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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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Monday
Oct272014

Does Eddie Redmayne in "Theory of Everything" = Daniel Day Lewis in "My Left Foot"?

A consistent yet elusive golden thrill: that moment in each year's Oscar race wherein everyone disagrees on who and what is the frontrunner in this or that category.

There are a few different schools of thought out there about who might win Best Actor. I have always believed and probably will continue to believe that the race for Oscar nominations is a very different and altogether more interesting contest than who will eventually win them. Because of this I like to focus on that before I get to "who will win" but I'll make an exception today for fun. Most experts (see this handy Gurus of Gold chart) currently name Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as the leading threats to win the statue. I agree wholeheartedly with this and actually believe that they're the only three who could pull off a win in this particular year (unless American Sniper is some sort of late breaking Oscar stampeding Million Dollar Baby for Bradley Cooper... but I personally doubt it). Who will fill the other two 'not-in-it-for-the-win' slots is anyone's guess. I've returned again to the unpopular notion that Channing Tatum and Steve Carell will both win Best Actor nominations for Foxcatcher but I've mostly done so under the file labeled "Why Not? Who knows?" The competition for those two final slots is where the action is right now and there are about twelve guys who, with the right combo of precursor support, smart campaign moves, media approval, film heat coattails, and/or old fashioned luck could still pull it off. Any of the 12 who aren't out there fighting for it are, frankly, crazy.

Eddie at an AMPAS screening of THEORY OF EVERYTHINGBut, jumping ahead... who will win? 

On twitter today I was briefly discussing this with Kris & Jenelle and found them both sympathetic to my notion that Redmayne has a rather underdiscussed but considerable advantage in that he is enormously charming in person. When races are tight, charm counts for a lot. I've seen him in public thrice, met him once, and this charm is highly visible. What's more his charm never tilts toward cockiness but toward genuine-feeling humility. That's quite a trick if you stop to think about how actors build successful careers...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct272014

Beauty vs Beast: The Babysitter's Club

JA from MNPP here with our final Final Girl match-up "Beauty vs Beast" style before All Hallows hits us on Friday! Over the course of October we've paired off A Nightmare on Elm Street's Nancy vs Freddy, Scream's Sidney vs the boys Billy & Stu, last week the Torrances came out to play, and now... well there were Final Girls who came before and there were Final Girls who came after, but to my mind the clearest cut definition, the Platonic Ideal of Final Girlism, every box is checked with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), heroine and survivor of John Carpenter's sleek nightmare Halloween.

Jamie Lee Curtis isn't the preeminant Scream Queen in many a fan's mind for nothing, but before I tilt the scales too far in her favor right here before the match-up let me make it clear that Laurie wouldn't work if she wasn't the immovable object meeting a truly irresistible force...

If the dance she danced was with a weaker partner (can you name JLC's character or the villain in Terror Train, for example?), and let it be said that the only movie character that's ever made its way into one of my nightmares is Michael Myers. That white mask haunting every corner of every frame, night and day-time, outside a window, behind some sheets flapping in the breeze, in every tan station wagon sitting outside your kid's school... the boogeyman is real, you guys.

 

 

You have seven days to carve your jack-o-lanterns, cut eye-holes into your sheets, and choose between the boogeyman and the babysitter -- have at it.

PREVIOUSLY Last week I asked you to pick between The Shining's Jack and Wendy Torrance - well we've found our way out of the hedge maze and just like in the movie it's Wendy that's our survivor, poor Jack left a popsicle in the past. Said Evan:

"Shelley Duvall is a Gumby-esque goddess. Her flailing around the Overlook adds a campiness that feels tonally detached from the rest of the film, but somehow still works."

Monday
Oct272014

Stage Door: A Hellavu "On the Town" Revival

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun'.
New York, New York, it's a helluva town! ♪ ♫

On the Town, the 1944 stage musical by Betty Comden & Adolph Green, most famous in its 1949 big screen incarnation with Gene Kelly & Frank Sinatra, is back on the boards. (Just in time for Green's centennial this December. What a songwriting pair those two were.)

