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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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AVENGERS 2 - REVIEWED 

"Black Widow's brief flashback is making me root for a "Black Widow" movie just so we can see more of Julie Delpy. " -IRVIN

"We saw this at an afternoon matinee that was jammed full of kids in the audience. But instead of finding them irritating, I found it strangely liberating. I felt free to be just as inattentive and easily bored as they were." -ADRI


 

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Friday
Nov152013

Links with an Invisible Glass of Moët

Inside Movies Andrew Lincoln looks back at "to me you are perfect" from Love Actually
MNPP wants to watch Only God Forgives again. Are you also experiencing these deviant feelings?
Ultra Culture anatomy of most Blue is the Warmest Color "reviews" 

In Contention wonders if Will Forte can win Best Supporting Actor traction for Nebraska - well the category is amorphous still...
BuzzFeed saw fit to rank every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Such a mammoth project so even if you quibble with the ranking -- and boy do I (love "Beer Bad") --you have to respect 
Gawker weeping through The Best Man Holiday 
Pajiba how to prepare yourself for the release of Nicolas Cage's nude photos 

And while I was in Los Angeles earlier this week the Moët British Independent Film Award nominations were announced. I love little weird awards groups like this (the corporate titling not so much) because you can't tie them to "ooh, they're trying to influence the Oscars" which is just about the most boring thing you can possibly do if you're a group thinking of handing out awards. No matter what your group is, if it has no character, personality or purpose outside of predicting another groups awards, QUIT - the world doesn't need you! But anyway... here's a complete list of nominations in case you missed them as I did. They were big fans of the bleak with the violent Starred Up and Clio Barnard's festival gem The Selfish Giant leading the nominations. They also approved of Metro Manila which is the UK's Oscar submission. But they also found room for more mainstream senior Brit efforts like Philomena with Judi Dench and Le Week-End starring Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan.

What a World: Ralph Fiennes & Kristin Scott Thomas are co-stars again. But this time he's sleeping with her screen daughter. Here's why I spit out my Moët, though. They ignored 12 Years a Slave in "International Film" and had a reaction to Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman that I find not only puzzling but deeply lazy. They nominated it only for Best Actress (Felicity Jones, whose appeal still escapes me like crazy) and Best Supporting Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas). Now y'all know I am an über fan of KST but if you're handing out acting prizes to that movie and you DON'T start with Joanna Scanlan, who plays the unloved wife of Charles Dickens, you're on autopilot with stars in your eyes. To which you might counter if you haven't yet seen the film "But KST is a great actress!!!" Well, yes, dear reader and BIFA voters, she is... but Joanna is this movie's MVP. And by a significant margin, too. 

Of course the movie is marginalizing Scanlan, too. She doesn't appear or barely appears in the ads and none of the film's promotional stills include her; P&A has never been a meritocracy.

Friday
Nov152013

AFI Fest 2013 Part 2: Danny Kaye, War Movies and Nebraska

Anne Marie concludes her AFI adventures. Nathaniel picks up the baton tomorrow. He's running behind as per usual!

At the midway point of AFI Fest, I experienced what I’m sure many film festival-goers experience at some point: fatigue. The films were Great with a capital G, which meant that while many were truly great films they were also very heavy and in most cases very, very depressing. (Dear Academy, please nominate more comedies!) Nevertheless I persevered, and started Day Four with a little light comedy.

Get it? Got it! Good

Day 4 Part 1: The Court Jester - Sometimes you just need Danny Kaye singing tongue twisters in Technicolor to start your day. If I ever write a list of Greatest Swordfights In Film, Kaye’s comic fight with Basil Rathbone will definitely make the list. And for you Old Hollywood actressexuals, there are not one but TWO actresses: The always lovely Glynis Johns plays Kaye’s love interest, and the devilishly fantastic Angela Lansbury in villainess mode plays the selfish princess.

Day 4 Part 2: Omar - Let’s get this out of the way right now: Adam Bakri is a very, very handsome man. (He also favorited one of my tweets. Heeeeey Adam!) However, there’s more to life than being really, really ridiculously good-looking. This latest film by Hany Abu-Assad, Palestine's Oscar submission this year, doesn’t court as much controversy as Paradise Now did in 2005. Omar is a Romeo and Juliet love story, an espionage thriller, and a drama, all of which make the political message about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians more palatable. Omar would give any Hollywood thriller a run for its money, but the human story and the realities of life of the West Bank give the film raw power.

