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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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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Sunday
Dec232012

Lump of Coal, Anyone? Cinematic Shame (Pt 1)

YEAR IN REVIEW

I plan to get all joyously positive from Christmas Eve through January 9th as I share my take on the Best of the Film Year That Was. But I make no promise about my mood come January 10th...  That's the fateful morning when 6,000 Academy voters play puppet master and yank my fragile psyche about with abandon. But until then... And before the Year End Best of hits, we purge.

MOST "OVERRATED" ANYTHING

I know that people quibble with this word and wish it dead and buried. But that's only because they take it far too seriously. It's a silly adjective but silly is fun. One should always take things for what they're worth. No matter who is using the word "overrated" it only ever means:

Other people are under the mistaken impression that this thing I think is merely okay is really great! They are quite wrong."

Unsatisfying performances, miscasting, bad moves in good films and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec222012

Tonight's Celebrity Endorsement Fantasy

She came to check her rank on the Best Actress page but got totally sidetracked by the Kidman interview. It happens.

Saturday
Dec222012

Awards and Advocacy. How Should We Choose "The Best"?

As the critics awards and precursors have piled up this past month, I've begun to realize that I'm having one of my off-consensus years. Some of the frontrunners I'm very fond of (Tommy Lee Jones & Daniel Day-Lewis are both brilliant in Lincoln; I'm not going to pretend otherwise for the sake of shaking up the status quo) but I doubt my final five-wide shortlists in my own Film Bitch Awards will line up with Oscar ...or the general consensus.

The closest my own tastes will align with the masses will surely be within Best Actor. It's one of those years, like 2003, in which nearly all the men with any kind of Oscar buzz deserve to have it. That's such a rarity! Otherwise consensus just isn't happening. I can't see much likelihood of even 60% agreement in any other category. Some of that is due to my stubborn views on Category Fraud but a lot of it is just a matter of taste and refusing to be hemmed in by what is acceptably prestigious; Magic Mike is a way better movie than Argo !

A week ago when I charted the latest development in the critics prizes, I heard the usual round of complaints about my complaint which is, simply put, this: critics groups are just rubber stamping Oscar frontrunners rather than advocating for the unbuzzy but brilliant.

Shouldn't they vote on what they think is best even if that's already obviously what's going to win the gold?

...goes the question from readers. It's a valid one.

[More including my Supporting Actress Longlist after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec222012

Screenplays of '12. Pg 12. "The Dark Knight Rises" 

New daily! I'll be sharing page 12 of every screenplay I've received for 2012 Films. With commentary! Until you get bored. Which maybe you already are? I thought y'all would love the last entry on Zero Dark Thirty but there be crickets.

The following scene is our introduction to the sole bright spot in Chris Nolan's final Batman film. That'd be Anne Hathaway as Catwoman if you were momentarily confused. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I gave the film a positive if unenthused review. It did not age well within the summer, let alone the year. I'd easily name it Chris Nolan's worst film (though I have not seen Insomnia). But anyway... PAGE 12. 

INT. SITTING ROOM. EAST WING, WAYNE MANOR - CONTINUOUS

The Maid looks at FRAMED PHOTOGRAPHS OF RACHEL, THOMAS, and MARTHA WAYNE. Some are half-burned. She notices an ARCHERY TARGET, ARROWS stuck in it. She reaches out - WHAM! AN ARROW STICKS IN THE TARGET - the Maid spins around, FLUSTERED. Wayne, at the other end of the long room lowers a COMPOSITE BOW. Picks up his cane.

                    MAID
I'm, I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Wayne.
It is Mr. Wayne, isn't it? 

Wayne nods, gently. Limps toward her.

                    MAID (CONT'D)
Although you don't have the long
nails...
(nervous laugh)
Or facial scars...

She trails off, embarrassed. Coy. She seems very young. 

                   WAYNE
Is that what they say about me?

                     MAID
It's just that... nobody sees you...

Wayne approaches, slowly. He nods at her PEARL NECKLACE...

Aren't you glad I didn't bore you with the first half of the page which is a scene with Marion Cotillard? Good Chris(t) but Nolan didn't do her any favors by casting her in that picture.

So let's all just focus on Awesome Annie (VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec222012

Les Linkábles

Auteuse Theory has co-written a book on Mamma Mia! of all things "Mamma Mia! The Movie: Exploring a Cultural Phenomenon"
Gawker Audrey Plaza has a nude painting of herself on full display in her home 
The Wrap the best and worst performances by the same actor this year. Interesting concept but SO annoying to pretend Anne Hathaway is anything less than stupendous in Les Misérables 
Badass Digest Here's something unexpected. A piece on the vineyards of France and drinking in the time of Les Miz.

My New Plaid Pants obsession with Amanda Seyfried's 'magical slutty powers' is one of my favorite things on the internet, month in and month out.  I know everyone was excited to read me interviewing my Nicole but I'd honestly pay good money to watch a sit down with JA & Amanda
ME Says is disappointed with Jessica Chastain in The Heiress. This seems to be going around! That won't hurt but can't possibly help her Best Actress bid in Zero...
Awards Daily Sasha crunches numbers on Best Director and predicts doom for Tom Hooper without the Globe nod. Which might well be the case. But the thing I don't quite get, from other pundits, is why everyone has such sudden enthusiasm for Quentin Tarantino's chances. Tarantino movies ALWAYS open with a flurry of people crying "masterpiece" but that's because critics and bloggers are big stans of Quentin (with good reason but I hope you here my point.) Is this "late surge" for Django Unchained real or just a product of Weinstein Co's goodwill with the Globes?

