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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Best Actress -- Who will be nominated?
Davis? Blunt? Adams? Chastain?

"I'm glad everyone is cheering Fences on, but I feel that people are overestimating its Oscar potential. The furor reminds me of when people were going ga-ga for August: Osage County. " - Jes

"Davis  in Fences. I saw it on Broadway ... it is a true blue supporting role." - Charlie G

"I really hope it's Amy Adams year, only because some of her stans are so insufferable and will never shut up if she loses again. " - Laura

 

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Saturday
Apr302016

TCMFF Honors Francis Ford Coppola

Anne Marie here, bringing you the concrete facts from TCM Film Festival.

Francis Ford Coppola was honored twice at TCM Film Festival today. First, the legendary director added his hands and feet to the stars imprinted in the cement outside the TCL Chinese Theatre. Son Roman Coppola, wife Eleanor, and fellow director and friend Peter Bogdonavich were also in attendance to honor the 77 year old legend at the ceremony.

Later, Coppola sat down at the TCL Chinese Theatre with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz before a special screening of The Conversation. Mankiewicz and Coppola discussed the director's full 50 year career, and his (in)famous struggles to get his now-iconic films made in the first place. From fighting studio casting vetoes during The Godfather to self-financing Apocalypse Now, there seems to be no film in the director's oeuvre that he didn't have to fight for in some way. Quipped Mankiewicz, "Your stories don't really reflect well on the Paramount management."

When the interview turned to The Conversation, Coppola had much more passionate things to say. Inspired by Blow Up, Coppola actually wrote the script a year and a half before shooting The Godfather. In fact  Coppola freely admitted that The Conversation never would have been made if not for his most gangster film, though he suspects he was only hired for The Godfather because he was cheap, Italian, and could be pushed around. Still, Coppola stated that he was grateful for those who left their legacy on his work: director Irving Kershner, who encouraged him to write, and TCM, who keeps all of his movies in the cinematic conversation

Friday
Apr292016

New Directors: Banana, Transpecos, Spa Night, and The Fits

One day I will figure out to keep up with the cinematic madness but April contained none of those days. A week ago the Nashville Film Festival wrapped and I have yet to share with you the prizes my jury bestowed! Not that you've been clamoring to read about films you've never heard of but one of the joys of film festivals is in the discoveries. Hence my great thrill to be asked to sit on the "New Directors Jury". Let's survey a handful of the competitors starting with the two winners, both of which made one step closer to theaters this week.

HONORABLE MENTION The Fits (2016)
I'm starting with this one because it's out very soon (June 3rd in NYC / June 10th in Los Angeles) and you absolutely shouldn't miss it. I'm already eager to see it again. We need directors with fresh voices and a unique gaze and we've got one in Anna Rose Helmer. The Fits follows a young girl named Toni (Royalty Hightower, pretty great) who spends her days helping her older brother with his job cleaning a boxing gym. She's fascinated by the boy rituals and the girl rituals which are happening just down the hall where a local dance squad rehearses in another gymnasium. Just when you think you've figured out the film's theme (there's certainly much to ponder in its gender dynamics) one of the dancers has a violent fit and faints and you realize Helmer has a lot more yet on her mind. There's no easy allegories here and maybe it's a little opaque but there's much to ponder in its metaphysical poetry, thoughtful camera work and editing and, above all else, its persistent fly-on-the-wall curiosity, the camera a soulful twin to Toni's ever-searching eyes. B+ (A-?)

Breaking News: The Fits got a poster (left) and a perfect moody trailer this week from Oscilloscope Pictures. 

More after the jump including an awards magnet which keeps winning festivals... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr292016

April 29th should be a national holiday

It's an open thread... with party favors. If you are throwing a birthday party in honor of Michelle Pfeiffer, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Uma Thurman today (and if you aren't, why not?), what is the party theme? food? dress code? What will you sacrifice at their altars give them for a gift tonight? 

Friday
Apr292016

Posterized: Movies named after holidays

With Mother's Day in theaters today starring romcom queens of yester-yore (Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston) the question comes to mind: What other U.S. holidays are available for Garry Marshall to make all star ensemble mosaics about?  A lot of holidays are already taken as you'll see in today's Posterized. (Disclaimer: We've opted to include only movies with theatrical releases and no holiday-themed titles -- there'd be hundreds with straight to dvd titles or movies with a holiday within the title)

How many of these movies, which take their names from holidays, have you seen?
Let's take them in order of their place on the calendar.

