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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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Tuesday
Oct152013

Team Top 10: Horror Films Before "The Exorcist"

It's Amir here, brining you this month's poll. It's October so we're obligated to take you to the dark depths of cinematic greatness with a list of horror goodies. We're looking at the best horror films of all time, with a twist. We chose The Exorcist (1973) as our milestone since it's the first horror film nominated for the best picture Oscar and about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. So we've split the Best list in half, with The Exorcist as cleaver. Part two comes next Tuesday, but for now

The Top Ten Best
Pre-Exorcist Horror Films

There really isn't much I can add by way of introduction, aside from pointing out that the boundaries of what is or isn't within the limits of this particular genre are blurry. Can Freaks still be considered a horror film today, removed from the initial shock of seeing circus performers with deformities on the screen in 1932? Cruel and unreasonable as it is, the appearance of the protagonists is the chief reason why such a passionately human piece of film history is considered scary at all - though as you will see below, one of our contributors has other ideas. No such questions would apply to Night of the Living Dead but what about Night of the Hunter? Hour of the Wolf? So on and so forth. The point is, take the genre categorizations with a grain of salt, but the suggestions to watch them very seriously. If you haven't seen any of these eleven films -- why is there always a tie? -- here's hoping this list persuades you to do so this October.

10. = Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dryer)
There’s never been a horror movie with stronger art film credentials than this one, made according to the then in-vogue Surrealist style by a director who’d already created The Passion of Joan of Arc and had Ordet yet to come. But just because Carl Theodor Dreyer was a proper “artist” doesn’t mean that Vampyr’s pleasures are exclusively aesthetic. In fact, the same dictatorial control over image and space that makes Ordet a spiritual masterpiece makes this familiar story of one man’s journey through a creepy rural town living in fear of a bloodsucking old woman one of the most thoroughly unsettling things you will ever experience. It's more of a walking tour through a nightmare than a clear-cut narrative, with eerie shadows and shapes every which way and a profoundly moody score by Wolfgang Zeller that jangles one’s very last nerves.
-Tim Brayton

ten more spooky films after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct152013

Shutdown Movie-Thon (Week One!)

Reader Takeover Day! The Reader Spotlight is coming back soon but as a special triple treat a few posts over the next 24 hours written by you, the reader. (Well, not you literally). Here is Lynn Lee -- previously reader spotlighted so you'll want to check that out -- who is currently on a tv/movie binge while on furlough.- Nathaniel


 Lynn here, taking Nathaniel up on his kind invitation to recount the...

"Filmgoing Adventures of a Furloughed Federal Employee"

There's no question the ongoing federal government shutdown is a disaster for this country, and it's affected federal workers more directly than most. A good chunk of us, including yours truly, have been indefinitely furloughed. Those who think this just means extra vacation time clearly don't understand that (1) most of us *want* to be at work, but it's against the law for us to work and (2) we currently aren't getting paid! There's not much we can do, though, other than find ways to pass the time.

For those of us more fortunate furloughed feds who aren't dealing with more pressing concerns, the main question each morning has been "What do I do today?"

In my case, the default answer is a no-brainer: go to the movies!  These past couple of weeks I’ve trekked to movie theaters of all sizes and stripes all over the D.C. area, and seen some of the best films I’ve seen all year—at least two of which I’d have missed otherwise.  So for me there’s definitely been a bright side to my forced idleness.


DAY 1: The only day of the shutdown I was “excepted,” i.e., required to work, so no movies for me today.  Unless you count the imaginary reenactment of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, with me in the Jimmy Stewart role, playing in my mind.  Not that an epic filibuster would do anyone any good in the current situation.

DAY 2: My first furlough day!  What better way to spend it than to watch Thor race cars against Frederik Zoller?  I head out to my favorite movie theater in northern Virginia to see Rush, Ron Howard’s flick about the 1970s rivalry between two Formula One drivers, British daredevil James Hunt and hyper-focused Austrian Niki Lauda.  Solid entertainment, and Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are good foils, even if the script overplays the contrast between Hunt’s impulsive, hedonistic recklessness and Lauda’s relentlessly austere, Germanic precision.  Best line of the movie, from Lauda:


Happiness is the enemy.” 

Oh those Austrians. 

