Oscar History
Welcome

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.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!

Nathaniel's Top 20 List

yes, we had a good time at the movies in 2016


What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment Du Jour
The Next La La Land?

"It looks like fun and Hugh and Zac make a cute couple" - Jaragon

"Why do we keep treating La La Land like some sort of longsuffering, put-upon, misunderstood underdog? It's like making time to assure the prom queen that she's pretty and popular.." -Hayden

Keep TFE Strong

Love the Site? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

INTERVIEWS

Pablo Larraín (Jackie)
Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)
Gael García Bernal (Neruda)
Billy Crudup (20th Century Women)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival

 

Subscribe
Friday
Jun192015

Women's Pictures - Agnes Varda's Le Bonheur

If there’s one kind of first film I love watching above all others, it’s the first color movie by a director previously confined to black and white. Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis, Powell & Pressburger’s The Thief of Baghdad, and Akira Kurosawa’s Dodes'ka-den are colorful extravaganzas by directors who, though already well-respected for their monochrome movies, will master this new filmmaking tool. The film is even better when that director, like the aforementioned Kurosawa or our director of the month Agnes Varda, is an artist. Le Bonheur is not Agnes Varda’s best film. It’s not even her best film of the 1960s. But if you want to witness an hour and a half of experimentation with how color reflects and refracts a movie’s theme, then Le Bonheur is the film you want to watch.

For a brightly-colored movie with the title “Happiness,” Le Bonheur is remarkably cruel. Perhaps this accounts for its reputation as one of Agnes Varda’s most controversial movies. Or perhaps it is because, after the empathetic female-centric Cleo from 5 to 7, Varda chose to tell a story about a man who treats the women in his life so poorly. François Chevalier (Jean-Claude Drouot) is a carefree carpenter living in idyllic marital bliss with his wife, Thérèse (Claire Drouot), and their two children. When François meets a new postal worker named Émilie (Marie-France Boyer), he falls immediately into love with her as well. The majority of the film is spent following François from his wife to his mistress and back again, as he guiltlessly and guilelessly adds to his happiness by spending time with each woman. When François finally tells his wife, her reaction is surprising and tragic.

What’s more surprising, though, is how little her tragedy means to the conclusion of the story. Since its release in 1965, Le Bonheur has been subject to many different interpretations by critics, however, Varda’s use of color commentary - of color as commentary - spells out her intent. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun192015

FYC: Tituss Burgess for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Team Experience is sharing their dream picks for the Emmys each day at Noon. Here's Margaret...

Tituss Burgess' performance as Titus Andromedon on Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is nothing short of genius. (Before we get any further into this, it should be established that Tituss with two S's is the actor, and Titus with one S is the character. Confusing, yes, but blame Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.)

His vocal control is exquisite, and we see it tested time and again as the writers work up excuses for Titus to belt whenever possible. His grip on his comedy is similarly iron-clad. Every gesture, every line reading, is laser-precise. He never fails to deliver the biggest laugh of whatever scene he's in--he's a dexterous physical comic and quite nimble with Fey & Carlock's twisty punchlines-- but he also lends a distinct pathos to the performance that makes it more than just funny. 

And he's tremendously gif-able. Sweet mercy, how gif-able.



Though often ridiculous, Burgess makes damn well sure we know that Titus is the one telling the joke. Even the most absurd lines fly out of his mouth with self-awareness and complete conviction. (In lieu of apologizing for putting his foot in his mouth, he shrugs: "I am as God made me.") One of the things that makes Kimmy Schmidt so special is its improbable sense of melancholy. Hints about Titus' past point to frustration and pain, and that's present in his performance even as he lives confidently and without contrition.

But most of all, he's just purely and entirely funny. He makes me laugh more than any other TV character, certainly today, maybe ever. To deny him would be like denying Jane Krakowski's Jenna Maroney, which...  well... please don't make that mistake again, Emmys.

Previously: Ann Dowd talks The Leftovers and Nathaniel fusses over the Emmy ballot

Friday
Jun192015

The Troubled Musical Tribute to 'Amy'

Glenn here offering some thoughts on films at the Sydney Film Festival. Here he is discussing the music documentary 'Amy'.