New Year's Day (1989), New Year's Day (2000), Groundhog Day (1993)

Ash Wednesday (1973), Valentine's Day (2010), April Fool's Day (1986)

Mother's Day (2016), Independence Day (1983), Independence Day (1996)

Labor Day (2013), Halloween (1978), Halloween (2007)

Christmas Eve (1947), Christmas Eve (2015), New Year's Eve (2011)

Still waiting for the Garry Marshall Treatment: Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Flag Day, President's Day, Easter, Father's Day, Thanksgiving... although the latter did get that sick sick sick fake slasher trailer by Eli Roth in Grindhouse (2007)

It seems beyond strange that the best movie named after a holiday is still a low budget 1970s slasher movie (that turned out great and became highly influential, for better...and usually worse). Halloween was #3 in our list of greatest modern horror movies.

Friday
Apr292016

TCM Film Festival Day 1: This Fest is on Fire!

Anne Marie here, reporting what's hot at the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival.

Opening night of TCM Film Festival was on fire--or at least we thought it was. Halfway through the first film, the fire alarm in the Chinese Theater multiplex went off, sending cinephiles scurrying for the exits. Fortunately, it seems to have been a false alarm. After a few minutes of patient waiting, fans were allowed to retake their seats so the movies could resume.

Fire alarms aside, TCM rolled out the red carpet for a brand new restoration for the 40th Anniversary of All the President's Men, courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics. Four decades after Woodward and Bernstein originally exposed the Watergate Scandal, the movie feels more prescient than ever, especially considering TCM host Ben Mankiewicz's recent revelation that his father Frank Mankiewicz was on Nixon's enemies list. Ben Mankiewicz and Alec Baldwin introduced the movie and the special guest of the night: Pulitzer prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein.

Carl Bernstein looks surprisingly relaxed for a man who (with his partner Bob Woodward) singlehandedly shook American politics to its core. Time and distance has given Bernstein - and the audience watching the film - time to reflect, and even grow nostalgic. Bernstein revealed that his favorite scene of All the President's Men is a partnership scene: Woodward and Bernstein in the Library of Congress.

What's your favorite scene in All The President's Men?

Friday
Apr292016

Vikander has Tomb Raider Fever

In an unexpected bit of casting, Alicia Vikander was just announced to be taking over as Lara Croft in the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. Original whispers of Daisy Ridley accepting the role weren't meant to be and instead the reigning Best Supporting Actress winner will be taking on the bodacious archaelogist.

The delightful happenstance of the casting is that Croft was also the first post-Oscar high-profile role choice Angelina Jolie (who played Croft in 2001 and 2003). For Jolie it was her launch pad into the bonafide box office draw that she still is today, so perhaps this could be a similar vehical for Vikander. Does this mean that the inevitable rereboot will be played by the Best Supporting Actress winner of 2032?

 

 

Croft is a character we remember more for appearance than for any facet of her personality, so the casting choice is an odd fit. Vikander excels when playing with more emotional depth than what a video game adaptation will likely require of her - but her Ex Machina performance did show that she can give intelligent physical precision to roles that require less from her emotionally.

This summer, she'll costar in Jason Bourne, hopefully hinting at her action star potential if she can get in on the asskicking unlike previous Bourne ladies. Also this July, Vikander returns to costume drama territory with Tulip Fever. The film debuted footage at last year's Cannes, but we finally get our eyes on it with the lush and steamy trailer released this week:

What do you think of Alicia as Lara? What other Best Supporting Actress would you put in the role?

Thursday
Apr282016

April Showers: Carrie

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Kieran Scarlett on Carrie (1976).

Brian de Palma’s horror classic Carrie has scenes at both the beginning and the end in which our heroine, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) gets clean. Because of what happens between those scenes, they take on very different meanings. When we first see Carrie White, she is diffident and beleaguered—whether at home with her mother Margaret’s (Piper Laurie) stentorian declarations of fanatical Christian values or at school with the focused torment of her peers. It’s very clear that Carrie has internalized the harsh words of Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen):

Click to read more ...