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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Sunday
Sep132015

Venice Film Festival Winners

Manuel here. It’s that time of year when it’s hard to keep track of festivals, juries, awards and red carpets. Thankfully, here at TFE we keep you covered on all of the above. While we wait for more reviews out of TIFF, Alfonso Cuarón’s Venice Film Festival jury (which as José singled out had striking fashionistas in its midst) handed out their awards.

From Afar first-time director, Lorenzo Vigas

The big news, if you’re an American Oscar pundit, is that Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl was shunned (gasp!) but if you’re an avid festival goer interested in finding plenty of foreign titles to add to your must-see list of films, the big news was that it was a great day for Latin American cinema with the Golden and Silver Lion going to films from my very own part of the world.

Oh, and Charlie Kaufman’s collaboration with Duke Johnson (the bonkers sounding Anomalisa) won the Grand Jury Prize. Check out the full list below. (Links take you to the Biennale's film descriptions)

Golden Lion: From Afar, Lorenzo Vigas

Silver Lion, Best Director: Pablo Trapero, The Clan

Grand Jury Prize: Anomalisa, dirs: Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson

Anomalisa is a stop-motion picture that was partially funded through Kickstarter

Volpi Cup, Best Actor: Fabrice Luchini, L’Hermine

Volpi Cup, Best Actress: Valeria Golino, Per Amor Vostro

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Abraham Attah, Beasts Of No Nation

Netflix's film is off to a fine start with this festival bow

Best Screenplay: Christian Vincent, L’Hermine

Special Jury Prize: Frenzy, dir: Emin Alper

Vigas's debut (!) film is the first Latin American film to be awarded The Golden Lion. That it is also an LGBT May-December story just makes it all the more exciting. Overall, Cuarón and his jury (which also included Pawel Pawlikowski, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Diane Kruger, Lynne Ramsay, Francesco Munzi, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Elizabeth Banks) look like they made bold choices. Any of them spark your curiosity?

Saturday
Sep122015

TIFF: "Phantom Boy" is a Delight

Our TIFF dispatches are off to a very slow start but it's only because both Amir and myself, Nathaniel, have been cramming so many screenings in on the first few days. For now, a brief animated diversion.

PHANTOM BOY 
French directors Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol were surprise Oscar-nominees just four years ago for A Cat in Paris and they're back with their second full-length feature. You could call this one A Cancer Patient in New York to mentally connect them but that doesn't have a catchy ring to it and wouldn't sell tickets to families.

The subject this time is a remarkable little boy in New York City who leaves his afflicted body in the hospital each night to regularly float above the city. He's become so adept at the astral projection that he helps other patients in the hospital when their spirits start wandering away. 

When his parents leave the hospital each night it's clear that this is now familiar routine as he follows them home where he sees more private moments. When they cry he tenderly averts his gaze from respect at their stiff-upper-lip efforts of composure in the hospital. 

If that makes Phantom Boy sound unusually dour for a cartoon, fear not. It's emotions may spring from its matter of factness about life and death and danger (such a welcome change of pace for a kid's movie) but, as befits a cartoon about a high spirited (sorry) young boy who wants to grow up to be a cop, it's also an funny adventure story. Consider the tagline.

He's eleven, he's invisible, he can fly, and he's got 24 hours to save New York.

Through a series of dastardly crimes and comic misshaps outside the hospital the boy becomes involved in the story of a policemen, also hospitalized, and a His Girl Friday type alpha reporter who are both out to stop a "disfigured" villain (his face is amusingly cubist as opposed to disfigured). The villain is threatening to wipe out New York City with a computer virus.

Though the story begins to feel a touch repetitive towards its derring-do finale, it is never less than pleasant with an engaging story and memorably odd beats. Sometimes the film straight up soars, particularly in its quieter moments when we go flying with the boy, reading a story to his baby sister, or marvelling at the way he slips in and out of his body, sometimes like it's as natural as stretching and other times like he's slipping on clothes that no longer fit as well. Running through the pleasantry and peaks is the always expressive traditional animation, sophisticated sight gags, endearing broadly sketched characters, and a really top-notch long-running joke that keeps threatening to abandon its punchline. Highly recommended.

Grade: B+
Oscar Chances: I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it among the nominees this year if it qualifies. But it's worth noting that their last film A Cat in Paris (2010) didn't show up in the Oscar race until a year after its premiere so this one may float towards the gold in 2016.

