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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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JASON CLARKE INTERVIEW

"I loved Clarke's scenes with Edgerton in The Great Gatsby. I thought, oh now I'm watching men not boys, and now I'm watching actors not movie stars.-Adri

"He has become someone I look for in films because he always comes across with such honesty." -Henry

 

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Saturday
Dec152012

Interview: Michel Franco, Director of Mexico's Foreign Film Submission "After Lucia"

Amir here. This year’s foreign language film race at the Oscars is so unusually packed with auteur names and festival successes that the typically middle-brow branch will really have to try hard not to get things right. Among this wealth of possibilities, one of the titles we haven’t heard much about is Mexico’s submission, After Lucia. I recently had the chance to watch the film and I was blown away by it. So much so that it now sits at the number one spot on my favourites of 2012.

It’s a confidently directed, outrageously frank study of bullying in the schools of Mexico through the experience of a teenager named Alejandra (brilliantly played by newcomer Tessa Ia). The richly conceived film reveals much while saying very little. Economically filmed and sharply edited, After Lucia is a devastating experience but an absolutely vital one. Yet, it’s too easy to see why Oscar pundits haven’t given it much thought. The voters in this branch have often preferred their social commentary sugar-coated and this type of brutality can make them feel like they’re subjected to the Ludovico technique. But before we write off its chances, let’s remember that Greece’s Dogtooth, winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes -- which After Lucia also won,  found its way to the ceremony. And After Lucia might benefit from its tender subject matter and the delicate story of Alejandra and her single father who are dealing with death of the family's mother (the titular Lucia).

On the occasion of the film’s submission to the Academy, I spoke with the film’s director, Michel Franco, who took time off from post-production work on his next film to chat about After Lucia, the issue of bullying and his cinematic influences.  

AMIR: What was the starting point of the project for you? The family angle or the bullying angle?

MICHEL FRANCO: The point of the project, at first, was to deal with a father and daughter coming to terms with the death of the family’s mother. It had nothing to do with violence or bullying. As the project developed the bullying story became more important. The thing is, in life you always deal with a lot of things at the same time. The way each of these characters dealt with grief led me to the violence that exists in our society on a daily basis. Those things combined, and that’s what I thought was worth making this film about. [MORE AFTER THE JUMP]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec152012

The "Makeup and Hairstyling" Seven

Another day, another Oscar decision. The Academy's Makeup branch has narrowed the field in their annual bakeoffs and selected the following seven films as the best of the best in the Oscar category of Makeup and Hairstyling. They'll be whittled down to three for Nomination Morning on January 10th.

Will it be Les Miz's abused poor or Lincoln's bewigged politicians for the Hair and Makeup Oscar?

They are:

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Lincoln
  • Looper
  • Men in Black 3
  • Les Misérables
  • Snow White and the Huntsman 

HAPPINESS! I'm shocked ("Best" usually meaning "Most" with Oscar) but ever so relieved that I'll never have to look at those hideous faces from Cloud Atlas again; Tom Hanks' yellow buck teeth and various facial hairdonts will haunt me forever even without clip reels!

Among these potential nominees I think Les Misérables and Lincoln are obviously worthy choices for films with extensive and great spell-casting in this particular arena of movie magic. I'm also glad that my early pundit insistence that Snow White and the Huntsmen would be taken seriously by the guilds has come to pass despite some people feeling I was high at the time.

INDIFFERENCE! I don't really thrill to the makeup work in Hitchcock, but I realize that that might have more to do with my issues with Sir Anthony Hopkins who isn't particularly gifted at mimicry, than at the prosthetics aimed to create the illusion of the ressurection of The Master of Suspense. 

SADNESS! I had hoped against hope to see Holy Motors among the actual nominees on January 10th since so much of the film's narrative involves Denis Lavant's makeup applications. (I hoped for it in the way I hoped for The Devil Wears Prada to win a rare contemporary nomination for costume design but that time there was a happy ending.) And I even had a only-in-my-imagination debate about who would get the nomination if The Paperboy made it to the finals. After all those statements about Lee Daniels forcing Nicole Kidman to do her own hair and makeup, would Nicole Kidman be eligible for two Oscar nominations for her latest flirtation with her own bonafide genius?

