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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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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Wednesday
Feb202013

Smash: The Dramaturg

previously on Smash

My hopes for Smash's precarious sophomore season were dashed the split second the third episode began as Katharine McPhee sang a poprock song in a halfshirt on a platform for a throng of admirers and capped it off with a little crowd surfing. I thought this was a show about making a Broadway musical... not about creating a pop star?! The new character Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan), prepping for a pitch to powerful director Derek, announces just before the opening titles that "one shot is all we need".  Unfortunately for Smash, it's had several of them and still isn't hitting its mark.

Julia (Debra Messing) hates dramaturg Peter (guest star Daniel Sunjata) at first sight which, in showbiz cliché, surely means a romance is brewing.

2.3 "The Dramaturg"
This week's episode, which felt mostly like connective filler to get us to the new season plotlines after the debut's efforts to tie off last season's storylines, mostly involved auditions though the writers didn't find a way to make that a thematic core. It played like a coincidence across multiple stories: Ivy auditioned for the Cecile role (the Uma Thurman role) in some sort of revival of Dangerous Liaisons; Jimmy and Kyle pitched their embryonic musical "Hit List" to Derek, Derek intended to re-audition for The Wiz producers who fired him in the last episode but was side-tracked by Julia's book changes. She was basically auditioning to keep her job by adding "heat" to the show (i.e. more focus on Marilyn Monroe's upwardly mobile sexuality; enter JFK). The changes were suggested by new dramaturg Peter (impossibly handsome Daniel Sunjata) who is no stranger to Broadway himself, having cut a very fine figure in the Tony winning baseball drama Take Me Out some years ago.

In my very limited experience with theater and theater people I understand dramaturgy to be a respected craft that functions like great editing, fine tuning and sculpting pre-existing material and jettisoning stuff that doesn't work. (A good dramaturg is EXACTLY what Smash needs.) Smash implies (at least for now) that it's more like vicious ghost-writing / script-doctoring so naturally this new character Peter is an asshole. Just like all the men on Smash. I do not need characters to be "likeable" to enjoy a show (hello Mad Men) but if they are all going to be hateful they need to be complex enough to fascinate me. There is no one on this show to root for beyond Ivy (whose self-pity is wearying). We're supposed to root for Karen but she literally complains and sighs and rolls her eyes every time we see her in a rehearsal scene which suggests that she DOES NOT WANT TO WORK TO CREATE A SHOW... so why should we root for her to star in a series about the making of a show? 

Set List: (Originals) "Party" (McPhee), "Our Little Secret" (Ovenden), "Moving the Line" briefly (McPhee/Hilty); Jukebox: "Dancing on My Own" sung as a dirge (Hilty); Showtunes: "Soon as I Get Home" (Hudson).
B♡BBY: Wesley Taylor was not in this episode. Hmmmm. Coincidence that it was a terrible episode? I think not!
Best Moment: Ivy finally wakes up and speaks the truth before walking away from a Derek landmine "You're doubting yourself. You don't do that remember? And neither should I."  
Worst Moment:  God, take your pick? This episode was all over the place. But I have to go with the weird cagey subplot about some sort of violent dude in Jimmy & Kyle's past. Zzzz. Don't care about this. Want more Ivy, Derek, Tom & Julia with a little piece of B♡bby (and okay he can bring Karen along) on the side.
Grade: D 

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO SAVE THIS SHOW? (Artistically, I mean. It's doomed ratings-wise.) 

Wednesday
Feb202013

Costume Designers Honor Princess Hathaway & Anna Karenina

The last (I think?) guild has spoken. And they have announced the movies (and tv) that were 'CLOTHED IN IMMENSE POWER'  for 2012. Apologies to Lincoln for stealing their line ...but at least they were nominated!

The evening included Career Achievement Awards to Eduardo Castro a frequent Emmy nominee with shows like "Ugly Betty" and "Once Upon a Time" under his belt and Judianna Makovsky who made waves this past spring with Hunger Games and costumed films as diverse as the original Harry Potter, Seabiscuit, and Reversal of Fortune. There was also a special award, the LACOSTE Spotlight Award to Anne Hathaway because Guilds generally find a way to honor a movie star or famous director during their ceremonies.

Her award seems to be a crystal alligator of some sort and it looks like she's inviting it to eat Russell Crowe's diaphragm in the photos. Hey, anything to stop him from singing at the Oscars on Sunday!

TV WINNERS:

Television Movie/Mini-Series Lou Eyrich for "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Commercial Costume Design Judianna Makovsky for "Captain Morgan Black"

Contemporary Television Molly Maginnis for "Smash
Period/Fantasy Television Carolina McCall for "Downton Abbey"
Their series awards are hard to argue with, right? Although "Smash" has an unfair advantage over other contemporary shows in that it can also work in period and fantasy wear without stretching the boundaries of the show.

AND THE FILM PRIZES... 

Contemporary Film Jany Temine for Skyfall
Period Film Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina 
Fantasy Film Eiko Ishioka for Mirror Mirror 

...which sets up the Oscar contest in brief.

