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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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Cannes Winners

"Marion Cotillard has had a movie in contention for what, the last 4 years or so? She will eventually win the prize, or more likely be head of the jury one day." - Tom

"Looks like Cate and Rooney are now a package deal for Oscars, no?" - John

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Wednesday
Oct232013

Golden Globes: Got Any Comedy/Musical Predictions?

a comedy?Despite bold statements every year about who is campaigning in which Golden Globe category, the news is usually fluid so don't get too attached to anything you hear. Awards strategists are free to change their mind. As it stands now, August: Osage County and Before Midnight are planning Comedy campaigns and Blue Jasmine is aiming for drama. Curious, right? Dark laughs are flexible, don'cha know, and they can find traction in either category. We here at The Film Experience have long mourned the death of the Comedy or Musical category in the way we also mourn the death of the Supporting Oscar categories in that they too rarely serve their original purposes: which was to honor achievements that would otherwise be overlooked in the annual awards-focus on prestige drama and movie stars, respectively. It says a lot about the Comedy Acting categories for example that you can only make room for actual comedic triumphs IF a prestige drama with a few laughs or songs opts out.

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
The two most likely to succeed players IF they're deemed comedies though some feel they won't be are  Emma Thompson and Dame Judi Dench for Saving Mr Banks and Philomena respectively. Regardless, I think you can ink in Julia Louis Dreyfus for Enough Said, the year's most acclaimed romcom. If August's current campaign plans hold, you might see Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep taking up the entire rest of the category for their bitter duel! Why Julia? Well, supporting campaigns sometimes get promoted in this category if its a movie star who is actually a lead (see Catherine Zeta Jones nom for Chicago) and nobody thinks of megawatt Julia as a supporting player. But if you account for all five of those women (which you might not need to given rumored drama campaigns for Philomena & Saving Mr Banks -- which are the type of properties that could easily swing either way) there's no room left! Speaking of category confusion... if it's not Julia, the Globes could go with another actress they've been known to love with abandon. Remember that weirdass nomination for Scarlett Johansson for A Love Song For Bobby Long in 2004? (It's okay. nobody else does either) She could surprise here given that revelatory comic sparkle in Don Jon. And that would not be an unworthy call.

Potential Spoilers: If they're willing to lean pure comedy they've got a ready made nominee set in Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy from The Heat but it's tough to say which of those two might win favor since the HFPA often ignores pure laffers when sorta-funny dramas are around and votes could easily split anyway. McCarthy has the reviews and that new stardom (with two big hits in 2013) but Bullock has the Gravity and is arguably the biggest star of all at this moment. Plus, you know how they love double dipping! Greta Gerwig's Frances Ha or Julie Delpy's Before Midnight would be a really smart worthy choices but neither seem like the type of actor that the magpie-like HFPA, always looking for super-shiney-famous, would lock right up for a nomination. Paulina Garcia in Gloria, should the film win a qualifying run, would be another brilliant choice but it seems so unlikely given all of the beloved big names in the mix.

Am I missing any possibilities?

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
There might be no beating Bruce Dern for Nebraska unless the Golden Globes are itching for a major movie star to reward instead of someone who has paid his dues. The only other sure thing is, I'm guessing, Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis since he covers the "musical" part and the film, if not Isaac, is really funny at times -- it was directed by the Joel and Ethan Coen after all. Will Her end be declared a comedy despite its melancholy? If so then Joaquin Phoenix for sure.

But who else? Will Will Forte join Dern for a double Nebraska nod with the dearth of possibilities or might James Gandolfini win posthumous favor for Enough Said? Will they take Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight? There's also Joseph Gordon Levitt in Don Jon, Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Will Ferrell in Anchorman 2? Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3 or Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger (hey they'll nominate mega-stars for anything)

THE FILMS?
Will they fill up the film category with only potential Oscar BPs: August: Osage County, Nebraska, or the either/or category types like Her, Before Midnight, Philomena and Saving Mr Banks. Or will they throw some thankyoufortheLOLs and songs honors to more straightforward comedies Anchorman 2, The Heat, Don Jon, This is the End, or At World's End and the two musicals Inside Llewyn Davis & Black Nativity. You never know how they'll swing in this category because they also might opt for charmers like Frances Ha (shut up I can dream), Enough Said, About Time or The Way Way Back.

Alternately they could always pull a Tourist like head-scratchers and go with something unacceptable (categorically) or critically planned like Oz the Great and Powerful, Red 2, The Family or The Lone Ranger!

What does your crystal ball tell you?

Wednesday
Oct232013

Beauty Break: The Fiennes Profile

this photoshoot adorned many a wallRalph Fiennes's original heyday in the mid 90s pre-dated 99.9% of the online movie world we know today (including the existence of The Film Experience in any of its forms) so I've probably never revealed to you how hard I crushed in the 90s. We used to cut his pictures out of magazines to hang them on the wall. My best friend had an even bigger thing for him and thus a veritable shrine. We felt mutual guilt given that this started with, you know, Ammon Goeth. (Don't judge!)

I felt a tinge of that old eroticism again watching the Grand Budapest Hotel trailer last week ("I sleep with all my friends"... friends? what about your fans, Fiennes, your fans!?!). Now, Wes Anderson movies are not usually with the sexytime so I'm guessing Gustav's bedhopping exploits are strictly diegetic.