Saturday
Dec152012

Welcome Home Linky Carmichael

Deadline "We own a hotel, Norman Bates" the trailer to spring TV series Bates Motel with commentary from Vera Farmiga as Mrs. Bates.
Clothes on Film looks at the subtextual costuming of Cabin in the Woods 
The Deleted Scene says goodbye to its DVD collection and owning physical copies of films in general 
LA Times five things to be gleaned from the Globe nods 

The Carpetbagger details the dancing and QT craziness of the Django Unchained party in New York. No, I was not invited but I'm happy to read that Uma made a strong showing.
CHUD on Quentin Tarantino's recommendation that you see Navajo Joe (1966) before you see Django
Guardian In a truly weird piece on Les Misérables, Hannah Betts wonders if US audiences can deal with its bad teeth and... here's the weird part... bromance. Errr... maybe I'm not getting a British joke here but Les Miz never had much of that to play or play down. 

List Mania
Vulture the ten best SNL sketches of the year from Disney Princesses to Lincoln 
New York Times Manohla Dargis weirdly makes her own top ten a sort of after-thought post-script to an essay about box office and independent filmmakers. 
Slant Magazine's top 25 films of the year including Magic Mike, Cosmopolis, Lincoln, Holy Motors and Oslo August 31st

Today's Watch
Here's Winona Ryder starring in The Killers new video "Here With Me" with Submarine star Craig Roberts which was directed by Tim Burton of all people. It's surprisingly non-baroque art-direction wise for a Burton production but I kind of love it. 

This is not Noni's first time at the rodeo (of music video) given her predilection for rock stars or, well, rock star like actors. Remember her Debbie Gibson in "Deborah Gibson is Pregnant With My Love Child" ?

P.S. Before anyone asks again I plan to have the Nicole Kidman interview up on Monday to celebrate the Oscar ballots going out. 

Saturday
Dec152012

Alan Cumming on Mutant Sequels, Drag Queens, Gay Rights

I recently had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with one of my favorite performers, Alan Cumming. I say "performer" rather than actor only because his career has been so diverse what with the albums, movies, tv, film, theatrical engagements, political activism, and all around celebrity eclecticism and experimentation. It's difficult to pin him down which is, I'm sure, something that would please him.

In my interview with Alan for Towleroad we talk about his new gay 70s drama Any Day Now (with the ever versatile Garret Dillahunt as his screen partner), The Good Wife, and his feelings about seeing himself in drag.

I look like a horse with a wig on. I'm not a pretty girl

I also spoke with him briefly about his time as Nightcrawler which I didn't include in the interview for space and context reasons. Though Cumming made a cloudy splash as the teleporting pointy-tailed mutant in X-2: X-Men United -- still the best of the X-Films -- they didn't exercize his option to bring him back for X-Men 3: The Last Stand. I told him he'd dodged a bullet missing the worst of the franchise though I wondered if he'd be up for reprising the role for the proposed Days of Future Past installment? Cumming reminded me that Nightcrawler isn't in that particular famous story arc but quickly acknowledged that utter fidelity wasn't exactly an expectation of blockbuster franchise adaptations. Though he described the X2 shoot as "arduous" he thinks he'd have an easier go of it now though he hadn't seen either of the later entries, referring to the recent X-Men First Class as only 'the Michael Fassbender'. Hey, that's how we think of it, too!

Do you watch Alan on The Good Wife? Would you love to see the return of Nightcrawler in the X-Franchise?

 

Friday
Dec142012

I Want To Squeeze You, Please You

JA from MNPP here - I don't want to speak for Nathaniel, but I can't imagine him having to do one of his patented "Yes No Maybe So" takes on this here first teaser for Pedro Almodovar's next flick, a comedy called I'm So Excited - as in The Pointer Sisters' big hit song, which we see some male flight attendants perform therein. I can't imagine Nat having to to a "Yes No Maybe So" since this is Almodovar, and it is always HELL YES with Almodovar. 

