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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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Thursday
Aug092012

TIFF Lineup: Female Directors & Prestige Adaptations

 Paolo here. We should probably give in and see what this year's Toronto International Film Festival has to offer! Toronto marks the unofficial start of awards season, inflating or deflating much hyped movies and performances. Speaking of which, the locals can experience the star power of actual would be contenders.  Within the space of ten days, TIFF gives its paying audience access to a year's worth of art house cinema - these movies will be trickling out in limited release for at least a year to come.

Fine reasons to be excited but I have more personal reasons, too. 


Reason no. 1 They're bringing back some classics.
They're under the Cinematheque programme, spotlightling restorations like Dial M for Murder in 3D, Loin du Vietnam - a collaborative anti-war project involving a handful on 1960's auteurs like Godard, Agnes Varda, William Klein Alain Resnais and (RIP) Chris Marker. There's also Roberto Rosselini's Stromboli and Roman Polanski's Tess, the latter being an adapation of a Thomas Hardy novel that I've been reading the past month or so. Which brings me to reasons two, three and four... after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug082012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Sherlock Jr"

This week's "Best Shot" selection iss Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr. (1924), a 44 minute silent comedy. Silent comedies were often so swoony with romantic plots that I always want to call them melodramedies or maybe romantic slapsticomedy. Rom-Slapstick? The film opens with a title card that warns us against multi-tasking. 

There is an old proverb which says: Don't try to do two things at once and expect to do justice to both."

That's an awfully funny thing to warn us against in a Buster Keaton film. The innovative entertainer was equal parts director, actor, star, stuntman and screenwriter. And he excelled at all of them.

The movie projectionist hero of Sherlock Jr isn't the great detective he'd like to imagine himself to be -- the crime at the heart of the movie has to be solved by another -- but that's what the movies are for, providing him with sweet escape until real life does come to rescue him. In a way, Sherlock Jr, is like the inverse of Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), in that our movie lover hero enters the screen to fantasize about being his idol rather than a screen idol entering the real world for the heroine who fantasizes. 

It's impossible to imagine the craft we've lost nowadays given that everything is computerized and visual effects are easier than ever. I have no idea how Buster enters and exits the movie screen with such panache and believability but for perhaps a trick of lighting. And even more impressive is the elaborate stunt sequences. Though this is "Best Shot" rather than "Best Setpiece" old movies don't differentiate between the two as much since there are so fewer cuts. So for my Best Shot I had to select the sequence / shot that made me laugh the hardest, even though out of context it's completely terrifying:

The Projectionist has been riding on the handlebars of his friends bike and has yet to realize that his friend has long since been knocked off. After a series of hilariously close encounters and dangerous obstacles besetting a mostly obviously hero, we get a title card that can't possibly be actual dialogue (given that no other characters are in the frame) so I like to think of it as a projection of what we the audience are feeling.

I thought you'd never make it."

Immediately after that, Buster goes careening towards a moving train that never once looks like a rear projection and it's only then that he himself becomes terrified and covers his eyes. His long delayed terror is part of the joke as is the covering of his eyes (so heroic!) and the train is the coup de grâce. After the narrow miss (Did he really do this? If so he was certifiable!) he keeps on covering his eyes and finally realizes that no one is controlling the bike. A beautiful extended joke and a thrilling bit of cinema.

And the Projectionist is still not out of the woods because Buster Keaton never rests; the multi-hyphenate multi-tasking genius is too busy doing everything at once... and doing justice to all of them.

More 'Best Shot' entries for your reading pleasure. Support movie-loving blogs that care about movies beyond their opening weekends!

Coco Hits NY proves its tough to escape the debate of Chaplin vs. Keaton
The Family Berzurcher details why Keaton is so often compared to Jacques Tati and the heart and brains behind the gags
The Entertainment Junkie "it's a miracle Keaton's characters make it to the end of the films"
Awww, the Movies the black and white rose of ... sherlock?
Film Actually 'low key by today's standards' but it has everything: chase scenes, explosions, stunts, and more...

Antagony & Ecstasy once wrote about this in his film school days!
Okinawa Assault would anyone insure Keaton today with his daredevil stunts?
Pussy Goes Grrr  "Its slim 44 minutes lampoon the genre conventions of romance, melodrama, and detective fiction" 
Amiresque on Keaton's perfect movie face 
Against the Hype a choreographic delight... 
Encore's World Escapism! 
Armchair Audience it's hard to capture a best shot in this fast moving Keaton vehicle 

Next week on "Best Shot":
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) on the cusp of Gene Kelly's Centennial Week. It'll be a biggie so please join us Wednesday night, August 15th and select your favorite shot in the film many believe is the greatest musical of all time.

We're celebrating Gene Kelly from now through the end of August. 100th anniversaries for all time favorite movie stars don't come around so often, you know, so we Gotta Dance! Gotta Dance! Gottttaaaa Dannnccce! ♫

Wednesday
Aug082012

"Hell Broke Luce"

Tom Waits still amazing after all these year.