Those old tingly feelings returned the second he went into profile in the trailer. Oh god, that profile. 

Even when I crudely photoshop it, it's beautiful and timeless... or at least retro timeless like a daguerrotype boyfriend. I've always thought it was beyond perfect, the Most Handsomest and Profiliest Profile in The Movies. 

The English Patient understood that and constantly offered it up in both moving pictures and promotional stills.

And in some perverse way I think the Harry Potter franchise did too, desecrating and perverting its holy planes (sculpted by God himself) by removing the nose entirely.

What are some of your favorite movie profiles? 

Wednesday
Oct232013

Kate, Barbra, and Oscar Part 1: The Queen

As a bit of context for the impending Supporting Smackdown (get your votes in), we'll be celebrating 1968 daily at Noon for the rest of the month. Here's Anne Marie on a favorite Oscar moment.

It was the night of April 14th, 1969. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was packed with stars for the 41st Academy Awards. When it came time to award the Oscar for Best Actress, presenter Ingrid Bergman stuttered with shock as she announced that two women had tied. Her surprise was understandable; there had been no tie in the acting branch for over thirty years. Barbra Streisand, only 26 years old, tripped over her sparkling sailor suit as she approached the podium to accept her Oscar for Funny Girl. Katharine Hepburn was characteristically absent for her historic third win, so the director of The Lion In Winter accepted on her behalf. This joint win was more than just a peculiar footnote in Oscar history. This was a rare case of the Academy getting it exactly right twice with one award.

As has been extensively documented here at The Film Experience, the Academy is often maddeningly predictable in its awards-giving. However, at its best an Oscar can be a celebration of an explosive newcomer on the cusp of an incredible career (e.g. Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind) or a salute to a seasoned veteran for a risky performance at her artistic peak (e.g. Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire). In 1969, both happened: Katharine Hepburn won for the second time in a row for a virtuosic, against-type performance as Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion In Winter, and Barbra Streisand won for her instantly-iconic turn as Fanny Brice in her very first film, Funny Girl. While these two women can share that Oscar win, they certainly cannot be confined together to a single blog post. If you'll forgive my fangirl squeals of excitement, I'll start with Hepburn.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct222013

Team Top 10: Horror Films AFTER "The Exorcist"

It's Amir here, bringing you the second episode of this month's Team Top Ten. Last week we looked at the best horror films made before The Exorcist. This week it's time for everything that came after that seminal classic. Moreso than in the previous list, Team Experience members have agreed on canonical titles, barring an exception or two. This isn't to say there weren't any surprises. We decided against compiling a preliminary list of eligible titles before voting - precisely to avoid total agreement on our choices - and lo and behold, differences in opinion over what is considered horror lead to some major eyebrow-raisers; I'm already anticipating your comments about the absence of Jaws. But that's the fun in list-making.

Without further ado join us for the haunted house, serial killers, and terrifying isolation of...

The Top Ten Best
Post-Exorcist Horror Films

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct222013

Curio: Surrendering to Dorothy

Alexa here. This fall has put me in home-decorating mode while we look for a new house; I am using a lot of my brain space filling the space we haven't found yet. My fantasies have recently led me to look for art that represents my love of film, but not in an obvious, film-poster way. So I'm pretty sure that something from UK design Studio Dorothy will find its way into our home.  

Dorothy is a group of 4 designers who create some unexpected and clever film art.  On the top of my lust list are these prints from their Hollywood Star Chart series, wherein they re-imagine constellations as American films from cinema's Golden Age and the modern era.  

Two closeup details...

 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct222013

Crazy/Possessed Ballerinas. Are There Any Other Kinds? 

In preparation for our two part Horror Best Listing (pre-Exorcist and post-Exorcist which arrives tonight) I caught up with a few classic titles. One of them, briefly discussed on the latest podcast, was Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977). I can't say I took to it exactly, despite being partial to films which boozily strip naked and beg their Production Designer & Cinematographer to f*** them.

slumber parties in horror movies? never a good idea

Suspiria (have you seen it?) starts sort of well, flying right into an unnatural rainstorm with a weirdly off kilter urgency as ballerina Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) arrives in Germany to attend an prestigious ballet academy. But those first two kills are so yuck making the intro a mixed bag for me. For its middle section, which I assume is where the film's classic status derives, the movie does little cul-de-sacs in creepy/garish atmospherics punctuated by two perversely inventive murders. But then, oops, time is up. For its last trick, Suspiria speeds through a dud finale with mood-killing exposition (how was Udo Kier ever this young!?) and badly dated visual effects. By the time the credits appear, it's lost pretty much all of its intermittent unnerving power. For me at least; I understand others really do dig it.

After Suspiria ended, my mind wandered to a more general cinematic question: Are there any silver screen ballerinas that are happy?

See, it seems like screen ballerinas are always batshit crazy whether they're...

Suspiria

...possessed by the occult

 

The Red Shoes

...dancing feverishly as if possessed by toe shoes

 

Black Swan

...having psychotic feathered breaks

 

The Turning Point

...or engaging in neurotic Oscarbait-offs. 

 

Can you think of any well adjusted ballerinas in fiction?
And if you can't whose your favorite nutjob ballerina?