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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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Saturday
Dec142013

Team FYC: Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Enough Said

Team FYC lets Film Experience contributors highlight their favourite fringe contenders for awards season. Here's David Upton on a sitcom star moving mediums.

Times have changed since George Clooney made the stratospheric leap into movie stardom after leaving ER. The avalanche of cable shows starring former box office headliners over the past few years have gone some way towards reducing the gulf between the two mediums. Julia Louis-Dreyfus currently plays her frantic neuroticism big on the small screen, as a harried, ambitious and fatigued vice president on HBO’s Veep. But she also side-stepped seamlessly into Nicole Holofcener’s big screen world of anxious, middle-aged, middle-class white women as Eva, a divorced masseuse in Enough Said. Next to the sharp, caustic wit of Armando Iannucci’s political sass, Holofcener’s script is a warmer, more delicate thing, and Louis-Dreyfus tones it down for the bigger screen.

While the more intimate focus of Enough Said makes for a more enjoyable, astute film than Holofcener’s recent ensemble films, it’s Louis-Dreyfus who gives the proceedings a different tone than the more bitter screen presence of Holofcener's usual leading lady Catherine Keener (in a supporting role this time). While Enough Said isn’t the type of film that calls for a star turn, Louis-Dreyfus shades Eva with her long-established persona without letting it overwhelm the film. Eva instantly makes sense as a character without being too familiar – it’s a delicate combination of persona and performance that’s much harder than Louis-Dreyfus makes it look. It’s a shorthand that she never uses as a crutch – instead, it’s a springboard she uses to etch deeper, more painful shades into Eva and her relationships with the other characters.

As ever, Julia is a generous screen partner. Her warm but nervy presence brings out new qualities in the people that surround Eva, particularly the vulnerable pride in James Gandolfini’s Albert. She aces the comic notes without making them gratuitous, instead making them organic to Eva’s neurotic, frazzled personality. JLD effortlessly gets both the size and shape of the film, she's at once luminous as its star and awkwardly humbled as Eva often feels; the emotional movements are gentle but feel seismic, because Louis-Dreyfus so openly makes Eva and the film inseparable entities. Enough Said feels so much lighter for her presence, but she assures that it lands its darkest moments with graceful power.

related post
Julia Louis-Dreyfus interviewed

Friday
Dec132013

Happy Birthday, Dick Van Dyke

Tim here. Saving Mr. Banks opens in New York and Los Angeles today, and Mary Poppins made its debut on Blu-ray this past Tuesday in a "50th Anniversary" edition bumped up a year for maximum cross-promotion effectiveness. Doubtlessly, neither of those events was timed to coincide with the birthday of Mary Poppins co-star Dick Van Dyke, who turns 88 years old today, but the confluence of events was just too perfect to pass up. Let us then spare a moment to thank one of the greatest avuncular figures in American pop culture in this moment when his most important film role has been brought back into the limelight so enthusiastically (though Van Dyke, as a character, is barely a blip in the context of Saving Mr. Banks, taking the form of an unbilled performance by Kristopher Kyer).

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec132013

TGIF: What's Your Favourite Award Presentation?

Glenn here. It's Friday, which for a lot of people means the weekend. If, like me, you don't work a traditional 9 to 5 job then it means nothing at all. Except, of course, it becomes socially acceptable to be up until 4am watching movies. I have an OFCS ballot that is incomplete and I've only got 30 hours to watch all the contenders!

Of course, I'll never actually get to watch them if I spend my time continuously watching clips from award shows, which is something that inevitably happens during the season. It's a sickness, I swear. Inspired by yesterday's Golden Globe nominations and watching Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell present musical/comedy actress at this year's award show for about the 100th time. Apropos of it being the end of the week, here are some of my favourites, but how about yours? 

Friday
Dec132013

'Gravity', 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Kamasutra 3D' (!) Among 141 Eligible for Original Score

Was 2013 a weak year for film scores? I feel like it was. At least in terms of the scores that Oscar's music branch would pay attention to. I mean, four of my favourite scores of the year aren't even eligible! They would be Great Expectations (Richard Hartley), A Touch of Sin (Giong Lim), Lore (Max Richter - my no. 1 from 2012, but not released in US until this year), and Only God Forgives (Cliff Martinez). Also not eligible for whatever reasons are Lone Survivor (Stephen Jablonsky), Frozen, Inside Llewyn Davis (T-Bone Burnett), and Nebraska (Mark Orton) - sorry Anne Marie!


I'm sure there is plenty of excellent music featured amongst this year's 141 (the documentary win this year's bragging rights, then) eligible scores, but Oscar will only look at about 10 or 12. Sorry Joseph Bishara - your abrasive strings on Insidious: Chapter 2 and The Conjuring just won't factor despite their effectiveness. Sorry Daniel Hart - your clapping melodies on Ain't Them Bodies Saints just aren't going to get enough ears listening. Sorry Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory - your score for Kamasutra 3D (!!!) will not be considered, but boy am I intrigued!?!?

 

Out in front are Gravity (Stephen Price), 12 Years a Slave (Hans Zimmer) and Philomena (Alexandre Desplat - the moment I saw his name in the credits I though "instant nomination!"), with Saving Mr Banks (Thomas Newman), The Book Thief (John Williams) rounding out Nathaniel's own predictions and both feel like likely nominees. But what of newcomer Alex Ebert and All is Lost, a globe nominee yesterday. Musicians might be inclined to reward the way he kept a film with one actor who barely talks interesting. There'a also Mark Heffes' Globe nominee for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

One to keep an eye out for too is Craig Armstrong for The Great Gatsby. I figured it would be deemed not significant enough given the film's preference to songs, but there it is and he's already been cited by several places including the Grammys. Henry Jackman should also be on the Oscar watch radar for Captain Phillips, likewise Hans Zimmer (again) for Rush, Randy Newman for Monsters University, Danny Elfman for Oz: The Great and Powerful and Howard Shore for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I may not necessarily be fans of those scores (I haven't seen The Hobbit sequel), but those names should never be discounted.

