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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 "...and will these three great artists appear on the actual Oscars show?" - Rick G.

"To dig up some tabloid history (not that it was buried deep) for a footnote, Reynolds' "love rival" Elizabeth Taylor won the same humanitarian award in 1993. It sort of goes to show that everybody got theirs in that situation, except for Eddie Fisher." - Hayden W.

"Congrats to these three! They are all deserving of this honor but I STILL can't believe the Academy has pass up Doris Day AGAIN!" - Anthony


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Tom Hanks, All-American

[Here's Deborah with a personal story that any movie-loving reader with a kid (or that hopes to have one might enjoy). How will you introduce them to the movies? And who will they love onscreen? - N]


Tom Hanks was my son's first favorite actor.


I started my son on classic movies when he was just eight years old. Arthur has Asperger's, and was intensely sensitive to any content that was even vaguely upsetting. At the age of nine, he could have worked for or the MPAA. My solution was to introduce him to movies from a time of more delicate sensibilities. Starting with Miracle on 34th Street, we moved to Arsenic and Old Lace, which opened into a long-term screwball comedy kick. Musicals, too, became a major part of our lives, up to and including Arthur's passion for Gene Kelly and his entry into dance school.


But at the movie theater, it was strictly kid stuff: Pixar, Harry Potter, Batman. Christmas of 2002, I asked my then-twelve-year old if he wanted to see a grown-up movie. He loved Catch Me If You Can. About a year later, I heard him say that Tom Hanks was his favorite actor. I was surprised, but realized that in fact, we'd seen Forrest Gump at home together, and he'd seen Apollo 13 at school, making Tom Hanks one of the few living actors that Arthur had seen in multiple movies, and the only one he really remembered.


Tom Hanks, all-American, the late 20th/early 21st century Jimmy Stewart. Arthur liked Hanks; he found he could connect to him. Hanks is also, I'd argue, one of the most tasteful modern actors. He knows how to read a script with a discerning eye. Sure, he's made some clunkers (Larry Crowne), but in general, Hanks's name in the cast adds credibility to a film. I mean, is John Cusack less talented than Tom Hanks? I don't think so, but his career suggests he has no ability to tell wheat from chaff, so when you see that Cusack is in a movie, you don't think, "Well, it'll probably be good."


But Hanks, with his pretty good taste and his aw-shucks accessibility, has managed to star in a whole bunch of movies that are just about perfect for introducing someone to the love of film. You can start with his voice in Toy Story, and eventually land as an adult at Captain Phillips, perhaps stopping at Saving Mr. Banks in the tween years.


I checked in with Arthur while writing this article. His favorite actor is now Liev Schreiber, but he still admires Tom Hanks.



TFE's Fall Season

I feel like we need to start fresh. So let's pretend we've been off air for a few month and TFE's fall season starts Sunday October 20th, 8 PM EST. Any requests? If you love the blog please share articles on facebook or twitter. TFE has, strangely, a devout but possessive following. Don't keep things you love to yourself - share, tweet and like your favorites!

Sundays Box OfficePodcast
Mondays Monologues | Stage Door 
Tuesdays Tues Top Ten | Curio 
Wednesdays Reader Spotlight | Beauty Break
Thursdays AHS | Threads 
Fridays Posterized | Q&A 
Saturdays New Review 

The schedule will be anchored by these dependable *cough* series -- roughly two regulars a day -- and jazzed up by dramatic experiments (ooooh), news (duh), silliness (hee), trailers (yes no maybe so),  interviews  (yassss!),  oscarables (✓) and smackdowns (♥). Last but not least, we'll also mix in whatever topic we're currently focused on. For the rest of October that's the 1968 film year as we count down to the Smackdown! ... though you can help us stay regular with a "subscription" donation on the sidebar. Why? Time is literally money. I have a finite amount I can spend blogging unless rent is already paid. 


All is Link

Village Voice great piece on BAM's retrospective of Karen Black (happening right now!) by Stephanie Zacharek
Vulture All is Lost, Robert Redford and taking stardom for granted
AV Club "100 Episodes" takes on Homestar Runner - great piece about the evolution of Web TV. 
Guardian talks to Chris Hemsworth about Thor consuming his life and what he learns from film to film


My New Plaid Pants begins "The 13 Snakes of Halloween" festivities with The Witches and Anaconda. Oooh, what comes next? 
Coming Soon Avatar sequels start filming in one year's time. Happy Halloween so don't throw away your blue body paint just yet.
i09 on 11 misanthropic horror movies from Cabin in the Woods to Frankenstein
LA Times Scarlett Johansson, winning fresh raves for her voice work in Her, is mystified by the awards process.

I don't even know how it works. And I'm an Academy member!" 

