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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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Box Office: Lord Business Does Big Business with "The LEGO Movie"

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. To the surprise of nobody, tiny little yellow people beat middle-aged white men to the top spot at the box office. The LEGO Movie, advertised around the world building toys we loved as kids, took the top spot with $69.1m, which makes it the second best February opening of all time and among the best original releases ever – only a little off the all time high set by The Simpsons Movie, though you can judge for yourself how 'original' they are. The Lord/Miller directing duo is going to have a terrific year with their sequel to 21 Jump Street also on the way. With box office and critics both in their camp, expect their stock to rise even higher within studios. The LEGO Movie is the first blockbuster I watched on the opening Friday in ages (Skyfall was the last!) and I was thoroughly rewarded with an unstoppable thrill ride. 

chart adapted from

The Monuments Men was obviously never going to win the weekend but it did very respectable business. Whether it can sustain these numbers over long run despite terrible word of mouth is to be seen, but I can’t help but think Clooney and co. saved themselves a lot of embarrassment by switching their release date to February. Awards expectations are anathema to weak prestige projects like this and competition at the multiplex is no less lenient in late December. In other news, Frozen just passed Despicable Me 2 to become 2013’s third highest grosser. It won’t be able to go any further up the ranking, but the numbers are beyond impressive at this point. International sales is also nearing one billion dollars, a feat very few films can lay claim to.

In Oscar related news, seven of the nine best picture nominees are still in the top 20. Most of them lost a lot of theaters this weekend and as the shine of their nomination wears off, they’ll continue to drop. Still, most can be considered financial successes at this point. Considering budget and overseas sales, Nebraska is the one film that missed the mark, though who knows how Dallas Buyers Club and Her will perform internationally.

Anyway, other than The LEGO Movie, I watched a European co-production called Girl on a Bicycle, about which the less said the better. What did you watch this weekend?


21 Days Til Oscar

For the next twenty-one days we'll be sharing little trivia items as we count down to Hollywood's High Holy Night and surveying each category though we're not ready for the latter part just yet. Sound fun?

 Guess who's the only famous director to ever win exactly 21 nominations? That's Billy Wilder, pictured above with his bounty from The Apartment (1960). He won nominations in Picture, Director, and in the Writing categories over his very long directorial career which stretched from the French language Mauvaise Grain (1934) to the Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau comedy Buddy Buddy (1981). His career total: 6 Oscars and a Thalberg!

The only director more celebrated in terms of total nominations in multiple categories is Woody Allen with 24 career nods, the huge bulk of which are for Best Original Screenplay (where he's nominated again this year for Blue Jasmine). Billy Wilder is also in second place in terms of total Best Director nominations with 8 though he shares that honor with Martin Scorsese (nominated again this year as well for The Wolf of Wall Street). First place is William Wyler (Ben Hur) with an incredible 12 Best Director nominations. Wyler is unlikely to ever be overthrown with his nearest living and working rivals so far behind him (Scorsese with 8, Steven Spielberg & Allen with 7 each and all of them senior citizens).

Some Like It Hot (1959) was nominated for 6 Oscars but not Picture or Actress, damnit

What's your favorite Billy Wilder movie?
It's an amazingly tough question since the man made Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Apartment (1960) all of which will regular pop up on "Best Movies Ever" lists. 



More Prizes for Best Pic Nominees: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, & Her

From the USC Scripter nominees we discussed Friday the group chose 12 Years a Slave as the best adapted screenplay of the year. Since their prize goes to both the screenwriter and the original author that means John Ridley gave the acceptance speech but Solomon Northup was also a winner. He's been dead for 151 years so one wonders where his prize goes? I hope to the Faces of Solomon group.

But it wasn't all good news for the masterful slavery drama. It lost its Art Direction, Period  prize to the much showier Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby. Catherine Martin, Baz's wife and creative collaborator is drowning in such prizes. She's won the ADG and the Oscar both before in this category for Moulin Rouge!


So pleased this won it's prize! K.K. Barrett is a marvel

Contemporary Film K.K. Barrett, Her
Fantasy Film Andy Nicholson, Gravity
Period Film Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

It's worth noting that all three of those production designers are Oscar nominated as well. They're competing against Adam Stockhausen for 12 Years a Slave and Judy Becker  for American Hustle.

Television & Special Extra Film Prizes are after the jump...

Click to read more ...


I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going to Link It Anymore

CHUD James Franco to direct a film based on the making of bad movie everyone obsesses over which I haven't seen The Room. You guys, I can't even with Franco's lack of focus. I mean I don't dislike him. I think he's interesting but he is way too scattered. 
In Contention on Santa Barbara's Robert Redford tribute
Guardian Valentino makes a gauche error, pimping the fact that Amy Adams carried a Valentino bag to PSH's funeral stating they didn't know it was a funeral photo. Um, everyone is in black and they look abso-depressed
MNPP who knew that Fran Kranz from Dollhouse had that chest under his clothes and why on earth didn't Joss Whedon exploit it on that oft-horny show?