DAYS 3-4: No movies, but a discussion with my boyfriend about whether to see Gravity in 2D or 3D.  Although I normally hate 3D, this seems to be one of the few movies that really should be seen that way.  But boyfriend hates putting on those clunky 3D glasses over his glasses, so I do not insist – especially since I’m skeptical that any movie “needs” to be seen in 3D.  This decision will come back to haunt me in the days to come…

DAY 5: …though not on the day we actually see Gravity, which is still beautiful and harrowing and impressive in 2D.  Not quite transcendent; I find the score a bit overbearing, and can’t help wondering if George Clooney would be so cool and humorous under pressure in real life.  Probably not under that kind of pressure, I decide; Sandra Bullock, on the other hand, reacted more like I’d expect Sandra Bullock would.  Also decide that I would never under any circumstances want to be an astronaut.  But I already knew that since childhood, when everyone but me wanted to go to Space Camp.    


DAYS 6-7: No movies in theaters, though I discover that everyone in the world has apparently seen Gravity, too – and seen it in 3D.  And people are raving about how “immersive” it was!  I begin to worry that I’ve made a terrible mistake.  

TO BE CONTINUED...

Tuesday
Oct152013

Curio: Hanks a Million

Alexa here. With the release of Captain Phillips, the annual game of reevaluating Tom Hanks is afoot. Does the Everyman dial it down to play a non-hero hero, or is he in fact at his most Tom Hanksiest to date?  Did Gravity beat him in the space race, since it beat him at the box office this week? I, for one, don't care: I love Tom Hanks for all his versatility and charm and Tom Hanksiness, so there.  

Chuck and Wilson dolls by Mauro Fazzini.

Here are some Hanks-related curios (thank you cards, coloring books, etcetera) for those, like me, who still feel the love...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct152013

Geeks OUT @ Comic Con

Reader Takeover Day! The Reader Spotlight is coming back soon but as a special triple treat here's the first of a few posts over the next 24 hours written by you, the reader. (Well, not you literally). Here's Charles Quittner to share his Comic Con adventure. TFE had neglected the annual NYC event (I was in LA) but Charles is here to rescue us! - Nathaniel

Here I am as a post-Disney acquired Spider-Man

Hello there! I’m Charles, a faithful reader of this fabulous site by way of a Google search for Oscar predictions 5 years ago. 

This weekend was the 8th annual New York Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits convention center. Media aficionados dressed in awesome costumes lined up 10th avenue to buy and browse merchandise of the geektastic variety and to catch glimpses of upcoming books, comic, TV series, and films from the mouths of the creators and stars. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct152013

12 Links Today

Cinema Blend 50 Shades of Grey might go with Alexander Skarsgård (and a new screenplay)  now that it lost its leading man. Skarsgård has to be anxious for True Blood to wrap given the movie offers coming his way.
Ultra Culture the exhaustive list of Xavier Dolan's credits... in his own movies.
Xavier Dolan ...oh and he's started film #5
Pajiba has an awesome take down of the recent resurgence of "boohoo it's hard to do female characters" quotes and articles -- I can't even with those comments from the animators of Frozen!

Popcorn Taxi Tom Hiddleston doing Owen Wilson doing Loki. wtf? (and also LOL)
Coming Soon Netflix has ordered a new family secrets thriller series from the creators of Damages
Variety Paul Rudd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are said to be Marvel's top choices for upcoming superhero flick Ant-Man
Variety Weird. Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri may star in a mother/daughter sitcom. I can't say I predicted a sitcom for Sarandon and isn't "Mom" already on TV?
i09 the weirdest vampire movies ever made
The Playlist new images and clip from 12 Years a Slave 
MNPP 250 words or less on Captain Phillips 

my favorite Best Actress win of the 1970sFinally...
Movie Mezzanine seemingly asked everyone but me to compile their "top ten" of the 1970s without commentary. I dont know why lists without commentary are fun to read but they are. It's fun to see which movies dominated their massive roundup (The Godfather is the expected winner, topping 6 lists and it's nearest rivals - more interesting -- are tied for 3 #1 ranks each:Annie Hall, Days of Heaven and Taxi Driver). I've already done this particular top ten in an earlier post but if I were to redo it it'd maybe look like so. And weirdly no one they polled had my #1 as #1 though it appears on a few lists. 