Saturday
Sep122015

AHS: Hotel Teaser

My name is Manuel and I have a theory:

American Horror Story Marketing > American Horror Story Show

This latest teaser is but a mere 30 seconds but can you imagine the full season of the upcoming Jessica Lange-less American Horror Story season keeping you as enthralled? [More...]

But then, Ryan Murphy has always been better at teasing than satisfying. His newest iteration of the horror anthology series (Hotel) premieres on October 7th and so we got this titillating teaser to whet our appetite. And boy did it! Highlights after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep112015

Tim's Toons: Corpse Bride, ten years later

Tim here. This past week marked the tenth anniversary of the festival premieres of two very different stop-motion animated features. We've recently chatted a bit about Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, so other than reminding you that it exists, and it's still delightful a decade on, I will pass it by in silence. Instead, I want turn everybody's attention to Corpse Bride, or if you prefer - the boys in marketing clearly did - Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. The second movie's reputation has gone off in a very different direction over the last ten years: while Were-Rabbit remains a touchstone of sorts thanks to its iconic stars, I'll bet that a good number of you just thought, "Huh, Corpse Bride, I forgot all about that".

That’s not unfair. Revisiting it for the first time in most of that same decade, I found it to be visually inventive, and dangerously rushed as a narrative: based on a Russian folk tale of a young man who accidentally weds a beautiful dead woman, the films never quite shakes the sketchy structure of a fable.

more...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep112015

Red Carpet: A Couture Splash at Venice and Meh for TIFF

Diane Kruger wears L-R: Oscar de la Renta, BOSS, Cushnie et Ocs, Prada

Jose here with a very important question: can you imagine deigning to be the film that plays in a theater where Diane Kruger is dressed looking like she always does? Not only does she usually make a case for being the one human being worthy of Best Cinematography awards, she must also distract fellow audience members who can't resist but admire her, rather than see whatever's happening onscreen. The exquisite fashionista has once again been leaving her mark at the Venice Film Festival where she's also serving as a Jury member. First she dazzles in bold Oscar de la Renta, then she's "boss" in BOSS (hardy har-har) and is so confident in the beauty of her dress that she doesn't even bother doing her hair (hats off!), then she lets her hair down in a stunning Cushnie et Ocs jumpsuit, and she finishes off in regal Prada which she wore to the premiere of Everest. Can we now start a campaign to have her be in every Jury for every film festival ever? 

But Diane wasn't the only one giving fashiongasms in Venice! Another Jury member left me speechless. Find out who it is after the jump (and no, it's not Alfonso Cuarón...) 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep112015

3 in One - Pfeiffer, Blanchett , Mara

 Here's Murtada with just released pictures of 3 upcoming projects.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth Madoff
Quick turnaround from the casting announcement, they have already started filming The Wizard of Lies and released the first picture. New cast members have been added to the HBO project including Nathan Darrow (famous for House of Cards' menage a trois with Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey) who will play the Madoff’s younger son Andrew.

Pfeiffer is completely transformed as Ruth Madoff. More...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep102015

"Best Shots" from the Emmy Nominated Series

Andrew here with a special Hit Me With Your Best Shot inspired look at the best looking TV shows (according to Emmy voters).

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards are handed on this Saturday (September 12), the precursor to the main ceremony billed for the next week. So, in anticipation of Saturday's ceremony where all technical and visual prizes will be handed out here's a celebration of the cinematographic side of television.

The cinematography side of TV has been divided into two categories, instead of one, since 2000: Cinematography for a Single Camera Series (most, if not all, dramas on TV right now, and many comedies), Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series (predominantly CBS comedies). (They briefly flirted with dividing the category by episode length in 2008 and 2009 and then returning to this current, which just goes to show how indecisive the Emmy rules committee can be.)

It's easy to see which category Emmy voters consider superior. There are 7 single-camera nominees, and 4 multi-camera nominees, and having watched all eleven episodes we're following their bias and focusing on the single category, too...

CINEMATOGRAPHY FOR A SINGLE CAMERA SERIES NOMINEES

7 nominees across 4 shows to represent the best photograped shows on television. One shot from each show follows to help you decide which to root for on Saturday.

Click to read more ...