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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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Sunday
Aug192012

148 Days Til Oscar Nominations!

Do you ever marvel at the countdown clock in the lefthand sidebar and think "Wow, only ___ days until Oscar nominations!". I know I do. As of right now there are only 148 days and some hours left until Oscar nominations. 21 weeks! That means the universe has plenty of time to back me up on my current predictions or destroy them savagely. Either way is fun for me which is, I suppose, why I've never been able to quit predicting Hollywood's High Holy Night.

CHART UPDATES

Best Picture & Best Director - The Great Gatsby and Baz Luhrmann exit the charts, both moving to summer 2013. And though I never had faith in Gatsby as an actual finalist (the book is too perfect as a book) what can rush in to replace it on the charts? The race is still wide open as it should be.

Gatsby will sit this particular party out. He'll throw his own next Summer

But from where I sit though I'm sure some will disagree, the franchise hopefuls are toast. A lot of people still think that The Gidling of the Lord of the Rings Lily: Part 1 of 3 will factor in but Oscar is not Emmy and LotR is not The West Wing. Fantasy is still a novelty for Oscar voters and I can't imagine that handing the last one 11 Oscars won't feel like enough of a reward for Jackson & Middle Earth. Yes, they've had a decade long breather but I figure the only way The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is competing for the top prize is if people go crazier for it than the original trilogy. And that would be an unexpected journey. 

Meanwhile I suspect that The Avengers and The Dark Knight Concludes Divisively will have a rough time making it through the wild rapids of winter campaigning and I don't expect either of them in the big show beyond a few craft nods. I don't even have faith in the eagerly awaited Django Unchained as an Oscar hopeful. Quentin Tarantino, when he leans toward retro remixes of less prestigious film genres, is just not necessarily for them (see: Jackie Brown, Kill Bill). Yes,  he leans towards that.. always... and he has made two big Oscar hits. But Pulp Fiction was the kind of pop-cultural zeitgeist breakthrough that's impossible to ignore and Inglourious Basterds was a WW II fantasy and Oscar does his own share of fantasizing about that.

All of this nitpicking doubt leads me to believe that Beasts of the Southern Wild, a movie that doesn't look much like an Oscar film (yay!), is on its way to locked up status as an Oscar film. While it didn't become the crossover hit we'd hoped it would, it's done well enough financially to ride the "beloved indie / critical darling" into the mainstream competition for gold. (Think Winter's Bone.)

Best Actor - It's been 11 years since Denzel Washington won his second Oscar and in that whole time he hasn't done anything worth Oscar's time. Will they welcome him back if Flight is a big hit?

What's Denzel's poison? And was he drinking it before the Flight?

 

 

The way I see it mainstream dramas that become big hits are shoo in for Oscar play. Oscar likes drama best and when films without genre trappings that are intended for adults soar at the box office, they join in the applause. I'm feeling it'll hit. Just a feeling.

But the big question in Best Actor is whether the Weinstein's will try to convince AMPAS voters that Joaquin Phoenix is "supporting" Phillip Seymour Hoffman (or the other way around) in The Master. If they risk a double lead campaign and the film is the critical mega-success the internet seems to be expecting, could they be the first Actor Pair since *gulp* Amadeus (twenty-eight years ago) to hog 40% of the shortlist? It's hilarious (and depressing) to view Amadeus in retrospect and know that campaign teams would try to pretend that Salieri or Mozart were "supporting" players in their own riveting brutal musical duet. 

Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress -- We discussed these last week here

Best Supporting Actor - This category hasn't come into focus yet which should make the fall extra exciting. So for the moment, you can predict just about anything (at least here) and feel like a true psychic. You can feel like a psychic right up until the moment the films open and prove you wrong! But the foggy nature of the Supporting goods me wonder if I'm not underestimating those that have already arrived and delighted (like Matthew McConaughey and Michael Fassbender) despite the lowbrow nature of their roles... at least accordingi to Oscar's general aesthetics.