I've said for some time that I think that Anna Karenina will be winning this statue (the other nominations for the film show some cross-branch interest and, no small matter, the costumes are also beyond gorgeous and memorable). But Mirror Mirror does pose a formidable threat if the Academy is feeling silly and adventurous  (bunny ears on top hats, stilt legs, supersized bows, etcetera) or merely feeling misty about the passing of the great Eiko Ishioka.

Which way do you think it will go? Are you happy with the CDG winners? 

Wednesday
Feb202013

it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye...

Brave archery set. It's safe for ages 3 and up...

...unless one of your children is named Kevin. In which case We Need To Talk About Him. 

Wednesday
Feb202013

Jesse Unleashed. And Other Links

i09 the best critical responses to Safe Haven's batsh*t ending (spoilers, obviously)
Natasha VC the Boogie Nights premiere photos are debilitating. (amen)
Cinematic Corner expresses disatisfaction with The Master. I think the qualms expressed here are very imply put the problem a lot of people have with the second act of Paul Thomas Anderson's career. I wonder if he'll change again?
Awards Daily salutes the hard working Oscar publicists as ballots close
MNPP Judy Garland's A Star is Born even wins over JA! She's just brilliant in that film. One of the worst Oscar losses ever. 

Coming Soon on a new Bruce Lee biopic in the works. I read a few articles on this last night and not one of them mentioned that there already is a Bruce Lee biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which came out in the 90s and starred the hotness that was Jason Scott Lee (no relation)
Playbill Les Misérables will be returning to Broadway in 2014, just 11 years since the original long running show closed. Meanwhile the show has never closed in London and has now been playing for 27 years
Jesse Williams the actor (the hottie from Cabin in the Woods) doesn't pull punches detailing his issues with Django Unchained's treatment of race and slavery
Advocate Kelly McGillis will reminisce about Top Gun generically but she won't talk about Jodie Foster's coming out!
Lainey Gossip checks in with the pre-Oscar gingers Jessica Chastain & Nicole Kidman
In Contention looks at Sound Mixing which I personally think is terrifically hard to predict this year 

Finally... if you believe that math can predict the Oscars check out Ben's Oscar Forecast. He's a Harvard student who's trying to predict them with formulas. He's predicting the usual suspects that have been winning everything for acting but for best director... Ang Lee (!?!)

Tuesday
Feb192013

Top Ten 1930s

Apropos of nothing other than my urge to throw a tuesday top ten at you, my favorite films of the 1930s. The order and even the titles might be different if you ask me tomorrow, but you didn't ask me tomorrow. I asked me today.

 

  1. The Wizard of Oz
  2. It Happened One Night
  3. The Awful Truth
  4. Gone With the Wind
  5. Dodsworth
  6. L'Atalante
  7. My Man Godfrey
  8. Trouble In Paradise
  9. The Women
  10. Bringing Up Baby

 

With apologies to: Min & Bill, "M", Grand Hotel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jezebel and many more. Which 30s movies do you love most and have you seen all of these? 

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Tuesday
Feb192013

Bunheads: Gimme Shelter

Bunheads is back with the winter season’s penultimate episode. At this point, the series has built a great foundation with likeable and interesting characters. Here’s hoping the show has enough backing from viewers and ABC Family to be renewed for a summer or fall return.

"It's Not a Mint"

This Week on Bunheads…
I found this week’s installment, “It’s Not a Mint” inconsequential when compared to some of the earlier episodes of this half season.  It had the feel of a set-up episode, moving characters (and relationships) into their proper place for the winter finale. That said, there was still fun to be had and ideas to be explored, like the need for shelter and protection. The episode’s title is referring to this idea since the object that’s “not a mint” happens to be a mysterious condom that Sutton Foster’s Michelle finds hidden in the girls’ dressing room.

In what amounts to a "bottle" episode most of the action takes place at the dance studio... [more]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb192013

Me, Elsewhere. Talking Oscar

I was a special guest star on two different sites today. So I have to send you away; come to me by going away! 

First, I was one of two guest stars on the latest edition of the fine podcast OpKino which stars my friend Katey Rich and her harem of movie besties Matt Patches, David Ehrlich and Da7e Gonzales (all of whom are infinitely worth following on twitter if you don't yet). I'm one of two guests. Not the one talking up The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rumors (i.e. Spider-Man 5) although I have nothing against Spidey. (Oh wait, I do now. Damnit.) I'm there to talk Oscars. Are they important? Why should people who don't like them learn to appreciate? And more...

Second, the fine folks at Slate and I have revamped last year's Acceptance Speech Analysis Essay and Interactives to bring it to the right now. I was so proud of this last season so if you missed it please read. Or read again. I spent DAYS researching it - fun filled eye strained days of watching actresses and actors stutter, cry, freak out. Now of course every site is writing about acceptance speeches since Oscar went and made it easy for them, transcribing all the actors acceptance speeches from somewhere in the 70s onward. They did it a year too late to save me those days and days of research but I like to think that I gave AMPAS the idea with my Slate thesis last year! They can thank me by inviting me to the Dolby next year. I'll be a lowly seat filler, bathroom attendant, or janitor, I don't care. 

P.S. Before you click away, as instructed, why not like the Film Experience on Facebook?