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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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Sunday
Dec292013

Five Easy Linkies. Two First Images

HuffPo Anne Hathaway (what? I miss her) is a conscientous pet owner and so generous that she even gives gifts to paparazzi
Salon on the unexpected feminism in Anchorman 2
/Film are these the 5 best film scores of the year from Stoker to...?
Awards Circuit 'you know stealing things is usually considered wrong, right?' on Jennifer Lawrence and the matter of scene-stealing performances
In Contention Kris Tapley's choices for best performances of the year 

And finally, here are two first images from upcoming films...

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike (albeit not in the flesh) in David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl and...

The terribly underemployed Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game -- seriously how does he eat with no paychecks ever? He's playing Alan Turing, the gay mathematician who was instrumental in breaking the german Enigma Code in World War II. In case you've forgotten there was a movie called Enigma many years ago now starring Kate Winslet which was also about the enigma code if I remember correctly ... albeit starring different characters. 

Saturday
Dec282013

Scorsese's Women. Scorsese's Best.

There are times when Margot Robbie's beauty feels so glossy and airbrushed in The Wolf of Wall Street that she feels almost CGIed in. But, as previously mentioned, Robbie seems to have shaken off whatever dullness once clung to that considerable if generic Barbie Doll beauty. Her Naomi LaPaglia is a hungry performance. It's not just Jordan Belfort that'll be opening the wallet and offering her everything, but Hollywood proper. Expect her to be rumored for every role in her age bracket in 3...2...1...

Scorsese has a long history of vivid supporting women in his movies. And yet, the women in his movies trouble me. They often pop but that isn't necessarily a tough assignment for a beautiful woman to clear, especially when she's the sole woman in a sea of somewhat interchangeable men, the men often playing variations on the same type within their rigidly masculine conformist communities.

Which is to say that Scorsese's films are never about the woman even when they're inordinately feminine (The Age of Innocence). Perhaps Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a glorious exception but couldn't it be argued that that fluke sprung from Scorsese's obsession with film genres (let's try a 'woman's picture' this time) more than anything else? [more...]

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Saturday
Dec282013

The Triumphant Return of Jared Leto (Don't Expect a Quick Encore)

Jared Leto's first claim on our hearts was, if you trust the fictional Angela Chase, the way he leaned. I've long maintained that Jordan Catalano would not be an easy part to play - it's all suggestion and no delivery required in order to satisfy every projection. The ability to embody the most beautiful blank slate that ever walked a high school hallway is a gift, but such gifts come with expiration dates. Leto's transition from dreamy heartthrob, a part he never seemed to cherish, to daring film star, a part to which he is obviously more aesthetically inclined, was long and haphazard. Many films went nowhere. The most successful of them, a pair of thrillers from David Fincher, even seemed like a direct revolt against his own beauty (consider the cornrows in Panic Room and the entire thrust of his Fight Club role -- "I felt like destroying something beautiful").

Rock Star Actor and His Latest Creation

Instead Jared leaned into his second career as a rock star. After a long sabbatical from acting, he's returned to screens as Rayon, a transexual drug addict in the 80s set AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club. He's finally found the role to bridge that earlier divide and replace Jordan Catalano in the public imagination. To hear Leto tell it, as I did when we spoke over the phone just before he was (figuratively) buried in an avalanche of awards, we might never had had his Rayon without that time in the wilderness.

"I'm a big believer that we learn from everything we do." he explains. "I hadn't made a film in 5 or 6 years and  in that time I was doing a lot of directing and editing and a lot of creative things, touring  all over the world and on stage in front of millions of people  from Lebanon to China to Africa and beyond. I think the five or six years I took and explored life made me a better actor. I don't think I would have been able to bring Rayon to life had I not lived a life."

Not that Rayon is without precedent in his filmography... [more]

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Saturday
Dec282013

20:13 for 2013 Screencap Fun: Ghosts, Zombies, Flappers

icymi here's part one.

Screencapping fun! We've frozen early 2013 releases* at the 20th minute and 13th second of their running times. Here's what we found. How many of these have you seen and do you think this moment is telling of the whole?

