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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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A HANDY GUIDE TO ALL THE OSCAR COVERAGE

"Oh no, what will I do without my daily reminder that Julianne Moore won an Oscar?!" -Steve G

 

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Saturday
Dec072013

European Film Award Wi -- what? Scorsesaywhat? 

I watched a bit of the European Film Awards live streaming earlier today and the first sight that greeted me was Anke Engelke looking like she'd stepped out of the Capitol to announce the next Hunger Games. The only thing she got wrong was that her hair and makeup were too demure. Tim said she looked a "teensy bit too lindt bunny" which made me giggle.

While attempting to watch the show I was pulled into an endless twitter debate about misogyny and glorification/condemnation thereof in The Wolf of Wall Street - a conversation which I expect will rage throughout awards season unless the veritable army of Scorsese stans succeeds in stamping out open discussion about the movie's merits; they're weirdly adamant that one should only do adrenaline fueled wolf howls at it which is, I don't mind saying, one of the worst things that can happen to a movie that merits any kind of considered conversation.

SOOOOOO, while I didn't make it all the way through the EFAs and am ashamed to note that I missed Catherine Deneuve's tribute altogether (argh) here are 5 thoughts from the ceremony...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec072013

Team FYC: "The Great Gatsby" for Original Song

This FYC series brings together all Film Experience contributors to highlight our favorite fringe Oscar contenders. Here's Andrew Kendall on a tune from Gatsby, a movie which just won two Grammy  nominations

Too often when we consider original song contenders we tend to focus on the lyrics at the expense of the music but my favourite number of Baz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby soundtrack manages to excel on both levels. Considering “Over the Love” lyrically, it would win in the battle in find which song has the most fidelity to its source novel. It features references to the “yellow dresses”, “green light” and that “ocean in the way”. But, it’s the musical arrangement of the song which takes it from lovely song into a true contender. I like Luhrman’s Gatsby, even though it falters in an example of reach exceeding grasp. What “Over the Love” manages to do is retain the steady rise from sanguine charm to a heady feverish climax with aplomb, which seems to be what Luhrman is going for but doesn't quite succeed at.

The song begins with the piano as its sole accompaniment and the faintest howling of winds in the background – ominous. The song continues as you expect, verse + chorus + verse + chorus with the piano and a steady percussive sound marking time as well as suggesting a subtle sense of time running out. Then, with a minute and a half left it's launched into the bridge with the evocative line.

“Cause you’re a hard soul to save, with an ocean in the way. But I’ll get around it.”

It's an unsubtle lyric, recalling Gatsby’s own vow to return to Daisy. The lovers are divided by water in the present day where the chasm of  the space between East Egg and Long Island Sound in West Egg separates. But, it's also the Atlantic Ocean, more water, which separates them when Gatsby heads off to war. The double meaning is a nice touch, but it's oddly chilling in the way its rendered ominously, as much a promise as a threat when sung by Florence. And instead of a bridge + chorus + ending like most ballads, Florence’s “cry” leads us into the freneticism of the song’s last bars. Everything builds as “I can see the green light. I can see it in your eyes” is repeated building to an agitated climax until the song ends. It does not fade out to an end, like some songs, but ends decisively, abruptly on an utterance of the choral “I can see it in your eyes”. It is as if musically the song has reached this feverish pitch only to abruptly expire.  Like Gatsby’s life, it feels suspended. A song good in its own right, but haunting in the way it ends just at that climax.

On its own, without context to the film's story, “Over the Love” would still be a beautiful song. But the way its wailing tones not just lyrically but musically enhances the film, and is in turn enhanced by knowlege of the film is what makes priceless. It’s impactful in a way songs written for films don’t always manage to be.

Saturday
Dec072013

Who will LAFCA choose tomorrow?

The LAFCA (Los Angeles Film Critics Association) is inarguably an important critics prize in terms of influence and reach to AMPAS. Why? The answer is three fold. First, geography. Second, they're an institution having handed out prizes since 1975 (Dog Day Afternoon + One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was their inaugural best picture decision and their last tie ever for the top prize) Third, they don't stray too far from Oscar's own aesthetics which surely makes them more accessible to voters. In short they're more likely to gently nudge voters than shout bold statements at them.  In their 38 year history to date they've only given their Best Film prize to movies that didn't end up competing for Best Picture 7 times.

