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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Original Song: Pharrell Will Sing "Happy" at the Oscars

One down. Four more Three more songs to go (unless I missed an announcement)...

It's official: there will be Song performances at the Oscars. Pharrell Williams, fresh off his hat-loving Grammy success, will be performing Despicable Me 2's hit song "Happy", currently #11 on Billboard's Hot 100 and rising, on Oscar night. No word yet on the other songs up for the gold but if anyone other than Idina Menzel is asked to sing "Let It Go", currently #26 on Billboard's Hot 100 and rising (and when was the last time two Original Song nominees were actual hits???), I hope there are protests / riots. I'm not even a huge Idina fan but come on! (Still it'd be just like the Oscars to pull something like that.)

Stay tuned...

Related: Aural Oscar ChartsSong Nomination Revoked


Vanity Fair 2014 "The Hollywood Issue" (Part 1)

Ah, our favorite magazine tradition. Vanity Fair's 20th Annual Hollywood Issue is upon us and the dozen stars selected they've selected are very carefully placed (they've read their own reviews). Instead of an all white lineup with a person of color shoved onto the back fold, this is an extremely careful, as if everything has been weighed on a scale: 12 actors, exactly equally split between both men and women, and skin color.

Of course both of those 50/50 visual situations are grossly unreflective of the actual business of Hollywood movies but we're not here to complain but to praise, it's fun to see the cover shaken up ever so slightly. If we were here to complain we'd probably say something about the lack of Asian actors (they never get their due here in America) but no one has ever asked The Film Experience to guest art-direct a cover. 

If they did ask me I would pitch things that wouldn't move copies (which is reason #203 why no one would ever ask me) but which would definitely be fun one-offs: An all senior lineup (Dernsy!, Shirley and all the Dames), an all instantly recognizable supporting/character actor lineup (Like... I dunno Margo Martindale, John Goodman, Jacki Weaver on the cover with Judy Greer sprawled out on the floor on the gatefold with Celia Weston and Bob Balaban and Irrfan Khan behind her... I could go on and on. Someone stop me). An all foreign language imported legends lineup (Bardem, Binoche, Leung, Deneuve, Loren, etcetera), and my personal ultimate fantasy cover, which we'd call "always a bridesmaid" devoted to people who always lose the Oscars they're up for: Amy Adams, Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes, Annette Bening, Sigourney Weaver, Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Marsha Mason, Jane Alexander, and Joan Allen. GOOD LUCK DECIDING WHO GETS THE ACTUAL COVER ON THAT FOLDOUT LINEUP OF TWELVE!

In other words I wouldn't go with people who are always on magazine covers like Julia Roberts and George Clooney. But enough about fantasies. On to reality.  Let's take a closer look, starting with the actual cover

Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor whose film debut was in Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997), is finally getting his due after steadily-rising film work. That's thanks to his incredibly haunted and well judged work in 12 Years a Slave. But we've loved him since Serenity (2005... which incidentally also featured his 12 Years co-star Sarah Paulson) in which his screen presence was impossible to deny.
Stats: 25 Films. 36 Years Old. 1 Oscar Nomination.
Previous Essentials: Dirty Pretty Things, Talk To Me, Children of Men
Next Up for Chiwetel: Z for Zachariah, a sci-fi drama with Margot Robbie (also on this cover) and Chris Pine

Julia Roberts, "America's (Former) Sweetheart", is Oscar resurgent for her "Supporting" [cough] role in August: Osage County wherein she swiped 'Best in Show' reviews from Meryl Streep. Of all the stars gathered for this cover she looks the happiest to be there. But wouldn't you if you were sitting on Idris Elba's lap? 
Stats: 41 Films. 46 Years Old. 4 Oscar Nominations, 1 win.
Previous Essentials: Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding, Erin Brockovich
Next Up for Julia: She's doing Ellen Barkin's angry screaming doctor/Tony winning role in the TV adaptation of the seminal AIDS play The Normal Heart 

Idris Elba, another British import, recently headlined Mandela which won him a Golden Globe nomination, his fourth. After two major critically acclaimed successes on television, he's on many a casting director's list for the movies. 
Stats: 24 Films + A Lot of Television. 41 Years Old. Not Yet Oscar-Nominated. 
Previous Essentials: Luther (TV Series), The Wire (TV Series) 
Next Up For Idris: Three movies in the can coming soon which are No Good Deed, a thriller with Taraji P Henson, The Gunman, a crime drama with Sean Penn and Javier Bardem, and Second Coming a British family drama

George Clooney, who surely needs no recapping as to his profile. Though, as great as he looks in a tux, I was hoping for a fresher choice of a cover subject since he's been so ubiquitous for so long.
Stats: 36ish(?) Films and Lots of TV, 52 Years Old. 8 Oscar Nominations (Directing/Acting/Producing/Writing), 2 wins (Producing/Acting)
Previous Essentials: Out of Sight, Oceans 11, Good Night and Good Luck, Up in the Air
Next Up for Clooney: Monuments Men which he directed and stars in, is about to open, which probably explains the cover. In 2015 he headlines Brad Bird's Disney scifi film Tomorrowland about a former boy-genius inventor.

