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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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Back to Back Oscars for Eddie?

""The Molly Ringwald Story"?." -Rick

"I can't help but think there is going to be significantly more backlash here after Dallas Buyers Club. Also, is trans the new Oscar-bait? I don't know how to feel about that." -BD

 

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Saturday
Dec212013

Film on Film: 5 Classics That Deserve a Film of Their Own

[Editor's Note: Here's abstew with 5 Hollywood on Hollywood pitches. Co-sign!]

It's no secret that one of Film's favorite subject matters is, well, itself. The past two Best Picture winners (The Artist and Argo) have had Hollywood and the art of film-making at their core. And this weekend another film-on-film, Saving Mr. Banks, about Walt Disney's decades long struggle to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen expands across the country in its quest to join those previous films in Oscar glory. The story seems ready-made for the movies - beloved source material, larger-than-life characters/personalities, and, just because it can, a hard-knock-life childhood back-story thrown into the mix. (If the old Hollywood angle doesn't win them over why not add the Academy's other irresistible allure: the biopic. It's two films for the price of one!)

I'm sure many people were unaware what went into trying to convince author P.L.Travers to sign over the rights to Disney and I'm sure even fewer people knew about Travers' back-story. But so many classic films have equally fascinating behind-the-scenes stories that would make just as compelling films. In honor of Saving Mr. Banks, here are 5 other classic films that deserve their own film treatment. So, quiet on the set...Action! 

The Wizard of Oz 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec202013

Prediction Updates: Picture, Director, Costumes & Visuals

Time for major chart fixes now that all the major precursors have announced their nominations. We've started with Best Picture, Best Director, Animation & Documentary, and the Visual Categories... all updated to reflect recent changes (still working on the rest!).

It's The Film Experience, calling about your Oscar nominations...

The visual categories needed the most fine-tuning though they're much harder to predict prior to the guild nominations. Still, I'm feeling pretty bullish on the my predicted costuming lineup -- not that that branch isn't capable of major surprise inclusions and snubs come nomination morning. 

Disco fashions could be hot hot hot with Oscar this year if THE BUTLER & AMERICAN HUSTLE are both nominatedThough the BFCA "Critics Choice" Nominations named the exact ten films most pundits believe are heading towards Best Picture nods, the category is still quite volatile thanks mostly to the precursor underperformance of Saving Mr Banks, the weird resurgence of Rush (of all things), the late breaking Wolf of Wall Street (which underperformed at virtually all the precursors despite a very vocal legion of freshly baptized disciples) and the Weinstein Co's stable of four. It's never wise to count Harvey Weinstein out and the major SAG response to The Butler and August: Osage County combined with the Globe embrace of Philomena and the sweep of "first film" prizes for Fruitvale Station suggest that there's life in that quartet yet.

I'm guessing we have five fairly secure pictures: Hustle, Gravity, 12 Years, Capt Phillips, and Nebraska... which have all shown up everywhere they could have hoped to. But beyond that for the possible 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and/or 10th slots? It still feels like any number and permutation of the remaining eight or so pictures with the buzz could happen. Though, as per usual, I'd love to see a year with just five nominees again if only to watch the internet's collective head explode from the shock of it.

Current Oscar rules do allow for that, you know. We will have anywhere between 5 and 10 Best Picture nominees depending on how the voting goes down (Oscar's own statistical analysis of the past 20 years suggests that 10 is a virtual impossibility). 

So have a look at the refurbished charts and report back. More categories to come.

 

Friday
Dec202013

Scarlett Johansson in 'Her', 'Don Jon' and The Nicole Kidman Art of the Comeback

Glenn here to discuss two of The Film Experience’s favorite women. If you’re like me and have been watching with glee the re-ascension of Scarlett Johansson to critical favour then you also may have noticed the parallels between her and the goddess Nicole Kidman. It took a shorter amount of time, of course, but in this day and age everything moves father. With audiences finally being allowed to see hear Johansson in Her in movie theaters, it seems like as good a time as any to ask the question: is Scarlett Johansson this decade's Nicole Kidman?

When you look at the careers of Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson, the two share a lot of similarities. Both broke out at the tail-end of a decade – the ‘80s for Kidman with Dead Calm, ‘90s for Johansson with The Horse Whisperer – and had critical successes before Hollywood ceased attempting to figure out what the hell to do with them. [more...]

 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec202013

Foreign Film Frenzy... The Finalist List 

Though I love the constant excitement of December as much as anyone if there is one single element of awards season I could seize control of, it would be the annual Best Foreign Language Film race. Every year at about this time I've managed to procure 15 or so screeners from the 60+ entries and they're neatly stacked near my TV waiting for a marathon holiday watch & write session. And then most of them get the axe and they're never seen. I'm not proud of this -- you shouldn't skip a movie simply because Oscar isn't interested -- but I am also a human being who lives on planet earth and writes about the Oscars so my time is naturally extremely limited and compartmentalized and stretched thin every November through February. Would that the studios and AMPAS could spread out the timing a little. So my apologies to films from Latvia, Turkey, Croatia, India and the rest that I really had every intention of investigating. 