Day 5: Nebraska - This was my favorite film of the festival. Hollywood has a love affair with Middle America this year, but Alexander Payne’s new film stands out from the rest. Bruce Dern is best known for his big, showy performances (memorialized at AFI Fest by a typically exuberant introductory speech / clip show by Quentin Tarantino). However, as the reticent Woody Grant, Dern is subtle, sad, and sincere. Undoubtedly Dern will get a Best Actor nomination, but I’m also rooting for June Squibb as his foul-mouthed Catholic wife. Though the overall tone of the film is melancholy (aided by a simple score by Mark Orton and beautiful black and white cinematography by Phedon Papamichael), occasional moments tip towards comedy and almost into parody. Maybe I love it so much because it reminds me of my own family. I’m not sure. I do know that it was effective enough to make me momentarily forget my new home and get nostalgic for the Great Plains instead. That takes some serious filmmaking skill.

Day 6: Lone Survivor - I’m not sure how to comment on Lone Survivor as a film, because as an experience it was really difficult for me to watch. It was, however, an extremely effective war movie. Last year, Zero Dark Thirty gave us a celebration of the incredible skill and commitment the men and women in the American armed forces. This year, Lone Survivor builds a similar memorial to the Navy SEALS, but with a radically different outcome. [Titular Spoiler Ahead]  A brutal 33 minute-long gunfight between four SEALS and a Taliban army is the focal point of the film, and all but one SEAL (played by Mark Wahlburg) are killed [/Spoiler]. The goal is to put the viewer on the ground with the SEALS, and director Peter Berg succeeds. Lone Survivor is bloody, loud, and patriotic.

Day 7: Like in Genesis, this was my day of rest. I’d planned to see Her, but happily for Spike Jonze (though unhappily for me) the line for the film wound around the block and then some. As I walked to the train station, I vowed like Nathaniel at TIFF that I will do better next year. The little that I saw I loved, and next year I will know how to plan: more than just one schedule, pack protein bars and water, arrive two hours early for any Spike Jonze-affiliated movie, and find more time to write. All in all though, I had a wonderful time seeing some movies I’d looked forward to and some way outside my comfort zone. What a week! AFI Fest 2014 here I come!

Friday
Nov152013

The Smackdown Cometh. Let's Meet Our Panelists

The 2003 Supporting Actress Smackdown is just 15 days away! If you're like "um... it's 2013" you should know that each month we look back at a particular Oscar race and debate it.

This month we're having a tenth anniversary party. For context before we get to the main event we're revisiting films. So far we've hit Finding Nemo, The Triplets of Belleville, The Fog of WarGirl with a Pearl Earring, Much Ado About Nothing, and Love Actually

Let's meet our panelists for the main Supporting Actress event. They'll be sounding off soon enough on Renée, Holly, Marcia, Shohreh and Patty. For now we're asking them "What does 2003 mean to you?"

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov152013

AFI Fest 2013 - Part 1 Disney, Actresses, and Accidents

I would like to personally thank Anne Marie for being an awesome L.A. tour guide, personal GPS, and screening companion during my week long trip. Here's her first of two roundups from the festival that just wrapped. I'll have more to say myself over the weekend - Nathaniel

Walt courts Mrs Travers for the hand of Mary Poppins in cinematic marriage

Last week AFI invaded Hollywood Blvd for the 2013 AFI Fest, a free film festival presenting a handful of buzzworthy features and old classics. Though it may not be the largest festival in Los Angeles, it is one of the flashiest given the star-studded evening galas and tributes, and it made good use of the newly renovated and renamed TCL Chinese Theater. This, my first festival on the job, saw me running up and down Hollywood Blvd like a film-obsessed Alfred P. Doolittle yelling, “Get me to the Chinese on time!” By the time I’d wiped the glitter from my eyes and caught my breath, I’d seen 9-ish movies in 7 days. Not bad for a neophyte with a day job! Here’s what I saw:

Day 1: Saving Mr. Banks - A Disney movie about a Disney classic is going to be heartwarming and sweet in all the ways you’d expect. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks have delightful chemistry. Considering how long we’ve been missing these two (am I the only one who feels like Emma Thompson’s been mostly absent since at least An Education?), having both Thompson and Hanks triumphantly return together in the same film is a Disney-manufactured miracle. Nathaniel actually chatted with Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell, so he can fill in the rest.

