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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Monday
Feb242014

Interview: Matthew McConaughey and the Body

McConaughey and those haunted eyes in True DetectiveIt's hard to get a moment with a major movie star. They're tightly scheduled and you have to go from 0 to 60 once you're in front of them, recorder on. Nevertheless the stars themselves usually seem relaxed enough through their long promotional efforts for Oscar films as the world's slowest seated wedding line commences with one journalist after another sitting down with them one by one for a quick conversation. I'm sure our faces all blur together forming one lumpy mecha-journalist for the star. Their faces, on the other hand, remain individualized and imprinted in each of ours from frequent exposure and mythology.

The first thing I notice about Matthew McConaughey in person, apart from the inevitable "how much weight has he gained back?" instant check, is his eyes. They're blue, sure, but the darkest blue I've seen up close and more than a little intense. They're so inky blue, in fact that they look dangerous and unfamiliar despite years of movie appearances. (I hadn't yet seen True Detective in which they reappear). The voice counterbalances them surprisingly well, instantly familiar and Texas friendly.

I sat down with McConaughey last year as his Oscar buzz was building for Dallas Buyers Club (he was on a weekend break from filming Interstellar when we spoke). I was surprised to hear that despite his busy schedule he's been getting the weekends off which he says he needs though he was sacrificing some to support his now Oscar nominated film "Which I am happy to do!" he added, quickly. I had planned to stay off the topic of weight loss (he lost 47 lbs for the role), which has been discussed too often for an award-winning performance that is most impressive for its emotional content, but I made the mistake of leading with it. And it's a topic he kept drifting back to. But then, why shouldn't he? His body has hardly been easy to separate from his acting, either, whether he's playing hunky romcom leads, male strippers, pumped up dragon slayers, or, as recently, an emaciated AIDS patient or an eerily stiff and sinewy police detective.

Our interview after the jump

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Monday
Feb242014

25 Years Since "She's dead... Wrapped in plastic!"

Diane, 11:30 AM, February 24. Entering town of Twin Peaks. Five miles south of the Canadian border, twelve miles west of the state line. Never seen so many trees in my life. As W.C. Fields would say, I'd rather be here than Philadelphia. It's 54 degrees on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Weatherman said rain. If you could get paid that kind of money for being wrong 60% of the time it'd beat working. Mileage is 79,345, gauge is on reserve, I'm riding on fumes, have to tank up when I get into town, remind me to tell you how much that is. Lunch was $6.31 at the Lamplighter Inn, that's on Highway 2 near Lewis Fork. That was a tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat and a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee. Damn good food. And if you ever get up this way, Diane, that cherry pie is worth a stop."


If you're like me and are a bit of a Twin Peaks nerd, then today is a big day. It has been exactly 25 years to the day since Laura Palmer was murdered, to be found some hours later amidst the lonesome sound of a foghorn, wrapped in plastic and washed ashore on a pebble beach in the town of Twin Peaks. Furthermore, just three days ago on the 21st was the 25th anniversary of David Lynch and company starting directing the scene. Although the famous pilot episode (which I maintain is better than 99.9% of films released before or since) wouldn't air for another year in April of 1990, it's February 24, 1989 that Twin Peaks mythology tells us is the day everything changed.

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Monday
Feb242014

Beauty Vs Beast: Let It Be... On!!!

JA from MNPP here with this week's brightest bluest newest round of Beauty Vs. Beast for y'all to play. First things first let's look back at last week's competition, which took David O. Russell's film American Hustle and pitted man versus man and woman versus woman (or hair versus hair versus hair versus hair) in an ABSCAM-off for the ages. Things between Team Sydney (Amy Adams) and Team Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) were close for a wee bit but Sydney asserted her dominace pretty early on, eventually running away with 67% of the votes for the win. But over between the fellas the face-off between Team Richie (Bradley Cooper) and Team Irving (Christian Bale) stayed suuuper close over the course of the week - ultimately Richie squeaked it out, literally, beating Irving by two votes, or just 0.0037% of the total. Team Cleavage takes it away!

And so on to this week's tail-end-of-winter pre-Oscar festivities. Disney's Frozen is probably going to walk away with the Best Animated Film Oscar this Sunday for its efforts at shattering the Disney Princess mold and freshly focusing its sights on the sisterly bond over the usual princely fixations. (Although let's be honest, that Kristoff fella is a strapping lad and it's a good thing somebody ends up with him in the end... someone other than his reindeer... although he is really close to that reindeer, isn't he?) Blood is thicker than water, and one assumes that frozen blood is similarly thicker than ice. But as Joan Fonatine and Olivia De Havilland taught us, sister-love can be tough... and also a whole lot of fun to project our own familial anxieties upon. It's a Sister Off!