We don't see Tom Waits in the movies as much as we did in the 90s but I did like his turn as the devil in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. His next onscreen appearance is in Seven Psychopaths from the writer/director of In Bruges and co-stars Colin Farrel, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken. (Pssst. I'm hearing good things about it, particularly Walken)

This gorgeous video is by the enduring illustrator/director/photographer Matt Mahurin. He's directed two full length features from what I can see (Feel in 2006 and Mugshot from 1996) neither of which I've ever heard of or received a release so perhaps his talents don't transfer to full length features? Still, I sometimes wish that other visual "visionaries" (like, oh say Tarsem Singh or Julie Taymor) were this focused. It's one amazing image after another in this video but the images are piggybacking and/or in communication with one another as they should be. It's all one cohesive ball of amazement instead of a series of "look what I can do!". If you're a young visionary watching, take notes!

Wednesday
Aug082012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "The Trouble With the Curve"

Longtime Clint Eastwood collaborator Robert Lorenz (producer or first assistant director on many Clint features) rousted Clint out of the director's chair and in front of the cameras for a father/daughter baseball scouting drama The Trouble With the Curve. Or is it a comedy? Let's break down the trailer with our usual system.

YES


 

  • Always up for a father/daughter drama... and Eastwood gave that relationship all sorts of interesting edges and nuances and softspots in Million Dollar Baby. Plus in the interest of selling Gran Torino 2 with all those shots of Clint "Get Off My Lawn!" Eastwood maybe we're not seeing some of the meat of the central relationship in the trailer.
  • Amy! Just saw her in Into the Woods in Central Park. She got majorly swallowed up in her wig (so big that from my bad seat I could barely notice her face) but I like that even if she might not have limitless range she is able to adapt her screen persona for drama, comedy, and musicals. That's a type of range -- the movie star type of range which is nothing to scoff at.
  • Hei John Goodman!

NO and maybe so after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug082012

The Way We Link

Yahoo Movies President Obama is a fan of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman
NPR details about Marilyn Monroe as a very profitable posthumous industry. Who gets the money?
CHUD Joss Whedon signs for Avengers 2. But he'll have enough time to do other projects first.
Unreality Indiana Jones is teeny tiny in these amazing posters for the Raiders of the Lost Ark trilogy

Los Angeles Times The Great Gatsby is delayed, and The Master rises. A shifting Oscar race (yes, we'll talk about all this in a couple of days with updated charts!)
Movie|Line the Hitchcock Birds making-of movie The Girl previews for television critics
My New Plaid Pants Paul Verhoeven 'quote of the day' on the original Total Recall's three titties moment. I have to say that the remake's nod to this made no sense whatsoever given the change in planetary setting.
/Film Brave co-director Brenda Chapman leaves Pixar after what one assumes was a troubled relationship and lands at Lucasfilms
Monkey See on the responsibilities of being "the greatest film of all time". 

At the top, you have to be able to play two cultural roles at once: punching bag and celebrated ideal.

Good luck, Vertigo!

Yay, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. First official photo.

 

 

 

More goodbyes
Hollywood Elsewhere RIP film critic Judith Christ
New York Times brilliant composer, EGOT winner and Pulitzer Prize recipient Marvin Hamlisch of A Chorus Line fame died at 68. Hamlisch was a frequent Oscar presence with 12 nominations over the course of his career but his 3 wins all came during the ceremony in 1974 for adapted score The Sting (1973) and song and score for The Way We Were. (1973). His last film score for The Informant (2009) won him lots of fresh praise and one assumes very nearly a 13th Oscar nomination since it scored other awards season kudos.

Tuesday
Aug072012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - An Appreciation

[Editor's Note: Last winter when Michelle Williams was in theaters cooing as "Marilyn", I had planned on a Marilyn week. It didn't happen but I wanted to share this piece by our once in a blue moon contributor Ester Bloom because I, too, adore this movie. - Nathaniel]


'Say, they told me you were stupid!'

'I can be smart when it’s important, but most men don’t like it.' "

Marilyn Monroe is not so different from Lorelei Lee, the part she plays in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Both are entertainers from small towns who started out poor but are determined to transcend their origins; both turn themselves into sexy cartoons; both play dumb when necessary; and both perform under alliterative pseudonyms that are as girly as all get out. (Compare the name “Lorelei Lee” with that of her friend “Dorothy Shaw.” The difference tells you almost everything you need to know about their characters.)

Maybe Monroe recognized a kindred spirit in Lorelei Lee...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug072012

Curio: Glinda the Good Witch

Alexa here.  Today is Billie Burke's birthday.  Billie was a Broadway star, a Ziegfeld girl (literally: she was married to Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. until his death), and a silent movie actress who made a successful move to the talkies.  But she is most remembered for her embodiment of Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. I was thrilled at the casting of Michelle Williams as the prequel version of the sorceress; of anyone out there I think she would project the same angelic charm Billie did. (That trailer was great, but where was Glinda's bubble? She'd better have a bubble.)

Here are some artsy creations to celebrate Billie's canonic version of Glinda.

Diorama of Dorothy and Glinda in Munchkinland, by Natasha Burns.


Typographical illustration of Glinda's words by ChattyNora.

cookies & dolls & artwork oh my... after the jump

 

Click to read more ...