Exit Image
Here's our first image of Reese Witherspoon from Wild which she tweeted herself...



Her very own less grim Into the 127 Hours sorta one-man kinda show about a actress who hiked 1000 miles after losing her mojo. No I kid I kid, it's the true story of a woman who did that after her divorce and her mother's death. It started filming last week. I sincerely hope Reese packed her Oscar in that napsack just to remind herself about ACTING. It's unwise to share the screen with Laura Dern if you haven't reminded yourself of that.

Yes, in the oddest casting news for this movie Laura Dern who is but 9 years older than Reese will be playing her mother. 


LFF: Home to Britain

David reporting on four of the British films in the London Film Festival.

The crown jewel in the archive selection this year is the BFI’s pristine restoration of J.B.L. Noel’s overwhelming 1924 documentary, The Epic of Everest. It’s one of those films where the sheer audacity of what’s being filmed, as opposed to any technical prowess, is what really impresses. And when the intertitles (it’s silent, of course, though outfitted with a gorgeously minimalist new score from Simon Fisher Turner) announce that a particular shot is brought to you using a revolutionary telephoto lens, that’s quite an achievement. Though no words are spoken, and faces barely seen, it’s hard not to become enthralled in Noel’s recounting of their journey through Tibet and up the mountain, with breathtaking long takes of some passages of the mountain gripping in the simplicity of distant figures precarious movements. Andrew Irvine and George Mallory died in the attempt, a tragedy captured in a climax that combines painful distance – the camera could only be taken so far up the mountain – with melancholic intertitles that seem to reach out through time. The BFI restoration is released in the UK this weekend, with a detailed DVD and Blu-Ray release sure to follow – in any format, it’s an awesome experience of an extraordinary expedition.

Charlie Cox (remember him?) in Hello Carter plus two more new films after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Yes, No, Maybe So: Grand Budapest Hotel

Hospitality is all about speed, charm and mind-reading. Get them checked in, ingratiate yourself, anticipate their every need. Movies have to do that in reverse so the new poster (discussed) and the trailer have arrived to charm and anticipate our needs. Will you check into his GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL in Spring 2014? Let's check off our yes no maybe so boxes...


• ohmygod the colorology! I'm in ♥ with all the reds and purples and whites on view here. Wes Anderson movies may all look exactly like Wes Anderson movies but they do change up the color palette, so points for that.
• And speaking of which... I really think costumers and production designers on his movies do not get enough credit. It's insane to me that Karen Patch, for example, wasn't Oscar nominated for her instantly iconic work on The Royal Tenenbaums. This time it's the legendary Milena Canonero (on her 3rd Anderson picture) and Adam Stockhausen (who graduated to Production Designer on Moonrise Kingdom), respectively.
• If Wes Anderson were a hotelier, I imagine he'd have to run a very small exclusive boutique, building the perfect meticulously designed dollhouse rooms for his devout fanbase and repertory actors to squeeze into. I would glady pay rack. 
• Ralph Fiennes as a ladykiller concierge named "Gustav H"
• Tilda as an unrecognizably old rich lady horny for him? 


• Oh noooos. Tilda dies to kick off the plot? That's too little Tilda.
• ...Especially since the cast list is otherwise a total sausage party. 


• Why is this trailer square? Is Wes challenging himself with an old school aspect ratio? [update after writing: yep, apparently there are three aspect ratios here] I know people complain about his center framed horizontals but I LIKE horizontal, and love his unique aesthetic.
• Do you think this one will skew too forced whacky? (the roundelay of face-punching, the skiing) or too precious (the secret code, the name of the painting, the "lobby boy" cap)
• ...can a Wes Anderson movie even be too precious? Or, if so, should they all be animated like Fantastic Mr Fox?
Moonrise Kingdom will be hard to top but he doesn't need to. Even his least satisfying movie (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) still has all sorts of corners and hallways and portholes to look into and at.


Are you a yes, no, or maybe so... and in what ways? Do tell.


Two Graces at War

It's Julien your French correspondent to pass a bit of a contentious interview your way. After tampering with the ending of August: Osage Country and cutting 20 minutes off Snowpiercer, it seems Harvey Scissorhands is at it again. Grace of Monaco director Olivier Diahan spoke to French newspaper Libération (in an article published today) about his ongoing feud with Weinstein.

The disagreement is apparently the cause of the film's delay:

What’s complicated right now is to make sure that the critics will be able to judge my own version of the film, and not another one. But it’s not over yet, I haven’t given up. (…) There are two versions of the film: mine and his… which I found catastrophic.”

Quite a strong assessment from the guy who directed My Own Love Song, wouldn’t you say?

Click to read more ...


Shutdown Movie-Thon (Week Two!)

