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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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Tuesday
Dec312013

Happy 2014...Choose Three Cinematic Spirit Guides!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I've found in years past that it doesn't do much good to fuss over resolutions or plans for a new year... especially a long list of them. Which is not to say that self-improvement projects or, by extension in my case The Film Experience improvement projects, should not be on the agenda. The trick is to really focus so I'm only choosing three even though my nature yearns to do it differently. I have to fight the impulse to draft up a list of 2,014 life goals which would then make me miserable when I failed to accomplish them and guilty when I forgot what they were. I've already been working at upping my game behind-the-scenes since I didn't want to wait until a special date arose ("January 1st" is so arbitrary, really, and why should we be bound to Aloysius Lilius's 1582 business, you now?) to act on recent positive impulses, particularly because negative impulses are so more familiar and abundant. So in October this year I started saying "yes" to things I would normally hedge on or pass up altogether from worries of various sorts (time, money, fear). That was the entire goal, say "yes"! I did it in the hopes of breaking out of my "comfort zones" (which can also be pronounced as "ruts"). Maybe it's too soon to tell but I think it's working!

I'm not ready to share the three goals yet but for fun I thought I'd choose three spirit guides from the movies, to lean on for inspiration and spiritual support this year. And here they are...

Maria in The Sound of Music (1965)
Her image needs to be rehabilitated anyway. When I'm feeling ill equipped for whatever comes my way in 2014, I'm going to sing "I Have Confidence," the ultimate self pep-talk song. I'll do this while swinging my personal baggage around like it weighs nothing (I will do all of this internally and silently so as not to harm innocent bystanders) 

Captain America
Talk about freeing yourself from ruts: Is there a harder mold to bust out of than a 60 year old block of ice? He emerged with heroic spirit, super fitness (I so need to get back to the gym) and take charge instincts. He also knows from Classic Hollywood Movies since he saw them in first run!

Poppy in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Because she doesn't take herself too seriously and she'll try anything and throw herself into it. She's our best cinematic illustration that happiness is a conscious choice. Life doesn't always cooperate.

You should totally play along at home - strength in numbers. Choose three cinematic spirit guides and join me in making 2014 your best year yet. 

Tuesday
Dec312013

Team Experience Top Tens. The Stories They Tell... 

I, Nathaniel, am still in the process of cramming screeners into my bloodshot eyeballs (I know that's not the best way to do it but that's what happens each year at this exact time). Next weekend, at the very latest, I'll deliver my own top ten list. Until then, I thought it might be fun to see what our magic elves were into this year. A few of the regulars opted out, since they like quite a lot more time to mull things over or they're too busy with their classic hollywood obsessions (you are going to LOVE what Anne Marie has cooking for 2014). But Jose, Amir, Glenn, Tim and Michael and an unexpected guest perservered and their lists are here for your perusal and rental queue consideration. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec312013

The Thing I Ended Up Writing While Trying to Write The Review of "August: Osage County"

They do right by the first scene at least trimming the interminable opening of the Pulitzer and Tony wi. Beginning with the opening, Nathaniel, really? Do you groan audibly when someone says "That scene was so much better in the play / book / original source material" which is the culture snob's version of "FIRST!"  ok you'll need to discuss that effect but awkwwwward... EXT. Weston Family Home, Oklahoma. A car pulls int NO.  Violet Weston is a piece of work. But then, so it August: Ohmygod.. this is so not going to work.

"Eat your fish, bitch. Eat your fish.

... tempting, but where are you going to go from there if you start with Tracy Letts muscular punchy words and move on to your own dumpier nudgy ones? STOP.

You see where I'm going with this? Each time I've attempted to write about John Wells' adaptation of Tracy Lett's stage masterwork August: Osage County, barring a few brief stabs at some element of my discontent or, more likely, some reaction to its Oscar campaign and release strategy no review emergies. Obstacles of time, desire, interest, or non-diegetic usually awards season related materials surge up and scatter my thoughts when I sit down. 

Take this clever piece of FYC swag, a glorified envelope in the shape of a cardboard house.... [more]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec302013

The Secret Year of Spike Jonze

[Editor's Note: Tonight's guest column comes from Andy Hoglund, previously featured in reader spotlight. Here's his choice for "Entertainer of the Year"]

Spike on the set of "Her"

As we sign off on the final moments of 2013, the same names have repeatedly been uttered as defining this year in entertainment. From Miley twerking, to Kanye’s limitless ability to stimulate conversation, to Sandra's space solo, and so on, they've all had their moments. Overlooked thus far is 2013’s quintessential utility man in pop culture—the equivalent of Chone Figgins (versatile infielder/outfielder who finished 17th in American League MVP balloting in 2005). This all-around talent has worn multiple hats this year in film and music, some of them unsung. Spike Jonze may still not quite be a household name in 2013. He should be.

