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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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JASON CLARKE INTERVIEW

"I loved Clarke's scenes with Edgerton in The Great Gatsby. I thought, oh now I'm watching men not boys, and now I'm watching actors not movie stars.-Adri

"He has become someone I look for in films because he always comes across with such honesty." -Henry

 

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Sunday
Jan202013

Raven Haired "Mama" 

Jose here. By the time this weekend's over, Jessica Chastain will have finished taking over the world her latest movies in the first and second spots of the box office (help me out here, has this happened before?), which might not mean she's a money-making sensation (at least not yet) but will undoubtedly expose her brilliance to a broader audience. The Oscar nominated Zero Dark Thirty, whose commercial success is undoubtedly owed to the torture controversy, dropped to second place, while the horror movie Mama is set to open as number one with a figure in the mid-twenty millions

http://thefilmexperience.net/blog/2013/1/20/raven-haired-mama.html

The Guillermo del Toro-produced movie seems to be a good 'ole "mediocre January horror flick" but it's actually not half bad. I saw it earlier today and was shocked upon realizing I hadn't rolled my eyes a single time. The Chastainite in me wants to say the movie owes itself to her, but in reality, the direction and cinematography seem like a breath of fresh air compared to what this genre has given us lately. [More Chastain after the jump...]

 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan192013

"The Hours" Discussion Pt. 2: Score, Performance, Re-Casting

previously... Joe Reid and Nick Davis discussed fidgety hand acting and ravenous kisses in The Hours for it's 10th anniversary. We rejoin them for the second half of their conversation. - Nathaniel R


JOE REIDOH that Phillip Glass score. I'm with you, obviously. I actually did much of my writing with that soundtrack playing in the background in the year or two after The Hours, because I'm just that kind of impressionable. But beyond being beautiful and haunting music in its own right, it also immediately sets the mood of the urgently mundane which pervades the whole movie. Laura trying and failing and trying again to bake a cake. Virginia scrawling out a first sentence. Clarissa getting the flowers. The score is repetitive and plain but increasingly frantic. I could roll around in it, crumbs in the frosting and all. 

So not to get too common about it, but rather than risk ignoring the elephant in the room, let's get to evaluating and ranking those leading ladies, am I right? You mentioned some ambivalence about Julianne Moore's performance, and I think I read somewhere that you value Streep's work here quite highly? Feel like making some friends/enemies among the blog-reading populace?

Nick's answer and more provocative questions after the jump

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Saturday
Jan192013

Sundance Chaos Begins: Crystal Fairy, Two Mothers, Etc...

It'll be tough this year to follow the happenings from afar at Sundance without accidentally reading anything about Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, which reunites Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) for a third go round, but I shall try! In truth though Sundance, like TIFF and other A list festivals is nearly impossible to follow in general -- even if you're there!  The "Opening Night" Film badge is kind of an annual myth -- this year that was May in the Summer from Amreeka director Cherien Dabis which drew mixed reviews -- as there are always multiple films playing at any big festival.

Celebrity Tweet:

 

I couldn't not share from the cuteness. That's Ellen Page and Juno mamma Alison Janney reunited for Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely (Josh Pais, pictured is alo in the cast). Shelton's follow up to Your Sister's Sister also stars Rosemarie DeWitt in the lead role of a massage therapist.

While we're on the subject of Juno, here's a strange trivia note about Sundance '13: Michael Cera has made not one but TWO unrelated pictures with the Chilean director Sebastián Silva (most famous for the wonderful dark comedy The Maid) and they're both showing at Sundance. The first is  Crystal Fairy which is about a boorish American (Michael Cera) travelling in Chile and 'creating chaos at every turn' as he and his friends seek a shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus.  More after the jump...

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Friday
Jan182013

Best of the Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

Previously: The Honorable Mentions

Often during the calendar-straddling list-making frenzy of "top ten season" a scene or a line of dialogue or even a whole film will refuse to dislodge itself from any internal conversation you may have with oneself about the year. That moment for me this year was Kylie Minogue's cameo late in Holy Motors when she arrives in a trenchcoat, like some lost Casablanca love, to sing:

Who were we. When we were. Who we were back then?

It'd be ineloquent bathos, too crudely and redundantly stated, if it weren't sung. But this heightened musical longing for a lost identity, lifts and soars with pathos instead. The year's best films kept reinforcing this most interior of questions as they wrestled with their past selves towards an uncertain future.

Nathaniel's Top Ten of 2012
From all movies screened that received US theatrical releases...

ZERO DARK THIRTY (Kathryn Bigelow)
Sony/Columbia. December 21st 

[SPOILERS FOLLOW] My favorite exchange in Mark Boal's dense script occurs between a government official and a CIA operative. "What the fuck does that mean?" "It's a tautology". I laughed at the wordplay in the film but wasn't expecting the widespread tautological eruptions that followed the film's premiere as everyone bent themselves into self-affirming pretzels to debate its portrayal of torture in the film's opening scenes as if there were only one way to look at the damn movie... as if torture were the only thing worth discussing about the film! To Zero Dark Thirty's credit, though I too was discomfited by its suggestion that torture yielded useful intel, there's nary a comfortable or pandering moment in the film. Like The Hurt Locker before it, ZDT attempts something like an apolitical stance though how successful that is (or ever can be) will be left to each viewer to decide. In my mind, Bigelow doesn't suggest that you're meant to enjoy torture or even embrace the mission's success, exactly...

more on Zero Dark and 9 more triumphs after the jump...

