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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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"My favorite movie about the theater is ALL ABOUT EVE, but then again that movie is my favorite movie about everything about movies and love and lust and life itself." - Jay

"TOPSY-TURVY perfectly captures the feeling of imminent failure that you get when you're in rehearsals." - Peggy


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Jessica & Chaplin

Remember when we interviewed Jessica Chastain and it was so obvious that she was that beautiful semi-rarity among famous actors: a complete cinephile. Well guess what? To further underscore the point her dog's name is Chaplin. How cute are they together?

Answer: Very.

Chaplin recently visited her on the set of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His. Although I'm not sure about taking your best animal friend for a walk while wearing animal print. I'm glad Chaplin isn't her pet leopard.


P.S. Friend of TFE Katey Rich, met Chaplin on a set visit. He has only three legs! Now we must love him even more.



MIFF 1: Battle of the Aussie Pop Stars

[Editor's Note: Glenn of Stale Popcorn fame, pictured left, will be covering the Melbourne International Film Festival for us. Yay!  He'll hit titles we're interested in because we've definitely perused his plans. -Nathaniel]

Glenn checking in. As I type this it is August 2nd, opening night of the 61st annual Melbourne International Film Festival. With the festival proper beginning tomorrow, I have 32 films booked (whether I get to them all is another thing altogether...) but I've caught a few biggies beforehand.

You have probably heard about Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires, what with its rapid ascent from unknown Aussie musical to full blown Harvey Weinstein pet project. While I can’t see this chintzy sixties-set musical garnering much in the way of Academy buzz – unless the music branch’s “no end credits original songs!” attitude suddenly changes for the swingin’ original tune “Gotcha” – I can’t see how its light-as-air sensibilities can’t turn it into a pretty money-maker for The Weinstein Company and net itself a couple of those eternally in flux “Musical or Comedy” Golden Globe nominations in the process. 

Musical Madness, Kylie Minogue and Holy Motors after the jump...

The Sapphires


Click to read more ...


Team Experience: Sight & Sound Poll

There's a lot to parse within the BFI's Sight & Sound poll, a once a decade event in which the [air quotes] greatest films of all time [/end air quotes] are named. Given that the results are a product of accumulation of individual opinions, I enlisted Team Film Experience for a variety of voices to respond to it and you can see their quotes below. The list is a critic friendly and far more international affair than other famous mainstream rankings like AFI's Top 100. How did they determine the rank? According to Nick James 1000 critics, academics, writers, cinephiles, and directors were polled as to what ten films they considered The Greatest Ever, whether great meant "historical significance", "artistry" or something more personal to them. 846 top-ten lists were received which means we would like to volunteer to replace any of the 164 invitees who couldn't be bothered next time!

Every entry on a top ten list received one vote so rank didn't matter, nor should it, given that once you're in the upper echelons of achievement it's like splitting hairs. Or, since we're talking about Vertigo, judging who has the best bunhead.

As you've already heard, Alfred Hitchcock's discomfiting chilly double-identity thriller VERTIGO (1958) tossed the discomfitting chilly and ever triumphant CITIZEN KANE (1941) from its bell tower. Is it lonely at the top? Sure thing. [The list and what Team Experience had to say after the jump]

Click to read more ...


Best Shot: "How to Marry a Millionaire"

Hit Me With Your Best Shot, our series in which all participating movielovers argue for what is a particular movie's best shot, just keeps on surprising me. I've learned so much about the movies by doing it: what I personally respond to, how often a single image is dependent on the editing around it or the scenes preceding it for its punch, and that the most brilliant images tend to either define an entire movie OR illuminate a very particular piece of its identity. Best of all, I've learned things I couldn't have learned without an extra set of eyeballs... yours. Last week, for example, I came to appreciate The Royal Tenenbaums, in whole new ways via the posts on other blogs. Which is why I'm super anxious to read this week's entries. Because this week's movie, the romantic comedy How To Marry a Millionaire (1953) which was a favorite of mine as a teenager, left me very uninspired. I hadn't remembered how unambitious the visuals were, lazily trusting that Cinemascope would provide us with terrific images.

