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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Worst Best Picture Snubs Ever?

"One of the main reasons why I’m proud to be British is that BAFTA nominated Enternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Carol for best picture" - Mikey

"My pick for biggest snub of all time might be Do the Right Thing" - Edwin

"Alfred Hitchcock was robbed three times;- Psycho, Vertigo and Rear Window all were NOT nominated for Best Pic." - Bette

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Wednesday
Sep142016

More "Best Foreign Language Film" Oscar News

by Nathaniel R

Look at this cute still from Train Driver's Diary. That's Serbia's submission to the Foreign Language Film Oscar race which was announced yesterday. It won the audience prize at the Moscow Film Festival and tells the story of a retiring train driver training his son to take over. The old man holds an infamous record: the most accidental killings on the job. 

Forty-one countries have now made their announcements official including high profile choices like Chile's Neruda which stars Gael García Bernal and could put the auteur Pablo Larraín in contention for yet another nomination to whatever haul his brilliant Jackie picks up.

Spain's submission of Julieta, is even more high profile given Pedro Almodóvar's international statue...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep142016

Judy by the Numbers: "I Could Go On Singing"

by Anne Marie

We have reached the end of Juy Garland's film career. From this point forward, this series will be focused exclusively on her television appearances. So, why not play Judy out the way she's remembered best, belting a big number in glorious Technicolor? But the hopeful title and Judy's brassy voice belie a darker truth. This week's number serves not only as the title song of the film, but also as a thesis for Judy Garland's later career.

The Movie: I Could Go On Singing (United Artists, 1964)
The Songwriters: Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
The Players: Judy Garland & Dick Bogarde, directed by Ronald Nearne

The Story:  If A Star Is Born represents Judy Garland's image as a tragic, romantic figure in Hollywood, then I Could Go On Singing may be the closest Garland got to a public confession of how messy the tragic parts of her life coud be. Filmed in England while Judy battled for divorce (and custody of her younger children) with Sidney Luft, the film looked like life mirroring art mirroring life. The story of a concert singer whose relationships disintegrate even as she tries to shield (and connect to) her estranged son incorporated biographical details and observations straight from Judy herself. Co-star Bogarde reported rewriting large scenes with Garland to incorporate her own musings on celebrity, addiction and performance.

Perhaps most telling is the scene that happens directly before Judy performs this number. She's all smiles and charm while placating the audience she kept waiting. She looks restored just stepping onstage. However, just moments before, injured and recovering from a destructive bender, she destroys the idea that performing was a pallative:

"There's an old saying: When you go onstage, you don't feel any pain; and when the lights hit you, you don't feel anything...It's a stinking lie."

Tuesday
Sep132016

Miss Sloane If You're Nasty

by Jason Adams

True story: the other day I was in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, down near the water and I looked around myself at the muddy yards of the warehouses and I suddenly had this vision of Jessica Chastain coming at me in that gorgeous white overcoat and Pfeiffer-wig that she wore in A Most Violent Year, waving her big gun, and instead of being scared I was elated -- that is, as I'm sure most of you are aware, how we actresssexuals roll. "Kill me if you must, but just be fabulous about it!"

Anyway I flashed back to that moment while watching the just-dropped trailer for Miss Sloane, Chastain's upcoming film about a gun lobbyists from director John Madden...

I am a simple man with simple pleasures and that cuts to the core of it. So Miss Sloane has a killer cast besides Miss Chastain - there's Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark Strong, Sam Waterston, Dylan Baker, Jake Lacy, and John Lithgow - and it's out on December 9th; will it be this year's Michael Clayton (nominations all over the place) or this year's Thank You For Smoking (notsomuch)?

Tuesday
Sep132016

New to DVD: The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum

By Daniel Walber.

What makes a film theatrical? It’s a word that gets bandied about a lot. Often it just means that the script is like that of a play, with a limited number of locations and lots of dialogue. Or it can be used to describe a style of acting, playing to the rafters rather than the more intimate audience of the camera lens. Rarely, however, do we use the word “theatrical” to describe elements of direction, cinematography and editing.