The other thing I would instantly change is Oscar's obsession with the number nine - ten is so much more symmetrical! Ten is a better number because it would also soften the blow to the eventual snubbees who wouldn't feel (correctly) like the majority of their peers got the part when they didn't. 

THE FINALISTS

 

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
    currently in release in the States
  • An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
    from the director of the Oscar winner in this category for 2001, No Man's Land
  • The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
    unceremoniously dumped from the documentary finals, it now has a second shot at Oscar
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
    from the director of The Celebration which was one of Oscar's most infamous snubs in this always crowded category
  • Two Lives (Germany)
    Liv Ullman appears!
  • The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
    Wong Kar Wai and his Asian superstar actors. 
  • The Notebook (Hungary)
    Hungary's best shot in ages to return to Oscar after a very long drought 
  • The Great Beauty (Italy)
    which just cleaned up at the European Film Awards 
  • Omar (Palestine)
    from the director of Paradise Now, nominated in this category in 2005

 

NOTICEABLY ABSENT
Saudia Arabia's Wadjda, which was a hit in arthouse theaters, widely tipped to be a frontrunner for the Oscar won't even be nominated now. That's got to hurt. It wasn't a good year for childhood narratives, actually, despite Oscar's tendency to reward that in foreign language films. They also passed on moving forward with Australia's The Rocket and Singapore's awards magnet Ilo Ilo. With all the other leading kids dropping out of contention this year, Hungary's tale of two boys will look singular. I'm also bummed that they skipped Nepal's entry here if only because I fear I'll never have the opportunity to see it now (no screener).

PERSONAL PET 
But the one I'm gutted bout is Chile's Gloria which is top ten list worthy in any language. I fully expected it to be nominated because it's just so delightful but with depth. Now it will be deprived of a much wider audience which is terribly sad. I don't know how committed the distributor is as it's due in January but I've seen it happen all too often that when a film fails to be nominated it suddenly disappears from future release scheds. IF you get a chance to see it, do!  (If Annette Bening or [insert name of any charming 50something movie star] isn't snapping up the remake rights, she's insane.)

MY PREDICTIONS

Friday
Dec202013

Linkies

Empire Bryan Singer and his writing team working on X-Men: Apocalypse already. My only objection to this article is the conditional phrase for X2 "one of the best of the franchise" I'm sorry... one of... I think they meant to type "the best by such a significant margin it's actually kind of embarrassing"
Pajiba wonders if movie reviews matter anymore 
The Wire plays goldilocks with Martin Scorsese classics and their running times: "too long, not enough or just right?"
Dorkly imagines George RR Martin (Game of Thrones) as Santa Claus  

In Contention I neglected to share the London Film Critics Circle nominations because I forgot that unlike virtually every other critics organization, they don't announce their winners a few days after the nominations and instead save it for their actual ceremony... (which begs the question: how do they get the recipients to show up? tipped off?) so in case you missed it, read away 
Deadline on the struggle to shift the dialogue on August: Osage County. I have to say that I find this piece both telling and bizarre. Telling because Tracy Letts himself refers to Barbara (Julia Roberts) repeatedly as the "protagonist"  (and yet she's "supporting?" oy!) and even how he beefed up her role to justify the new ending. Bizarre because the piece ends with the implication that Streep is doing more promotional work for this film than she usually does (I see no evidence of this but, okay?) culminating in this absolute untruth: 

...when Streep shows up for a film that has her in Oscar contention, she usually wins.

The great lady has won 3 times out of 17. And it's not like she didn't "show up" for a number of those other 14 Oscar nominated films. She is as good as any big star at promoting her work.

The Gays
People awww, Sharon Needles and Alaska from RuPaul's Drag Race broke up. But very amicably it seems so good on them
David Kawena [NSFW] the popular web artist is at it again with his Disney characters as underwear hunks. This time it's Kristoff from Frozen. What would Jonathan Groff think of this?!
Theater Mania on the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 7 Carol Channings 

List-Mania
Buzzfeed 23 most important 'selfies' of the year
Hey U Guys 10 Best Comic Book Movie Moments of 2013
i09 thinks these are the best comic books of the year
The Wire Joe Reid's top ten list and...The Act of Making Them
The Dissolve's top ten list. I like seeing All is Lost and Gravity together with All is Lost slightly higher. They really do make good companion pieces. Neither will make my list so I'm not a champion of either really but I prefer the Redford. As for Her. You know, it's funny. As soon as I knew the subject matter long before we'd seen a frame of it, I just knew it would be a huge deal on critics top ten lists, topping many of them. I should've written a prediction piece on that so you could all marvel at my psychic ways.