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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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Beauty vs. Beast


If you don't vote for Jack, he'll come after you with an axe


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The BIG EYES Poster

"I didn't even notice the stars at first but that's why I like it. Tag line is clever. I hope Burton gone substance over style (while being stylish) with this one." - Jija

"The art is ugly creepy kitsch... that is, slightly above dogs playing pool and black-velvet Elvis. I have a hard time grasping why we should care who created it..." - Owen

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Introducing... Jodie Foster

With the Cecil B. DeMiller tribute coming at the Golden Globes and her 50th birthday hitting this coming Monday, we're celebrating the one and only Jodie Foster.

Jodie Foster is one of only a tiny handful of full fledged child stars to become even more legendary as an adult movie star. She remains the modern era's gold standard for making the transition but who could've predicted it in 1972 when she made her first feature Napoleon & Samantha. She's not really the star (that'd be Johnny Whitaker as Napoleon) but the film had the foresight to open with her face and that distinctive voice. 

She gets the movie's very first shot and line. 

Ouch, I bumped my knee!

Auspicious beginnings! 

a totally docile animal actor. Johnny & Jodie climb all over this big cat, pull its tail, shove their hands in its mouthNapoleon, tells her to shush with a "who cares about your stupid knee?" Turns out moviegoers around the globe would  -- the stupid knee and all the rest of her, too!

Napoleon and Samantha is a really weird watch in 2012. Just about the only recognizable  thing about it is its Disney Fixation with orphanhood (that fixation is still with us) but everything is truly foreign, dated or bizarre: a retiring circus performer Napoleon meets in the woods; a lion who only drinks milk and that barely anybody seems freaked out about when they meet; Michael Douglas as a kind-hearted hippie goat farmer with a political science degree (don't ask); a chase scene with Douglas stunt double in a Bad Grandma Michael Douglas wig and porn-ready music scoring; an escaped mental patient in the woods (!); It's a weird weird movie disguised as an innocuous family one.

But the time capsule treats of seeing an intermittently bored baby Jodie trying to remember her lines (this is not her finest hour) and watching Michael Douglas all twenty-something young and hippie sexy...

... not to mention the unintentionally hilarious visual juxtaposition of Jodie's butch gait in little girl dresses with Michael Douglas hippie fey exuberance, made it oh so worthwhile! I meant to just grab an image but I couldn't turn the damn thing off. 


"Honicutt Enema"

Great moments in iPhone voice dictation comedy: My best friend, a Russophile, just texted me about Anna Karenina.

I totally want to see Joe Wright's Honicutt Enema too! That sounds awesome.

Click to read more ...


Monty Is All In For "Hitchcock"

Monty, the web's original feline Oscar pundit, has been known to ruthlessly ignore Oscar contenders, yawn in their general direction or use them as sedatives. But -- BREAKING!!! -- he has taken an immediate unmistakable liking to Hitchcock.


Swag or screeners have arrived recently for Rise of the Guardians (completely ignored but for the box it came in) Amour (ignored) and various indie contenders (ignored x 3). The second Hitchcock's silver cannister was opened he literally came running.

He circled the container. He smelled everything. He wanted to snuggle with the t-shirt. He was all about Hitchcock. (But then, he is also prone to hang outside shower curtains all silhouetted and staring and it's not hard to imagine Bernard Hermann's ♩ reeeee ♩reeeee ♩reeeeee  accompanying every claw swipe when he gets feisty.)

Will Oscar voters feel as instantaneously curious about and attached to the movie? I'm thinking yes.... at least with the former but can Fox Searchlight turn the curiousity into attachment? (I recently heard from an acting branch member who is totally in for Helen, Anthony and the movie on their ballot.) Will Monty prove prescient again? What's your guess? 


The Man With the Golden Link

Natasha VC Melancholiay Kiki was right. Noooooo....
MovieLine on Sam Raimi's purchase of Angelfall, the YA series that's meant to be the next Hunger Games. The only thing getting me through the endless repetitiveness of today's cinema culture is that most of these series have an end date. So once Hunger Games ends, people will be looking for the next Angelfall instead. (Can you tell I'm so excited that Twilight is over!!!?)
HitFix talks to Matthew McConaughey about a Magic Mike sequel and all that weight he's lost for The Dallas Buyers Club.  
Movies Now profiles GKids, that winning animated indie distributor who should be taken seriously in each year's Oscar race 

Awards Daily on the ever present narrative of Oscar's Difficulty with Race. Which, to be fair if you ask me, is not so much Oscar's problem as Hollywood's difficulties; Oscar is only a prism. 
Hollywood Elsewhere Newsflash: Jeffrey Wells apparently takes Armond White seriously (suggesting his partly negative Lincoln review matters)! Who does that?!? (White just takes whatever position is contrarian. That's why his reviews always come out later than everyone else's.)
Gawker thinks Joe Wright's artistic gamble with Anna Karenina pays off. I'm noticing enough positive reviews to wonder if the worm is turning on this thing in terms of Oscar (people were so weirdly and prematurely down on it post Toronto from the lack of consensus I suppose) but maybe that's just wishful thinking since I liked it and thought Keira Knightley was truly fab in her divisive gutsy jaw-first way.
i09 Five minutes of the new Star Trek film to play in select IMAX theaters before The Hobbit. Because I am not a Trekkie and don't pay close attention I had somehow missed that this film is called Star Trek Into Darkness and now I am embarrassed for everyone involved. Sounds SO hokey and jokey and pretentious all at the same time! A feat you might say.
Vulture Sigourney Weaver pretended she was doing Shakespeare while acting in Alien (1979) "I was such a snob" 

Today's Must Watch
Tom O'Neill at Gold Derby talks to Tony Kushner about Abraham Lincoln's much-speculated upon sexuality and why there's precious little of it in Spielberg's Lincoln.


