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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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The Greatest Sci-Films. A Top Ten

"Excellent list. I wish it had included John Frankenheimer's and Rock Hudson's Seconds. The War of the Worlds also coulda been a contender. We won't discuss Soylent Green- BCarter

"...something new for my Netflix list. "-John

How would you rank them?

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SAG to Assemble Ensemble Nominees Now

Glenn here with news that Screen Actor's Guild voting forms have been shipped out in the post. As my tongue-twister of a title suggests, a select number (2,200 to be exact) of SAG members will be given the arduous task of deciding whether This is the End has an ensemble on the same playing field as 12 Years a Slave (I say yes!), if middling films with sprawling big-name casts like The Butler should be up there (I say no, but since when has that stopped them?) and which of the best actor favourites is going to pluck this year's unlucky short straw. There are so many contenders that somebody has to, right?

SAG are unique in that the people chosen to select the nominees changes each year amongst its hefty membership (now even bigger thanks to a merger with AFTRA, or is my lack of knowledge on the subject getting me into a mess?) That means whoever voted for that incredible roster of ensemble nominees in 2007 didn't necessarily vote for Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy, but we thank them for both nonetheless. It also means that sometimes curveballs are thrown that can signpost Oscar surprises waiting in the wings (Demian Bichir for A Better Life, anyone?) or can send prognosticators on a wild goose chase (Cloris Leachman in Spanglish?).

Last week Amir looked at SAG's ensemble category so there's no need to dip back into that well, but what are we thinking could surprise in the acting categories? Is there a Hilary Swank in Conviction waiting to win their lone citation of the season? Is there a Jacki Weaver who has two Oscar nominations to her credit and yet can't seem to get herself a solo SAG nomination? I'm personally wondering whether the older-skewing Best Actress category may make voters throw a bone to a popular young actor such as Brie Larson (Short Term 12) or if Matthew McConaughey can snag a double nomination with Dallas Buyer's Club in Best Actor and Mud in Best Supporting Actor. Lest we forget that Mud was the first screener sent to voters and that helps! 

What are you hunches or sneaking suspicions?
Speak up in the comments or make your FYCs.

The SAG Award Nominations will be announced on Wednesday, December 11th by TV stars Clark Gregg and Sasha Alexander


'The Best Man Holiday' a Fascinating Portrait in Black Cinema

Glenn here. I get the sense that I am not meant to have much of an opinion on The Best Man Holiday. I suspect that even to the filmmakers it was meant to do little more than make audiences feel good (as well as a little sad – oh gawd, the tears!!) and make money while not rocking the boat. And yet I come to this 14-years-later sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s original The Best Man (1999) and find it one of the year’s most fascinating films in terms of the evolution of black cinema and filmmaking in general.


Oh sure, it’s a perfectly adequate movie. It’s certainly never truly great. There’s quite a bit of stuff here that makes no sense (two deus ex machinas in the span of ten minutes is a bit much), and I’m dubious about some of its politics in regards to female sexuality. It’s also too long. On that same day I had watched What’s Love Got To Do With It? for the next Team Experience poll and that one, a biopic about the life of Tina freakin’ Turner, was shorter than The Best Man Holiday! Nevertheless, by the end credits I had laughed, I had cried, and I felt like I’d revisited old friends that left me with a smile on my face. Even if as a gay, white, Australian, Hollywood probably doesn't think I should have any interest in it. [more]

Click to read more ...


Reader Spotlight: Paul Outlaw

If you spend time in the comments section of The Film Experience you might have noticed Paul Outlaw before. He's today's Reader Spotlight. I recently had the privilege of seeing him on stage at the Bootleg in L.A. (three more shows, readers - go see it!) in an experimental theater piece. I took an actress friend of mine and we had a great time.

So let's talk to Paul as we revive the weekly "Reader Spotlight" series!

NATHANIEL R: Why do you read The Film Experience?

PAUL OUTLAW: For one thing, I like serious film criticism that doesn't take itself too seriously; for another, there's more going on at the blog than just cinema talk. Theater, TV and film-tangential pop culture are all up for grabs. Oh yeah—it's a queer site that's not all about the gay. I guess I like contradiction and interesting juxtapositions.

In 1993 you starred in an Oscar winning short film. Did you attend the Oscars? What's your strongest memory from that?

