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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
Apr292013

Reader Spotlight: Morgan in New Zealand

We're getting to know The Film Experience community one-by-one. Today we're talking to Morgan Borthwick from New Zealand. We've never been but it's on our brains due to Jane Campion's stunning miniseries "Top of the Lake". Here's Morgan.

 

Hi, Morgan. Do you love Jane Campion? (Please note: There is only one correct answer to this question)

MORGAN: Of course! She understands film is as much art as it is storytelling and I could rhapsodise all day about her many gifts.  As a director, I love what she does with her actresses, particularly Barbara Hershey who is beyond superlatives in Portrait of a Lady, Abby Cornish in Bright Star and Elizabeth Moss in Top of the Lake, making me forget Peggy of Mad Men ever existed. She should have two best director nominations by now at least, but that's a gripe for another time about the academy and their "we've nominated you once, we don't need to do it again" mantra when it comes to women. See also: Kathryn Bigelow, but I digress!

Since you're from New Zealand, how annoyed do you get when people ask you about The Lord of the Rings tourist destinations?

MORGAN: Ha-ha, I should have known this question would pop up! I get super annoyed to be very honest, because although being a Kiwi (slang for New Zealander) and loving Peter Jackson, as law in NZ basically dictates, we're not just about that when it comes to films! Be excited about Peter and Frodo and bloody Gollum but we're the country that gave you Jane Campion, Anna Paquin, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Karl Urban, Temuera Morrison, Niki Caro, Sam Neale, Andrew Adamson, The River Queen, Heavenly Creatures, Boy, 2 Cars 1 Night,  Jane Campion, Emily Barclay, In My Father's Den, The World's Fastest Indian... and Jane Campion. If you haven't heard/seen these people or films, I encourage you to look them up! This is my moment to advertise the beauty and depth of the film industry in New Zealand - it is so much more than hobbits and elves. Next time, ask to see where The Piano was filmed or where the murder in Heavenly Creatures took place.

When did you start reading The Film Experience?

I started reading in 2006, aged 15! I was disappointed that Jennifer Hudson seemed to be winning everything when I thought Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barrazza in Babel deserved so much more for taking their parts and going beyond what the cliched script expected. But it wasn't until 2007 and the clusterf*ck that was BSA (my favourite category) that I became a regular, addicted reader and since then I check this site at least daily and get v upset when away/unable to. To me, its your passion that makes it so worthwhile, even if we disagree on the Zeéeeee!

Three Favorite Actresses?

Maggie Smith: The woman does her schtick for sure, she's got her stock characters but I'll never get tired of her doing the Maggie and every time I think she's just sleepwalking, i remember The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Othello and Capturing Mary and I remember the woman is one of the greats, despite her recent spate of snooty old dowagers (which are still so entertaining).

Nicole Kidman, of course. i caught her as an 8 year old in Eyes Wide Shut - it was in the video player, and I have been obsessed with her ever since. Through the ups and the downs, she's never apologised, never backed down and is the most fearless of them all. Truly, the Paperboy's snub this year brought tears to my eyes.

Then I don't know, Meryl, Michelle (Pfeiffer & Williams - yes) Kate and Cate all have honorary places along with Alfre and Tilda but third would have to be...

Anjelica Huston for so many things but her performance in 50/50 spoke to me like nothing else has in film for a while. She's so underrated, so rarely seen but that striking presence makes you wish she did even more and you can see why her three sons in the Darjeeling Limited were so hung up on her! Plus #theGriftersforever! 

Please don't hate me readers, there's so many more, but these would be the three whose films I endeavour to see with all my power. 

What was the last movie you watched before this interview?

Bachelorette finally last night! Brilliant, truly. Everything that Girls wants to be. Dark, funny, sad and Isla Fisher gets best in show in my opinion, her scenes in the pool really sold me on her talents as an actress.

Which recent movie would you like to live inside of? 

Can I say a movie that hasn't been released? Wouldn't we all love to live inside Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby? I mean, c'mon, that is a world waiting to be explored. And also, being a university student, I'd love to live in the world of Pitch Perfect because all they seem to do is sing, I swear, I wish my university life was that relaxed. Oh and I want Fat Amy as my new second best friend. After Jennifer Lawrence, of course. (as a friend, not an oscar winner, yes, I said it.)

previous reader spotlights

Sunday
Apr282013

April Showers: “Anna Karenina”

 April Showers semi-daily @ 11 

 Andrew here to briefly talk about Anna Karenina, because  I relish any opportunity to talk about one of my favourite 2012 films.

Among the great many things about Anna Karenina I remain grateful for (Keira’s most adult performance, Marianelli’s most inventive score, great work from Durran are a few) Jude Law’s turn as Alexei Karenin is near the top. Prior to Anna Karenina I’d been experiencing something akin to cognitive dissonance with Jude for the last eight years or so. Other than the odd Contagion thrown in I’d been finding it more and more difficult to justify the reasons I kept maintaining that he was my favourite actor under 40. So, naturally, he had much to prove to me with Anna Karenina and luckily I wasn’t disappointed.