Which is, come to think of it, what many filmmakers did in the early days of Cinemascope. I've joked before that rectangles > squares but shapes are neutral. It's up to the filmmaker to know what to use a movie's shape for, be that square or rectangular or circle (should the movies ever get round)

So my choice for best shot makes good use of the Cinemascope. The Cinemascope allows this image above to be expansive while the blocking reveals a tight trap. The moment  comes early in the movie when the three golddiggers (Marilyn Monroe as "Pola", Betty Grable as "Loco", and Lauren Bacall as "Shatze"-- delicious character names!) think they've snared their first 'bear', a millionaire by the name of J.D. (William Powell, extremely well cast). The girls aren't greedy *cough* and have already agreed that even just one millionaire will do.

You only need one!

For a brief flash with all their backs are turned to the camera, it's easy to imagine a much creepier movie wherein the ladies pounce in for the kill. They're essentially predators, after all, sexy spiders slinking around their phony web (Manhattan condo with terrace) for billionaire flies.

While How to Marry is good popcorn fun, especially for Monroe's adorkable blind as a bat insecurities and Bacall's elegant snobbery as she looks down her nose at everyone and everything (including herself!), it's not much more than that. It feels padded even at only an hour and a half (is it the weirdly sleepy editing?) and the visuals are the least interesting thing about it. This is the only film we've covered where I had absolutely zero indecision about which shot to use. I'm a sucker for a continuous shot and if How to Marry's collection of them didn't feel so much like a filmed stage play (I actually wanted more cutting; that's so weird for me) they'd be a lot more exciting. But this one is a keeper. The middle 'backs to the camera' bit when the ladies pander to and coo at the squirming millionaire is perfect. The cherry on top is that the shot (and scene) ends with a delicious triple diva walk to the camera, all three stars really giving it to the camera... in character no less!

I think this is it kids, a great big room filled with nothing but rich millionaires. And us."

How To Discover Great Blogs (2012)
[Hint: click on them] 
Against the Hype Monroe, Gable and Bacall existing in the same universe?
Amiresque gets dreamy with Betty Grable 
Antagony & Ecstacy a passing of the sex goddess torch
Armchair Audience Bacall sure can move across a screen. But does she choose the right man?
Dial P For Popcorn moments that stick with you
Encore's World in most intrigued by the revealing shots of the threesome.
Film Actually Best Shot = Best Comic Timing
Movies Kick Ass 'there's no business like men business'

Final Three Episodes of Season Three:
Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr (August 8th), Singin' in the Rain (August 15th), and Dog Day Afternoon (August 22nd). JOIN US. WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE AS BEST SHOT?


Twelve Years A Quvenzhané

JA from MNPP here. In case you fans of Beasts of the Southern Wild were worried that its formidable child star Quvenzhané Wallis was going to disappear the way formidable child stars sometimes do - especially if they're of color - you set aside your fears for today. The Playlist has word that she's joined the cast of Steve McQueen's next film Twelve Years a Slave, and also share that picture of her on the set with Slave's lead the wonderful Chiwetel Ejiofor. (He's so wonderful I even know how to spell his name without looking it up now - even Matthew McConaughey can't say that.) (Although neither can Quvenzhané just yet.)

Slave tells the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free man who was kidnapped and thrown into slavery in the 1840s. It co-stars McQueen regular Michael Fassbender, as well as (deep breath) Brad Pitt, Paul Giametti, Alfre Woodard, Garrett Dillahunt, Adepero Oduye, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, Michael K. Williams, Taran Killam, and as of last week Quvenzhané's Beasts papa Dwight Henry.

Unlike Nathaniel and oh I'd say 97.5% of the rest of you I personally wasn't sold on Beasts the movie, but I agree with the consensus that Quvenzhané was wonderful, and I'm looking forward to seeing her show us more in the future. Maybe she can tell Michael Fassbender who's the man.


