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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Sunday
Nov092014

Second Opinion - Gett & Israel's Oscar Chances

Anne Marie here with a followup to David's review on Israel's Oscar submissionGett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem opens with a lawyer staring at his client sitting just offscreen. The lawyer turns to the judges and begins to plead his client's case: she is incompatible with her husband and wants a divorce.

The scene moves between the three judges, the lawyer, and the woman's husband as they argue this woman's fate, but the camera avoids Viviane as strangers argue over her. When at last the camera cuts to Viviane, (writer/co-director Ronit Elkabetz channeling AFI Fest honoree Sophia Loren's intensity) she seeths in her chair, muted by convention and law. She glances quickly at the camera, and her brief eye contact burns with unvoiced frustration. Considering that her divorce will take almost half a decade to achieve, the frustration will only get more bitter and volcatnic.

As David pointed out, Ronit and her brother/co-director Shlomi have made a social justice film about the absurdities of Israel's archaic, religion-based family law. However, Gett also becomes a study on the harder-to-read nuances of a relationship - Are Viviane and her husband incompaible or abusive? Is he controlling or too lenient? The deceptively simple conceit of trapping the action in the stark courtroom visually emphasizes Viviane's frustration, and allows the motives of everyone who speaks - from Vivianne's hilarious family to her sadly submissive neighbor to her husband and herself. Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz have created a film that works on every level as social commentary, and absurdist comedy, and character study.


Second Take Grade
: A-
Oscar Chances: Though it is Israel's official submission, chances are low. The first two films in Elkabetz's trilogy, To Take A Wife (2004) and 7 Days (2008), were both overlooked by the Academy. At AFI Fest, Gett is currently being overshadowed by star-studded films like Two Days, One Night and buzz -generators Timbuktu and The Tribe. Though audiences that see it are speaking highly of it, Gett's may not have the momentum to land a nomination.

Sunday
Nov092014

The Governors Awards 2014: Honoring Cinematic Giants

Updated with Acceptance Speech Videos!

The Governors Awards are in swing in Los Angeles and though I am in sweatpants typing from my rented apartment and not in a tux (maybe next year if the cinematic gods shine down on The Film Experience?) just being in the same zip code is somehow comforting. Maybe that's because I feel more invested after our Honorary Oscar miniseries. We should have been doing this every year at TFE! It's a shame that at nearly every corner of the internet, the Honorary winners are basically just as neglected as they are by the Academy on the big night. So I feel proud of our efforts at paying them homage just as awards season explodes. Which is does tonight, in fact; basically anyone hoping for an Oscar nomination is in that room tonight... but more on the attendees soon.

This is the lady we're most happy is there ... Maureen O'Hara. She just turned 94 so it took the Academy long enough!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov082014

Meet the Contenders: Felicity Jones "The Theory of Everything"

Each weekend a profile on a just-opened Oscar contender. Here's abstew on this weekend's new release, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING which has potential to be a very big awards player.

Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

Born: Felicity Jones was born October 17, 1983 in Bournville on the Southside of Birmingham, England

The Role: The Academy Award-winning director of the documentary Man on Wire, James Marsh, takes the helm of this extraordinary true story based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen by Jane Hawking, the first wife of acclaimed Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. The film follows the over 30 year relationship of the two. Starting with their early days as doctorate students at England's famed University of Cambridge through Stephen's diagnosis with motor neurone disease (now more commonly known as ALS, it was recently in the headlines this year for the foundation's Ice Bucket Challenge used to raise money for research), the film chronicles the ups and downs of their marriage as Jane's goals take a backseat to Stephen's care. 

Jones met with the real Jane several times in preparation. She has said that what most impressed her was how the ladylike, petite Jane was able to convey such strength and that's what she wanted to capture the most with her performance. Jones read Jane's book over 6 times as research (always having it close to her on set) and studied with a vocal coach to emulate the real Jane's voice.  

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Saturday
Nov082014

AFI Fest's Young Hollywood Panel on Superheroes, Punching, and Queen Latifah

Margaret and Anne Marie here, reporting from AFI Fest ("presented by [corporation]!"). 