I had been drunk just once twice in my life and the second time was that afternoon."

In case you are illiterate, Baz Luhrmann's got you covered in his version of The Great Gatsby! (He sure is good at shooting party sequences, though. No filmmaker can touch him in that ultra specific place.)

This next screencap I had to lighten a bit so you could actually see it... Bed sheets are being yanked down... but by what/who?

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Friday
Dec272013

Oscars Postponed Pleasures (?)

[Here is guest columnist Matthew Eng to remind us of four films we may have forgotten. But they'll be back - Nathaniel R]

Postponements happen every year to a few among the many films on Oscar’s selective radar, to movies whose prospects look both bright and, well, bleak. It very nearly happened to Wolf of Wall Street, but for the skilled hands of Thelma Schoonmaker, who rescued the film from both a rumored four-hour running time and a dreaded NC-17. In cleaning up its act, though the film is still dirty, Wolf pushed Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan reboot Shadow Recruit out of its prime Christmas release date, but I’d wager that that project’s Oscar chances were already on the slim side. Let’s take a look back (and forward) at the four deferred features that tried to make it in time this year in order to win Oscar’s attention.

Foxcatcher (Dir. Bennet Miller)
Oscar Prospects: Picture, Director - Miller, Actor - Carell, Supporting Actor - Ruffalo, among others

Foxcatcher pretty much looked like a sure thing this Oscar season, considering the strangely fascinating true crime story at its center (the murder of Gold medal-wrestler David Schultz by a schizophrenic benefactor), as well as the main talent involved: director Bennett Miller, coming right off of Moneyball and reunited with Capote scribe Dan Futterman; star Steve Carell, transformed and intriguingly un-typecast as Schultz’s killer John du Pont; the ever-reliable and similarly-transformed Mark Ruffalo as Schultz; and a newly-revivified/post-Magic Mike Channing Tatum as Schultz’s brother/fellow Olympic wrestler. Following lots of general intrigue (primarily around Carell) albeit minimal buzz aside from an opening slot at the 2013 AFI Fest, Foxcatcher was moved by distributor Sony Pictures Classics from its late December release to a 2014 date that’s still TBD, in order to, you know, finish the movie. It’s a move thatseems pretty wise in retrospect, considering the already over-stuffed Best Actor line-up that the criminally under-sung and under-rewarded Carell (not even the Emmy?) would’ve definitely had to fight for a spot in. I expect that we’ll all be talking about Foxcatcher this time next year, but in the meantime, continue carefully placing needles in your Jim Parsons voodoo dolls and hope that that fantastically taut teaser reemerges on the web.

 

Grace of Monaco (Dir. Olivier Dahan)
Oscar Prospects: Actress - Nicole Kidman

On Oscar Sunday earlier this year, the Weinstein Company made news by buying domestic rights for La vie en Rose helmer Olivier Dahan’s latter-day Grace Kelly biopic for a planned December 27th limited release, building instant buzz around Nicole Kidman’s star performance as the late Princess of Monaco. Flash forward to today, December 27th, and here we are: Graceless. What happened? Aside from a rumor that footage from the film, completed nearly a year ago, would be premiering at Cannes, it seemed as though Grace of Monaco might have been nothing more than an actressexual’s giddy pipe dream, as Harvey Weinstein spent the greater part of the year stumping for seemingly every other movie on his already crowded docket, including Best Actress heavies Philomena and August: Osage County. Add in some early, pre-Weinstein criticism from Kelly’s children over the film’s presumed subject matter and a suspiciously delayed trailer that resembled a Dior commercial more than, um, an actual movie, and the odds weren’t looking so great for Grace and Nicole. Then, a week after the trailer’s release, Weinstein and Co. announced that they would be postponing the film until spring 2014, putting an end to any and all award buzz for Kidman, and subsequently rendering a dishy, ill-timed Vanity Fair cover story on the actress all but pointless. Meanwhile, in October, Dahan gave an embittered interview to a French newspaper, in which he bashed the trailer and called Harvey Scissorhands’ re-edit of the film a “pile of shit.” (Maybe Dahan can start a support group-cum-rebel rally with Bong Joon-ho and Wong Kar-wai?) It has yet to be seen whether Grace will be a spring treat or trifle, but it seems increasingly unlikely that Nicole will be a contender for a project with an such an already-dubious history behind it. One can only hope that Dahan doesn’t pull a Diana and further embarrass Our Darling Nicki.