"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" Is Coming... Eventually

The follow up to the unexpectedly well-liked and thus strangely Oscar-ignored 2011 blockbuster Rise of The Planet of the Apes, has supposedly released its first teaser image. That's according to many websites none of which seem to directly link to the supposedly official page or when they do it's the "Rise" page from 2011 which does not include this image. (All I can find are fanmade pages for "Dawn" which are unofficial and have, at this writing, not posted this image). It's all very suspect since this image is from a piece by Albert Watson from 1992. But it's a Monkey with a Gun and people were just talking about Tarzan so one thing swings to another? 

I guess people are excited about Memorial Day 2014 already!

What excellent timing.

P.S. That monkey is totally going to run out of bullets by the time this thing rolls around in 557 days!


Skarsgård, Lord of the Apes

Last week I hoped (in vain) that they'd go with an unknown when they finally attempt a reboot of the long dormant Tarzan franchise. Instead, word is, they're interested in going with the very known but still big screen underutilized Alexander Skarsgård of True Blood fame. 

Careful Skarsgård. In Tarzan pictures, there's always an alligator in there!

Though I think the discovery themes of the Tarzan franchise warrant a more "who is that?" choice, Skarsgård deserves more big screen opportunities (I was sad when he missed out on Thor since he's the closest thing that showbiz has to a Norse God) and his Swedishness and comfort with nudity are surely good signs for the exotic vine swinger. Variety says the concept goes like so:

Years after he's reassimilated into society, he's asked by Queen Victoria to investigate the goings-on in the Congo. Tarzan teams with an ex-mercenary named George Washington Williams to save the Congo from a warlord who controls a massive diamond mine. 

I'm super pleased that they're skipping an origin story. Lord (of the Apes) knows more franchises should try it since origin stories so rarely reward on multiple viewings, let alone multiple iterations of said origins! But Warner Bros interest in Samuel L Jackson for the Williams role is, if you ask me, a very bad omen. Jackson is a fine actor but last time I counted he had already starred or co-starred in over 12 franchises or would be franchises. He's where Jeremy Renner will be in three years if he keeps saying "yes" to every big budget project in existence.  Jackson is arguably a sign that no one on this project is remotely interested in doing something fresh, but just churning out another regular revenue stream for studio coffers and Jackson, being at home in the big budget franchises, is the only person who even came to their minds. When you use the same faces for everything, all franchises feel yet more homogenous.

The animals already love him!

I suppose this is the same problem I have when they cast my beloved Streep in everything involving an older woman and I'm forced to be frustrated at the monotony rather than be thrilled to see her, the latter of which should always be the case. It comes down to this realization: I'm just not at all monogomanous when it comes to the movies but shamelessly slutty. I need a vast array of faces, a huge collection of movie stars and character actors to entertain me.  I wish, given the state of modern cinema, that this was not so, that I could be happy with only a handful of faces to entertain me, but I am who I am. 

Will you gladly swing with Skarsgård and Jackson in a year or two or do you think the Lord of the Apes should stay retired?


Anticipation: Osage County 

<--- Remember last week when I shared that little AFM peak at August: Osage County? [Click on the photo to the left if you missed that post].

Well, anticipation means bread crumb madness; no matter how stale or tasteless they are, we have to nibble on them! Supposedly the movie is wrapping up filming on Thanksgiving weekend so it's all over but the post-production and the marketing and the re... okay, it's not remotely over.

So... bread crumbs: here's what the inside of the house might look like; here's what Ewan McGregor recently said about working with Meryl Streep and the director John Wells (not much but I devoured it); and here's what the text on the pamphlet to your left actually said:

Three-Time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep and Oscar winner Julia Roberts, star in the "fiercely funny and bitingly sad" big screen adaptation of Tracy Letts' Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning Play, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Coming on the heels of her latest Oscar win for The Iron Lady, Streep stars are Violet Weston, the sharp-tongued matriarch of the South's most dysfunctional family since Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor tore up the screen (and each other) in that other Pulitzer-Prize winning classic-Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Directed by John Wells, August begins on the night that Violet's husband of 30 years, Beverly, mysteriously vanishes without a trace. Beverly's disappearance draws the couple's three daughters, including eldest Barbara (Roberts), back to the family home, each returning with husbands and boyfriends in tow to comfort their mother and help solve the mystery of what happened to their father. as with all families, home brings out the best and worst in everyone, as each of the children settles back into their place in the unforgiving hierarchy of the family-all amid the palpable heat of the summer. Letts' work borrows its name from the famous Howard Starks poem, describing a month of August heavy with "heat-thicked air" and "no real breeze all day." And it's that stifling climate that will slowly force Violet and her family to face truths about themselves and each other until the secret of what happened that fateful night is revealed."

I almost balked at the comparisons to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof* -- so risky/shameless to compare yourself to a work of such unarguable genius and iconic stature -- but then I remembered that August: Osage County** the play is hardly lacking in genius or, it must be said, the potential for being thought of in the same hallowed way 60 years from now that we think of Cat now.

Will this movie do the play justice? We'll find out a year from now. Or thereabouts. 

*incidentally, I sometimes --in fact quite often -- think Cat is actually Tennessee Williams single greatest work as a playwright (though the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire is unquestionably the single greatest adaptation of his oeuvre)

** If you've never seen August: Osage County on stage, you should. Readers living near Raleigh North Carolina have an opportunity this month through early December, readers living near Baltimore Maryland can see a production in January.