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Friday
Jan182013

"The Hours" Discussion Pt. 1: Nervous Hands, Ravenous Kisses

[Editor's Note: for the centerpiece of our 10th anniversary celebration of The Hours, I asked Joe Reid and Nick Davis if they'd like to talk about the movie and it turned out they already had. A heretofore unpublished conversation. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did! - Nathaniel ]


JOE REID: Three (!) years ago, I had planned out an end-of-decade feature for my own blog, wherein I would converse about my favorite films of 2000-2009 with a selection of writer friends. The logistics of it got away from me, but I did manage to get started. One such conversation lost to history was with my fellow Film Experience Podcast panelist Nick Davis on the subject of The Hours. With the ten-year anniversary of The Hours upon us, I thought I'd dig up this abandoned reflection and let it see the light of day.

***

JOE: The Hours is absolutely on the list of movies from the past decade that I truly, unabashedly loved. I suppose there's something chromosomal about a movie starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore (and Toni Collette, and Allison Janney, and Miranda Richardson). But it's more than just watching all these fantastic actresses hand off scenes to each other for two hours. It's also the suicides and the repression!  

Of course, after signing you on to correspond with me on this entry -- and many thanks for that, by the way -- I checked up and found that your feelings on it were decidedly more ambivalent. Is this an "every time I watch it I feel differently about it" kind of thing, or is it always the same kind of mixed bag for you?

 As for me, while there are a BUNCH of aspects of The Hours I'm hoping we can touch on, for some reason, my most recent screening of the movie made me anxious to mention two things: kitchens and hands. I couldn't stop watching Nicole Kidman's hands, either when Virginia is gripping her pen with a desperately tight claw grip or deep inhaling those cigarettes. And Meryl Streep separating egg yolks as she's unraveling in her kitchen has always been a favorite image.

And that brings me to the whole kitchen thing...

kitchen melodrama and sapphic smooches after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182013

Re: Ben Affleck

I would like to go on record... as saying that this hideous idea of a "write-in" vote for Ben Affleck which is making the webrounds should not be humored by any Academy member or Oscar pundit who respects that the votes are what the votes are come what may. We all have disagreements each year. I mean I think it's ludicrous / embarrassing / etcetera that Crash won best picture but I haven't demanded a recount or a retroactive do-over. The Oscars are what they are: a historical document of a given moment in time and what an elite group of people in Hollywood in those fields valued at the time. 

To deny the directors their ability to choose the five Best Directors is tantamount to overthrowing the entire system in which the nominations come from their own branch of expertise. What's next, actors being able to choose which 5 sound engineers should be up for awards? Documentarians choosing which 5 costume designers should be nominated because, they themselves understand so much about character and clothing?

If I were Ben Affleck I would shut this down immediately somehow. No one likes a sore loser. 

Friday
Jan182013

Best Director. My Choices and Theirs.

This is one of those awards seasons in which I curse my time management skills. I prefer to post my annual Film Bitch Awards in the traditional Oscar categories before the nominations to avoid undue influence from the west coast, however subtle that influence may be. I didn't manage in time this year, partially due to Oscar's rushed schedule. Imagine my joy when both Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke were nominated for an astonishing debut and a culmination of gifts respectively for Oscar's Best Director list. Then imagine my frustration when I realized that nominating them both a week later -- though they'd been irreplaceable factors in every lineup I considered naming -- would seem like sloppy seconds. I had predicted that Haneke's decade long ascendance as a World Great would be enough for Oscar's Director's Branch to recognize him this year but I was genuinely surprised to see Zeitlin's work on Beasts of the Southern Wild recognized instead of big Hollywood names. I personally don't care who they had to shove aside to make room for him because he absolutely deserved the kudos. If it looks like I am only copying AMPAS's two most brilliantly fringe nominations this year, so be it. They're the only Oscar choices that show up on in my nominated director's field.

No really. To me Soderbergh is an OBVIOUS choice for any lineup this year

I imagine that my most controversial choice will be Steven Soderbergh but that strikes me as madness and typical of the dearth of imagination that most awards bodies (and, yes, to their shame critics groups) suffer once you've dropped them anywhere outside a 5 mile radius of "prestige". Consider how wrong Magic Mike could have gone in any number of ways but instead it's this beautifully subtle and earnest slice-of-life drama and character/ milieu study despite the pelvic thrusts and plentiful ass cheeks. (But points to Soderbergh for not skimping on those either for the sake of "reputable" filmmaking.)

MY NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Have you voted on the Oscar poll yet in this category?