1) Manhattan 2) Nashville 3) Cabaret 4) Apocalypse Now
5) Network 6) All That Jazz 7) Carrie 8) Taxi Driver 9) Annie Hall
10) Dog Day Afternoon 11) Cries and Whispers 12) The Conversation
13) Three Women 14) Jaws 15) The Godfather 16) The Way We Were
17) Klute 18) McCabe and Mrs Miller 19) Star Wars
and 20) Grease (for the nostalgia. shut it)

Okay I cheated with a top twenty but the astonishing thing about that decade is that everyone's lists look completely reasonable because great films can be seen wherever you choose to look in your 70s film education. You know? 

Exit Music
How about a little "Chopsticks" with Oscar bound (again) mega-stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock? So crazy that today's new adults (Happy 18th, 1995 babies!) were born into a world where Hanks and Bullock were ruling the box office and today here we are again. Talk about legs (and I don't mean Bullock's literal ones but wow those gams)

Monday
Oct142013

Monologue: Dianne Wiest x 2 in "Rabbit Hole"

As awards season gets into full swing The Film Experience will grow more Oscar focused by the week. I'm nowhere near as adept at prognostication as Nathaniel, but I reckoned it was as good a time as any to resuscitate one of our key features, the Monday Monologues. To make up for its absence, you get two quickies.

I was re-watching a few episodes of In Treatment last weekend and remembered how much I love Dianne Wiest. I’m sure you do, too. In a career of illustrious turns (including her duo Oscar wins) I’m turning my attention to one a little less feted, the supporting role of "Nat" in Rabbit Hole.

Rabbit Hole remains one of the most interesting curios in recent Oscar history. [more]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct142013

Thoughts I Had... About Our First Look At "Grand Budapest Hotel"

In the interest of speed and efficiency, and before all this good icing melts, my uncensored thoughts as they come to me...


• This poster looks good enough to eat. Literally. All I see is a tiered heavily frosted chocolate cake and I want it in me right now. Put it in me!

• Remember when people made such a big deal of Natalie Portman's nudity in "Hotel Chevalier" even though it was only like side butt? Will their be profile nudity in this hotel? And if so whose? My guess is Léa Seydoux though its unlikely to occur at all.

• The title signage is like delicate decorative pastel frosting (I have not eaten dinner yet, can you tell?)

• So pleased that Ralph Fiennes' career seems to be on an upswing again -- I believe he's the protagonist and butler here -- though I read the weirdest headline the other day (I didn't click on the link) about The Invisible Woman, his second directorial effort, being a misfire of a vanity project. I have seen the movie and I can't for the life of me think why it would be considered a vanity project (though "misfire", maybe) when Fiennes is SO much more handsome in real life than he allows himself to look as Charles Dickens. And Dickens doesn't even come across all that well in terms of character, either. He's no outstanding citizen in the movie. 

• Can Ralph Fiennes please do playful homages to Tim Curry and Forrest Whitaker and other famous butlers when he hits the talk show circuit. Please?

• Did Oscar winner F Murray Abraham get a new agent or something? Totally back! Homeland (sinister!), Inside Llewyn Davis (wonderfully judged cameo), and now this.

• This poster reminds me of the architectural minimalism of Chris Ware or maybe it could have been done by illustrator Max Dalton who did great stuff for Matt Zoller Seitz' new book on Wes Anderson. I want to read that book. Did any of you get it yet? 

Max Dalton print of Wes Anderson characters

• My favorite Wes Anderson movies are The Royal Tenenbaums (#1 by a margin of 375 imaginary city blocks), and Moonrise Kingdom. Hotel Chevalier and Fantastic Mr Fox tie for third. No, really.

• My best friend used to live super close to the exterior of The Royal Tenenbaums on Convent Avenue here in  NYC and I used to stare at that building in melancholic wonder every time it entered my field of view. 

• Wes Anderson is the ideal person to make a movie about a hotel because structures are like actual characters in his movie: the train in Darjeeling Unlimited, the submarine in The Life Aquatic, the tree in Mr Fox, the vertical home in Tenenbaums, and so on...

• When will Oscar voters ever warm to Anderson? Beyond the writers branch who (wisely) gets him.

• I just noticed that Anjelica Huston's name is not on this poster and it suddenly doesn't look as tasty.