Ruth E Carter, two time Oscar nominees, doing retro-chic looks for Sparkle

Best Visuals and Best Aurals - UPDATES STILL IN PROGRESS -- THIS TAKES TIME.
The latest film to enter the ring visually and aurally is the Motown musical Sparkle (my review tomorrow) and while I don't expect Oscar play anywhere stranger things have happened in the below the line categories. 

Screenplay, Animated, Foreign Film and the Complete Prediction Chart. Check them out and report back.

Sunday
Aug192012

"Cast This!" Box Office Special: Female Expendables?

Sylvester Stallone and his team of aged action heroes ruled the box office with their high-octane throwback The Expendables 2. The title is perfect because it's the kind of disposable flick you can imagine people watching half-assed for years on end on cable while eating, cleaning, making phone calls, taking a sick day, you name it.

Top o' the Box Office *newbies in bold*
01 THE EXPENDABLES 2 $28.7 
02 THE BOURNE LEGACY $17 (cum $69.5)
03 PARANORMAN $14 
04 THE CAMPAIGN $11.8 (cum. $51.6)
05 SPARKLE $12 ...more on this one soon 
06 DARK KNIGHT RISES $12 (Cum. $409.9) Review
07 THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN $10.9 

The Expendables franchise is weirdly sexist -- how can you have like a dozen action stars per movie (*stars* being a smudgey concept here once you're past the one name icons), many of them past their prime, and never include any of the women who've led or played a major hand in action hits in any decade? Yes, they exist! Word is out that the producers are planning on backing a female heavy edition of the franchise, a spin-off if you will. Why we're not allowed to have a co-ed Expendables I do not know. 

But let's help the producers out by casting it for them in the comments.
I'll start right here with six must-haves from Nathaniel's Crowded Actressexual Brain

 

  • Sigourney Weaver -- seriously, if she's not already at the tippity top of the "throw money at her" list, they're imbeciles.
  • Michelle Yeoh -- always riveting when she fights and a damn good actress, too.
  • Linda Hamilton - Duh! Even her name is tough.
  • Milla Jovovich - knows her away around an action scene and will get naked for your R rating
  • Daryl Hannah - because she's an awesomely imposing amazon (think Blade Runner and Kill Bill) and doesn't get nearly enough work 
  • Pam Grier - because think of the fun they could have referencing her fame-making work. Razors in an afro please! 

Once I got started I couldn't stop. I literally thought of 22 more actresses who would be perfect while collecting these photos -- like give me a scene of Run Franka Potente Run. Even if it's just a cameo! -- including recent action divas like Léa Seydoux (so very hawt in Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol or Kate Beckinsale (fresh in the brain on account of Total Recall).

But I don't want to hog all the fun. Which actresses would you line up to see in a huge dumb explosive ensemble actioner? Give me at least six of your favorite options, preferrably ten, ranked, in the comments. Maybe we'll revisit this once we have all your lists.

Ready... set... GO!

 

Saturday
Aug182012

"David Niven: a Villanelle"

I've become so enamored of all of the participating "Best Shot" writers that I miss people when they don't show up and stalk their blogs. Peter Swanson of Armchair Audience recently joined the informal "best shot" group and when I noticed no Singin' in the Rain post last Wednesday, I started clicking around his blog only to discover he's a published poet, and a fine witty one, too. He often writes about the movies and is currently completing work on a sonnet sequence about all 53 Alfred Hitchcock movies. 53 !!!

With his permission I'm sharing his 2007 poem inspired by Oscar winner David Niven which was originally originally published in The Vocabula Review. 

"David Niven: a Villanelle"
-by Peter Swanson 


There is a better world to live in: 
Dressed for dinner in black tie, 
Debonair like David Niven. 

With shoulders wide and sun-browned skin, 
The mustache trimmed, the bluest eye. 
There is a better world to live in, 

Where formality’s a given, 
A place where you, in black, and I, 
As neatly dressed as David Niven, 

Drink silver cocktails shaken 
Very cold and very dry. 
There is a better world to live in, 

Of string quartets, of My Blue Heaven, 
Of clouds and girls that never cry, 
Of men that look like David Niven, 

Or close enough, something akin, 
Beneath some starry, starry sky. 
There is a better world to live in, 
Dead and gone like David Niven.

