, Disney, Hanks, Viggo, Toxic Sets and Tight Pants

Variety several distributors want the Sally Field vehicle Hello My Name is Doris, an  indie hit at SXSW. But neither of the big Oscar dogs want it (no interest from Weinsteins or Fox Searchlight. Hmmm)
Teenage Bedrooms on Screen a tumblr celebrating movie sets from teen films. I thought this was appropriate to share after...
TFE a discussion of interesting / fun film sets 
Variety our favorite Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz will serve as president of Cannes' "Critics Week" the festival's sidebar focused on newer filmmakers  (That's often where the best movies are anyway!)
My New Plaid Pants on a current rumor about the "toxic" set of Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant

Vanity Fair looks back at Pretty Woman for its 25th, specifically it's originally much darker screenplay
TFE in case you missed it Manuel also looked back on the nation's (and his) 25 year old Julia Roberts obsession
Daily Mail Lauren Bacall's estate auctioning off collections. Her Manhattan partment is also for sale for (gulp) $26 million
The Guardian match the evil quote to the Disney villain - I got a few of these wrong. The Shame!
CHUD Marvel has reportedly cast Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) already and she might even be added to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. WTH... how many actors can be in that one movie and shouldn't they have finished it already given that it opens in a month?  
Film School Rejects Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, who did such a great job on Captain America: Winter Soldier have been adopted by Marvel and will now direct all of their movies (not really but they're locked up for awhile) 

The Film Stage a one hour conversation with Jessica Chastain 
The Playlist Viggo Mortensen turned down Hateful Eight? Sad. He'd be great in a Tarantino and could use a hit
In Contention Sandy Powell talks Cinderella costumes 
ET Online and speaking of costumes, Billy Magnussen talks about his unmissably tight leather pants in Into the Woods 

Today's Watch

Tom Hanks reenacts his filmography's greatest hits in seven minutes with James Corden. Hanks seems to be having a lot of fun with himself lately, right? 

Small Screen

Coming Soon
 The X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are returning to their iconic roles for a miniseries. The original series lasted 9 years and was revived in two feature films so it's had quite a shelf-life. 
Variety I find BAFTA so confusing. They have so many different awards branches and different announcement times. But the TV craft nominations are out with Penny Dreadful doing well 
Ryan Murphy Chloe Sevigny returning to American Horror Story next season. She was a pleasant surprise for me on Netflix's Bloodline. I forget sometimes how totally watchable she is
Towleroad rumors circulating that HBO is cancelling Looking albeit with a wrap up film *sniffle* 
Salon Jon Hamm just out of rehab for alcohol addiction. With Mad Men wrapped hopefully he won't be reminded of the glass in hand for a while. Best wishes! 

Three Must Reads To Go

1. If you're a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and who isn't) you'll LOL all through The Toast's "Every Argument about Buffy on the Internet, From 1998 Until Now." It's blissfully true to its title.

2. This doesn't have a movie connection apart from a well earned dig at that awful Flawless movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman but The New York Times has an essay on the feminist evolution of the word "flawless" that is really something. A great read.

3. David Poland has said these things before and will say them again. And we've also harped on his underlying theme / advice to the Academy - 'Embrace the fact that you're THE movie institution. be proud, not worried.' But it's always worth repeating and he does a great job in "48 Weeks to Oscar: Academy in Crisis (?)" at highlighting all the problems... which don't have to be problems! Read it (if you've ever bitched about or defended the Oscars). Live it (if you're AMPAS). Love it (if you love the Oscars).

That's a lot to read and discuss, so have at it!