Click to read more ...


A Call From Samantha

Coming out of Her, Spike Jonze futuristic (but very "now") drama about human connection and intuitive Operating Systems I felt a little of the mood hangover that accompanied Lost in Translation. You know the way certain movies, particularly atmospheric singular ones, can do that... leave you feeling melancholy but considering or even seeing the world in a new way?

It's too fresh to say much more -- I'm still mulling it over -- but Scarlett Johansson's "Samantha", a disembodied voice that wants to be bodied, is crucial to its success. If you don't fall for Samantha how can you buy that Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore Twombly would? 

We've loved ScarJo's voice since she first hit the movies.  What other movie star voices could you fall in love with? Let's make a list in the comments!

P.S. Karen O's "Moon Song", attached to this post, is performed by Scarlett and Joaquin in the movie and by Karen O in the end credits and it better be Oscar nominated for Best Original Song

P.P.S. When the movie screens in your city make sure to watch the end credits. No, there's not an extra scene or anything. It's just a scroll but there are a couple good laughs and I loved the names of the characters played by this guy and his scene partner (no, it's not how IMDb lists it). 

Moon Song


The Year Was 1998

JA from MNPP here - I know it's 2003 Month here at The Film Experience but Vulture has been doing a 15 year anniversary retrospective of all things 1998 this week, which has me reminiscing about that year too. I was in college working at the local art-house cinema - that'd be the lovely Little Theatre in Rochester New York, which everyone should visit if you ever happen to find yourselves in that neck of the woods. I loved working there - I was studying film at school and living film at work. I saw everything released during that period of time, and got to mingle with the Rochester rich and famous - I handed Phillip Seymour Hoffman a napkin once! This was when Happiness was out so, you know, it really meant something.

Anyway I was looking through the list of movies released in the Fall of 1998 and was wowed by a double-header that came out fifteen years ago on November 6th - Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine and Bill Condon's Gods and Monsters. Talk about grabbing my brain and yanking it back through time, so vivid is my recollection of what a one-two punch of queer cinema that week was. Brendan Fraser in nothing but a towel and a gas-mask, fumbling on the floor with Ian McKellen; glam-rocked Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers splayed out for all the world, and Toni Collette, to see - I wish I'd known at the time what a good time it was for gay movies, but who could for-see the yawning chasm of the 2000s quick approaching?


Oh and another movie came out that week - Elizabeth. Yes that means it's been fifteen years since Cate Blanchett's first Oscar nomination for Best Actress, just as she's about to stampede the competition for her first win in that category. I think just by mentioning this I can still flare up people's anger about her losing to Gwyneth, right? Harvey Weinstein rawr! All that jazz. Anyway I personally probably would've given the statue to Holly Hunter for Living Out Loud that year so what do I know?

What are some of your favorite 1998 movies?


Hello Linky

In Contention talks to Saoirse Ronan about Grand Budapest Hotel, How I Live Now and acting for Ryan Gosling
DP/30 Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years a Slave
Instagram James Franco's 'all the kids are doing it' selfie. (I love seeing celebrity mirror shots because that's how they see themselves. Ever notice how different you look in photos -how other people see you- versus how you look to yourself in the mirror?)
The Hollywood Reporter TIR wins the top prize and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) and Scarlett Johansson (Her) the acting awards at the Rome Film Festival

In Contention doublestuffed Oscar season coming at'cha
Pajiba on the highest grossing black directors. I expect Lee Daniels will keep moving up this list since he's prolific.
Coming Soon the German trailer to a new animated Tarzan

Playbill Carol Channing and Justin Bond for a little Hello Dolly 50th anniversary special? YES PLEASE
Salon are confused earnest celebrities the best at Twitter?
Variety Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark will (finally) close on Broadway in early 2014
Television Blend Arrow could lead to The Flash getting his own tv series. (I wish I liked this show but I've given it more than a fair try and it's dull/lame.)
Towleroad Warren & The Bening's son Stephen is so adorable (and totally looks like a blend of them if you ask me). Good for him becoming a reliable trans activist these past couple of years.

Today's Watch
The artist Anders Ramsell has "paraphrased" Blade Runner (his words) with 12,597 paintings. 

I've done nothing with my life!