The deep impact Jonze achieves with a project as ambitious and heart-wrenching as Her should be no surprise. After all, his first feature length film, Being John Malkovich, was a touchstone of one of Hollywood’s most audacious years. Rather than pursue a work schedule along the lines of the prolific Steven Soderbergh, Jonze has released only three films since that impressive debut in 1999.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec302013

Stop Trying To Make Link Happen

Clothes on Film gets writers to name their favorite costumes of the year from Stoker through The Grandmaster and on to Spring Breakers
IndieWire thinks Oscar's Cinematography category should be split into two now (computer environments/traditional) as it once was (black and white / color). Co-sign. But then you knew that since I wrote about the problem with this category earlier this year in preparation for Gravity's Oscar win, which will be the 4th heavily computerized film in 5 years to win both vfx and cinematography statues
Buzzfeed Mean Girls and 34 other movies that are turning 10 in 2014. Yes, The Film Experience will be revisiting some of these. Any preferences?

Vulture homage vs theft as it relates to American Hustle from Scorsese... and, well, Scorsese from Scorsese. I think comparisons between Russell and Scorsese's movies are largely missing the point -- an accident of release date and sudden divisive critical fervor -- but this is a good read
IndieWire gets really effusive about Inside Llewyn Davis' Oscar Isaac calling him the next Paul Newman 
Pajiba the 10 best performances from inanimate objects in 2013 from Christian Bale's hairpiece in American Hustle through Man of Steel's tragic victims
Deadline on the use of silence in Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost. Brad from Rope of Silicon and I got into this argument with the Hitfix boys yesterday about Gravity. 'What silence? That score is terrified of letting you deal with silence!'

Today's Wolf of Wall Street arguments
Another 24 hours, another cycle of aggressive shaming of those who don't love it.
In Contention interviews The Wolf of Wall Street's Leonardo DiCaprio who does my least favorite thing that actors can do: diss critics who don't like their movie for not getting it. Usually it's better for filmmakers to shut up when they're unhappy with critics. Remember how embarrassing it was when James Cameron got all touchy about negative Titanic reviews?  Joe Reid at The Wire responds with a terrific piece about the disingenuous posturing going on from critics who like to have their cake and eat it, too. 

I haven't been online much today but I'm assuming the response to Leo's statement is drawing big cheers from critics in the Wolf of Wall Street camp.  Careful, people. Just remember how much fun you made of Armie Hammer when he blamed you for The Lone Ranger's failure. 

 

Finally...
Some of you may have seen this a couple of weeks ago but Michael Cusumano, who writes here on occasion, knew he would have to see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug with family over the holidays so he caved on his decision not to watch the new Middle Earth trilogy. He liveblogged The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) to catch up (part one and part two) and it is awesome. I made the same initial vow and I've stuck to it but I did happen to recently very casually nibble on parts of last year's 3 hour fantasy slop on HBO the other night so that made this timeline even funnier... I agreed with every word regarding the scenes I tasted (but did not swallow).

Monday
Dec302013

Curio: Pre-Mades 

Alexa here. As we spend this week looking ahead -- to fulfilling resolutions, to the Golden Globes, to the Oscars -- I thought it might be nice to look through another wormhole of sorts, to these parallel film universes created by artist Peter Stults.  Peter has taken films we know by heart and imagined if they had been made at another time.  [more...]

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec302013

Podcast: A Disney Double, "Frozen" and "Saving Mr Banks"

On a quiet Sunday Nathaniel & Katey get together for a Disney Double that we are surprised to realize we hadn't yet discussed as a group.

Is Saving Mr Banks a 'corporation knows best' propaganda nightmare or a rich investigation of artistic compromise or somewhere inbetween? Does the existence of Mary Poppins, automatically make Disney (Tom Hanks) the hero and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) the villain? We're more enthusiastic about Frozen. We see its gears and its formula and we don't necessarily love the song score but it transcends. Katey loves the message it's sending little girls.

Asides, as we do, to: Titanic, Tangled, The Hobbit, Blue Jasmine, and Meryl Streep in August: Osage County

You can listen to the podcast right here or download it on iTunes and let us know what you think of this Disney holiday double in the comments. 

Disney Double