NY Times Maureen O'Dowd wonders what Network's Paddy Chayefsky would think of today's click-driven world with its total monetization of every editorial decision
Awards Daily a BAFTA members favorites
Coming Soon Gravity becomes only the third film (after Avatar and The Dark Knight Rises) to earn over $100 million from IMAX screenings alone
Variety the ongoing saga of "Alone Yet Not Alone" continues. It's now selling briskly and nominated for the faithbased MovieGuide Awards 
i09 will The Runaways -- if Marvel ever makes it -- be their Godfather?
Salon talks to the director of The Great Beauty on Italy's Oscar dreams. (For those who are not aware Italy has the most Oscars in the Foreign Film category though France has the most nominations.)
Slate "You Still Have Control" Samantha Geimer ("The Girl in the Shadow of Roman Polanski") once again proves herself the smartest most well adjusted and least hysteric person in the room when it comes to the topic of sexual abuse cases - and she lived it! This is a must read for anyone who has struggled to move on from past traumas. 

And the Most Terrifying News of the Week
We're hearing from Coming Soon that John Travolta will be playing Gummy Bear, or Gummibear if you prefer or are European, in an upcoming animated film version of the yummy treat. The character designs look hateful, really and not much like the actual food stuff.

Frankly, I don't see the point in a Gummy Bear movie when the deliciousness was already twice immortalized via Robot Chicken and Hedwig and the Angry Inch...

Luther: You must like candy.
Hansel: I like Gummi Baerchen 


The Best "Let It Go" Covers

I've fallen in a YouTube hole of "Let it Go" covers. And really, I have so many more important things to do and articles to write and encroaching deadlines. There are a lot of terrible off-pitch covers all over YouTube though "The Worst" of the covers is obviously Demi Lovato's. Many covers are kind of good but i'm not quite sure about them and there's even a drag version or two one with very hit and miss jokes (but the "the fears that once controlled me" bit in Dixie Lynn Cartwright's is priceless)

But these six I find impressive.

Elizabeth Saw with just the piano and played by ear... which is so cool because it's not exact but the flourishes feel right

Jun Sung Angh with just a violin

And the best vocals I've heard apart from Idina...

Sonnet Son - no mic, editing, no autotuning but very strong

Caleb Hyles has some impressive control of the vocal shifts between his higher register and normal voice


And the best mega-budgeted version is this Africanized Tribal Cover. Seriously someone spent lots of bank. Sets, a huge choir, costume changes.

And finally the best multi-voiced cover from the always delightful Christina Blanco who we've raved about before.


What was your last YouTube bender about?


ACE Eddie Awards: "Captain Phillips" Surprises

The Ace Eddie Award is given by Hollywood's film editor's guild. It was a very good year for music, since three of the big winners (20 Feet From Stardom, Frozen, and Behind the Candelabra) are musicals or in bed with the genre somehow. But that's not the big story.

The big surprise has to be the win for Captain Phillips which was up against both Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, the two presumed frontrunners for the Best Picture Oscar. What a tight race this year is bringing us and BEST EDITING, when it's announced on Oscar night, will not tell us who's winning Best Picture. It's oft repeated that it's nearly impossible to win Best Picture without an Editing nomination. But it's VERY possible to lose Editing and still win Best Picture. In fact, nearly half of modern Best Pictures do lose that statue...

Click to read more ...


Jennifer Lawrence: The Comic Book!

Apologies if you've read about this elsewhere and a full week ago, too, but sometimes my inbox defeats me. So many press releases. Nevertheless, this seemed worth noting: Jennifer Lawrence is now so popular that she warrants her own comic book!

Bluewater productions has released Fame: Jennifer Lawrence.  It's a 32-page comic book about her life and career available in print, digital and as an animated interactive comic book.  Apparently it's not the first time the company has done an actress. They've also given La Liz, Angelina and Cher this type of comic.

But I do have one gripe about an issue so important that the very success of modern civilization hinges upon it. None of us should ever rest until the crime of the misrepresentation of Oscar dresses is wiped out. Here we see Jennifer at the 2010/2011 Oscars when she lost for Winter's Bone:

But Jennifer was not wearing a gray dress! Nor was she wearing a pearl necklace. (In related news: Nicholas Hoult wasn't with her.) This is what she wore to the Oscars, a va-va-voom red number that reminded everyone of Scarlett Johansson before Jennifer Lawrence was famous enough to not remind anyone of anybody but herself.

My work here is done. Never Forget (the Oscar dresses).