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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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Monday
Feb022015

Sundance: Oscar Hopeful "Brooklyn" is Beautifully Old-Fashioned

Nathaniel's final review from Sundance

Late last year while interviewing Yves Belanger on his lensing of Wild (2014) and his ongoing working relationship with Jean Marc Vallee I noticed he had a non-Vallee project on his forthcoming filmography called Brooklyn. He spoke highly of the experience, an about face from Wild's all natural light mandate. He said it was much more stylized lighting, an 'old fashioned romantic drama'. He hoped people still wanted to see that sort of thing.

If the reaction at Sundance is any indication (and a word of caution: Sundance fever is 50/50 for the real world at best) the people will welcome it with open arms... and tear ducts.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb022015

Beauty vs Beast: Winter Is (Still) Coming

Jason from MNPP here with another round of "Beauty vs Beast" -- this week we're headed to Gobbler's Knob (I still can't believe that's a real name of a real place) in the little town called Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, about an hour and a half outside of Pittsburgh, where the fate of our Winter lay in the balance. Well laid in the balance, that is - it's already been reported this morning that the world's furriest prognisicator this side of Sam Champion, the eternal Punxsutawney Phil, has seen his shadow and laid six more weeks of Winter upon us. Boo, Phil. Seeing as how I awoke to several fresh inches of slush this morning, I'm not terribly surprised by the forecast, but still. Boo, Phil.

Which brings me to what is maybe the greatest comedy ever made about the maybe dumbest holiday on the calendar: Harold Ramis' also-eternal 1993 Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day, and this week's Battle of the Phils!

 

You've got one week - or one-sixth of the Winter that oh-so-wise woodchuck just dropped on us - to vote, so don't forget your booties it's cold outside and get to work.

PREVIOUSLY Two weeks back in the comments of the Blue Velvet contest TFE-reader Murtada pointed out that no actor had ever beaten an actress in any of these polls; well it's finally happened! It was close, but Paul Newman's Hud managed to shimmy his slim-hips to a six-percent win over Patricia Neal's Alma. Yeah he was a bastard, but... well, he was Paul Newman as a bastard, so it goes. Said San FranCinema:

"Newman, a great beauty no one took seriously until he surprised them all by becoming a great actor, always gets my vote."

Monday
Feb022015

American Sniper = Frozen

American Sniper continued to be the story at the box office (Super Bowl weekend didn't slow it down) adding an incredible $31 million to its now gargantuan cume and it still maintains a great per screen average suggesting a long run still. It's now replaced Gone Girl as 2014's biggest non-franchise non-cgi driven hit aimed at adults. It will leapfrog Winter Soldier and LEGO this week to become the third biggest hit of 2014 behind The Hunger Games and Guardians of the Galaxy

A strange turn of events. It's like the Frozen of 2014 (which also surpassed all expectations to close its year as #3) without the earworm diva showtunes

TOP O' THE BOX OFFICE
01 AMERICAN SNIPER $31.8 (cum. $248.9)
02 PADDINGTON $8.5 (cum. $50.5)  
03 PROJECT ALMANAC $8.5 NEW 
04 BLACK OR WHITE $6.4 NEW  
05 THE BOY NEXT DOOR $6.0 (cum. $24.6)

In other significant box office news: Game of Thrones made $1.5 million with its IMAX gamble; Still Alice crossed the million dollar mark but is still at less than 100 theaters; Mauritania's first Oscar nominee Timbuktu debuted to only $50,000 from 4 theaters; and A Most Violent Year went wide to an unspectacular $1.7 million but at least it's out there to be seen. If you didn't see it this weekend, you know what Jessica Chastain would have to say about that...

This was very disrespectful.

So what did you see this weekend? 


Monday
Feb022015

Musical Break: Mommy's Céline

Manuel here trying to turn this wet and slushy frown upside down with some help from the movies.

Um...

As Nat noted this weekend, that might be one of the better responses to an alleged Oscar snub in recent memory but as with all "snubs," we have the films and boy has Xavier Dolan's Mommy seared itself into my brain. And so I'm using it today to help me brave this icy, cold, rainy weather we're having in the North East today (anyone buried under lots of snow?)

