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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Wednesday
Feb052014

A Year With Kate: The Little Minister (1934)

Episode 6 of 52 wherein Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order.

In which Katharine Hepburn has a little Scotsman in her.

Who’s up for a catfight? The Little Minister is seriously lacking in drama or conflict, so I decided to invent some of my own. 1934 was a low point for Kate, but a certain blonde fury came roaring to the top that year, one Miss Bette Davis.

more...

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Wednesday
Feb052014

William S Burroughs Centennial

Today is the centennial of the infamous Beat era writer William S Burroughs and I've been thinking about him lately due to Philip Seymour Hoffman's death via heroin (why is it that I always start stringing the celebrity junkies together when they die? Is it because there are so damn tragic many of them?) but mostly because I was really gripped by Ben Foster's portrayal of him in Kill Your Darlings, a problematic movie about guys that weren't nearly as palatable in real life (despite the movie being about murder) that had a great moment here and there. Of course the movie wasn't really about Burroughs but about Lucien Carr's (Dane Dehaan) murder of his lover (Michael C Hall). From time to time I have wondered why we've had no straight up biopic about Burroughs (Keifer Sutherland is the only other actor I can think of that's played him), given that he's a very famous white guy genius and that's the kind of biopic Hollywood likes best. But I guess it couldn't be done; The MPAA and most moviegoers and possibly even myself would just never be able to deal what with the sex, the drugs, the finger-chopping, the wife-shooting, and what not.

So let's move over to actual movies. Burroughs appeared in a small role in Gus Van Sant's terrific Drugstore Cowboy (1989) which I highly recommend to any of you wondering why Matt Dillon was a "you owe him" Oscar nominee for Crash (2005) and then of course there was David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991), a film version of Burrough's, ummmm, unfilmable novel. (Incidentally our friend Nick, who you know from Nick's Flick Picks and the podcast, writes extensively on this film in his first book "The Desiring Image") Whether or not any cinematic interpretation of Naked Lunch could be considered definitive if we didn't have it we would never have seen Julian Sands buggered by a towering insect monster or Judy Davis injecting bug powder into her breasts.

Have you seen Naked Lunch or read any of Burroughs work?

Burroughs with Cronenberg during the filming of Naked Lunch

Some Centennial Celebrations
Time Magazine "Rebel, Junkie, Exile, Genius"
NPR "Possessed by Genius"
The New Statesman "To say it country simple, most folks enjoy junk” - Burroughs in 1966 on kicking his heroin addiction 
Dreg Studios Brandt Hardin celebrates the history of Burroughs with a portrait 

Wednesday
Feb052014

Is Jeremy Irons Put 'Out to Pasture' as Pennyworth?

[Editors Note: I am pleased to welcome new contributor Diana Drumm to The Film Experience. The benefit of fresh voices? They often have subjects to opine on that we haven't run into the ground already here at TFE. Like this consideration of Jeremy Irons, late in his career. Enjoy! - Nathaniel]


Last week, the internet announced, buzzed and trounced the news of Jesse Eisenberg signing on to play Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman. (Insert maniacal mastermind Mark Zuckerberg joke.) Less buzzed about, but part of the same announcement, Jeremy Irons is set to play Alfred Pennyworth. Seriously. Jeremy “Scar is an unknowing introduction to masochism” Irons. Brushing aside millenial Disney hang-ups, Jeremy Irons is a glorious figure of bygone British manhood and Alfred Pennyworth is... A different sort of bygone British manhood. 

Lithe yet powerful, languid yet vital, vulnerable yet undeniably masculine. As an actor, Irons’s performances take on a seductive quality, with an earnest veneer covering an implicit rascaliness or vice versa or a muddled mix of both. With a bewildered look as powerful as a forceful growl, he (his innate talent, his RSC work, his Oscar) is being wasted.

Not that he’s the first thesp to be called in as a ringer for a blockbuster (or that this is his first time on the merry-go-round -- EragonBeautiful Creatures, etc.)...

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Wednesday
Feb052014

More Kudos for The Grandmaster

The awards journey of Wong Kar Wai's long-gestating martial arts history epic continues. Though The Grandmaster didn't win a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination, it nevertheless became one of those rare subtitled pictures to become a multiple Oscar nominee even without that honor. Though it's not likely to win either of its Oscar nominations, more trophies might be coming its way. It lost the Golden Horse for Best Picture, Asia's most prestigious film trophy, but now it leads the Hong Kong Film Award nominations with 14 nominations. Its nearest rival is Unbeatable, a fight tournament movie with 11 nominations which is really much closer to a Hollywood style inspirational sports drama like Warrior. (I reviewed the latter at TIFF last year.) 