 

As always take your arguments pro and con to the comments, and next Monday we'll crown the one true snow queen!

Monday
Feb242014

Ranking the Oscar Presenter Lineup

Which categories will they present?The full list of presenters has been announced. If we know Oscar, this means Best Picture is being presented by either a) Sidney Poitier b) Harrison Ford or c) Bobby De Niro. They totally can't deal with women who aren't named Streisand getting that honor for reasons we'll never fathom.

So who do you think it will be?

I'm personally disappointed that Liza with a Z isn't listed among the 40+ names. They're honoring The Wizard of Oz, so why not wheel her out for Best Picture or something? The biggest non-nominee name I was hoping to see given the film year being honored: Scarlett Johansson. But it was not to be.

After the jump, the full list of presenters. Alphabetizing is for sissies, so let's rank them

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Monday
Feb242014

6 Days Til Oscar. Cuarón and His Gifts

Our countdown continues with new contributor Adam Armstrong on six-time nominee Alfonso Cuarón

Y tu mama tambíen

There comes a point in everybody’s lives when the awareness of their own mortality becomes apparent. For myself, it came when I was walking to class on a particularly snowy morning and saw a bus slam into a conveniently placed guardrail on a bridge. Snow related accidents are common enough but what happened next is not -- a man in an oversized Santa Claus costume exited the bus, choosing that moment in his life to dabble in the art of traffic enforcement, directing the chaotic traffic away from his fellow passengers as they escaped to a shabby Dunkin Donuts across the street.

Life is a fragile thing and few directors understand this as well as Alfonso Cuarón.

Tenoch, Julio and Luisa (who is very aware of her mortality) are driving to a beach they've hopefully named "Heaven's Mouth" in an effort to escape their unfulfilling lives in Y tu mamá también. Theo and Kee perilously make their way through the war torn United Kingdom to reach the sea where a boat will carry them to salvation in Children of Men. Dr Ryan Stone hangs on to what will to live she has left to descend back down to Earth in Gravity. In all three of these films, which garnered Cuarón his six Oscar nominations, the characters journey to their own deliverance from death, be it in the literal or figurative sense.

Cuaron’s nominations (the script from Y tu mamá también, the editing and script of Children of Men, and the editing, directing and producing of Gravity) each showcase specific storytelling gifts that augment the characters’ struggles and triumphs along the way.  Y tu mamá también’s screenplay layers character-specific dialogue, multiple agendas, and political allegory to deepen its road trip journey. The seamless editing in Children of Men sutures together unsettling drama and thrilling realistic action sequences that thrust the viewer into the scenes right alongside the characters as if we're in danger, too. Cuaron’s concise committed vision enable him to maintain control over Gravity's high concept premise, sustaining its plausibility and telling the story as he meant it to be told. (This is especially true in regards to the lead character when he was pressured consistently to cast a man in the leading role.)

A beach. A boat. The earth. All three destinations represent freedom to the travellers (however temporarily) from their fleeting mortality. Cuarón isn't literally escorting us to safety, but he crafts stories that help us fully value our lives, still in progress. That's quite a gift to bring us semi-annually.

 

previously in our number laden countdown
7 Oscar nominated films about AIDS * 8 time losing Peter O'Toole * 9 nominations for Twelve Years a Slave * Perfect 10 Paul Newman * 11 Days (Bette Midler) *  a 12-wide best picture field * 13 years ago in Best Actress (Matthew McConaughey?) * 14 times nominated giants (All About Eve & Titanic) *  15 Days (Supporting Charts) * 16 times nominated costume designer * 17 years ago + 1917 * Meryl's 18th * 19 Days (Julianne Moore) * 20 Year-Old surprise dramas * 21 Days (Billy Wilder) 

Monday
Feb242014

A Well Preserved Beauty

This week's New Yorker cover by Barry Blitt

"Ready for His Closeup"

Who cares if Oscar has had work done? He's still a beauty.

I love the cover but Blitt's take, not so much (no surprise but I loathe the smugness people who don't watch the Oscars sometimes have about it... as if watching sports is some kind of civil disobedience. Ha! Sports... very inconoclastic, that. You've really shown society!) but I like Anthony Lane's column. He gets dinged by critics for valuing his wit above the cinema but he's still  a good read.

Oscar night is anxiety central: TV needs the stars to light up the ratings, and the stars, for their part, use TV to stage what is, in essence, a communal bath of self-love. “Just a small group getting together for a pat on the back,” in the words of Janet Gaynor, who won the first Oscar for Best Actress, in 1929. Since then, the pat has become a caress, and the caress has grown into the kind of activity that in “The Wolf of Wall Street” is reserved for yachts and jets.

Are you excited for the big night? I suddenly am after a week of the blahs. After the jump my two favorite New Yorker Oscar covers ever and they're both by the same artist.

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