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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Visual Effects Oscar Semi-Finals 

"All I know is that if I had worked on A Monster Calls, I'd be pretty pissed that I didn't get in but Sully did." -The Jack

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INTERVIEWS

Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
Boo Junfeng (The Apprentice
Gianfranco Rosi (Fire At Sea)
Chris Kelly (Other People)
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Friday
Sep182015

Team Experience: 2015's Best Emmy Nominees

Andrew here with some more Emmy treats.

In anticipation of Sunday's big night for TV, the television lovers at The Film Experience are bringing to you a special Team Experience top 10 list.Sure, each year a handful of Emmy nominees leave us scratching our head in confusion, but we wanted to celebrate the citations that the voters got right this year and compiled our list of favourite nominees. Unlike usual Team Experience top 10s, though, we're offering you a look at each of our individual top 10s.

Nathaniel always points out how interesting individual ballots in awards tends to be more dynamic than the final tally and to celebrate the wide range of nominees in the prizes still to be handed at Sunday's ceremonies. So, we disregarded the already decided on categories from the Creative Awards ceremonies and from the 26 categories to be decided on Sunday, our twelve person team each submitted their favourite of the nominees.

Unsurprisingly, our individual ballots were full of Actresses. Go below the jump to see them all.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep182015

Victoria's single take is incredible, but it's not "better" than Birdman's

Sebastian here, not at TIFF, but now taking your donations to get me there next year...

Frederick Lau and Laia Costa in VICTORIA

Ever since its premiere at the Berlinale earlier this year, Sebastian Schipper's Victoria has been compared to Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman. The US poster even leads with a quote from Variety's Guy Lodge: "Fly away, Birdman — there’s a new one-shot wonder in town."

Victoria was shot in one take, which lead many to compare it (usually favorable) to the Best Picture winner. It's an odd comparison to make, though, since Iñárritu's film wasn't shot in one take, and never pretended to be, either. (The fact that Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione weren't even nominated for Best Editing is one of the stranger oversights in The Academy's recent history.)

Both films share in their production an elaborate, fairly - though not entirely - unique effort with a high degree of difficulty to pull off. But so does Boyhood. Or Mad Max: Fury Road, for that matter. That doesn't mean they're doing the same thing, and it certainly doesn't mean that one of them is "better" at it than the others.

As tempting as it may be for some to use Victoria's impressive technical achievement to get in one more jab at the much (and in this writer's view unfairly) maligned Oscar winner, it really doesn't do either of them justice.

VICTORIA had its North American premiere at TIFF this week and is being rolled out to US theaters next month, starting with New York and Los Angeles on October 10. Full release schedule here.

Friday
Sep182015

Jane Got A Gun might have a happy ending

Here's Murtada telling the tale of Jane

       

Say you are Natalie Portman. You just won an Oscar then took some time off to raise your young family. You are ready to come back to work. You decide to take charge of your career and produce a movie. You find a hot script by a young talented writer. It’s a revisionist western, a genre you haven’t tried before. You choose to work with an acclaimed female director because you want to tell more stories about women and employ more women. To co-star you choose one of the most respected actors of your generation. Great intentions all around. Then everything falls apart just as filming is supposed to start.

That’s the saga of Jane Got a Gun. On the first day of shooting director Lynne Ramsay left. Despite a now settled lawsuit no one knows why but differences with producers and financiers are suspected. The leading man, Michael Fassbender, leaves too as Ramsay was the main reason he signed on. He’s replaced by Bradley Cooper. Then Jude Law. Then Joel Edgerton who was supposed to play the “baddie” is promoted to the lead. Ewan McGregor is hired for Edgerton’s part. Producers scramble to find a director while the cast and crew are waiting on set in New Mexico. Finally Gavin O’Connor (Warriors) is hired. He brings with him his writer (Anthony Tambakis ) and they do a major re-write alienating the original writer (Brian Duffield). Somehow everyone gets to work, the movie is shot while PR experts are in damage control mode.

