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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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Saturday
Dec222012

Les Linkábles

Auteuse Theory has co-written a book on Mamma Mia! of all things "Mamma Mia! The Movie: Exploring a Cultural Phenomenon"
Gawker Audrey Plaza has a nude painting of herself on full display in her home 
The Wrap the best and worst performances by the same actor this year. Interesting concept but SO annoying to pretend Anne Hathaway is anything less than stupendous in Les Misérables 
Badass Digest Here's something unexpected. A piece on the vineyards of France and drinking in the time of Les Miz.

My New Plaid Pants obsession with Amanda Seyfried's 'magical slutty powers' is one of my favorite things on the internet, month in and month out.  I know everyone was excited to read me interviewing my Nicole but I'd honestly pay good money to watch a sit down with JA & Amanda
ME Says is disappointed with Jessica Chastain in The Heiress. This seems to be going around! That won't hurt but can't possibly help her Best Actress bid in Zero...
Awards Daily Sasha crunches numbers on Best Director and predicts doom for Tom Hooper without the Globe nod. Which might well be the case. But the thing I don't quite get, from other pundits, is why everyone has such sudden enthusiasm for Quentin Tarantino's chances. Tarantino movies ALWAYS open with a flurry of people crying "masterpiece" but that's because critics and bloggers are big stans of Quentin (with good reason but I hope you here my point.) Is this "late surge" for Django Unchained real or just a product of Weinstein Co's goodwill with the Globes?

The Playlist The NRA is blaming the movies again for all these gun massacres. I'd LOL if it weren't so terrible. Way to hang on to your destructive agenda in the face of ever more damning proof that it's just that! They are seriously a hideous blight on America. Speaking of...
Penny Arcade has a fine comic about this

Click on the image for more of the comic...

List-Mania
Pop Matters I am embarrassed for all my film friends who love Cloud Atlas but I have to link to Matt Mazur's top ten anyway because otherwise it's interesting!
Critic Wire asks film critics to share the best pieces of film criticism they've read this year. Lots of articles name-checked worth checking out
AV Club best scenes of the year
Pajiba has a great list of enjoyable supporting performances that won't win any awards... let alone Oscars
Screen Crave on the most disappointing films of the year from Django Unchained to The Avengers
Slate ten best of 2012 from How To Survive a Plague through Zero Dark Thirty 

And here is Kevin B Lee's 12 Best of the Year Video Essay from Fandor. (I keep meaning to do more video work and never get around to it. Argh.)

Even most of my critic friends love Silver Linings Playbook. I just don't get the love! But at least it's not a hideous bloated blight on the good name of cinema like Cloud Atlas

Friday
Dec212012

An Evening with Naomi Watts

Jose here to talk about Naomi Watts. She's having a great month. First, she won Best Actress nominations from both the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes for her work in The Impossible (opening today!). Then she got a hell of an endorsement from Reese Witherspoon who promised she'd "tap dance on Sunset Blvd." to get her an Oscar for this movie. If other people in Hollywood start feeling she's as good as Meryl in Sophie's Choice (Reese's words) Naomi's stars might be finally aligning for a statuette.


Earlier this week I attended a preview screening of The Impossible (hosted as part of 92Y's Reel Pieces series) which was preceded by a Q&A with Watts. She discussed working with green screens, working with boy wonder Tom Holland (nominated for Best Young Actor at the "Critics Choice" Awards) and spent a surprising amount of time discussing her work in Mulholland Dr. But, hey, a lot of us have been talking about that for years as well!

[Mulholland Dr, King Kong and The Impossible after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec212012

Foreign Film Oscar Finalists Offer Surprises and a Cold Snap

Each year, while I struggle to keep up with the foreign film submission charts and my sisyphean effort to find screenings or screeners of the 50 to 70+ films each year, Oscar's Foreign Film Nominating Committe cuts me off at the knees in my efforts. They always axe the bulk of the submissions and narrow the field to nine just as I've begun to make headway. Each year, I struggle to understand why nine? Ten (or more) would surely be easier to take for the finalists who did not find themselves Oscar nominated the following month. They could content themselves with a 50/50 chance, and consider it a toss of the coin misfortune rather than 'Nah, we don't like you so much!' 