 

Saturday
Aug182012

"The rain didn't last long"

Friday
Aug172012

Jodie Foster is Wrong. On the Mandatory Price of Fame.

Though I'm late to this discussion -- damn that day job! -- I'm curious how many of you read Jodie Foster's piece at The Daily Beast on the pressures of stardom and her feelings about the current Kristen Stewart media witch hunt? I am, by no stretch of anyone's definition, a fan of Kristen Stewart's but I agree that the treatment she's getting in the press is hideous. While it's not directly comparable the obvious sexism of the whole thing reminds me of the Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake "wardrobe malfunction" fiasco. The woman is blamed and the man in the equation emerges unscathed -- in this case the Snow White and the Huntsman director keeping his sequel job while the actress loses hers. Men we are free to "tsk tsk" for a couple of seconds before they get back to work but Women? Women have to serve time as Human Dartboards of Shame before they are publicly allowed to yank the Scarlet "A" from their garments and go on living.

Deplorable really.

Foster has a right to defend her former co-star and I'm glad she did and with so much spirit, too. But does this mean we have to start reinterpreting Panic Room (2002) as a metaphor of the insatibale media mob vs the trapped movie star? Damnit, I hadn't thought of that...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug172012

Sharp Funny Obsessive Individual Voices Wanted

Look at this cute photo Glenn took, inspired by my "Ruby Sparks" note-taking post! It's his actual notes scribbled during Ruby Sparks (which he just reviewed)

"Funereal typewriter". "leggings". "Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The Movie" "5 enya candy"

5 Enya Candy??? hee

Which brings me to the next point. Do you like writing about the movies? As we move into the fall film season, The Film Experience is tidying up backstage and getting ready to put on its brand new show(s) i.e. the usual show with a few tweaks and new series, and thinking about Fresh Voices for special one-off articles, temporary short-term guest blogging or more regular contributions. Our Movie (and real life) Buddy Kurt has, as you probably know, been snatched up by Slant. And after two auteurist series ("Modern Maestros" and "Distant Relatives") Robert has retired from blogging. I already miss both of them!

The Film Experience could particularly use fine correspondents who are living in Major Metropolises outside of New York like Chicago, London, L.A., The Emerald City, Atlantis, Cloud City, Mt Olympus, Hong Kong ... you get the picture.

Would also welcome writers who are actual ladies since there are plenty of ladyboys in the house already. If you think your voice is a good match for The Film Experience, and your interested in doing something other than traditional reviews (that's the request I get most often but not a type of writing I need for the blog), send me an inquiry

 

Friday
Aug172012

Bachelorette Hits It Big on iTunes

Beau here again to congratulate writer/director Leslye Headland and crew... again. We'll know who wins this weekend's box office wars soon enough but Bachelorette which is still two weeks away from theaters has already struck gold. It recently became the first pre-theatrical release to hit number one on the iTunes Rental Store. It's fallen to #6 as of this writing but this is a remarkable achievement, not least of which is the fact that the rental price is a costly $10 (but, compared to a night out or a ticket price? hardly). Honestly, it couldn’t have happened to a better film.

Since my review of the film, I’ve watched the film again (twice!) and while some inconsistencies and editing snafus have arisen, I stand by my initial opinion that it is the best film to have been released in 2012 thus far. Its willingness to challenge is the key.

A film that tackles drug addiction, suicide attempts, abortion and vanity with such flagrant disregard for conventional standards is enough to make me stand up and cheer. And it doesn’t just skirt by these issues, like a tourist bus on safari pointing out the animals and then speeding away quickly. Bachelorette stops the bus, drags you off, and puts you in such close contact with these animals that your initial reservations about likeability (what a stupid fucking concept) dissolve, and you’re left with a surprisingly incisive look at a small niche that resembles a greater whole. Even my dad last night remarked, ‘I know all three of these women.’ 

For a 58-year-old dude in rural California to say that? Struck a chord. So congrats to Leslye and company. I can’t wait to see your success continue!

Have you ever paid for a rental of an unreleased film? Do you think these alternate distribution methods are the future?