Months later the movie is set for release for February 2015. Then it’s delayed to September 2015. And a month before release the studio behind Jane goes bankrupt. The film is one of many caught in the crosshairs of Relativity’s recent Chapter 11 filing. Others include the Nicholas Hoult- Felicity Jones starrer Collide and Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture with Rooney Mara and Vanessa Redgrave.

But it looks like there’s a happy ending for Jane after all. The Weinstein Company has picked it up for distribution and will release in Europe this November and in the US next February.

And it’s also nice to see Natalie Portman continue creating opportunities for women behind the camera. She directed her first movie A Tale of Love and Darkness based on Amos Oz's autobiographical book. The movie played Cannes and Toronto to mixed reviews. One of her upcoming projects is On the Basis of Sex, a biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be directed by Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl).

Are you glad to finally see Jane get a break?

Thursday
Sep172015

TIFF: Embrace of the Serpent (and Oscar Foreign Film Updates)

TIFF tends to be the best opportunity all year to see several Foreign Film Oscar submissions in quick succession. The trick is you don't often know which ones they well be and sometimes,  due to release dates in their home countries, they end up as submissions the following year. Last September, at this same festival for example I saw Labyrinth of Lies and Sand Dollars which are now the Oscar submissions for this year's race from Germany and The Dominican Republic.

Two days before Embrace of the Serpent was proclaimed Colombia's official submission, I attended the screening. Good luck for me and good choice for them: it's mesmerizing.

Ciro Guerra's third film wraps itself all around you with otherworldly danger. And this is not just a word choice via subliminal suggestion from the slimy encircling imagery of an enormous snake giving birth that occurs before the title. This journey film's stunning black and white photography by David Gallego (a relative newcomer!) only adds to the dreamlike visuals of the Colombian Amazon, totally transporting you into a rickety boat on the water, on two different journeys 40 years apart. The film was inspired by real life journals of explorers and both trips involve a white scientist searching for a mystical plant called Yakruna, which is said to have great healing power. Each of them take as their guide the same Amazonian shaman Karamakate who is played by as a younger man by Niblio Torres and and older man by Antonio Bolivar, neither have acted for cameras before but Karamakate in both forms has real screen presence.

The dangerous stops along the river's way angrily condemn the decimation of indigenous cultures by colonized rubber plantations and missionaries. We also get a taste of religious insanity on par with The Devils, and the jungle madness of Apocalypse Now and Aguirre the Wrath of God. And the films it recalls don't stop there. The snake birth is just one of three spectacularly trippy off-narrative sequences, the final one daring to invoke 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its psychedelic mysteries. If Embrace of the Serpent never feels wholly original as a result and only Karamakate registers as a three dimensional character, it's still an intense journey and very rewarding visual feast. This Colombian wonder won the top award at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes earlier this summer, and could well impress Oscar voters who love a visual epic. Oscilloscope will distribute it in the States. Cross your fingers that it'll play on the biggest possible arthouse screen near you. B+/A- 

Related: There have been several foreign film submissions announced while I've been festivaling it up in Toronto. So make sure to check out the updated foreign film charts.

Current Predictions plus all time stats/trivia
• Afghanistan through Estonia  11 official
• Ethiopia through The Netherlands 20 official
New Zealand through Vietnam 16 official 

We now have 47 official titles, with probably 20-25 more yet to be named with the biggest missing links (i.e. countries that Oscar is fond of) being Denmark, France, Israel, Poland and Spain.

Thursday
Sep172015

TIFF: French Sexy Time Movies

Nathaniel, reporting from TIFF, where the French still love la petite mort. Due to the graphic nature of these films the reviews of Gaspar Noé's 3D explicit sex movie Love and the French teens-gone-wild Bang Gang: a modern love story (which is about exactly what it sounds like it's about) are both hidden after the jump where naughty things must go... Think of the children!

Click to read more ...