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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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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.  


You Only Link Twice

Broadway World the SNL cast does "One Day More" from Les Miz to celebrate their lame one-day weekend. With Anne Hathaway as host. For the third time, bitches.
Vulture Joaquin Phoenix's apology (of sorts... if you stretch the definition of the word) for his comments about the Oscars
Cinema Blend Joe Wright talks about restored confidence and directing Anna Karenina. Calls the release of The Soloist "heartbreaking" 
Film Drunk on Channing Tatum the "Sexiest Man Alive" ... and other prizes
Awards Daily Ben Affleck to receive the "Modern Master" award at Santa Barbara Fest after only three films. (I think it's time you all bowed down to my stunning predictive powers about Monsieur Affleck. I predicted his ascendance to Eastwood Jr. status years and years ago!)

In Contention Skyfall's amazing un-Oscared tech team 
The Envelope overhears a "Who is that?" question in relation to... Jennifer Lawrence?!? Also: The Best Actress race.

Criterion Collection Ira Levin on the origins of Rosemary's Baby and what he worries about in terms of the film's legacy 
MNPP on the infamous and still-censtored 'Rape of Christ' sequence from Ken Russell's The Devils.  

Off Cinema For Fun
Fantagraphics Illustrator Wilfred Santiago illustrates Victoria Jackson's Election Night tea-party addled tweet meltdown
i09 studies suggest that mankind is getting dumber and dumber
The Advocate the internet's fascination with gay geek / political prophet Nate Silver of "Five Thirty Eight" fame
Boy Culture a new wax replica of Madonna for Madame Tussauds  


Lincoln, Sky Fall, Oscar Rumble... ♫ 

... we will stand tall... and face it all together ♩

Let Oscar season begin. In the latest tightest hottest edition of the podcast, Nick (Nick's Flick Picks), Joe (Low Resolution) and Katey (Cinema Blend) join me, Nathaniel, to talk four new movies: Steven Spielberg's Oscar buzzing Lincoln, box office devouring Skyfall, utterly baffling Holy Motors and the wildly uneven Flight

We also take a moment to pay homage to Jodie Foster and each of our favorite performances by her on the week of her 50th birthday and before the Golden Globes shower her with praise via the Cecil B DeMille award.

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post. But, as always, the podcast isn't complete without your voice. Talk back to us in the comments!


Lincoln, Bond, Jodie, Denzel


Rejected Interview Question #231

A peak into process. Generally I scribble down far more questions than I end up asking in interviews. You gauge the mood and proceed. Herewith a question I opted not to ask Julie Weiss, Hitchcock's twice Oscar nominated costume designer:

Tell me about Dolph Lundgren's costume fitting in Masters of the Universe.

Probably made the right call but I still want to hear the answer, don't you? (Questions I did ask, the wonderful Weiss did answer. Interview forthcoming)


Top Ten: Strange Golden Globe Musical Snubs

Glenn here with a tuesday top ten on a topic dear to my heart, and Nathaniel's too. We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards. Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation’s occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list), I think I like most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn’t have. The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and, thus, stick out more. Sure, Burlesque, Across the Universe, Nine, and Mamma Mia are recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.

Forgotten Awards Trivia: The Globes didn't consider "Dancer in the Dark" a musical (???) and Björk's awards show bird fetish didn't begin with the Oscar swan dress. Note that owl purse!

But what about those that didn’t? There’s more than you’d think!

11 with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of “musical” by the HFPA – Ray? Coal Miner’s Daughter? Walk the Line? The Rose? – it’s a surprise that Robert Altman’s classic Nashville and Lars von Trier’s masterpiece Dancer in the Dark weren’t classified as such. The former because, well, it’s also pretty funny, right? The latter because it was a true, honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense. Altman’s ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct “Best Acting Debut” category) and Dancer in the Dark snagged one for Bjork’s performance. Still, it’s about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we’ll let it slide.


10. Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead: Airplane!, The Coal Miner’s Daughter (won), Fame, The Idolmaker, Melvin & Howard
Oh sure, laugh! Yes, this infamous movie was scorned upon release, but so was Burlesque and they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later. Given the universal acclaim for, if nothing else, its soundtrack you’d think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track. No, it’s not great art but who’s ever heard of Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker since?

Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbees after the jump

Click to read more ...



And here I thought excitement was suspicously low for The Hobbit...

Not three hours after Warner Bros listed screenings for guild members (that includes BFCA members like myself plus all the inside showbiz organizations like AMPAS, HFPA and BAFTA etcetera) every single last screening of The Hobbit was filled to capacity (except the ones in San Francisco). I even attempted a 48 FPS* screening as a last resort though I have absolutely no desire for yet another new gimmick to soil the world's greatest artform -- isn't 3D cheapening things enough?

*I decided to give this its own tag below but I pray that I will never be forced to use it again!