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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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Monday
Dec162013

"Critics Choice" Nominees - 19 Years of American Hustling

If they made a biopic of the BFCA it would be called 12 Years a Pundit... er, excuse me. 19 Years a Pundit. The BFCA (of which, full disclosure, I am a member) is in its 19th year of Oscar prognostication movie awardage and this year we've fallen hard for 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle both of which won three acting nominations and 10 additional nominations each. The "Critics Choice" list is the last big set we'll get before Oscar sounds off in one month's time.

So what have we got here?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec162013

Joan Fontaine (1917-2013)

First Peter O'Toole, and now Joan Fontaine (née Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland)? It's going to be a rough week. Hollywood lost another of its living giants this weekend when Ms Fontaine passed away of natural causes at 96 years of age. The two-time Hitchcock heroine, bizarrely the only actor to ever win an Oscar in one of his films, is survived by her daughter Debbie and her older estranged sister Olivia. Though Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland are the most successful sister movie stars of all time (both A listers, Oscar winners, and stars of at least one immortal classic) they were famously competitive, never got on well, and haven't spoken since 1975!

The actress would undoubtedly shoot us one of those delicious cocked eyebrow looks to hear her sister mentioned so prominently in all of her obituaries but Old Hollywood Mythology is too enticing to ignore. 

Though her career was very successful in the 40s, the 50s weren't as kind and like many Oscar winning actresses of her time she went Grande Dame Guignol in the 60s (American Horror Story didn't invent the stunt casting tradition of aging Best Actress winners in horror flicks); her last film was the Hammer Horror The Witches (1966). Have any of you seen it?

Five Must-Sees For Your Queue: The Women (1939), Rebecca (1940, Best Actress nomination, Best Picture winner), Suspicion (1941 Best Actress Oscar), The Constant Nymph (1943, Best Actress nomination) and Letters from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Sunday
Dec152013

Podcast: Awards Week Blowout Special

Nathaniel is back from his Iceland trip and going regional with JoeNick, and Katey for a one hour discussion of the barrage of film critics prizes from New York, Detroit, Boston and San Diego. And another thing: are LA's "ties" okay with this panel? 

Afterwards we pick on the Screen Actors Guild and their bizarre All is Lost joke (no Redford in actor but a stunt ensemble nomination when there's only one character and Redford did his own stunts?!)  and the team splits on the quality of Rush, recently resurgent thanks to SAG. Then we're on to the  Golden Globes for a discussion of the troublesome Comedy/Drama divide (read Joe's article for context) and we pick the best and worst of their nominees.

Also discussed: Jennifer Lawrence's backlash, Greta Gerwig's surprise, Forest Whitaker's acting, Leonardo DiCaprio's elusiveness, 12 Years a Slave's power, Philomena's luck, Dallas Buyers Club's ensemble, Wolf of Wall Street's editing, and Fruitvale Station's potential.

You can listen here or download the conversation on iTunes

Awards Week Blowout

Sunday
Dec152013

Film Critics Popping Out Awards All Over the Place

Another day, another ten film critics awards. This eventually slows down or we eventually tune it out whichever comes first. The tuning out happens mostly when we reach the "no new names" part which looks to have happened this very weekend. I'm guessing, for example, that San Diego's Shailene Woodley pick and Kansas' Michael Fassbender selection are the last "new" names in the acting categories we'll hear. People just can't tear themselves away from Leto & Blanchett even though there are many rich performances worth honoring. Chiwetel Ejiofor is getting there, too. Just about the only category in which there's little consensus is Supporting Actress but that has only three names for film critics: Lupita, Jennifer and June.

But let's march on to the prizes from San Fran, San Diego, Kansas and Houston...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec152013

Year in Review: Box Office Bonanzas

YEAR IN REVIEW FESTIVITIES BEGIN NOW! 
Cue: confetti, trumpets, fainting women, ornery cinephiles, and orgasmic actressexuals™. This is Part One of Millions! Hundred$ of Million$

We'll start with the commerce and work our way to the art. So herewith the tops in various money categories for your mental ledgers.

Top Per-Screen Arthouse Opening
BLUE JASMINE $102,011 (6 Theaters)
Runner Up: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS $101,353 (4 Theaters)
* Disclaimer both AMERICAN HUSTLE & FROZEN beat these numbers but those were fake-outs clearly on their way to wide mainstream moviehouses, rather than intended as platform specialty films.

Woody Allen's 'Streetcar meets Madoff Scandal' hit started even stronger than his biggest modern hit Midnight in Paris. It didn't end up making as much but then Blue Jasmine was a fair bit more depressing and riches to less riches is elemental to its DNA. Meanwhile the Coen Bros, like Woody Allen but with more regular crossover potential, can always bank on a hardcore fanbase to sell out those initial shows.

Katniss, McConaughey & McCarthy, Iron Men and Naked French Lesbians after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec152013

Remembering Peter O'Toole

Screen legend Peter O’Toole died today at age 81. The eight-time Oscar nominee retired from acting last year after a 50-year-long career that included iconic roles in The Lion in Winter, Lawrence of Arabia, and My Favorite Year. His filmography ran the gamut of genre, from slapstick comedy (How to Steal a Million) to period drama (Beckett) to animation (Ratatouille) to undefinably weird (The Ruling Class). Only recently, O’Toole made the Film Experience Team Top 10 Greatest Losers list twice for his roles. His performances were often surprising, always brave, and never boring,

 

Peter O’Toole means a great deal to me. The first time I encountered him was on a miserable day when I was sick at home. I happened to flip to The Lion in Winter, and was immediately shocked from my stupor by the crackling energy and vicious repartee he swapped with Katharine Hepburn. Watching them felt like touching a live wire. Years later, when I told my mother that I didn’t like epics, she sat me down for 3 ½ hours of The Lawrence Of Arabia. I was made into a believer, and I have loved him ever since.

Peter O’Toole played insanity better than any other actor, and considering the old adage that it takes a madman to play one, maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. He was the Irishman who turned down a knighthood. He was the actor who tried to refuse an honorary Oscar on the basis that "I am still in the game and might win the bugger outright." He was a handsome star with striking blue eyes that carried a hint of madness in them. He was a poet, and according to drinking buddy Richard Harris he could be a bit of a bastard too. All in all, he was a marvel of a man.

Goodbye, Mr. O’Toole. To borrow a line from The Lion in Winter: we would have been great fools not to love you.

(Post your favorite performances and memories in the comments below.)