I always thought the '49 film was somewhat forgotten, at least in comparison to Anchors Aweigh (1945) the first Kelly/Sinatra sailors musical but maybe that's because I'm an Oscar freak and the first pairing was a much bigger Oscar deal in its day with 5 nominations and a win. So I was surprised some years ago that On the Town made the AFI's 25 greatest musicals list at #19 . I always thought of it as very stage bound so I shouldn't have been surprised that it's so utterly delightful on the stage. [more]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct272014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in Black Swan (1942)

Drum roll please...

Welcome to our miniseries "The Honoraries". From now until November 8th when the Governor's Awards are held, we'll be celebrating the careers of the three Honorary Oscar recipients of 2014 (Maureen O'Hara, Hayao Miyazaki, Claude Carriere) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Harry Belafonte). Because I am behind  schedule and sniffly and sneezy we'll start with a reprise repurposing of a look back to the super entertaining swashbuckler Black Swan starring matinee idol extraordinaire Tyrone Power (who so deserves a biopic) and the woman we've campaigned to receive a Honorary for years and years now. The Academy finally listened and Maureen O'Hara, Queen of Technicolor, we'll finally get her golden due on November 8th. 

Herewith a look back at Black Swan which the Portman/Aronofsky drama was NOT a remake of. Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara don't see themselves in mirrors or have hallucinatory mental breakdowns scored to Tchaikovsky in this swashbuckler. But cinephiles with good taste in Old Hollywood beauties may feel like they're hallucinating when looking at Tyrone Power or Maureen O'Hara in Technicolor. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct272014

Interstellar Mania in 3...2...1

If you've been on the internet at all in the last half hour you're likely to have seen a tidal wave of Interstellar reviews. The embargo broke on Christopher Nolan's first feature after his release from Batman prison today at 11 AM. The film makes it debut in theaters on Friday November 7th in a variety of formats but see it in IMAX 70 MM because it is epically large and immersive that way.

If you've been putting up with The Film Experience for any length of time you'll know that yours truly, Nathaniel, is not the speediest critic. My interest in screaming "first" is practically less than nil which can be a disadvantage online but it's not who I am. Never cared about it. Never will. Time is a flat circle, yadda yadda yadda. My review is forthcoming at some point. It was meant to go up today but I caught a cold so I may surround myself with screenings and kleenex rather than writing. To Be Determined.

Let if suffice to say for the moment that I liked it and it might well be my favorite Nolan since The Prestige (2006) though it should be noted again that I am not at all indicative of public reaction when it comes to the Internet's Chosen One to whom I am relatively cool. I'm still parsing my thoughts on it but I found it endearing in some of the exact same ways that I normally find his films offputting. Go figure and we'll get to that later. The Oscar Prediction charts are fully updated in all categories.

P.S. It seems people are freaking out about the non-spectacular early RT score already. T'was ever thus with Nolan films

Monday
Oct272014

Rome & London Film Fest Winners

Manuel here to bring you some more film festival news. Toronto, Venice, Telluride and New York are behind us but that doesn’t mean we’re done with film festivals; across the pond, London and Rome have recently wrapped up which means: awards!

BFI London Film Festival (8-19 October)

Official Competition winner – Best Film: Leviathan – Andrey Zvyagintsev (reviewed at Cannes and winner of Best Screenplay at that fest)
First Feature Competition winner – The Sutherland Award:Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy for The Tribe (Critics Week Winner at Cannes)
Documentary Competition winner – The Grierson Award: Silvered Water, Syria Self-portrait – Ossama Mohammed & Wiam Simav Bedirxan (reviewed by Glenn at NYFF)
Best British Newcomer:  Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – actor Catch Me Daddy
BFI Fellowship: Stephen Frears (we were just discussing his new film!)