So I will just present it unto you, in hopes it can maybe put a smile on your face on this dreary horrible day. And I will add this informational nugget - I stole pizza from a pizza party that The Pointer Sisters were having during a drag show I attended when I was in college in the late 90s, and that's all this song ever makes me think of. So thanks for the pizza, ladies!

[UPDATE: The comedy about a flight where passengers begin to reveal their secrets to one another when the plane runs into trouble will feature familar Pedro regulars Javier Cámara (Talk to Her), Lola Dueñas (Volver) Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother), Carmen Machi (Broken Embraces) and a lot of new blood. Actors doing just their second tour of duty for the great auteur including Paz Vega ("Amparo" in Talk to Her), José Luis Torrijo (a doctor in All About My Mother), Antonio de la Torre ("Paco" in Volver) and Blanca Suarez ("Norma" in The Skin I Live In). We will also see quite a few Pedro virgins, most of them male: Hugo Silva, Miguel Angel SilvestreRaúl Arévalo, Willy Toledo, José María Yazpik, Carlos Areces, and the lone new actress Laya Martí. What's more, according to Fotogramas, the comedy will also feature Pedro's movie star darlings Penelope Cruz & Antonio Banderas though they don't appear in this 47 second look.]

Friday
Dec142012

Is a Spike Lee Comeback in Store?

Amir here looking back into the non-fiction pool. With so many films still left to watch from this year’s crop, I haven’t yet had the chance, or in fact the desire, to sit down and sift through the list of 2013 releases. But there are a few titles that I’m sure will pop up on my eventual list of most anticipated films and chief among them is the remake of Oldboy; not just because the Korean original is one of the most divisive films of the past decade, but also because I’ve been waiting for a long time to see a real comeback by Spike Lee.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Lee became one of America’s most influential cinematic voices and directed two masterpieces that remain among his very best work to this day: Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X. But I think it’s fair to say that none of his recent films, at least since the 2006 double punch of When the Levees Broke and The Inside Man, have been able to enter public conversation or the awards race. Fiction projects like Miracle at St. Anna were coolly received and documentaries like If God is Willing... didn’t make a dent either. [more after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec142012

Hats Off to Mr. Jackson

Michael C here to sound some trumpets for a fine actor's return from the wilderness. There are many pleasures to be found in Django Unchained, but for me the most satisfying was being able to unambiguously love a Samuel L. Jackson performance for the first time in what feels like forever. 

Let's be frank, Jackson has always been a guy who would cheerfully say yes to just about any script that was correctly formatted. But at least back in the 90’s he would throw in an Eve’s Bayou or a Jackie Brown every once in a while. Over the last decade, however, his time has been divided between coasting on his star presence in blockbusters or squandering his considerable talent in straight up dreck like The Man or The Spirit. What attempts he has made at meaningful work have largely been dumped directly in the straight-to-video bin. (Home of the Brave anyone?) The last performance of his that left any impression on me was 2000’s Unbreakable, although your mileage may vary. Black Snake Moan had its fans, as did The Caveman’s Valentine. Whatever the case, there’s no denying the internal compass he possesses for choosing projects is severely miscalibrated.

But now there is his work in Django and damn does it feels good to seem him nail it in a big way. Jackson gave what is basically one of my favorite performances ever in Pulp Fiction and Tarantino has handed him another winner. He plays Stephen, the most trusted slave of Leo’s malevolent plantation owner and the two of them share a terrific, twisted chemistry. In terms of thematic weight Stephen's importance to the story is second only to Foxx's Django, and Jackson makes a meal out of every second of screen time. It’s a devious, deceptively simple performance. A late in the film monologue in particular should have Oscar voters second guessing whether DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, who were both Golden Globe nominated, are really the Django performances to unite behind in the awards game.

Jackson may very well turn around and follow this up with another decade of crapola (the XXX sequel listed on his IMDb page doesn’t bode well) but for now I’m pleased to see he has another performance that can stand proudly alongside Jules Winfield, Gator Purify and Sean Nelson’s alcoholic, chess playing father from Fresh (Rent it!)