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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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Reason No. #2,309 Why Jessica Chastain is Perfect

Even when harassed by annoying paparazzi, she is friendly and playful. That über-positive Facebook page is no act.



Reader Questions for The Podcast

Got any questions you'd like answered on this weekend's special holiday edition Podcast? If so, let us know. 


Posterized: Judi Dench, Leading Lady

Good things come to those who wait. For Judi Dench that good thing would be movie stardom. She's been acting on stage since 1957 (as Ophelia in Hamlet at the age of 23), on tv since 1959 (the title role in Hilda Lessways), and on the silver screen since 1964 (The Third Secret)...  but it wasn't until 1997/1998 when Dench hit her sixties that true movie stardom happened, prompted by the double whammy of her first Oscar bid (Mrs Brown) and its follow up "oops sorry about last year" Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love (recently discussed). Isn't her career trajectory unheard of? Who doesn't even start being a movie star until their sixties? Dame Judi thats who.

Though she may soon retire (she's turning 80 a year from now) she's still in her movie prime. Her latest starring role is as Philomena, the story of a woman seeking the grown son she gave up for adoption, and it opens today in limited release. Will it bring her her 7th career Oscar nomination (her 5th in lead)? Only seven women in the history of movies have ever accomplished it before (Streep, Hepburn, Davis, Page, Berman, Fonda and Garson are the current top seven in Oscar's Actress Hierarchy each with seven or more nominations). And, finally, why is Philomena rumored to be categorized as a Drama at the Globes when the poster is screaming "COMEDY!" at the top of its marketing lungs. 

How many have you seen? 
To pad out her leading lady resume from these peak stardom years, I've included TV films

Mrs Brown (1997) - Oscar nomination, Bafta win
The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2001) - Globe win, Bafta win, Emmy nomination
Iris (2001) - Oscar nomination, Bafta win

Ladies in Lavender (2004)
Mrs Henderson Presents (2005) - Oscar nomination
Notes on a Scandal (2006) - Oscar nomination, and my vote for her all time best performance

Cranford (2007) Golden Globe, Emmy, Bafta Nominee
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) - Globe nominee
Skyfall (2011) - some may say this isn't a leading role but the plot of this film suggests otherwise 

Which of these posters brings back your fondest Dame Dench memories? 


Happy 98th to a Great Cinematographer!

Let's sing a big raucous happy birthday to 98 years young Oscar winner Oswald Morris who is still with us! That's a lot of candles. And a lot of great movies.

The British born Morris only ever received Oscar nominations for big screen musicals (Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof , and The Wiz) but that's hardly the full picture of his career. Though reknowned for his use of color -- his cinematography on Moulin Rouge (1952, recently discussed) was particularly innovative -- he also won prizes for his black and white work, most notably: Moby Dick, The Pumpkin Eater, The Hill, and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Other well known pictures include EquusThe Guns of Navarone, Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and a couple of Liz & Dick adventures (The Taming of the Shrew and Reflections in a Golden Eye). His awards haul includes 1 Oscar, 3 BAFTAs, 3 British Society of Cinematography wins and a couple of career tribute trophies.

Curiously or too-cutely, you decide, his last two motion pictures were all about puppets. He retired after The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Dark Crystal (1982) thirty-some years ago. We hope he's still enjoying that good long retirement. 

The Dark Crystal was Morris's last gig before retirememt
The Pumpkin Eater with Anne Bancroft
Oswald (far left) with Deborah Kerr & Robert Mitchum on the set of "Heaven Knows Mr Allison"



Chang Chen Marries

Wedding bells. Congratulations to Chen Chang (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Grand Master) who married his girlfriend of 4 years Monday in Taipei.

She passed the bouquet to Chens second most famous onscreen romantic partner Qi Shu (Three Times). Awwww. The starstudded guest list was conveniently already in town since the 50th Annual Golden Horse Awards take place tomorrow. TFE Reader Tony is calling tomorrow's event "the red carpet to end all red carpets" as far as Chinese-language cinema goes. Over 40 past Best Actor and Best Actress winners are expected to attend.

Could you imagine how fun that would be at the Oscars? I would say we'll have to wait until Oscar's 100th anniversary (February 2028!) but since they care so little about their own history these days that's unlikely.

[Left: with Crouching Tiger lover Zhang Ziyi promoting The Grandmaster]

Who will win the Golden Horses tomorrow? 
Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster (an Oscar submission) is the nomination leader but Chen who has never won the Golden Horse is not one of them. His co-stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Zhang Ziyi are nominated, though. The Grandmaster will have to fight off significant threats to win though. The lineup is a strong one including critical hits Stray Dogs and A Touch of Sin, Johnnie To's Drug War and Ilo Ilo (Singapore's Oscar submission).


Animated Feature Contender: A Letter to Momo

Tim, our resident animation guy, sounds off on the eligible films vying for Animated Feature

Between now and the announcement of the Academy Award nominees on January 16, I’ll be taking a look at some of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature award: specifically, the smaller, more easily-overlooked films from non-U.S. animation studios. For it strikes me that they are the more deeply in need of love and attention than the more visible mainstream American productions likely to dominate the race. Also, I don't imagine that anyone is desperate to have a conversation about Free Birds.

Our first subject is the oldest on the submission list: A Letter from Momo from Japan, which premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, only making its stateside bow this year.

[Does it deserve the comparisons to A Spirited Away? Find out after the jump]

Click to read more ...


Lone Surviving Open Thread

What's on your cinematic mind? What movie are you thinking about? Do share!

What's on mine? Well, I just got back from Peter Berg's Lone Survivor which I had to watch through my fingers it was so violent. Proud wuss in the movie house! If you want to see Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster (mvp), and Emile Hirsch just totally brutalized with makeup effects - burns, bruises, bullet holes, broken bones -- have I got a movie for you. Also if you share my fear of monster trapeziuses, please be warned that Taylor Kitsch's totally wants to grow up to be Tom Hardy's.