Linker Come Back to Me

My New Plaid Pants pic of the day, first image from the set of Steven Soderbergh's Liberace bio Behind the Candelabra with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon as lovers
Movie City News 29 Weeks To Go until Oscar! Wooo
Cinema Blend apparently they're going to reboot The Brady Bunch
i09 pretends that 10 upcoming remakes / reboots aren't going to suck. Hey, someone has to stay positive.

Hollywood Elsewhere Dark Right(Wing) Rises... People can't stop talking about the politics of Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy. interviewed me and other pundits on The Dark Knight Rises Oscar hopes
Awards Daily breaks down the Tony nominees who made it to Oscar nominations 
Pajiba would like you to think about all the brunettes in Chris Nolan films. It's always brunettes.
/Film manages to dig up a tiny bit of info about the Coen Bros Inside Llewyn Davis 
Awards Daily breaks down the Tony nominees who made it to Oscar nominations


is it just me or are people dropping like flies... I'm a bit freaked out :( 
Studio Briefing Mr Cyd Charisse, singer/actor Tony Martin (1913-2012), has died 
The Guardian pays final respects to Chris Marker (1921-2012), the experimental filmmaker of La Jetée fame (which inspired 12 Monkeys)
New York Times the ever fascinating Gore Vidal (1925-2012) 
Fresh Air remembers Lupe Ontiveros (1942-2012) of As Good As it Gets and Selena fame. I loved it when NBR handed her Best Supporting Actress for Chuck and Buck (2000). Remember that? That's my favorite Lupe turn.

Finally, in much happier news...
Have you heard that Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris, Win Win) is signing projects left and right. Looks like that Tony Award for "Venus in Fur" really did it. Nina, who has previously really had bit roles in movies, has surely arrived.

She recently signed on to play the great Guilieta Masina in Fellini Black and White the story of two missing days in the life of Oscar magnet Federico Fellini right before the Oscars in 58. Are they making this movie just for us? Seriously! She's also set to play Janis Joplin in another upcoming bio with Martha Marcy May Marlene's Sean Durkin helming after approximately a million years of rumors of this actress and that actress and sometimes more than one at once, playing her in a biopic. Hollywood apparently just can't let  The Rose (1979) be the last word. Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski even sent up the development hell of Janis Joplin biopics in an arc of 30 Rock. Nina also joins a huge cast of recognizable actors in the fascinating sounding The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby which is reportedly a two-part film told from the husband (James McAvoy) and wife's (Jessica Chastain) perspectives.

This is all a long way of saying learn Nina's name and expect her on an Oscar shortlist in 5...4...3...2....1


July. It's a Wrap

Highlights from the month that was in case you missed anything...

Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne join the Cock Rocking Kings of Tampa!

Emma ♥ Andrew A Red Carpet Convo with Joanna
Best of the Year Thus Far Halfway Mark Summary, January through June
Burning Questions Michael wants to know what the Best Bonus Features are on a Bluray or DVD? 
The Dark Knight Rises... And Falls, Sputters, Limps and Soars 
Q&A Working Girls and Generational Comedy 
Top Ten "Jane"s A Bit of Name Dropping Silliness 
Finding Nemo 2 Pixar Jumps the Shark 
Moviegoing Diaries Beau takes a date to Magic Mike. Was this wise? 

Most Eyeballs: Before Magic Mike, there was "Ricky the Rocket"
Most Discussed: Cast This! Baby Jane Redux

Coming in August: Reader Appreciation Month, Gene Kelly Centennial Celebration, Hope Springs, ParaNorman, Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Yeoh, Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis and Bel Ami, Total Recall, Bel Ami, and the last 4 episodes of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" for season 3: How to Marry a Millionaire, Sherlock Jr, Singin' in the Rain and Dog Day Afternoon. And whatever else we think of in the sweltering heat.