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"LOVED this move. If the Academy could be convinced to see this, I could absolutely see it sneaking into BP." -Eurocheese

"I would love to see 'Oscar winning director, Mira Nair' written somewhere someday" -Choog

 

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Tuesday
Mar242015

Q&A Part 2: Guilty Pleasures, Boytoys, and Best Animated Feature

Yesterday I  answered reader questions about film sets worth living in and all time favorite actors and I hope that conversation keeps going because I haven't heard from too many of you what your choices are. There were so many good question this week let's keep the party going for an extra day. Here's the next six questions featuring Guilty Pleasures, Oscar's Best Animated Feature and Unseen Classics. One question will be answered in a forthcoming theme week that's already been planned and one final question is getting its own post. 

You can't say we've been slacking here at TFE.

LADY EDITH: Do you have a favorite Altman? 

I do. And it's no contest. I just shout Nashville (1975) as enthusiastically and loudly as I can when asked. Which is not to dismiss the rest of Robert Altman's always at least interesting filmography. My other two favorites are Three Women (1977) for its psychosexual actressing and Gosford Park (2001) for the sheer pleasure of it but I love his movies... well, maybe not Dr T and the Women but I love quite a few of his movies.

JEFF: What's your biggest guilty pleasure movie? Or a movie that most of the readers would be surprised that you happen to love.

After so many years writing online about movies I fear I have no secrets left. I love the usual guilty pleasures and probably talk about them too much (Xanadu and Showgirls chief among them). I suppose in terms of things I rarely write about the #1 guilty pleasure would be that I do kind of have a (small) thing for B grade action movies and affection for the sometimes limited actors that star in them like Jean Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, and Schwarzenegger of course. This is not a blanket genre appreciation; I never was interested if the movie starred Steven Seagal or Sylvester Stallone. I've seen Highlander (1986) with Christopher Lambert several times because my brother and his friends loved it. I loved Universal Soldier (1992) for some reason. One truly terrible movie that I used to enjoy with an old friend was Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) starring Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee. This actually happens in it...

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Tuesday
Mar242015

Curio: Black Sheep White Sheep Designs 

Alexa here with your weekly art appreciation. I am a real lover of collage as an art form. Anyone who picks up this tome on my coffee table is likely to hear an earful from me as to why I think it is the perfect medium for our age.  So I'm always seeking out artists that do it well for inspiration.  I recently stumbled upon the etsy shop Black Sheep White Sheep and bookmarked it immediately.  Designer Maria Simeonova has created some particularly lovely film posters using collage and illustration that would look gorgeous in any room; she's also done wonderful portrait illustrations of her favorite directors. Best of all, her prints are affordable, at around $30-$50 each.  

You can see all her prints here. After the jump, more of my favorites...

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Monday
Mar232015

Looking For Home: I am a simple man

Manuel here, back from a week away to chat up last night’s season’s (series?) finale. Thank you Nathaniel for filling in, though I’m sorry you had the unlucky job of recapping my least favorite episode so far! We’re clearly of one mind of the way the show hit a low-point mostly by telegraphing rather than embodying its own story beats. Thankfully, the season finale worked wonderfully as an introspective examination of the fraught ride to successful gay intimacy.

By the second episode of what turned out to be a self-assured and all-out fantastic second season, when the illicit domesticity of Kevin and Patrick took center stage, I noted that the HBO show was great at asking the following question:

What does intimacy look like within a community that is still encumbered by secrets and closets, even as it prides itself on openness and honesty?”

That question could just as easily work as preface for this episode...

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Monday
Mar232015

Yesterday ("Adelina of Naples")

For this week's Best Shot, we're looking at the anthology romcom Yesterday Today and Tomorrow (Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film Winner for 1964) starring everyone's favorite Italian screen couple Sophia Loren & Marcello Mastrioanni³. I've asked participants to choose a third of the movie to Best Shot, or, one shot from each of the three segments within the film by tomorrow night. If I have time I'll do "Today" and "Tomorrow" but my favorite segment is the first -- which is not to say that it's downhill from there so much as it's the most exuberantly delightful of three distinctive delights.

The first story is about the Sbaratti's, a poor couple who realize that the wife Adelina, pregnant with baby #2, will be sent to prison because they refused to pay their fines and keep avoiding punitive measures like furniture repossession. Her husband Carmine is always unemployed while she sells blackmarket cigarettes on the streets with other poor women. They learn from a reluctant lawyer that Adelina can't be arrested because she's pregnant and thus gets an automatic reprieve. And so this exuberant comedy about a boisterous poor neighborhood morphs into a marital sex comedy as temperamental Adelina & gadabout Carmen attempt to stay pregnant for years on end. Both actors do excellent physical comedy, getting big laughs from gestures and their inimitable chemistry. Time shifts are indicated not by anything as rote as identifying text but the number of children (mostly unnamed) hanging from the couples arms and what their friend happens to be selling in the streets; cherry season? Uh oh, the cops are coming 'round again.

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Monday
Mar232015

Q&A Part 1: No Actresses! Whatever Will We Talk About?

To try something a little different I asked y'all to ask me questions that were not actress related this week. Hold me, I'm scared.

But sometimes you gotta push out of the comfort zone. Some people disobeyed -- sorry, not answering those! Some people gave me ideas for much longer posts. Others took it quite literally just reversing the genders of a question they'd normally ask. But a lot of interesting questions were on offer this week so we'll split this baby into two this week, feeling generous. Part two tomorrow.

Here's the 8 questions we're answering today including but not limited to favorite (male) stars, awesome film sets, horror flicks, and costume dramas...

DAN: What film set, taking in mind color schemes, evocative moods, and lighting, would you most like to inhabit. Ignore modern conveniences like air conditioning and pleasant smells. 

NATHANIEL: This question is so open-ended so we'll start with the movie that popped into mind IMMEDIATELY whilst reading it and surprised me becasue it wouldn't leave: Vertigo.


There are so many great rooms you could imagine spending hours in. Midge's apartment is like bohemian artist / spinster heaven. And what a view. And who wouldn't make a multi-course dinner reservation at that red red  red restaurant that Scottie spots Madeleine in?

[More...]

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Monday
Mar232015

Beauty vs Beast: Beauty & (Malkovich) Brains

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- I wish that we could use this column every week to celebrate actresses on their birthdays, but it doesn't always work out that way time-wise unfortunately... this makes two weeks in a row though. Last week was La Huppert, and this week no less than the great Catherine Keener is celebrating her birthday! Keener's turning 56 today and so we celebrate with her, looking back at maybe our favorite performance of hers (although that's a tough choice) - Maxine in Spike Jonze's and Charlie Kaufman's brilliant existential-comedy Being John Malkovich (1999).

Maxine is in many ways the nasty yin to John Cusack's sad-sack yang... but nobody's rooting for Craig. That would make this question too easy. Craig's wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) though... the battle for Malkovich Malkovich is in your hands!

Whose team are you on?
Team Lotte0%
Team Maxine0%

PREVIOUSLY As mentioned up top we were all about Huppert last week - specifically her performance in Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher (in a stroke of random continuity today is Michael Haneke's birthday! Happy birthday Mikey boy!) against that of the pretty boy played by Benoit Magimel - Pretty Boy put up a good fight all things considered but when your competition's willing to fill people's pockets with glass to win, it's not really a fair fight. Said Nathaniel:

"...the only way Walter is going to win this is if you post nude photos of Benoit Magimel with it and confuse people as to what they're voting on. That said I voted for Walter because Erika is so fucking depraved. and not in the good way. That ending!"