One of the best scenes in Dolan's film is set to Céline Dion's "On Ne Change Pas" and that song has been in constant rotation on my Spotify ever since (actually all of the songs from that film have!) Dolan has quite the gift for pairing radio-stamped hits with transgressively appealing scenes that don't just work as stylistic juxtapositions but as helpful characterizations. In the film, Céline's song functions as a cultural touchstone as well as an opportunity for bonding between the three main characters, leading to one of the most memorable dancing sequence in a film this past year. Kudos to Antoine Pilon for making Ms Dion so youthful and sexy even as most of us had written her off as, ironically enough, mom-soundtrack material. If you needed more reason to seek out this film, let it be a reminder (or, in my case, an introduction) to the beauty that is Céline's French-language repertoire:

Dolan's film is out in 83 screens; has it made it near you yet? Did you enjoy its synaesthetic sensibility and have also since rediscovered Dido, OneRepublic and Eiffel 65? 

Monday
Feb022015

Sundance: A Bleak Character Study Triple Feature

Michael C here to look at a trio of dark films that premiered at Sundance. What would Sundance be without some downbeat character studies? Every festival gets its share of films charting the process by which self-destructive people make a shambles of their lives. Some of them are utterly engrossing and have the audience hanging on the protagonist's every move. Many of them are a chore, dragging the audience through fifty variations of misery to no clear purpose. The type of film where you tip your hat to the artistry and to the gumption it took to get it made, while silently resolving that you never need subject yourself to that again.

(I Smile Back, James White and Patrick Wilson in Zipper after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb022015

How to Train Your Dragon dominates the 2014 Annie awards

Tim here.Over the weekend the International Animated Film Society announced the winners of the Annie Awards for the movie year just ended. DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon 2 had a huge night, taking six total awards - one of only two feature films with more than one award to its name. This clearly solidifies that film's position as the frontrunner for the Best Animated Feature Oscar later this month, and hopefully provides some small measure of comfort to what remains of the beleaguered staff at DWA, which was gutted by layoffs a couple of weeks ago.

Here's the complete list of winners....

Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation)

Directing in an Animated Feature Production: Dean DeBlois, How to Train Your Dragon 2

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production: Sir Ben Kingsley as the voice of Archibald Snatcher, The Boxtrolls

21 more categories after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb012015

How Many Oscars Will ______ Win? 

This weekend was a biggie in terms of below the line awards. The Imitation Game won the USC Scripter Prize which goes to movies adapted from literature (and the source material author also wins this prize). The Art Directors guild chose Birdman for Contemporary Film, and The Grand Budapest Hotel for Period (as well as Guardians of the Galaxy for Fantasy). Meanwhile the Editors gave their "Eddies" to  Boyhood for Dramas and The Grand Budapest Hotel for comedies (in addition to prizes for The LEGO Movie in Animated and Citizen Four for Documentaries)

All of this has me wondering if its The Grand Budapest Hotel rather than Boyhood or Birdman that will take home the most Oscars on February 22nd if not Best Picture. It's got a decent shot at four or five statues: Costumes, Production Design, Screenplay, Score, and Makeup & Hair. Of those Screenplay is the longest shot since Birdman vs Boyhood will be tough to squeeze between to nab the Original Screenplay gold.

Perhaps it will be a spread the wealth kind of year with every Best Picture winning something. Like so...

How many oscars will The Grand Budapest Hotel win?

 

  • Boyhood (4 or 5) Picture, Director, Supporting Actress, Editing (and maybe Screenplay?)
  • Grand Budapest (3 or 4) Costumes, Production Design, Makeup & Hair (and maybe Score?)
  • Birdman (2 or 3) Screenplay, Cinematography (and maybe Actor?)
  • American Sniper (2) Sound Editing and Sound Mixing
  • Theory of Everything (1 or 2) Actor (and maybe Score?)
  • The Imitation Game (1 or 2) Adapted Screenplay (and maybe Score?)
  • Whiplash (1 or 2) Supporting Actor (and maybe Adapted Screenplay?)
  • Selma (1) Song

 

(As you can see I'm stumped about who might win Best Score. I can see it going any which way.)

Not that there's ever a year where every Best Picture nominee wins something now that we have so many Best Picture nominees. Someone or someones usually go home empty-handed - even if they have come into the big night with a ton of nominations. But there's a first time for everything and it could happen.

What'cha think?