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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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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Friday
Oct052012

007 Things That Excite / Concern Me About "Skyfall"

Hi, all. I'm Deborah Lipp, half of the Lipp Sisters team at the Mad Men site  Basket of Kisses and author of six books, including The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book.*

Between today, which happens to be International James Bond Day, and the U.S. release of the 23rd official James Bond movie, Skyfall (opening November 9th!), Nathaniel has asked me to deliver a series on the subject of James Bond. We'll focus on lists of seven things — any seven things, provided they relate to James Bond, agent 007 of Her Majesty's Secret Service. And, because I'm generous to a fault, I'm going to start you off, this first time out, with a bonus list. So, without further adieu, here are 007 Things That Excite Me About Skyfall as well as 007 Things That Concern Me About Skyfall.

*Note: If you want a copy of the book, please, please contact me directly

007 Things That Excite Me About Skyfall

001 It's a James Bond movie. Let's get serious: If the buzz for the movie was terrible, if Ebert used both his thumbs to pan it, if it got the lowest rating in history on Rotten Tomatoes, I'd still be there on opening night, and probably the next night as well. And maybe the following week. And there would be vodka martinis chilling at home, and I know how to make them right.

It's a James Bond movie. Bond has been with me through my entire life, a guarantee of adventure, excitement, sex, and escape. I am, frankly, addicted to these movies, they are like a drug to me.

002 The return of Q. Bond movies have a tradition, and repeating certain formulaic aspects is a delight. Sure, some people want Thanksgiving without turkey, but some of us love the repetition of form, and for us, the return of a beloved character who has been there from the beginning matters a lot.

Q Trivia, Judi Dench, and terrible blonde villains after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct052012

Predictions in Actressing: Few Locks, Many New Variables

It's entirely redundant to tell you that Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress are The Film Experience's favorite Oscar categories. This year's field continues to feel slippery, amorphous, unknowable which is... great. It should be hard to pin down the Oscar race before films have been widely seen and release dates have fully settled. The charts this month are quite shuffled so I hope you'll devour them.

ACTRESS Most pundits have assumed since the very beginning that Cotillard and Wallis were locked up done deals but I'm actually still not comfortable inking either of them in. They could happen, sure, but there are so many contenders and no one beyond Jennifer Lawrence (having one of those mega years that's impossible to deny) has cemented a position here. Especially with all the movement. Even one of these smaller films with rising stars (Olsen, Winstead, Fanning) could happen theoretically or at least siphon key votes if audiences and critics are kind and their campaign is strong.

We should note that little Quvenzhané Wallis has a new problem beyond her very young age in that SAG won't be nominating her (declaring the cast ineligible). Cotillard also has a significant problem in that she isn't the only reknowned actress killing it in a subtitled drama. Emmanuelle Riva anyone? The Hiroshima Mon Amour star is a powerhouse in a very difficult role in Amour. I've just seen the movie so perhaps it's wishful thinking but this is very moving work.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS The big new question mark for me is whether biopic mimicry -- Scarlett Johansson doing Janet Leigh's arched brow Psycho tics -- will finally win her Oscar attention after her breakthrough early misses nine years ago (Girl with the Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation... and to a lesser extent her Woody Allen hussy in Match Point). She stopped being an actress for awhile moving straight to über celebrity but after her Tony-winning run on Broadway and renewed vigor in her filmography, this could be the year. Or will various Psycho co-stars steal the spotlight. It's worth noting that Toni Collette can steal spotlights from anyone anywhere... and if her Hitchcock assistant role has a key scene or two that she can wow in, watch out! (That's a mighty big "if" of course in a film with stars this big playing famous Hollywood icons.)

I should also note that though I'm on the record as no fan of Helen Hunt's 90s Oscar win, I found her work in The Sessions to be very strong. To me it's unquestionably a leading role (it wouldn't be if we didn't spend time with her outside of the titular sessions but we do, making this a lopsided duet) and I'm a bit curious as to why Fox Searchlight so adamantly settled on a supporting campaign so early given that a lead Actress nod still doesn't seem unattainable for this previous winner.

Friday
Oct052012

Oscar Horrors: 'But Debbie... Pastels?'

[Editor's Note: "Oscar Horrors," a daily October series investigating rare Oscar nominations within the horror genre, returns now for its second season!] 

HERE LIES... Addams Family Values, which was nominated in 1993 for Best Supporting Actr Best Screenpl Best Costume Des Best Visual Eff Best Art Direction (...really?)

Addams Family Values is the remarkable anomaly in many ways. First, it's among the rare sequels that surpass the original in terms of quality. Second, it provided us not one, but two of the great comedic performances of the 1990’s with Christina Ricci’s Wednesday and Joan Cusack's Debbie (she was deservedly nominated for her work four years later as the jilted fiancee to Kevin Kline in another Paul Rudnick production, In & Out). Finally, it had a wickedly biting screenplay that rose the stakes, wasn’t afraid to blur genre lines and one could go so far as to say, made the dark comedy accessible again. 

Unfortunately, the Academy did not take heed of this. (Nor, for that matter, did audiences, rushing instead to see Robin Williams in drag a week later.) Addams Family Values managed a single Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction. Never mind Ricci’s tour-de-force performance (my pick for one of, if not the best child performance(s) of all time), Cusack’s gleefully madcap widow, Rudnick’s fantastic screenplay or the (still impressive) visual effects; big whoop, you could be forgiven for thinking. See’s Candies meets Tim Burton. How impressive.

Hey. Don't judge. You haven't even seen the inside yet.