Given what director Asif Kapadia was able to accomplish with the otherwise (to me) uninteresting world of vroom vroom speed racing in Senna, logic would dictate that when handling a subject of great interest to me that the results would be even more outstanding. That doesn’t quite prove to be the case with Amy, another scrapbook collection of archival footage presenting the life of somebody who lived fast and died young, Amy Winehouse, but one which lacks quite the same verve of the director’s predecessor.

Kapadia is in the unique position of making a documentary about somebody whose life isn’t just rife for the Hollywood biopic treatment, but which actually feels like it already has been. Is her story not almost note-for-note for Mark Rydell’s The Rose with Bette Midler? It’s curious as a viewer of a documentary to feel as if I’d seen it all before in a fiction film (albeit one highly inspired by a real life person) and being disappointed because it comes off second best.

The Rose, Kurt Cobain and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun192015

182 Days Until "Carol" Opens

This screenshot from Carol lies. The first Todd Haynes movie in 8 years is opening on December 18th, not the 21st. Anyway the screenshot is pulled from new footage which is mixed in with other footage and interviews from Cannes from Film4 which you can see below

And because we're thinking about HOW VERY LONG IT IS UNTIL WE SEE CAROL here's the holiday calendar just to lament, as is our tradition, that early December is empty but late December is crowded (sigh). 

THANKSGIVING

The Good Dinosaur
Victor Frankenstein
Midnight Special 

DECEMBER DATES

04th Krampus (Horror Comedy)

Why is this weekend so empty?

11th In the Heart of the Sea (Ron Howard)
        The Lady in the Van (that lady be Dame Maggie Smith)

Why is this weekend so empty?

18th Carol (Todd Haynes)
        Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII)
        Sisters (Amy Poehler & Tina Fey) 

I mean obviously Carol breaks all opening weekend box office records this weekend

23rd Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

CHRISTMAS

Two of the Hateful Eight: Demian Bichir & Kurt Russell

25th Point Break (Remake)
        Concussion (Will Smith in a drama about football brain injuries)
        The Hateful Eight (Tarantino's latest bloody western going the Django route)
        The Revenant (Inaritu's directs Leo DiCaprio & Tom Hardy)
        Snowden (Oliver Stone & Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
        Joy (David O. Russell & Jennifer Lawrence)

31st Nothing scheduled yet but this is traditionally the weekend wherein sometimes great movies are sacrificed to the whims of "Oscar qualifying" contracts and get no real support from their distributor

There are still several films with major stars and/or possible critical darling appeal without US release dates: the new version of MacBeth, Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, Jean-Marc Vallée's Demolition, Luca Guadagino's A Bigger Splash, James Vanderbilt's Truth, the Lance Armstrong bio The Program and the Hank Williams bio I Saw the Light. Some of them will surely end up in December but we hope against hope that this year is light on the stupid "Oscar Qualifying" releases. 

Thursday
Jun182015

Coming Soon... (with Ann Dowd)

Today's celebrity guest blogger has been the great Ann Dowd (The Leftovers). Now it's time for her to say goodbye - Editor 


-by Ann Dowd

Before I leave you, sorry to say I can't reveal what I'm doing right now. All I can say is that I'm writing to you from a set. I can't disclose any more details than that. But here are four upcoming projects that I am free to talk about.

photo via twitter

Our Brand is Crisis 
This movie is based on a documentary about Pedro Gallo (played by Joaquim de Almeida) who is running for President of Bolivia for the second time.  The first time he was president he moved too quickly on the economic front and the country suffered tremendously, particularly the poor. So he hires a political consulting team (it was originally Jim Carville and his team) to get him re-elected. I play one of the consultants so most of my scenes are with that team: Sandy Bullock, Anthony Mackie, Scoot McNairy and Zoe Kazan. David Gordon Green, who directed it, was extraordinary. We shot in Puerto Rico and New Orleans and it was a wonderful experience, hands down.

Viggo with screen kids in "Captain Fantastic"Captain Fantastic
I play Viggo Mortensen’s mother-in-law. My daughter was dead and my grandchildren are being raised in the woods and learning to survive. Wonderfully written and directed by Matt Ross.