I doubt Oscar will spread itself beyond those names, as much as I'd like The Missing Picture (Marc Marder), Mud (David Wingo), The Place Beyond the Pines (Mike Patton), Stoker (Clint Mansell), and The Wind Rises (Joe Hasaishi) to show up. Lastly, and perhaps of interest to nobody but myself, some of Danny Elfman's best work in years from Errol Morris' The Unknown Known is not included on the long list. However, given the likes of The Armstrong Lie and Tim's Vermeer are included it's not for the reasons that Errol Morris seems to think. Curious.

See the full list after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec132013

Three Christmas Movies for Friday the 13th

Anne Marie here to spread some holiday scares. Friday the 13th has crept up on us again, bringing joy to thousands of horror fans. If you're a Christmas lover, then these three movies should scratch that holiday horror movie itch. And if you hate the holiday season, then that's all the more reason to watch an evil naked Santa go on a murder spree. 

Black Christmas (1976) - This is considered a slasher classic alongside its more famous calendar-themed cousin, Halloween. Black Christmas follows a group of sorority sisters in what I swear must be Canada as a deranged unseen killer picks them off one by one. The cast alone is worth the watch: Olivia Hussey six years after Romeo & Juliet, Margot Kidder two years before Superman, and Andrea Martin twenty six years before she fondled John Corbett's hair and offered him lamb in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. While the kills themselves are relatively tame by today's ridiculously gory standards, the true chills in the film come from the babbling and screaming phone calls the killer makes to the sorority house every time he claims a new victim.I should point out that Black Christmas was remade in 2006. However, I'm hoping that a Christmas miracle will happen and the remake will be vanish, never to be seen again.

 

Gremlins (1984) - The Gremlins are proof that giving your kid a pet for Christmas can be a very, very bad idea. This 80's classic strikes a very difficult balance. On the one hand, it is adorable, as when the fluffy mogwai Gizmo drives a toy car around a department store for the last third of the film. On the other hand, it can be downright violent, as when the gremlins murder a neighbor by causing her stairlift to fling her out a window. Overall, the flim tends to err on the side of campy humor: Gremlins get drunk, breakdance, and mostly act like tiny, lizard-like bros at a frat party. This mischief and mayhem make Gremlins the most light-hearted movie on this list. Fun trivia: Gremlins is actually responsible (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) for the creation of the PG-13 rating. Apparently the MPAA agreed that mogwais were too cute for an R rating but too bloody for a PG one instead.

 

Rare Exports: A Christmas Story (2010) - "He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good. And he doesn't give a ****!" Finnish horror movies have a strange sense of humor. In Rare Exports, an archaeological dig uncovers an old man with a long white beard frozen in stasis. When he awakens, he immediately starts kidnapping children and hauling them away in potato sacks. For this monster is only the helper to Santa Claus. The true Father Christmas is far, far worse. This movie gets serious points for being one of the most bizarre reinterpretations of the Santa Claus mythos. On top of that, it's an engaging, funny, scary movie. I promise you'll never look at mall Santas the same way again.

 What scary ghost stories do you save for the holidays? Post your Friday the 13th suggestions below. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fright

Friday
Dec132013

Team FYC: The Evil Dead's Make-up

We're looking at our favorite fringe awards contenders just to widen the conversation. Here's JA on the drenched-with-everything Deadites of The Evil Dead reboot.

Happy Friday the 13th, folks! In the spirit of the day, let us make a wish upon a star (a very very far away star, and probably a red one for all the gore... a red dwarf, then!) that we lived in a world where not only the dead could rise again, but that they would do so to walk upon the stage of the Oscar telecast to collect a trophy for Best Make-Up And Hairstyling. (Granted we're ignoring the latter half of the award's title here - dead people are decidedly hair-don't.) As Nathaniel mentions in his Oscar predictions when he lists World War Z and Warm Bodies as most distant nomination possibilities, for some strange reason the Academy just doesn't nominate zombie films... so let us bridge the gap! The bad guys in The Evil Dead universe aren't zombies. They are dead-ish people possessed by demons. Totally different!

In all seriousness (alright, half seriousness) while Fede Alvarez's reboot of Sam Raimi's much-loved slash much-reviled series was greeted by many fans and non-fans alike with something akin to the emotional equivalent of projectile vomit (although I'll admit I personally enjoyed the heck out of it), the one non-negotiable highlight for fan and non-fan alike has got to be the film's old-school dedication to practical make-up and prosthetic magic. The team behind the Evil Dead reboot managed to honor the original designs of deplorable Deadite decay and destruction, while whipping it up into a modern day supernatural frenzy of red and green and black-as-sin fluids drenching every which corner of the screen. (And maybe right out into the theater itself? I felt deliciously dirtied by it, anyway.)

Did The Dallas Buyers Club show Jared Leto saw off his own arm with an electric carving knife? It most assuredly did not, even though it most assuredly would've been the better film for it. Remind me of the part in American Hustle where it rained fifty-thousand thousand gallons of blood from the sky? Oh wait that didn't happen, because suck it American Hustle. Get back to me when Jennifer Lawrence believably swallows somebody's soul and then maybe we'll talk. (Fab hair though, Jen.)