The Government Shutdown is Over! But our previously furloughed friend Lynn Lee (once reader spotlighted) was kind enough to complete her movie binge diary for us. - Nathaniel

"Filmgoing Adventures of a Furloughed Federal Employee"

Previously on Part 1: Gravity (in 2D), Rush, and Mr Smith fantasies

DAY 8: Museum Hours is the film that’s been eluding me for the past month, and the only place it’s still playing at locally is the Avalon, on the border between D.C. and Maryland.  The Avalon is one of those old-school theaters with a balcony in the main theater but creaky, decidedly non-stadium seats, and a more cramped secondary theater that can only be reached by a set of steep, narrow stairs.  Still, the place has a certain rickety charm, and offers my last chance of catching this movie before it leaves theaters altogether.  So there I go, feeling more than ever like I’m playing hooky because this time I’m solo.  It’s just me, one older woman, and two senior, clearly retired couples who I’m pained to watch ascending those awful stairs with difficulty.

I can’t speak for them, but for me the film turns out to be well worth the trip.  Ostensibly about two strangers who meet and forge a platonic connection at an art museum in Vienna, at its heart it’s about the connection between art and life, and the human instinct to capture the fleeting beauty of ordinary people going about their lives—whether as an observer, an artist, or both.  It makes me suddenly aware of how little we see of random passers-by just doing their thing in most movies; whenever our attention is drawn to a person, it’s for a very specific, plot-driven purpose.  Museum Hours lacks that narrative compulsion, and while it may feel aimless to some, to me it feels like a revelation.  I walk down the arthritis-baiting stairs in a strangely exalted state of mind. 

DAY 9: Lazy day after a late night out.  Ponder on Museum Hours and decide it’s on the short list for favorite film of the year so far.  Also ponder whether to see Gravity again in 3D.

DAY 10: Another day, another schlep to Maryland—this time Bethesda, to see Short Term 12, about a temporary group home for troubled kids and the barely-older adults who work there.  It’s a dreary rainy day, Bethesda is far, and I’m tempted to wait for the DVD.  But I resist the urge, and once again, the film rewards my journey.  It isn’t perfect; some of the character arcs feel a little overdetermined, and the conclusion just a little too neat.  Yet emotionally, it feels completely organic, thanks in large part to the terrific acting, and it may be the only movie I’ve seen all year that actually deserves to be called “heartwarming.”  My fellow audience members—another smattering of older couples—seem to agree, even the man who kept asking his wife in what he probably thought was a whisper what the characters were saying.

DAY 11: Lunch with four fellow furloughed work friends—aka Ladies Who (Normally Don’t) Lunch—at which Congress gets thoroughly skewered, followed by a matinee show of Enough Said, the Nicole Holofcener rom-com in which a fortysomething divorced woman (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) strikes up a relationship with a nice, age-appropriate divorced man (the late James Gandolfini) only to discover that he’s the ex-husband of her new client and BFF (Catherine Keener). 

The film’s less screwball comedy and more a ruefully funny, surprisingly poignant look at the difficulties of moving on to a new stage of life.  I find myself tearing up towards the end, and am glad to find my friends similarly afflicted.

DAY 12: The AMC theater two blocks from my place was recently refitted with cushy reclining seats - perfect for watching a movie as tense as Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass's white-knuckle take on the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates in 2009. Tom Hanks is his usual capable Everyman self as the captain, though he's nearly upstaged by the actors playing the hijackers. Turns out all of them are friends and first-time actors from a Somali community in Minneapolis, but they fully inhabit the fierce, desperate lives of the pirates; Barkaad Abdi is the standout as their diminutive but strong-willed leader. Last third of the movie could have been shortened up a bit, but the prolonged waiting does underscore the agony for everyone involved.

DAY 14: I finally see Gravity in 3D IMAX. Verdict: you should see it that way if you can; but if you can't or have already seen it in 2D, don't worry, it's the same essential movie. It's not so much the big, scary action set pieces that benefit from the 3D as little touches like Sandra Bullock's tears, instead of falling down, rolling up into a bubble and floating towards you. I still find the last scene with her and Clooney kind of clunky; but the one right before that, when she's about to give up, is one of the best scenes I've seen in any movie all year. It loses no punch the second time around, even knowing what follows.  

BACK TO WORK: Gravity turns out to be the last film I see in theaters before Congress finally does what it should have done two weeks ago and passes an appropriations bill that reopens the federal government. I can't say I'm sorry to go back to work, but I also can't help thinking a little wistfully of how much I enjoyed all those afternoons at the movies. Of course, given that the current bill only funds the government through mid-January and the ongoing dysfunctionality of Congress, I may well be back in the movie theaters a few months from now, getting a head start on all the Oscar contenders. Here's hoping it doesn't come to that - but I know what to do if it does!