The Playlist The NRA is blaming the movies again for all these gun massacres. I'd LOL if it weren't so terrible. Way to hang on to your destructive agenda in the face of ever more damning proof that it's just that! They are seriously a hideous blight on America. Speaking of...
Penny Arcade has a fine comic about this

Click on the image for more of the comic...

List-Mania
Pop Matters I am embarrassed for all my film friends who love Cloud Atlas but I have to link to Matt Mazur's top ten anyway because otherwise it's interesting!
Critic Wire asks film critics to share the best pieces of film criticism they've read this year. Lots of articles name-checked worth checking out
AV Club best scenes of the year
Pajiba has a great list of enjoyable supporting performances that won't win any awards... let alone Oscars
Screen Crave on the most disappointing films of the year from Django Unchained to The Avengers
Slate ten best of 2012 from How To Survive a Plague through Zero Dark Thirty 

And here is Kevin B Lee's 12 Best of the Year Video Essay from Fandor. (I keep meaning to do more video work and never get around to it. Argh.)

Even most of my critic friends love Silver Linings Playbook. I just don't get the love! But at least it's not a hideous bloated blight on the good name of cinema like Cloud Atlas

Friday
Dec212012

An Evening with Naomi Watts

Jose here to talk about Naomi Watts. She's having a great month. First, she won Best Actress nominations from both the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes for her work in The Impossible (opening today!). Then she got a hell of an endorsement from Reese Witherspoon who promised she'd "tap dance on Sunset Blvd." to get her an Oscar for this movie. If other people in Hollywood start feeling she's as good as Meryl in Sophie's Choice (Reese's words) Naomi's stars might be finally aligning for a statuette.


Earlier this week I attended a preview screening of The Impossible (hosted as part of 92Y's Reel Pieces series) which was preceded by a Q&A with Watts. She discussed working with green screens, working with boy wonder Tom Holland (nominated for Best Young Actor at the "Critics Choice" Awards) and spent a surprising amount of time discussing her work in Mulholland Dr. But, hey, a lot of us have been talking about that for years as well!

[Mulholland Dr, King Kong and The Impossible after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec212012

Foreign Film Oscar Finalists Offer Surprises and a Cold Snap

Each year, while I struggle to keep up with the foreign film submission charts and my sisyphean effort to find screenings or screeners of the 50 to 70+ films each year, Oscar's Foreign Film Nominating Committe cuts me off at the knees in my efforts. They always axe the bulk of the submissions and narrow the field to nine just as I've begun to make headway. Each year, I struggle to understand why nine? Ten (or more) would surely be easier to take for the finalists who did not find themselves Oscar nominated the following month. They could content themselves with a 50/50 chance, and consider it a toss of the coin misfortune rather than 'Nah, we don't like you so much!' 

"Kon Tiki", Norway's most expensive movie ever, is an epic adventure about explorer Thor Heyerdal. The Weinstein Co will handle US distribution.

The finalists, a surprisingly chilly bunch whether through auteur sensibility or subject matter (Austria, Canada, Romania) or actual wintry or wet physical temperatures (Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland) are...

  • Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director; REVIEWED
  • Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;
  • Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director; REVIEWED
  • Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;
  • France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
  • Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;
  • Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
  • Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director; REVIEWED
  • Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director

Oscar Season Giveth
We knew that short of a voting catastrophe, Amour -- winner of numerous scrolls, plaques, and "you're great!" knicknacks --  would be here and perhaps need only fend off France's global hit for the gold. But I'm personally most thrilled for the delightfully ugly Chilean entry No which seemed like a longer shot than it turned out to be. (I had predicted it as a finalist but I admit that that was more wishful thinking than savvy prophesy!) Voters tend to favor traditionally "beautiful" movies in this category but No purposely goes for a cruddier VHS-inspired look and that aesthetic decision turns out to be super effective in the film's seamlessly well edited mix of acted and found footage from the Chilean political upheaval. As a Scandinavian Nut (my ancestry is Danish and I speak very broken Norwegian) I'm always happy to see those countries in the mix. I haven't yet seen Kon-Tiki but A Royal Affair is a fine costume piece that starts out deceptively traditional only to reveal itself in the telling as a surprisingly resonant political drama. That said, it's modern resonance is deeply  nfortunate. Tis a pity that we still have to fight the wars that should have been won from The Enlightenment centuries ago! But no, the rich are still preying on the poor, and still using shamelessly self-serving deceit and distortion to insure that a great many normal civilians keep buying into the system that oppresses them in favor of wealthy parasites -- just check out what Boehner and the GOP are up to every day!

Oscar Season Taketh Away
I personally loved The Philippine entry Bwakaw which is no longer in the running. I knew it was a more modest effort than they usually go for but I hoped its well modulated character study about a senior citizen and his beloved dog would melt their hearts. I had also hoped to see Spain's clever Snow White riff Blancanieves in the mix in the off chance that I could find a way to propose to Macarena Garcia and/or Sergio Dorado at an Oscar function (kidding! but they are beautiful) or be able to discuss silent films at the Oscars for the second year running (not kidding!).

The most high profile omissions are surely festival noise-makers Caesar Must Die from Italy, Fill the Void from Israel, and Barbara from Germany -- all three countries are frequent Oscar fixtures. The snub for the Golden Lion winner Piéta from South Korea isn't as surprising since Oscar is weirdly resistant to Asian cinema if the names Akira Kurosawa or Ang Lee aren't prominent in the credits.

How are you feeling about the Foreign Finalists and which do you think we'll be nominated? [SEE THE UPDATED CHART