The Big and the Small
We shot this indie in Alabama. Its about a kid who has never had a home but he’s a beautiful artist and he’s trying to find his way. I play a police officer - she’s very quirky— who is bound and determined to help him.  

Oppenheimer Strategies
Richard Gere is just phenomenal in this. I don’t even know how to describe it but Oppenheimer is kind of a pathological liar and it’s about the connections he makes and what he brings to fruition. It’s from Joseph Cedar (who directed the Israeli Oscar nominees Footnote and Beaufort). I have a small role but I was thrilled to be a part of it. I play a woman from the State department who is trying to clock what Oppenheimer is up to.

 

So much has happened since Compliance (2012). I feel so fortunate to be working this much and on such wonderful characters like Patti on The Leftovers. I am very grateful that people are interested and that I would be asked to share my experiences.

Thank you all so much for reading and I wish you all the best.


Previously
: Patti and The Leftovers, Falling in Love with Acting, Mothers & Imagination, Six Key Roles

 

Thursday
Jun182015

Ann Dowd: Quick Notes on Six Roles

The Film Experience is proud to turn today over to the great actress Ann Dowd. Enjoy... 

The cast of "Garden State"

- by Ann Dowd

Nathaniel tells me these are his favorite characters from my filmography and since I've taken over The Film Experience for the day, here are quick notes on each.

"Olivia" in Garden State (2004)
Loved. Zach Braff really had it together- wrote, directed, starred in. He was very clear about what he wanted which is always a pleasure.

"Cookie Kelly" in Freaks and Geeks (2000)
Hysterical. Writers, actors, everybody was talented and young and funny. I love that role - she was delicious and twisted.



 

"Sister Maureen 'Mo' Brody" in Nothing Sacred (1997)
Sister Maureen was a wonderful role, so well written, a lovely cast. I have two aunts who are Catholic Ursuline sisters so I know something about that world – how educated they are, how generous and caring and complicated they are. The way the role was conceived by Bill Cain reflected the truth about that world and it was a pleasure to work on it. 

"Sandra" in Compliance (2012)
Another beautifully written role. I have tremendous empathy for that character, not having a guidance system of her own. How derailed her life became. Great director Craig Zobel.


"Estabrooks Masters" in Masters of Sex (2013)
Oh my gosh, what I remember most about the first season is just the feeling of hitting that ground running. Michelle Ashford's writing is great. A really terrific cast - Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald. The stories were very strong and I love the character of Estabrooks. She's clear and unfaltering and also able to admit her mistakes, apologize and then move forward. Loved her.

 

"Patti" in The Leftovers (2014)
We already spoke at length about this role but there was a lot of camarederie on set with Amy, Liv, and Justin. The atmosphere was so surreal -- keep in mind that sometimes we were shooting in the middle of the night in the cul-de-sac somewhere 45 minutes out of the city -- no sense of time or space. On one of the first days of shooting the first A.D. Vebe Borge didn't speak in solidary with the Guilty Remnant. How's that for commitment?

Thursday
Jun182015

Ann Dowd: Playing Patti on "The Leftovers"

The Film Experience is proud to turn the site over to Ann Dowd for the day. Enjoy...

As Patti Levin on "The Leftovers"


-by Ann Dowd

Finding the character of Patti on The Leftovers was a fascinating experience. I remember having a lot of questions about her when I first read the script. It was scary at first, it was daunting the not speaking. “What is this about? How are you going to play this?” There are always so many questions for an actor. You think “Where is this person? How am I going to find her?” And then the thought came, "Take a breath, settle down, The information will present itself." And sure enough it did.

There are always clues when you’re searching for a character. Not speaking actually turned out to be an incredibly powerful position to be in and here's a clue: make sure you know what the character wants because you are not going to be able to tell anybody with words so it has to be in your whole being. Other clues turned up each time, episode by episode: what she responded to, what she didn’t respond to, her intense aggression toward Kevin, trying to understand why.

It’s a process and in those first episodes, I had just enough to do to slowly put that picture together. [More after the jump...]

Click to read more ...