Yet this underserved implication of the term is the key to understanding The Story of The Last Chrysanthemum, an early triumph of iconic Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi that has just been released by the Criterion Collection. This epic family drama was a proving ground of sorts for the filmmaker’s signature use of long takes, which would elevate such later masterpieces as Ugetsu and The Life of Oharu. But first he took a much narrower approach, crafting the style of The Story of The Last Chrysanthemum from the conventions of kabuki theater.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep132016

TIFF: Isabelle Huppert is "Elle"

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 8th-18th)

On any given day around the movie internet you will see the headine "What You Need To Know About ['Movie You Haven't Seen Yet']". It's clickbait. The sum total of what you need to know about a movie before you see it is nothing. Go to the movie theater and actually experience it. So if the promise of a new acclaimed Paul Verhoeven feature (his first since the riveting Black Book in 2006) that's been loudly labelled a "rape comedy" starring the world's most casually transgressive movie star Isabelle Huppert is enough to sell you a ticket I urge you to not read any reviews before seeing it, including this one. It's not that the film has twists that can spoil the experience if they're known ahead of time so much as it's in the way the movie is itself twisted.

Just how twisted is revealed through the careful deployment of its psychosexual landmines. And just how often they're successfully played for laughter ... albeit of the discomforting 'what am I laughing at?' variety. 

Two provocative legends (Verhoeven & Huppert) on set

Which is not to say that the rape itself is the subject of comedy...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep132016

"Jackie" Sells to Fox Searchlight. December Gets Yet More Crowded

The Oscar Race just got a lot more crowded.

Natalie Portman as "Jackie". Photo by William GrayWhile Natalie Portman may be enjoying the lion's share of buzz for playing the title character in Jackie (her best performance yet) if Fox Searchlight plays their FYC hand correctly the film could be a major player across the Oscar board (Portman and Sarsgard are the only acting possibillities. Greta Gerwig, Max Casella, John Carroll Lynch, John Hurt, and Beth Grant support them well but in extremely limited doses) including especially Costume Design, Director, Screenplay, and Production Design. The Cinematography, Editing, Sound and Original Score are also marvellous but the film is a little out of the box challenging so not everyone is going to respond to it; in its own caged bird way it's as angry as Pablo Larraín's Chilean pictures.

As expected given the festival raves and the film's connections to Darren Aronofsky, Fox Searchlight had first dibs. The deal took longer than expected but they will distribute on December 9th. That puts the film at the end of a flurry of major Oscar contenders opening between October and early December (Fences is the only possibly major player -- that is not a sci-fi/fantasy --  opening after Jackie. It opens Christmas day). 

Pablo Larraín and Natalie Portman in Venice for the premiereThe schedule right now of golden hopefuls:
Oct 7th -Birth of a Nation, The Girl on the Train
Oct 14th -Certain Women, Miss Hokusai (animated feature)
Oct 21st -Moonlight, The Handmaiden (if there were justice in the world but alas, South Korea didn't select it as their Oscar bid)
Oct 28th -Eagle Huntress (documentary)

Nov 4th -Loving, Doctor Strange, Bleed For This 
Nov 11th -Arrival, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Elle
Nov 18th -Manchester by the Sea, Nocturnal Animals, Fantastic Beasts
Nov 23rd (Wed) Allied, Moana (animated feature), Rules Don't Apply
Nov 25th - Lion

Dec 2nd - La La Land
Dec 9th - Jackie, Miss Sloane, The Salesman (Asgar Farhadi) 
Dec 16th - Rogue One, Collateral Beauty, The Founder, and Neruda (also by Pablo Larraín) 
Dec 21st (Wed) - Assassin's Creed, Passengers, Sing! (animated feature)
Dec 23rd - A Monster Calls
Dec 25th (Sun) - Fences, Toni Erdmann (foreign film submission)

Qualifying Releases: Hidden Figures, The Red Turtle, and ???