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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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Monday
Dec172012

Life of Link

GQ John Smedley's Ian McLean has really good taste. Check out his shoutouts to Michael Fassbender and Cate Blanchett
Stale Popcorn Jean Valjean and Fantine strike a pose 
In Contention on the various screenplays that are ineligible for the WGA and can't therefore get the Oscar bump. As usual there are a lot of them rendering the WGA fairly ineffective as both a predictive precursor and as a competitive prize since it's dealing with so few of the year's movies!

Cinema Blend Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina) is a starlet in demand now. Once you've seen both of those movies, you'll demand her too!
Jean-Pierre Jeunet shares his storyboards from Life of Pi back when Fox was considering him to direct it years and years ago. Interesting inside glimpse of filmmakers grappling with movies they didn't make.
NPR on the hunt for Bin Laden and the accuracy of Zero Dark Thirty. Was it really a woman at the center?

"I think it's a literary device. It's not inaccurate, but it's not wholly accurate," says writer Peter Bergen, who himself has spent many years tracking bin Laden. 

Movie|Line turns out that a very disturbing NC-17ish scene towards the end of Django Unchained (MILD SPOILER: Django is hung upside down completely naked and receives two malevolent visitors) was even more cruel in an earlier cut --  Samuel L Jackson says his character burned Foxx's nipples off.
Celebuzz celebrates the shortest male stars from Jason Statham to Daniel Radcliffe in an infographic
Fox Searchlight you can pretend you're an awards voter by downloading FYC booklets! 

Sunday
Dec162012

Cross Country Critics Champs

To some extent I've lost my taste for covering the critics awards -- at least in depth -- since there are more each year and more which do that coy "nominations first!" thing to try to drum up publicity (it works since the web always needs content... even if the content is the same as the day before as so many of these awards prove!). I'm not trying to be a killjoy -- I'm really not! -- but I guess I have anger issues with my fellow critics since they are all so willing to abandon anything they loved during the year once the year end Oscar movies hit. I challenge everyone to go back and read what critics wrote about Michael Fassbender when Prometheus premiered and then wonder why they can't be bothered with them now... even when they go so far as to announce nominations ?!? Oscar has a bias against genre performances but unfortunately many of the same media voices who complain about this share the same bias in their own year end honors! Someone will have to explain to me how Alan Arkin in Argo and Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook for example are more exemplary examples of Great Film Acting than Fassy in Prometheus. I'd wait but I fear the wait would be longer than the running time of 25 historical epics combined  since who in their right mind would try and justify this verbally even if they votes say differently?

But look at me flying way off track!

So grumpy, me, I apologize! All that said, this year has had a bit more variety in critical winners than some recent years and I do some love reading awards lists. So let's hit four cities and one multi-city stop after the jump and see what they liked most this week... The results are not uninteresting. MORE

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec162012

"Outstanding Cast in a Comedy, Musical or Pleasantry"

Part 1 of 2 [updated: here's pt 2]
In this new edition of the podcast, Nick Davis, Katey Rich and Joe Reid join Nathaniel -- still fighting coughing jags -- to discuss the oddity that is the Golden Globe Comedy or Musical Nominations. Is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen really a comedy? We also cast our own votes in the SAG Ensemble race.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen instead of Bernie?
  • Inflight Movies
  • The absence of real comedies from the nominees
  • HFPA's attack on gay icons: No Barbra???
  • SAG's frustrating "Outstanding Cast" rules and who we would vote for
  • Django Unchained, Ted, Cloud Atlas and more in this free-flowing conversation

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post. But, as always, the podcast isn't complete without you. Join in the discussion and cast your own ensemble and best comedy votes in the comments.

Outstanding Cast & Globe Comedy

Sunday
Dec162012

The Box Office: An Expected Journey

I was so enamored with Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings trilogy a decade ago that it hurts my heart to see him now as merely Smaug, a monstrous collector of coin or even as Gollum, hanging so tight to his precioussssssss (Middle Earth) that he's lost sight of everything that once made him an artist and not a brand. It happens to a lot of über successful people. It's grown increasingly difficult to shake the feeling that his days as a great filmmaker are long gone and maybe ended with the remarkable fantasy trilogy, perhaps casting off to Grey Havens with the elves at the end of The Return of the King. Since then Jackson has made one beautiful but wildly bloated epic (King Kong) that suggested he might have a George Lucas problem (no one willing to tell him "no"), one outright terrible misfire of a whatsit? (The Lovely Bones) that suggested he might not know what the hell he's doing anymore and now The Hobbit, which was a relatively short book that has been stretched into three long films for only one reason: coin.

Maybe that's not a charitable assumption since I haven't seen the film (I REALLY don't want to spoil my Lord of The Rings experience which was beautiful and just-right) but if three big films was enough to cover (grandly) three thick books, three big films is too much to cover one thin one. But on that sordid topic of coin -- we haven't discussed box office in a month -- The Hobbit earned a ton of it though surely not as much as intended given that that seems to have been its entire intent as a cash cow prologue. 

Box Office Top Twenty - Actuals
01 THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY $84.7
02 RISE OF THE GUARDIANS  $7.4 (cum. $71.3) Capsule Review  
03 LINCOLN  $7.2 (cum. $107.8) Podcast Discussion
04 SKYFALL  $7 (cum $272.3) My Review & Deborah's Review
05 LIFE OF PI $5.4 (cum. $69.5) Michael on the Ending
06 THE TWILIGHT: AN EXPECTED ENDING   $5.1  (cum. $276.8)
07 WRECK-IT RALPH $3.2 (cum. $168.7)
08 PLAYING FOR KEEPS $3.2 (cum $10.8)
09 RED DAWN $2.3  (cum $40.8)
10 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK $2 (cum $16.9) Beau's Review

11 FLIGHT  $1.9  (cum. $89.4) Review
12 ARGO $1.1 (cum. $104.9)
13 HITCHCOCK $1 (cum $3) Review
14 KILLING THEM SOFTLY $1  (cum $14.1)
15 ANNA KARENINA $.9 (cum $8.3) Capsule Review

In other moneyed news: Lincoln continues to illustrate that Abraham had long legs and still knows how to use them (100+ million and counting for a talky drama about ideas. WTH? Sasha points out that it's now in the money lead of all the Oscar contenders); Silver Linings Playbook continues to underwhelm (not that it had a chance to break out given that it's a mainstream movie that peculiarly decided to pretend it was an arthouse film); And  Anna Karenina ought to be proud of that gross given the cold shoulder it's gotten from awards bodies. 

Where did you spend your precioussssss coin this weekend?

Sunday
Dec162012

Oscar Chart Retinkering

FWIW, I've been cleaning up the Oscar charts this weekend to fix up the Foreign Submission Charts (every year the announcement of the foreign finalists sneaks up on me and renders much of that work moot!), the multiple categories of short films, animation and documentary as well as reflect the finalist changes in the various score and song rulings. I've also cleaned up the Visual and Screenplay categories. Picture and Director charts didn't require much attention since their two of the only categories that seem to be locking down... though you'll notice I'm still assuming that the rowdy bloody messily entertaining Django Unchained isn't making the inroads that the Globes suggest.

But as for Actor and ActressSupporting Actress and Supporting Actor charts who the hell knows? In all four categories the final shortlist looks blissfully hard to predict after this Week of Precursor Madness (the math of heralded buzzy performances just doesn't add up to 20 nominations!). I love it when this happens because sweet Jesus it's rare.

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?