But upon closer inspection, you see that there is actually more variation to Ken Adam's and Marvin March's work than meets the eye. Yes, the design work for the Addams residence is remarkable in and of itself, but contrast that with the sunny, bright, insufferable Camp Chippewa and the austere, immaculate coldness of Debbie’s mansion, and what is remarkable about all three is how seemingly effortless the atmosphere feels. The dank macabre feels lived in, the camp radiates gleeful conformity, and the mansion is more an artifact than a home. An art director’s job, more often than not, is to enhance the world of these characters, based in ours or a separate reality. It doesn’t distract, (unless it’s architecture porn in a Nancy Meyers film), and here, it provides an invaluable service to mirror our characters’ reflection of self and at the same time, the prison they’re respectively sentenced to. 

And next we have Squanto's summer home which he shared with his business associate, Benji.

My favorite stylistic flourish is the dinner scene, where this cavernous, dank, gothic locale inspires romantic lunacy in Morticia and Gomez. Their broad tango is one of the best scenes in the film, and the extensive work done to make this location both disagreeable and desirable is fascinating. Seriously, though! Claustrophobia has never looked more considerably sensual.

I miss Raul Julia. But then, who doesn't?

What is also remarkable about this particular year at the Academy Awards is that Addams Family Values was awarded the odious distinction of being the only modern film nominated in the category. (The other four were The Age of Innocence, Orlando, The Remains of the Day and, the winner, Schindler’s List.) I have no qualms with Orlando’s nomination, seeing as how it transcended space and time with elegance and grace, and I can’t fault The Age of Innocence either, given its rich detail and tendency to burn. (I’ve not seen the other two films.) What I do find distressing is that so often period films are rewarded by the Academy because they evoke their time so consistently and competently, but rarely with manic passion or revisionist winks, (or even knowing anachronistic qualities); they’re done admirably but without gusto or wit. Genre (like Addams Family Values) gets a fair go once in a while, but one yearns for the Academy to broaden their perspectives a bit more.

...but, this is a broken record for an attentive choir.

In any case, Addams Family Values is a beautifully underrated horror-comedy. Its embrace of genre and horror tics only enhancinh the sick, depraved, gleeful little bitch that it is. 

I smile every time I see it. 

Related
Oscar Horrors Season 1 Finale (Rosemary's Baby) and index
Le Cinemagician Check out Beau's new blog where he's currently doing a '31 Days of Horror' series

Friday
Oct052012

First and Last: See the Universe

first and last season six! The first image (post-credits) and last image (pre-credits) of a motion picture.

Can you guess the movie?

Friday
Oct052012

Will Oscar Voters Sing Along With "Skyfall" ?

My freinquaintance Mark Blankenship at New Now Next is in love with Adele's "Skyfall" theme. That crush is sweeping the internet though the song also has its "it's dull!" naysayers.

He's written a fun article but I wouldn't be so bold about predicting an Oscar to go along with the chanteuse's Grammy statues. For one thing you can hear iconic Bond underscoring and you know how the music branch loves to disqualify the best movie songs for stupid reasons or just not nominated the best ones even if they do qualify. (Moulin Rouge!'s über classic "Come What May" -- not that Adele's song is that caliber -- is an example of the former and Bruce Springsteen's Wrestler theme is an example of the latter.)

Here's Adele's song if you haven't yet committed it to memory.

I should stop being a killjoy about Oscar dreams and such a bitch about the music branch but it's impossible for me not to note the statistics -- it's a sickness! -- and they aren't promising. Oscar's music branch has been notoriously stingy about awarding this Original Song Bonanza of a Franchise. To date these are the only three Original Song Oscar nominees from 007 films (four if you count the non-official Bond film Casino Royale from the 60s since "The Look of Love" was nominated)

 

  • Live and Let Die (1973)
    "Live and Let Die" Paul & Linda McCartney (sung by Paul McCartney)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    "Nobody Does it Better" Marvin Hamlisch & Carole Bayer Sager (sung by Carly Simon)
  • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
    "For Your Eyes Only" Bill Conti & Michael Leeson (sung by Sheena Easton)

 

That statistic will shake your faith but it's not very stirring.

Thursday
Oct042012

Oscar.... 'he goes a little mad sometimes'

Let's talk Hitchcock and Oscar. I'm in the process of updating every Oscar chart -- tis the season! -- and I think I'm just going to give Hitchcock the benefit of the doubt. No one has seen it but if they're rushing to complete it having moved it from 2013 to now, Fox Searchlight must feel they really have something (best case scenario) or that the competition or their other films are weak (worst case scenario). New photos just emerged from People Magazine of which these of Alfred Hitchcock (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) are excerpted below.

The "Scoop" page ripped from People makes the movie look a little cheapzy (that's cheap + cheesy) but that could just be People's formatting influence for broad appeal. I'm giving the film the benefit of the doubt and expecting an Oscar hit. You?

BEST PICTURE & BEST DIRECTOR
Fully updated charts with shakeups and some new text. Gains for Hitchcock and Life of Pi as The Master and Lincoln are in danger of fading and Hyde Park on Hudson disappears altogether.

Where do you think my "order" is spot on and which films would you flip? Do you think the Directing Oscar is Ben Affleck's to lose even if Argo doesn't win Best Picture?

 

Thursday
Oct042012

Princess Nicole

JA from MNPP here, sharing the first look at the goddess named Nicole Kidman playing the goddess named Grace Kelly in Oliver Dahan's film Grace of Monaco, which IMDb lists for release in 2014 but I'd be surprised if it didn't come out next year. (via) It deals with Grace's late-life princess days; Tim Roth is playing Prince Rainier; also hanging around will be Paz Vega, Frank Langella, and Parker Posey (YES). Nicole looks fab, no?