Day 2: August: Osage County - I saw the play in 2008, and I’m still wondering if that helped or hurt my viewing of the film. Tracy Letts blessedly adapted the play to the screen, so the biting language that made the original so good remains intact. There’s a definite nomination in store for him. Of course the most buzz surrounds the actresses: Meryl is Meryl is Meryl so enough said there. Continuing this year’s trend of strong performances from actresses I don’t usually like (the first being Sandra Bullock in Gravity), Julia Roberts gives her best performance in a long while. I think that fact is what might be overshadowing Margot Martindale buzz-wise, which is unfortunate because Martindale rips through her role like a tornado on the prairie.

Julianne & Juliette at the AFI premiere

As for the sisters: I was partial to Julianne Nicholson, while Nathaniel seemed to prefer Juliette Lewis. One thing on which we both agreed was that nobody does the film festival dress like Juliette. Hot. Damn.

Day 3 Part 1: Cleo From 5 to 7 - The Godmother of the New Wave Agnes Varda was AFI Fest’s honored icon this year. Here's more on her pre-screening interview. But I would like to take this opportunity to say again that Cleo From 5 to 7 remains a masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it already, watch it while you’re waiting for the rest of these movies to open.

Day 3 Part 2: Out of the Furnace - The second film by Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper is a relentlessly bleak portrait of the death of smalltown America. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck play two blue-collar brothers, one imprisoned for a mistake and the other out of the army and into illegally boxing for money. Both play their parts admirably (assisted by Zoe Saldana and Forrest Whitaker) but are overshadowed by the shockingly terrifying Woody Harrelson playing a sociopathic redneck. Harrelson’s performance, as well as haunting desaturated cinematography and gritty production design, made this a movie that stuck with its audience after the film ended.

Day 3 Part 3: When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism - A happy accident led me to this film by Romanian writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu. I stood in the wrong line, and was surprised to find myself watching a movie perfectly suited for people who are on their fourth movie in twenty-four hours. When Evening Falls… is a simple movie framed in unbroken master shots: a fictional director and his lead actress discuss nudity in film, eat together, have sex, and argue over a single wordless scene they’re supposed to shoot the next day. The motivations of the scene are so constantly debated back and forth - why would she eavesdrop coming out of the shower? why does she put on clothes? - that the audience is primed and waiting. Eventually, the much-debated action happens in reverse - the director steps out of the shower to eavesdrop on her - and the audience comes to its own conclusion. As concept films go, this is the simplest I’ve watched in a while, and I appreciated it for its simplicity.

Thus concluded the first half of AFI Fest. Old Hollywood and New in Part 2!

Thursday
Nov142013

Uma. She'll Be Your Girl For All Seasons... 

You should play this song while reading this post.

We haven't seen Uma Thu --- no seriously. People. Click play on that song while reading this post.

Ready? okay good. Hum along while you gaze at the pretty pictures of Uma Thurman. Sure you're listening to a more Pfeifferesque theme but it's still appropriate as you'll soon see.

We haven't seen Uma in so long! Mysteriously her career kind of fizzled out post double-hitting Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2, which you'd think would have restored her luster for non-Tarantino filmmakers but instead led to things like My Super Ex Girlfriend (oops). Still, there's hope for a third act what with her "Mrs H" role in Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac coming. And she's still presumably raking in the big bucks for gigs like the one which has prompted this post, modelling for Campari for their 2014 calendar shot by Koto Bolofo (first spotted at Tom & Lorenzo), which thematically invokes celebrations around the world.

I don't know what all the celebrations are but since TFE has such a strong international readership I trust you'll tell us in the comments. 

Let's gawk at all twelve months of this calendar girl 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov142013

Snow Queens who have gone before us

It’s Tim, with a little bit of animation history for y’all. Not that you’d be able to tell from the details dribbled out so far (estranged sisters, talking snowmen, reindeer acting like dogs), but the impending Disney film Frozen began its development as a dramatic musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, a story first published in 1845. By this point, Frozen has drifted far enough from Andersen’s fairy tale that it’s probably more of an honorary adaptation than anything else, but that’s not all that unusual for Disney animated features. In the meanwhile, anyone looking to get their fix with a more authentic, faithful version of the story can look to a lengthy tradition of Snow Queen animated films, stretching back more than half a century.

From Russia to London with Sigourney-Love after the jump...

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