Only LAFCA Winners Not To Enjoy Oscar "Best Pic" Nods
Brazil (1985)
Little Dorritt (1988)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995, surely in the dread 6th position w/ Oscar)
About Schmidt (2002)
American Splendor (2003)
WALL•E (2008) 

Trivia: As a general rule they love the films of Alexander Payne so Nebraska will win something tomorrow but a fourth best picture win for a filmmaker who has only made six features will surely feel extravagant to them. They also love subtitled performances in Best Actress (9 wins over their 37 years... which I think you'll agree is a lot) so this is Adèle Exarchopoulus (Blue is...) or Paulina Garcia's (Gloria) best shot to turn acting branch heads.

Repeat Winners? Last year LAFCA honored both Amy Adams (The Master) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook). And -- look at that -- they're now co-stars in American Hustle, the film that won the NYFCC prize earlier this week. If that's too much of a do-over for LAFCA but they're still feeling member-of-the-club generous, Michael Fassbender, Joaquin Phoenix and Alexander Payne are all recent winners who could theoretically triumph again.

Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were celebrated at their awards gala in Jan 2013

What and who do you think they'll go for tomorrow?
The Boston Society of Film Critics (which I'd personally rank as 4th on the scale of important critics prizes, ahead of Chicago merely because they're less fussy and puffed-up "nominations first!" procrastinators about it) also announces tomorrow.

Saturday
Dec072013

Grammy Noms for Gatsby

Somewhere in the past 5 years I lost the thread of popular music -- I can only keep up with so many things and film is obviously my happyplace -- but even when I was firmly ensconced in the music side of pop culture,  the Grammys never made much sense to me. Needless to say I'm lost when it comes to the major nominations though I generally listen in or around the top three categories (Album, Song, Record) to see if something pricks my ears. But I digress. Let's talk about the fields that relate to what we do here at The Film Experience. Grammy has categories for everything including prizes for stage, film and television... but since they're on a different timetable than Oscar, it's a mix of 2012 films and new releases mostly The Great Gatsby that could win Grammy gold.

And the nominees are...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec072013

Raiders of the Lost Link

Total Film Idina Menzel on the long delayed Wicked movie adaptation
AV Club a Hilarious takedown of Nikki Finke's awful couching of Nelson Mandela's passing (RIP) in movie terms 
Boy Culture Happy birthday Boy Culture. Matt selects his 100 favorite posts from 8 years of blogging
The Onion "Google Streep View Panorama" LOL! (This could not be more appropriate to share at The Film Experience since we're always discussing Meryl Streep's Ubiquity). 

i09 Disney buys Indiana Jones. all the franchises will soon belong to them [insert evil laugh]
Playbill Sutton Foster will lead another TV show. This one is not a musical though... boo.
Playbill but another Broadway diva Alice Ripley will be starring in a film called Sugar which she'll do music for. Yay.
MNPP Which is hotter, Brad Pitt edition
me says
 wishes there were people of color in Frances Ha. I remember people had the same complaint about Girls and Woody Allen films before it. NYC is a very multi-ethnic place but movies and tv are less so
EOnline Mandy Patinkin Holla! He shaved off his beard
Boston Online the upstart critics group in Boston (not to be confused with the 32 year old institution that is the Boston Society of Film Critics) has given nearly 50% of their 2nd annual awards to 12 Years a Slave
Coming Soon Have you heard that Brie Larson and Emilia Clarke are the two finalists for the role of Sarah Connor in a Terminator reboot? Allow me to dry heave a little at the idea of rebooting a series that has already had three lives and whose concept allows for sequels on end without pretending the (great) originals never happened. Ugh!  Normally I'd root for my favorite actresses to get whatever parts they wanted but I'm hoping Brie finds something else instead. She's too good to waste on another tired 'no new ideas' franchise. 

Finally...

FWIW, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street was widely seen by critics on both coasts today, all three hours of it. Some onliners immediately broke the embargo (sigh) but I play the rules. Sure it costs me, but what can you do? I actually like embargos. They give you time to sit with a movie and consider before mouthing off. But it's definitely... um... a talking point. The only thing I'll say for now is that I was so proud of Margot Robbie for shaking off whatever dullness clung to her beauty in "Pan Am" (remember that show?) and really going for it. This is a hungry performance and Hollywood will surely reward her with a buffet of new roles to feast on. The competition for 'Hot Young Actress I Wish I Could Sleep With' critics org prize (commonly known as Best Supporting Actress... but critics can be so transparent) just got stiffer.