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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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NEW HONORARY OSCARS
Maureen O'Hara & Harry Belafonte

"This complete's Harry Belafonte's EGOT! Sure it's an honorary Oscar, but to quote Whoopi on this topic (on 30 Rock): "It still counts! Girl's gotta eat!- Charles

"It's time for the AMPAS to look hard at the 70's and 80's for indelible contributions. No need to wait til some of these ladies are 94.- Hayden

 "What I wish they would do is an hour long special devoted to the four recipients. They could show clips and have edited interviews with the honorees. Then it could be shown on PBS or TCM or something." - Dave

 

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Thursday
Aug282014

The 10 Most Terrifying Words You'll Read Today

[from a Telluride preview piece by Anne Thompson]

 

I don't remember one thing about this article (other than an underlying 'screw Toronto!' praise Telluride' tone) due to these ten words. TERRIFYING. I've already tweeted this out but for those of you without twitter, it was important that you share the nightmare. Forgive me for destroying your peaceful slumber tonight.

Thursday
Aug282014

An Honorary for O'Hara, At Last!

Actress Maureen O'Hara will be receiving an Honorary this year along with the great actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte. Neither were ever nominated for competitive Oscars despite rich and enduring showbiz careers and, you know, that's exactly the type of performer that Honorarys should go to. Joining them are two previous Oscar winners because the Academy loves to double up for some reason. Still it's hard to complain about honors for animation genius Hayao Miyazaki and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere. Jean-Claude, who is most famous for his work with Luis Buñuel has worked in multiple countries and for a very long time and semi-recently he co-wrote the super-brilliant movie Birth (2004) that we like to obsess on here. All four are amazing talents so congratulations to them!

But mostly I couldn't be filled with more joy about O'Hara.  We've been pushing for an Honorary as long as The Film Experience has been around. I'd like to claim credit for the Academy finally waking up and going "duh. no brainer: Maureen O'Hara!" but I suspect it was her recent tribute at the AFI that did it. O'Hara is 94 years old so there's no time like RIGHT NOW.

I gradually fell in love with Maureen O'Hara because of The Parent Trap (1961). When I was a wee bairne, before movies became my grand obsession, that movie was it for me, The Best One Ever. My mom liked Hayley Mills, I gather, whose big peak popularity years were in the early 60s before she had had any children. I assume this is how we came to know and love the various Mills movies as children but in truth I don't remember. I just remember that it was always my favorite. I thought it was hilarious, sang along to "Let's Get Together", wanted desperately to have my own twin and to this day I still find stories about twins irresistible.

As I grew older and the movie gradually became "I loved that as a kid!" nostalgia, I still enjoyed revisiting it from time to time. I even watched this kiddie classic with a high school friend more than once because that is a cool thing for moody teenagers to do (shut up). When I was little the movie was all about Hayley Mills. It was only when I started to get older that I noticed how deftly its two movies at once, a family comedy for kids and a romantic comedy for adults. And Maureen O'Hara couldn't be more vivid in it, and I'm not just talking about The Queen of Technicolor's hair. Some actresses fear playing mothers because it ages them but O'Hara, who was in her early 40s at the time, is proof positive that you don't have to be remotely sexless onscreen once you've acknowledged that you've entered the "onscreen mom" years. She's so lively in the movie in a great comic turn that uses so many of her gifts: terrific sexual chemistry, feisty spirit, solid dramatic chops, and entrancing beauty among them.

I didn't know when I was a kid that Maureen O'Hara had been a big deal since the late 1930s so it was a joy to discover that she had such a rich film history with multiple classics on her resume. There's a couple very important titles that I somehow haven't seen (The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Quiet Man are moving to the top of my queue), but we've talked Black Swan (1942) and How Green Was My Valley (1941) in the past few years right here.

I've always had a thing for redheads (as you know). Maybe it's the Queen of Technicolor's fault?