"Kon Tiki", Norway's most expensive movie ever, is an epic adventure about explorer Thor Heyerdal. The Weinstein Co will handle US distribution.

The finalists, a surprisingly chilly bunch whether through auteur sensibility or subject matter (Austria, Canada, Romania) or actual wintry or wet physical temperatures (Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland) are...

  • Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director; REVIEWED
  • Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;
  • Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director; REVIEWED
  • Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;
  • France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
  • Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;
  • Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
  • Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director; REVIEWED
  • Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director

Oscar Season Giveth
We knew that short of a voting catastrophe, Amour -- winner of numerous scrolls, plaques, and "you're great!" knicknacks --  would be here and perhaps need only fend off France's global hit for the gold. But I'm personally most thrilled for the delightfully ugly Chilean entry No which seemed like a longer shot than it turned out to be. (I had predicted it as a finalist but I admit that that was more wishful thinking than savvy prophesy!) Voters tend to favor traditionally "beautiful" movies in this category but No purposely goes for a cruddier VHS-inspired look and that aesthetic decision turns out to be super effective in the film's seamlessly well edited mix of acted and found footage from the Chilean political upheaval. As a Scandinavian Nut (my ancestry is Danish and I speak very broken Norwegian) I'm always happy to see those countries in the mix. I haven't yet seen Kon-Tiki but A Royal Affair is a fine costume piece that starts out deceptively traditional only to reveal itself in the telling as a surprisingly resonant political drama. That said, it's modern resonance is deeply  nfortunate. Tis a pity that we still have to fight the wars that should have been won from The Enlightenment centuries ago! But no, the rich are still preying on the poor, and still using shamelessly self-serving deceit and distortion to insure that a great many normal civilians keep buying into the system that oppresses them in favor of wealthy parasites -- just check out what Boehner and the GOP are up to every day!

Oscar Season Taketh Away
I personally loved The Philippine entry Bwakaw which is no longer in the running. I knew it was a more modest effort than they usually go for but I hoped its well modulated character study about a senior citizen and his beloved dog would melt their hearts. I had also hoped to see Spain's clever Snow White riff Blancanieves in the mix in the off chance that I could find a way to propose to Macarena Garcia and/or Sergio Dorado at an Oscar function (kidding! but they are beautiful) or be able to discuss silent films at the Oscars for the second year running (not kidding!).

The most high profile omissions are surely festival noise-makers Caesar Must Die from Italy, Fill the Void from Israel, and Barbara from Germany -- all three countries are frequent Oscar fixtures. The snub for the Golden Lion winner Piéta from South Korea isn't as surprising since Oscar is weirdly resistant to Asian cinema if the names Akira Kurosawa or Ang Lee aren't prominent in the credits.

How are you feeling about the Foreign Finalists and which do you think we'll be nominated? [SEE THE UPDATED CHART

Friday
Dec212012

Screenplays of '12. Page 12. "Zero Dark Thirty"

New daily! I'll be sharing page 12 of every screenplay I've received for 2012 Films. With commentary!

The following scene stars Jason Clarke as "bad news" Daniel who has surprisingly not been getting much Supporting Actor buzz despite shooting off unmissable 'next big thing' vibes and Reda Kateb* as his tortured prisoner Ammar. I've drawn a little storyboard for you since the studio hasn't released any stills from this particular scene.  

INT. MAYA'S APARTMENT - ISLAMABAD

The loud WAILING of the early morning call to prayer from the loudspeakers of a nearby mosque wakes Maya on the couch.

CUT TO:

INT. BLACK SITE - AFTERNOON

Daniel and the guards enter Ammar's cel with Maya. Daniel switches on the floodlights, awakening Ammar.

                    DANIEL
Let's take it easy today, huh?

Daniel hands Ammar a bottle of orange juice and a bag of falalfel.

                    DANIEL (CONT'D)
Hungry? The food in here sucks so I
got you some of this.

more scene and commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec202012

Nicole Kidman Wore a Tiara To Our Interview

Nathaniel, it's Nicole!" 

[!!!] 