Rome Film Festival (15-25 October)

BNL People’s Choice Award | Gala - Trash by Stephen Daldry
People’s Choice Award | Cinema d'Oggi - Shier gongmin / 12 Citizens by Xu Ang
People’s Choice Award | Mondo Genere - Haider by Vishal Bhardwaj
BNL People’s Choice Award  | Cinema Italia (Fiction) -F ino a qui tutto bene by Roan Johnson
People’s Choice Award  | Cinema Italia (Documentary) - Looking for Kadija by Francesco G. Raganato

TAODUE Camera D’oro Prize for Best Debut Film
- Andrea Di Stefano director of Escobar: Paradise Lost (Gala)
- Laura Hastings-Smith producer of X+Y by Morgan Matthews (Alice nella città)
- Special Mention: Last Summer by Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli (Prospettive Italia)

DOC/IT Award to the Best Italian Documentary
- Largo Baracche by Gaetano Di Vaio (Prospettive Italia)
- Special Mention: Roma Termini by Bartolomeo Pampaloni (Prospettive Italia)

The big takeaway from Rome is that audiences flocked to Daldry's latest -- that is, in fact, what the prize represents as it was tabulated by tickets purchased rather than votes tallied. If you had no idea Daldry had a new film out, you're probably not alone as it bypassed the North American festival route, premiering as the closing film of the Rio Film Festival earlier this month, and is headed for a UK debut January 2015, with no US release plan in place. Find the trailer below:

Are you curious about Daldry's Slumdog-looking film? Are you ready to place a bet on Leviathan to take a Foreign Language Film nomination? Any of these other films we should all be looking out for?

Sunday
Oct262014

Box Office: Keanu & the Ouija Board

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. If there is one trend box office enthusiasts can always count on, it’s a double-figure, profitable opening for a mediocre horror film. Ouija didn’t disappoint its makers and despite the letters on the board spelling disaster, a fat $20m cheque was pocketed. Ouija had a comfortable lead over the weekend’s other big opening, John Wick. It’s an action flick starring cult hero Keanu Reeves as a man who goes after the heartless Russian criminals who kill his cute puppy. Quite a stretch, that premise! I refuse to believe good reviews for Keanu’s films until I see them, so it’s with a giant grain of salt that I inform you this one’s winning praise all around.

TOP TEN WIDE
01 OUIJA $20 NEW
02 JOHN WICK $14.1  NEW  
03 FURY $13 (cum. $46) Michael's Review
04 GONE GIRL $11.1  (cum. $124)  Jason's Review
05 THE BOOK OF LIFE $9.8 (cum. $29.9) Interview
06 ST. VINCENT $8 (cum. $9.1) Michael's Review
07 ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE... $7 (cum. $45.5)
08 THE BEST OF ME $4.7 (cum. $17.6) 
09 THE JUDGE $4.3 (cum. $34.3)
10 DRACULA UNTOLD $4.3 (cum. $48.3) 

Anyway, ‘tis the season of awards, so let’s look at how contenders did this week: Gone Girl continued its marginal drop and will become Fincher’s best selling film in the next couple of days, surpassing the multiple Oscar-nominee Benjamin Button. Alejandro Innaritu’s Birdman expanded from four screens to 50 and still maintained the weekend’s best per screen average. As I mentioned last week, I still have doubts about its wide potential, but the signs are definitely encouraging. Whiplash also expanded but has struggled to break the million dollar mark as of now. It strikes me as one of those films that we, in our relatively small cinephile blogosphere, have been talking about loudly for ages, but out there in the real world, I wonder how many people have heard about it at all. Finally, Citizenfour, as close to a shoe-in as we have in the documentary category at this point, opened to strong business on five screens. Expect to hear a lot more about it in the next couple of months.

As for myself, I’ve seen four films so far: Black Coal, Thin Ice; Maps to the Stars; Two Days, One Night; and Fury. I would rate them, respectively: A-, F, A-, B-. Now I’m off to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Force Majeure.

What have you watched this weekend?

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