The shower in question is brief but comes at a pivotal moment in the film. With a third of the narrative left Karenin, assured of his wife's infidelity, experiences an awkward dinner with her brother's family. He is too scrupulous to excuse or understand Anna’s cheating ways and when he receives a letter plaintive letter he rips it to shreds.

 
 
 

 With that tortured look, alone, I’m willing to forgive less than exciting work in the years preceding. It's not that post-2004 and pre-2012 Jude was slumming it, but he's not been pushing himself either. It’s one of the key reasons I would reach for Wright’s Karenina before any other. Karenin is not a footnote, but a full realised man. Wright and Stoppard are unwaveringly interested in ALL of their characters and the examination of Karenin is as compassionate and warm as that of the eponymous heroine. As the shredded paper morphs into a shower of snow it leads to one of the multiple glorious images of the film.

Seeing steadfast Karenin (and his good ethics) inundated in a shower of white does not seem accidental, to me. The idea of a jilted lover standing in a shower of rain is not unheard of, but of course Karenin - forever suffering in silence - is showered not in loud raindrops but snow which is not only as pure and immaculate as his morals are but silent, too. There is no pitter patter as this shower unfolds but a chilling soundlessness as the snow falls to the stage. Like Karenin himself, a man not out of love with his wife but too emotionlessly silent to show it, there is no sound. Poor cuckolded fool, though; shredded paper and all he’s at her bedside in the next scene.

Was anyone else as moved by Jude's Karenin last year? Did Wright's compassion for the cuckolded husband impress you too?

Sunday
Apr282013

Nashville Film Festival ~ Our Jury Prizes

As some of you know I attended the Nashville Film Festival last week as a juror. I haven't ever truly mastered the How To of reporting from film festivals -- I marvel at the blogs who seem to have time to see five movies a day and socialize with other festivalgoers AND review all of them as if there are 48 hours in each day -- so you're getting my jury notes super late! This time I was on the Narrative Feature Jury which meant 16 movies crammed into less than a week. I tried to see other features outside my slate but my eyes begged for relief after just two (The Spectacular Now and I Am Divine -- more on those later) since I wasn't able to stay very long this year.

Nashville is one of the USA's oldest ongoing film festivals and it doesn't get enough attention in the media. One of the reasons is surely the concurrent Tribeca, a far starrier affair. Still, I'd personally argue that festivals like Nashville are more crucial to the good health of cinema and here's why...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr282013

Scarlett Stays Super

...superhuman that is.

It appears that after her third stint as The Black Widow for Captain America: Winter Soldier (it's not just a cameo), Scarlett Johansson isn't ready to part with the super-powered set just yet.  

She'll be starring in Lucy as a woman who gains superpowers after being a mule for an experimental serum. It's a new project for director Luc Besson (who seems to be aiming for a big comeback after a quiet decade starting with Malavita this fall). This latest deal suggests she's content to stay in franchise mode for awhile longer still despite surely being one of the richest young actresses in the world what with so many spokesperson deals and big budget thesping already behind her at only 29 years of age. The size that nest egg must be by now (!) but maybe that's purposeful and her interests lie outside of acting like, say, Angelina Jolie. And since Angelina seems to have vacated the A List Action Heroine niche, someone's gotta fill it. 

But for those of us who fell in love with dreamy Scarlett early on it's kind of shocking in retrospect that Action would prove to be her genre of choice. That languorous Ghost Worldly Girl With the Pearl Earring Got Lost in Translation somewhere; how does that girl have all this energy to run around kicking ass? Wouldn't she rather sleep and pout and stare forlornly off into the distance? Doesn't it make you even more curious about the upcoming sci-fi but not that kind of sci-fi drama Under the SkinScarjo doesn't seem to have sizeable artistic ambitions -- or she's storing them up secretly for her 30s (she's still only 28!) -- so why did she opt to work with the very artful Birth director Jonathan Glazer inbetween all the green screens?

Time will tell... and hopefully reveal that movie. Still no release date for Under the Skin and hasn't it been in post for ages? At this point it's been almost a decade since Glazer trained his hypnotic camera on Kidman in catatonic grief crisis mode at the opera.

#ticktockticktock

Sunday
Apr282013

Hot Docs: Interior. Leather Bar.

Reports from the 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival

Paolo here. Because I tend to overreact to thing I proclaimed that last year's Hot Docs film festival here in Toronto was 'overtly sexual'! As it turns out, last year's crop had more diverse topics: death, culture, loss, legacy. And the same can be said about the documentaries this year but we won't abandon the docs about sex. Here's one now, James Franco's Interior. Leather Bar.

[NSFW Franco provocations after the jump]

Click to read more ...