Thursday
Aug282014

Amazon Pilots: "Hand of God" 

Someone needs to have a long talk with Amazon about trying to compete with Netflix and the like with their original programming. Very first step (once you have content) is to make it accessible and advertise it. Advertise it AT LEAST on your own website where you have millions of shoppers. I'm a good case study. Ever since speaking with Dana Delany, a guest star here last month, I've been eager to see her new pilot that she and I talked about offline "Hand of God". I go to Amazon a lot and I've been wondering when advertisements would pop up for it and they never did. I had to search for it specificially and then once I was searching I had to instinctively know to click on a very small ad that said "Amazon Pilots" above the actual search results that showed me old attempts at original programming. They produced five new show possibilities but will any of them go to series if people don't know where to watch them?

Get it together Amazon or you're never going to be able to compete with Netflix!

 

For what it's worth, Hand of God was a gripping hour of television if, and this is an important caveat, you can stomach one more antihero show. (There are just so many of them). Ron Perlman stars and gets a pretty great 'WTF who/what is this?' opening scene for both a character and the pilot itself, beginning as it does with him naked in water, speaking in tongues. Turns out he's a very powerful judge who is losing it and whose son is in a coma. The Judge believes God is speaking to him and ordering him on a vengeance mission. We meet a ton of characters, none of whom appear to be entirely trustworthy.

Cons: Some of the expository bits were clunky (as they often are in pilots) and there was one subplot too many for a first hour. There are dozens of ways it could go wrong, mostly with overstatement; the Hand of God ministries scenes felt way too easy with immoral con-artist smarminess. Pros: But, that said, the pilot was well-acted stuff with at least two absolutely discomfiting and psychologically explosive scenes that manage to mess with multiple character's psyches. If the show continues it should look to the electric tension between the core family members (Perlman, Delany and Alona Tal as their daughter in law) and readjust the simplistic extremes of the peripheries. Film director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, World War Z, Finding Neverland) produced and directed and it's the kind of pilot that wisely whets the appetite while also feeling like a full chapter. The best reason to give it a try is the cast: Perlman is memorably unpredictable, Delany simmers with barely-veiled contempt, and among the supporting actors there's the always watchable Garret Dillahunt as a volatile born-again convict and Emayatzy Corinealdi (so great recently in Middle of Nowhere) as a high-priced call girl.

Hand of God and four more pilots (including one collegiate comedy starring "Assjuice" himself, Craig Roberts from this summer's Neighbors) are available for viewing now at Amazon. If in the Emmy aftermath, if you're ready for the new Fall TV season, have at them. As for myself, I'm so eager to get back to movies but August has been dull in that regard. Come rescue me, Fall Prestige Season, I need you!

Thursday
Aug282014

1989 Look Back: The Last Films of Two Hollywood Legends

Hollywood in 1989 was a far different place than it was in the studio system heyday of the 30s through the 50s. The Old Hollywood glamour that made stars like Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn once shine bright seemed like a distant memory compared to such blatantly sexual films as Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Trying to imagine Davis' Margo Channing or Hepburn's Holly Golightly appearing alongside the neon prints and leg warmers of the 80's is ludicrous. Except that both of these legendary Best Actresses happened to still be making films in 1989, decades after they had first achieved stardom. Sadly, 1989 would be the last year that both actresses would appear again on the big screen and what's worse, neither of their films (Wicked Stepmother and Always) would contribute much to their cinematic legacy.

more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug282014

Best Shot - Season Finale on Tuesday

Hit Me With Your Best Shot soon steps aside for the utter madness of Fall Festivals and Awards Season. It will return for a sixth season next March. Why not join in on the season finale, THE MATRIX (1999). It's enlightening. Take the red pill.

To play:

1) Watch the movie
2) Choose your "Best Shot" (your definition - beauty in the eye of the beholder)
3) Post it online somewhere by Sept 2nd at 9 pm with a few words about why you chose it. We link up 

previously:  Gone With the Wind Pt 1 & Pt 2, Suddenly Last Summer, Under the Skin, Batman

 

 

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