Do you like the new cover? Here's PART TWO of the closeup breakdown




HuffPo Gabby Sidibe gets in trouble for using the word "Tranny" on television. It's hard to keep up. Gabby is not alone. I also didn't realize this word was now off limits since LGBT people have been using it for years and in names of clubs and dance nights and everything ("Tranny Shack" "Tranny Chasers" etcetera) 
Cinema Blend American Hustle will hit DVD Bluray on March 18th. I wonder if it will have any Oscar wins to tout on its cover? You think?
The Wire attends the Frozen sing-along

TV Blend poster for season 2 of Bates Motel (I wish I had liked that show, but nope.) 
In Contention Guy makes us want to go the Miami Film Festival 
/Film new trailer for Captain America: Winter Soldier includes Emily VanCamp

More on PSH
Slate Dana Stevens' tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Wrap catches us up on 5 current PSH projects and where they stand now that he's gone. Weirdly they leave out the sixth, Ezekiel Moss which he had planned to direct and which had recently cast its leads.
The Guardian on the double standards of drugs and drug laws. Some addicts are viewed empathetically and tragically and others as criminals 

I keep meaning to share this really fun video of all the Best Visual Effects winners at the Oscars from Star Wars through Life of Pi. You've probably seen it already but isn't it a good watch?!


Curio: Philip's Creations

Alexa here. Like Amir, I can't see past the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman this week.  We'd become complacent about his greatness: his presence was one you counted on to keep returning, to keep elevating everything he touched.  I am so glad that I flew to New York just to see him perform with John C. Reilly in the revival of Sam Shepard's True West in 2000; he was, predictably, a dynamo.  While immersing myself in written tributes I've also sought out visual ones; here are some that celebrate a few touchstones in his too-brief career.

Click to read more ...


A Personal Note on Allen/Farrow and a Plea For Sanity

I'm about to pull a Hannah Horvath and make something that's not about me entirely about me for a moment but... I had a really difficult week. As long time readers undoubtedly now, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow as artists and as a unit were largely responsible for making me the cinephile that I am today. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) was a major turning point in my life, the moment that I realized innately if not quite in a self-aware way, how much the movies meant to me.

Woody & Mia in the 80s

I will never be able to thank either of them enough for that gift. Were it not for them, and over the rest of the 80s an actress we should probably just call "Michellyl Glenn Turnstreepfer", I would not be the person I am and you would never have read The Film Experience as it would not exist.

So Allen and Farrow were a superhero duo to wee Nathaniel and their movies, events. To this day, I'd rather think of them that way. I turned up every year from 1984 (Broadway Danny Rose, my older brother drove me because he said "it looks funny") through 1992 (Husbands and Wives, their last film together) even when I had to drag reluctant family or friends. The catatrosphic end of their relationship -- there's no other word for it -- drove Farrow away from Hollywood and thus tarnished her justified place in film history (I hate how often I've had to explain her career/celebrity/talent to people over the years) and permanently tarnished Woody's own reputation; no one who has ever been accused of child molestation, whether or not they are convicted (and Woody was never even charged), is ever presumed innocent again. [more...]

Click to read more ...


Kate Winslet: In Desperate Need of a Career Resurgence

My name is Andy and Kate Winslet is my favorite actress.

From the moment  I saw her walk across the rain-drenched moors to see Willoughby's house in Sense and Sensibility, I was hooked. (I watched that movie nearly once a week in high school - a fact I mentioned to her years later when I met her.) After catching up with her mesmerizing film debut in Heavenly Creatures and seeing her follow-ups to Sense and Sensibility, 1996's Jude and Hamlet, there was no question in my mind; Kate Winslet was the greatest actress of her generation. I wasn't the only one that thought so. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Podcast: Stranger by the Lake

On this week's brief podcast, Nathaniel, Nick, and Joe meet to discuss the erotic French thriller Stranger by the Lake currently in release after a successful multiple-festival run these past several months. But that's not all!

00:00 WGA & Jennifer Tilly
05:00 Frozen wins Annies, musical tangent
09:00 TCM's Oscar Doc
11:00 Actress '74: Burstyn & Rowlands 
14:00 Best acting shorlist this year?
16:00 Coming Soon: Liam Neeson in Non-Stop 
18:00 Stranger by the Lake 

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes and continue it in the comments! 

Stranger by the Guild Lake