Eddie Peng and Nick Cheung in UNBEATABLE

For those who, like me, are confused at the amount of different film awards for the Chinese film industry, I have asked and it works out something like so. There are three major regions (Taiwan, China, Hong Kong) and they each have film awards; The Golden Horse are from Taiwan and are considered the most prestigious because they have the widest open playing field (all three major regions are eligible for prizes plus places like Singapore -- which took Best Picture for Ilo Ilo if you'll recall) and they are the oldest and thus an institution; the Hong Kong Film Awards concentrate on Hong Kong cinema and China's Golden Rooster concentrates on mainland China... though in all three cases certain films work around the rules. It was ever so in film awards from anywhere, yes?

The nominee list, with more commentary, is after the jump

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Wednesday
Feb052014

Link Mommy, Link!

Vanity Fair interviews director John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Road) on his controversial Superbowl ad for Coke. I personally loved it. The right-wingers hate its reminder of America as melting pot.
NPR Jehane Noujaim's The Square, nominated for Best Documentary, is having trouble getting screened at home in Egypt 
Theater Mania interviews the great Charles Busch (Die Mommy, Die!) about his career and new play "The Tribute Artist" in which he does impressions of Marilyn, Bette Davis, and Katharine Hepburn among others. (I met Mr Busch at the anniversary Cabaret screening last year and he was so sweet)

Gothamist Alfonso Cuarón's Oscar campaign hits Lincoln Center soon for screenings and discussions of Children of Men and Gravity here in NYC. Ah c'mon Lincoln Center. Throw in Y Tu Mama Tambíen (still his best picture) and we'll totally be talking!
Pajiba on the whitewashing of Egyptian mythology on screen. Why not cast people of color. Joel Edgerton as Ramses? Gerard Butler as an Egyptian god? Ummmm
LA Times Spike Jonze acceptance speech at the WGA's for Her 

Coming Soon.
Mookie provides us with a list of the most exciting Chinese films coming this year. Lots of auteur epics and stars: Chang Chen, Tang Wei, Gong Li, and Takeshi Kaneshiro
Empire Russell Crowe's next drama Fathers and Daughters is from Italian director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) is loading up on starpower.Also cast: Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Quvenzhane Wallis, Octavia Spencer and Diane Kruger. 
THR Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe will costar in Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees about two suicidal men
Empire Alicia Vikander (yaaaasss) and Kit Harrington (well, he pretty) to co-star in World War I drama The Testament of Youth directed by James Kent. Incidentally Kent has had a long career in TV films but this will be his first feature.
Deadline an update on Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) and his third film The Lobster 

 Finally...
You have undoubtedly read in several places that Jonah Hill & Leonardo DiCaprio are both now attached to a film about the Olympics bombings of 1996. This time Hill will play Lead and Leo supports. It's based on this Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell so we assume it will be called American Nightmare in release (or something else) since that's more generic and that they'll pretend it's not based on anything if the Original Screenplay category looks like an easy get in 2015. (Why am I so cynical?). Certainly the two worked well together in WoWS. Can they recapture the magic and double Oscar nods again? The Wire wonders which movie duo they're aiming to be. 

And in case you missed it at Funny or Die... here is "Jesse Eisenberg's" leaked audition tape for Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman. I LOL'ed the most at the little pantomime of breaking Batma... well, I'll let you watch it.  

 

Tuesday
Feb042014

Vanity Fair 2014 "The Hollywood Issue" (Part 2)

Part 1 ICYMI, the cover with Chiwetel, Julia, Idris and George

The Vanity Fair "Hollywood Issue" tradition with its glorious and glam pull out cover is our favorite among annuals. In this 3 or 4 part series we'll investigate the full issue, generally just as enticing as the cover, starting with the cover itself (parts 1 and 2). Before we get to each star individually we must praise VF for fashioning Lupita just like a living erect golden Oscar -- get that statue, girl! -- instead of just dropping her, subserviently, on the floor like The Hollywood Reporter did! [more]

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