Last night the AFI and the LA Times kicked off a series of panel discussions with its "Young Hollywood Roundtable," whose panelists ranged widely in age and perspective but are all of whom making their mark on the movie business. Jenny Slate, writer/star of critical hit Obvious Child and former SNL castmember, was joined by Jena Malone (Inherent Vice, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Logan Lerman (Fury, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Joey King (Wish I Was Here, FX's Fargo).

Here are 8 lessons we learned from the Young Hollywood Roundtable:

Anne Marie:

1. Queen Latifah's royal legacy is enduring and eternal. When asked who her inspiration was, Joey King informed the audience that Queen Latifah is underrated. What followed was a 5 minute Latifah love-fest where Jenny Slate promised a detailed list of reasons why Queen Latifah is amazing ("on my personal stationary") and Logan Lerman revealed that his biggest inspiration is... Queen Latifah.

2. Jena Malone has a lot of very intelligent but frustratingly vague things to say about superhero movies. No confirmation from the newly-redheaded actress as to what her role is on Batman vs. Superman, but when Kaufman asked her about the pros and cons of working on a major superhero flick, Malone was frank: "We're artists, but we're also businesswomen." But working on a blockbuster isn't just about money. It has to tell a story as well.

Ruminations on Twitter, higher education, and punching Brad Pitt after the jump.

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Saturday
Nov082014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man" (1952) 

In "The Honoraries" we're looking at the careers of this year's Honorary Oscar recipients (O'Hara, Miyazaki, Carrière) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Belafonte). Here's abstew on an Irish fav...

 

I have often said that "The Quiet Man" is my personal favourite of all the pictures I have made. It is the one I am most proud of and I tend to be very protective of it. I loved Mary Kate Danaher.

-Maureen O'Hara 'Tis Herself

The making of John Ford's Oscar-winning film The Quiet Man was a labor of love for all involved. Despite having already won the Best Director Oscar three times, Ford found it difficult to get his passion project off the ground. As far back as 1944, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara had agreed to star in Ford's love letter to Ireland. And it eventually found a home at the most unusual of places. B-movie studio Republic only agreed to make the film (which they thought would lose them money) if Ford, Wayne, and O'Hara first made a guaranteed money-generating Western together first. After 1950's Rio Grande for the studio, they headed to shoot on location among the lush emerald fields of Ireland itself and the affection for the country and its people is apparent in every frame.

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Friday
Nov072014

Review: Big Hero 6

Tim here. Something feels unmissably “off” about Big Hero 6, the 54th film in the Walt Disney Animation feature canon. It’s a film that wants to offer a little something for everybody, and succeeds, but this comes at the cost of feeling erratic and imbalanced, and curiously adrift. By now, we’re used to superhero origin stories that use up all the oxygen on setting up the heroes’ powers and briefly sketching in their personalities, but even by that standard, as Big Hero 6 started to move into what was unmistakably its endgame, I found myself sinking into outright dismay that this inconsequential scrap against a nondescript bad guy with wicked plans barely large than a city block was actually where the movie was headed, after its strong opening.

But that’s all part of the scheme: the filmmakers (including directors Don Hall, of the 2011 Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams, of 2008’s Bolt) know that some people want emotional tenderness, and some want big action scenes, and so they deliver both. But not in a way that’s completely satisfying to either group. It’s the same problem of every CGI animated American movie of the last decade and a half writ large and done with shockingly little attempt to disguise the joints between it narrative modules.

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Friday
Nov072014

AFI Opening Night: A Most Violent Year Spawns A Most Excellent Party

Dear readers, though I have crashed a bit mood-wise (blame my Gemini nature) on this Friday the first 24 hours in Los Angeles for "The AFI Fest Presented by Audi - they expect everyone to say that since it rolls right off the tongue! -  were euphoric. It was surely a good omen that all the emails and tweets awaiting me once I was out of airplane mode were about The Fabulous Baker Boys 25th anniversary photo reunion. My favorite new compliment that I plan to use whenever I can think of a way to use it came from devout reader / awesome Canadian Cory who wrote:

Congrats on this existing".

In fact, that's exactly what I should have said to JC Chandor at the after party for A MOST VIOLENT YEAR's gala premiere. [More...]

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