The Immigrant (Dir. James Gray)
Oscar Prospects: Actress - Marion Cotillard; Cinematography - Darius Khondji

After a mixed reception at Cannes, the Weinsteins picked up acclaimed but Academy-ignored auteur James Gray’s period piece about the personal travails of a newly-arrived Polish immigrant in 1920s New York, with a promising lead performance by Cotillard in the titular role. The Immigrant seemed poised for an Oscar-qualifying release this year, only to find its admittedly modest chances temporarily squandered when Weinstein announced that the film would be delayed until 2014. It’s hard to say if The Immigrant (whose release date is still TBA, despite making its way to festivals in Toronto and New York) was ever really going to be a true-blue awards contender outside of the continually captivating efforts of oft-ignored cinematographer Darius Khondji, as well as Cotillard. After that dazzling La vie en rose win she has become something of a perpetual Oscar afterthought, with, in order of likelihood, Rust and BoneNineMidnight in Paris, and Inception all failing to make Oscar's lineups And even if The Immigrant isn’t the film to bring her back to Best Actress glory, Marion still has her upcoming, David Michôd-directed, Fassy-married, presumably fierce-as-all-get-out Lady Macbeth to potentially get her there.


The Monuments Men (Dir. George Clooney)
Oscar Prospects: Uh, every category Columbia can buy a campaign for...? 

Let’s be honest: this was either going to be a monumental crowd-pleaser for Oscar to bear-hug, orit was going to be a larkish, star-filled period piece, potentially all-dressed-up with nowhere-but-Goodman to go. (Is anyone else getting a whiff of Leatherheads from over here?) Based on its new February release date, not to mention those highly doubtful and groaningly self-serious trailers, it seems that Columbia may have settled the confusion, but not before we were subjected to the baffling sight of George Clooney talking about the trials and tribulations of being a screenwriter in Hollywood, while sitting at the same Hollywood Reporter roundtable as Julie Delpy and Nicole Holofcener. But who knows? Maybe The Monuments Men will be the surprise hit of 2014 and not just a studio-sponsored Eurotrip for Clooney & Co. Maybe it’s the art-saving, Nazi-evading baby in the early winter bathwater. Or maybe it’s just the bathwater.

Friday
Dec272013

Randomness: Grandmaster, Paddington, Catwomen and Babies

Can you develope ADHD suddenly as an adult? I'm hating it but as with last weekend, I can't concentrate at all, starting multiple blog posts and never actually finishing any of them. Hours go by and I'm staring at the screen still and WHERE DID THE DAY GO. Nothing. I got nothing. Like, I'm watching The Grandmaster last night and as Tony Leung and Zhangi Ziyi stare at each other for minutes on end, immobile in some badass mixed martial arts yoga pose, all I could think was "such powers of concentration!"

I did NOT expect that movie to be all about Zhang Ziyi's vow to avenge her father and refuse Tony Leung's heretofore unrefusable sexual advances. i thought it was going to be a biopic of Ip Man (Leung) but he's kind of an afterthought once Zhang starts tearing up and reflecting from her opium haze. Once the movie goes back to Ip Man, it seems to give up suddenly. Like, "yeah, we know this isn't half as interesting, kthx bye. Closing credits - bam!" Zhang Ziyi won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards (as previously discussed) and though I wouldn't go that far, she sure can hold a movie camera. 

So herewith some random thoughts on everything from overheard drug store movie chatter to that awful silhouetted lone-man back-turned movie-poster plague we can't stop hating on. If you follow me on twitter, and you should, some of this will be familiar. 

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