After the briefest of pauses in which we both waited for my bewilderment to pass -- Nicole Kidman is calling me (?) -- she let out a hearty familiar laugh, instantly delighting and relaxed. She was, as it happened, a full hour early to our scheduled interview, having just finished a day's filming on Grace of Monaco. 

Academy voters will be filling out their nomination ballots online for the first time this year -- they started voting this week and will continue through Thursday, January 3rd. One prays that this shake-up to their old school paper & pen system might also shake up their aesthetic palette. If it does, you'll hear Nicole Kidman's name read out for her genius star turn in The Paperboy. In this polarizing sweaty film, Nicole plays a tawdry beautician with a thing for violent inmates. This is not, as you have undoubtedly ascertained whilst reading about the film, the type of role which is usually nominated. This is, as you will undoubtedly discover while watching the film, the type of performance that deserves to be.

Early in our phone conversation, I shared with her my awe at her latest quick-change. "You've gone from Charlotte Bless to Grace of Monaco? Talk about an about-face!". She didn't skip a beat in her quippy response:

Kidman on the set of "Grace of Monaco"

 I'm standing here in a tiara and a white beaded dress and Cartier jewels."

As well she should.

Herewith our conversation...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec202012

The Perks of Being Logan Lerman: Son of "Noah"

"Wallflower" is probably not the right word to define Logan Lerman. Though he describes himself as "quiet" and makes more than a few self-deprecating comments, he isn't exactly a bundle of shy neurosis. Instead the twenty-year old actor has the kind of chill demeanor that comes from unfussy professional confidence. Once you stop to do the math, you realize he's already in his twelfth year of professional acting (his first screen role was one of Mel Gibson's kids in The Patriot , 2000).

Twelfth year!


Logan Lerman, photographed for Flaunt Magazine

So it's something of a perfect coincidence that his "senior year" in the public eye, if you will, would so perfectly coincide with a starring role in one of the best high school movies in ages. "Wallflower" doesn't describe him but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best illustration yet of his gifts as an actor. His soulful turn as the troubled young writer at the heart of the film won Lerman fine reviews and a well deserved nomination for "Best Young Actor" at the Critic's Choice Awards. 

This, you might say, is graduating with top honors. 

Interview after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec202012

Premature Jessica Chastain Nostalgia. Is She Streep 2.0 ???

Remember when Jessica Chastain brought her grandma Marilyn to the Oscars in February?

What a sweet moment that was. Do you think she'll take her again this year?

What a difference a year makes, huh? Just last year we were wondering who she was and how she'd arrived to us so fully formed as an actress, and I had the pleasure of asking her just that shortly before she won her first nomination (Best Supporting Actress, The Help). This year she'll be fighting it out for the actual Best Actress trophy for Zero Dark Thirty.

Should Jessica be nominated in January (very very likely), one might even be tempted to think of her as Streep: The Next Generation. Meryl Streep is a tough act to be compared to but consider the similarities. Meryl Streep was a late arrival to the cinema (as actresses go) making her first motion picture in 1977 (Julia) in her late 20s after stage triumphs and degrees from Vassar and Yale. Jessica didn't arrive on movie screens until her early 30s last year though she had been filming movies since her late 20s (some of them were significantly delayed before release) after stage triumphs and an acting degree from Juilliard. By Streep's third year in the public eye she had co-starred in three Best Picture Nominees (Julia ,The Deer Hunter, and Kramer vs. Kramer -- the latter two won) and was a two-time Oscar nominee and winner and a full-fledged movie star. By Jessica Chastain's second year in the public eye she will have presumably co-starred in three Best Picture nominees (The Help, The Tree of Life, and Zero Dark Thirty) and become a two-time nominee.

The only thing missing in the comparison is a) the Oscar win for her second nomination which is a maybe at this point and b) the full fledged stardom. Chastain is definitely a known quantity now but not exactly a household name. Her films haven't had the seismic impact of Streep's breakthrough pictures -- The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer were colossal hits of their day though The Help's box office reign last year was not unimpressive.

Jessica Chastain and her Take Shelter co-star Michael Shannon at a party for Zero Dark Thirty this week.

If Chastain wins this year, do you think she's got a triple the caliber of French Lieutant's WomanSophie's Choice and Silkwood, in her immediate future? Or is this way way way too much to ask?